Trust & Estate Litigation

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Is someone trying to steal your inheritance?


Years ago, when I first became a lawyer, my mentor warned me: “If you’re old and you’ve got money, you might be lonely, but you’ll never be alone.” The point was simple: there will often be people lurking in the background, scheming to get their hands on an old person’s money. Typically, they do that in either of two ways:

  1. By pressuring the person to write a Will benefiting them; or

  2. Cajoling the person to give them gifts — money, cars, houses, jewelry — while still alive. Sometimes, they will even draft a fake Will and sign the person’s name to it.

These shenanigans are almost always done in secret. Then, when the person dies or nears death, their relatives and friends get a big surprise: a crook swooped in and helped themselves. And that crook is often a trusted family member or close friend. It could even be a caretaker or maid. In short, they sidle up to an older, vulnerable person, and use their position to extract money and gifts. It’s a very old scheme that worked very well for centuries.

But more recently, courts have gotten wise to the trick and developed an entire body of law to stop people from getting away with it. If you can show that the schemer pressured the person to make a Will (or to give a gift), then you may be able to get a court to reject the Will or the gift. Similarly, if you can show that the person was mentally unfit when they made the Will or gift, a court may invalidate it.

Over the course of my career, I have gotten improper gifts returned and illegitimate Wills overturned. Call me today, and let’s get to work on fixing the problem and getting you what you deserve. Don’t let them get away with it.

Or is someone accusing you of stealing their inheritance?

Of course, not every gift or newly drafted Will is a sign of wrongdoing. People have a right to change their Wills and to give gifts, and so long as they’re not pressured or mentally impaired, those Wills and gifts are perfectly legitimate. Still, even when a Will or gift is legitimate, there will often be relatives and friends who think they should have gotten more. And some of those people will try to challenge the Will or gift in court. I have also defended people against improper challenges.

Call me, and let’s see what we can do.

New Jersey residents typically have only 4 months to challenge a Will—Act Fast!

The time to challenge a Will is very limited. Typically, New Jersey residents must challenge a Will within four months of notice of probate. If you live outside New Jersey and wish to challenge a New Jersey Will, the time period is six months. Do not waste time. Call me today.

Can I Contest a Trust?

But as with so many other things, trusts are subject to basic human tendencies like greed, self-interest, negligence, favoritism, and obstinance. And that often causes trusts to go off the rails. 

Trusts were created hundreds of years ago to provide flexibility in owning, managing, and disposing of property. They work by allowing a manager (the trustee) to take legal title to property and then manage it on behalf of the trust creator (the settlor) for the benefit of certain persons (the beneficiaries). This structure has provided enormous benefits both for those who create trusts and for their intended beneficiaries by allowing assets to be managed over time by a neutral third party.

But as with so many other things, trusts are subject to basic human tendencies like greed, self-interest, negligence, favoritism, and obstinance. And that often causes trusts to go off the rails. Whether it’s a settlor who transfers assets to an irrevocable trust and then steals them back; or a trustee who doesn’t pay attention, who doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, who prefers some beneficiaries to others, or who takes trust property for himself; or beneficiaries who are constantly clamoring for money, trusts can become a colossal headache.


Has a trustee looted or mismanaged your trust?

Many trust disputes revolve around the behavior of the trustee. That’s for several reasons. First, most trustees are friends or family members who are not professional fiduciaries and don’t understand the serious legal obligations that trustees have.

Second, even among those who understand their obligations, many trustees simply can’t do what’s required.

Third, some trustees find themselves in conflicts of interest that cause them to favor certain beneficiaries over others. Fourth, some trustees end up self-dealing—that is, acting in their own financial interests rather than advancing the best interests of the beneficiaries. And there are many other reasons, too.

The bottom line is that trustee misconduct is a leading issue in trust litigation. If you know (or even think!) that a trustee has mismanaged your trust, call me to discuss it today.


Are you a trustee who has been accused of wrongdoing?

Managing trusts is hard—even for professional trustees. The management, reporting, and record-keeping obligations can be very onerous. And dealing with beneficiaries can be even harder. What starts as a casual favor done for friends and family can transform into a nightmare with people accusing you of inattention, negligence, and even intentional wrongdoing. They may seek to remove you as trustee; to have you produce an expensive and detailed accounting of your time as trustee; and worst of all, to demand that you pay damages. But you have defenses available, too. 

Call me at 201.342.1700, and let’s discuss.

Why Choose Us

Whether you’re involved in a business dispute, commercial litigation, a trust-and-estate issue, or want to file an appeal, I will bring years of legal experience and tenacious advocacy to resolve your matter.

Client-focused Solutions & Results

I have achieved millions of dollars in settlements,  awards, and jury verdicts for my clients. And I’ve won 10 cases in the court of appeals.


Specializing in several areas of law gives me wide-ranging experience to handle your case. I’m a negotiator, litigator, and skilled legal writer  who will vigorously pursue litigation or settlement based on your best interests.

Personal Service

Clients receive personal attention start to finish. You’ll meet with me, not a paralegal or junior attorney. I pride myself on my timely communication, which is something you won’t always get from larger firms.

Frequently Asked Questions

A will contest is a lawsuit in which a person challenges the validity of a will after a person has died. The person who files the will contest is known as the “contestant.” The deceased person is known as the “decedent.” Sometimes contestants challenge a will because they believe that the decedent’s true wishes are set forth in a will other than the one that is being offered for probate. Other times, it’s because they believe that the decedent did not actually intend to have a will.
Wills can be contested for various reasons, including fraud—such as where the will was simply made up and was never actually signed by the decedent. But the most common reasons are lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. A will contest based on lack of testamentary capacity claims that the decedent was not of sound mind when the will was written. A will contest based on undue influence claims that another person pressured the testator into writing the will in a particular way—usually to favor that person or that person’s friends or relatives.
No. Contestants must typically show that the will they wish to challenge leaves them less money or property than they would have received (1) under one of the decedent’s other wills; or (2) if the decedent did not have a will.
To contest a New Jersey will, New Jersey residents must typically file their contests within four months of receiving notice that someone is attempting to probate a will that they wish to challenge. Out-of-state residents typically have six months from notice. But you should not allow these deadlines to get too close. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Will contests are normally billed at an hourly rate, meaning that the ultimate cost of the case will depend on how many hours I spend on it. If your will contest is successful, the court may direct that some or all of your attorneys’ fees be paid by the decedent’s estate. In fact, the court may order that some or all of your fees be paid by the estate even if your will contest is not successful, provided that the court concludes that you had reasonable cause to contest the will.

Yes. Sometimes I represent people who contest wills, and sometimes I defend people against will contests that are filed by other people.

Ready to discuss your case?

Whether you’re involved in a business dispute, commercial litigation, a trust-and-estate issue, or want to file an appeal, I’ll put over a decade of legal experience to work for you.