New Jersey Trusts and Estates Litigation Attorney

power of attorney

Disputes over trusts and estates can be emotionally charged. You deserve a lawyer who can help you assert your legal rights and protect what’s rightfully yours, no matter how contentious things get.

For decades, the New Jersey trusts and estates litigation attorneys of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman have handled a wide range of legally and factually complex cases, including many matters for high-net-worth individuals. Our attorneys are greatly skilled and experienced in this area of the law, which is highly specialized.

We are well known throughout New Jersey for our knowhow and expertise in trusts and estates litigation matters. Many of our clients come to us through referrals from other attorneys.

Contact Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman today for an initial case review and find out what our New Jersey trusts and estates litigation attorneys can do for you.

Why You Need a New Jersey Trusts & Estates Litigation Lawyer from Our Firm

attorney with clients

Estates & trusts litigation is among the most factually and legally complex types of legal disputes. Whether you are pursuing a claim or defending, you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to guide you through the litigation process and effectively advocate for your interests.

Since the law firm’s founding in 1929, the attorneys of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman have built a reputation for honest, ethical, client-focused legal representation. The success that we have achieved for our clients in the courtroom and at the negotiation table has earned us the respect of judges, surrogates, and our peers in the legal profession.

Choose our firm for your estates & trusts litigation matter because of our deep knowledge of New Jersey estates & trusts law, court rules, and litigation procedure. Our legal team understands the complex interaction of law and finances involved in estates & trusts matters. Several of our attorneys have accounting backgrounds and hold Master of Law in Taxation degrees. Our lawyers are well versed in reviewing tax returns, bank statements, and other financial statements.

From our clients

I was very lucky to have two talented attorneys at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman to assist me with a property partition lawsuit. The dynamic duo of Neal Solomon and Elyse Herman gave me excellent and thoughtful strategic counsel; were efficient, straightforward and responsive to my questions and concerns.  I was impressed with their professional, prior knowledge to draw upon and helping me to succeed in my objectives without going to court. I would recommend this law firm and lawyers to anyone seeking legal advice, and in particular, this type of a real estate transaction.  I would not hesitate to use them again if the need arose.


i have been a client for 30 years. this is a top shelf firm in every category. VERY client focused. very aggressive.


I have dealt with Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman for over 30 years. This is an EXCELLENT law firm with the highest of standards for work ethic, integrity, and results. I very highly recommend them.

living trust

Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman is known for handling some of the most complex estates & trusts litigation matters in New Jersey. That includes cases involving complex and lengthy wills and trust documents, unique legal complications that arise from drafting or enforcing a will or trust, and estates & trusts involving numerous parties with various relationships.

Attorneys from our firm have published scholarly articles on trusts and estates matters. Our attorneys have also represented clients in appellate cases that have resulted in landmark published opinions.

Our lawyers are experienced in reviewing the language of complicated trust instruments and how the language in the trust and application of the relevant law can be argued to limit a trustee’s power.

We are familiar with the tactics used to steal money from the elderly and the methods people use to hide assets. Our lawyers know what is needed to bring a successful action against a trustee or an estate – and how to defend a trustee or an executor. That proficiency comes from over four decades of litigating cases in the Chancery Division Probate Part in various counties in New Jersey.


Referrals From Other Attorneys


Know How/ Education to Locate Assets/Uncover Financial Malfeasance


Experienced Representing High Net Worth Clients/Litigating Complex Cases

Our attorneys are highly skilled and experienced in Estates & Trusts Litigation, which is a very specialized area of the law. We get referral of many of our cases from other attorneys. 


Let’s Get in Touch

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At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, we bring a team approach to litigation, so you receive the collective skills of multiple attorneys to accomplish your goals. Our estates & trusts litigation team includes highly regarded legal and strategic thinkers and highly regarded persuasive legal writers. We are also skilled negotiators, and our team includes a Harvard-trained mediation specialist.

We work tirelessly to obtain the best possible result for our clients, ideally through negotiation and settlement. But we are also prepared to fight for your interests in trial and appellate courts.


Types of Estates & Trusts Litigation Cases We Handle

Whether you are an executor or trustee defending an estate or trust matter, or you are a beneficiary or other interested party bringing a case, the New Jersey trusts and estates litigation attorneys at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman can help you with all manners of trusts and estates disputes, including:

Disputed Interpretations of Wills and Trusts

Estates & trusts litigation may be triggered by heirs or beneficiaries disputing the meaning of the provisions in a will or trust document and how those provisions affect their right to inherit or receive property from an estate or trust.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Wrongful Acts

Claims of breach of fiduciary duty in estates & trusts litigation allege that an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee of a trust acted in their interest rather than in the interest of the estate or trust or failed to carry out the intent of the testator and disregarded beneficiaries’ interests. Allegations of other wrongful acts on the part of an executor or trustee could include self-dealing, excessive fees, embezzlement, accounting irregularities, and commingling funds, for example. We defend executors and trustees against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and other wrongful acts. In other circumstances, we bring cases on behalf of beneficiaries against executors and trustees who breach their duties.

Undue Influence

A claim of undue influence alleges that a will or trust is invalid because it was created by a testator who was persuaded by another party to favor that party’s interests over their own free will.

