Vernon v. Wegner

A-3060-97T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1999) (Unpublished)
  • Opinion Date: July 1, 1999

CONTRACTS; OPTIONS—A right of first refusal triggered by a transfer of title was found to be inapplicable to a property that devolved by intestacy.

In 1981, a woman sold certain real property. Although the deed did not contain a “right of first refusal,” a document of the same date, which was recorded sixteen years later and approximately two months after the death of the buyer, stated in pertinent part, “[p]rior to any proposed resale or transfer of title by the grantee, its heirs or assigns, the grantee shall offer to sell the premises to the grantor for the sum of $60,000.00.” When the buyer died and the property devolved to an heir, the original seller sought to enforce this “right of first refusal.” The Court set aside any question about the validity of the document and held that the so-called “option agreement” or “right of first refusal” clearly contemplated that the property would devolve by intestacy to an heir of the decedent and that this did not constitute a transfer which triggered the option. “Devolution by operation of law did not implicate any rights the plaintiff may have had.”