A New Jersey appeals court said Friday that the longtime live-in girlfriend of late Red Bank mattress retailer Stuart Paer was not entitled to a share of his estate, according to a report by the New Jersey Law Journal.
Paer, of Fair Haven, owned the Red Bank Sleep Shoppe on Maple Avenue when he died in April, 2011, at the age of 48. An obituary published in the New York Times identified him as the “beloved companion of Barbara Terranova.”
Terranova, however, “will not be allowed to share in any portion of his estate, despite [Paer] allegedly saying he would provide for her in the event of his death,” the NJLJ reported.
In an unpublished decision, Appellate Division Judges Carmen Alvarez and Greta Gooden Brown found that because there was no written palimony agreement stating that Paer would secure Terranova’s financial future, she could not state a claim on the estate, according to the report.
From the NJLJ:
The ruling described Paer as a “retail mattress tycoon,” but did not detail the size of his estate. The lawyers representing Terranova and Paer’s daughters—who are challenging Terranova’s demands for a share of Paer’s estate—did not return calls seeking more information.
Terranova and Paer were involved in a relationship from 1996 to 2011, the ruling said.
“Over the course of the couple’s 15-year relationship, they worked together, lived together, traveled together, and existed as a family unit,” the appeals court said. “They held themselves out to the world as husband and wife.”
The suit claims that Paer promised that he would provide for Terranova financially. However, the appeals court noted that the promise was never put in writing, as required by a 2010 law enacted by the Legislature and affirmed by the state Supreme Court in its 2014 ruling, Maeker v. Ross.
In his will, Paer named his two daughters, Natasha and Alyssa Paer, as his sole beneficiaries, even though the ruling said Terranova acted as their mother.
The daughters are fighting Terranova’s challenge to a trial judge’s ruling that she has no claim to Stuart Paer’s estate.
According to an article published in 2006 by CNN Money, Paer made several million dollars selling a chain of mattress stores he owned in northern New Jersey before moving to Red Bank in 2000 and starting over.
A colorful figure who raced dragsters, Paer bought and sold several downtown properties, and in 2008 boasted to redbankgreen that he’d sold two of them for more than they were actually worth.