Inter Vivos Trusts

Also known as living trusts, these legal devices are executed and take effect during the settlor’s lifetime and often continue after death. In addition to disputes over the trustee’s administration of the trust, litigation can also focus on other issues such as the settlor’s intent, effect of the trust in protecting assets from creditors, tax matters related to the trust, questions regarding the trust’s validity, proposed modifications to the trust, and much more. Our lawyers are skilled at handling issues that arise from inter vivos trust disputes. We are ready to represent the interests of any aggrieved party involved in a trust dispute.

Removal of Trustees

New Jersey law allows beneficiaries, settlors, co-trustees, or the court itself to initiate proceedings to remove a trustee from their role. Parties may seek removal of trustee for several reasons, including embezzlement, waste, incapacity, failure to cooperate with co-trustees, failure to provide an accounting, and others. Our firm defends trustees targeted for removal in some situations. In other cases, we assist interested parties as they seek to remove a trustee for cause.

Lack of Capacity

An individual must possess testamentary capacity to execute a will, trust, or other similar documents. Testamentary capacity is defined as understanding one’s life and the nature and extent of their property, the ability to identify the parties one wishes to leave their property to, and the ability to understand how a will or trust affects their property and the ability of their heirs and beneficiaries to inherit. A will or trust executed by someone who lacks testamentary capacity is considered invalid and unenforceable.

Trust Fraud

Litigation alleging trust fraud may involve claims that a trust was set up by a grantor to hide money from parties that may be entitled to that money – such as creditors, the IRS, or state revenue agencies – or to hide money in a divorce or child support proceeding. Claims of trust fraud may also allege wrongful acts by a trustee, including stealing money from the trust, charging excessive fees, or engaging in fraudulent accounting to hide evidence of theft or loss of trust principal because of poor investment decisions by the trustee. Our attorneys defend trustees on allegations such as these. In other situations, we represent individuals pursuing trust fraud claims.

Power of Attorney Disputes

Legal disputes may also arise from powers of attorney, including litigation to determine the validity of a power of attorney, the scope of authority granted under a power of attorney, and whether an individual misused their authority under a power of attorney to benefit themselves or a third party at the expense of the principal.

Estate Administration Issues

Estate litigation may arise from issues that occur during probate, such as failing to gather all the assets that a decedent owned, procedural or legal obstacles to putting title to assets in the name of the estate, complaints about the expenses incurred in estate administration (such as hiring lawyers or accountants), or disputes over the estate accounting. Our lawyers are equipped to represent parties on either side of these disputes.

Will Contests

Will contests occur when a beneficiary, a purported beneficiary, or another interested party challenges a will’s validity. A will’s validity may be challenged on the grounds that the will was not properly executed, that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity to execute the will, or that the decedent executed the will under duress, undue influence, or fraud. A will may also be challenged on the grounds that it was revoked or that the will contains mistakes and does not accurately reflect the decedent’s true intent. Our lawyers can effectively represent parties on either side of a will dispute.

Distribution Disputes

Beneficiaries under a will or a trust may file suit to claim that they have not received the inheritance or payments they believe they are entitled to under the will or trust. Beneficiaries may also allege that an administrator or executor of an estate or a trustee is improperly withholding or delaying payment of distributions and may file suit to compel those distributions.

Creditor Disputes

The creditors of a decedent, trust grantor, or trust beneficiary might initiate litigation to reach the assets of an estate or a trust to satisfy that debt, even if they may not have the right to seize those assets under New Jersey trusts & estates law. Creditors might also allege that a trust or other estate planning mechanism was created solely to fraudulently transfer assets out of their reach.

Your Legal Rights in an Estate or Trust Litigation Matter

happy family smiling group photo

If you are the beneficiary of an estate or a trust in New Jersey, you may have certain legal rights, which could include:

  • The right to be notified that you have been named as a beneficiary by a will or a trust document
  • The right to receive a copy of the will or trust document
  • The right to be informed about the assets being held by the estate or the trust
  • The right to know about the debts owed by an estate and what assets are being sold to pay that debt
  • The right to an accounting of the estate or trust, which details expenses, income earned by a trust, and what distributions are made
  • The right to demand the removal of an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee of a trust if they breach their fiduciary duties or act in an illegal, unethical, or irresponsible manner
  • The right to receive an inheritance from an estate once the estate’s liabilities have been paid
  • The right to receive distributions from a trust under the terms of the trust document
  • The right, along with all other beneficiaries, to petition to end a trust once its purpose has been fulfilled or when the trust can no longer fulfill its purpose

Trustees and executors also have rights when disputes arise over the handling of their official duties in their roles. For example, they have:

  • The right to hire an attorney
  • The right to hire an accountant
  • The right to have the trust or estate pay their legal fees in many circumstances

What to Consider When Selecting an Estates & Trusts Litigation Lawyer

If you are faced with the prospect of estate or trust litigation, you need experienced legal representation to protect your rights. But how do you know which lawyer to choose? You do so by weighing factors like:


You should select legal counsel with an outstanding reputation in the community. At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our New Jersey estates & trusts litigation lawyers have earned the respect of our clients as well as judges, surrogates and our peers in the legal profession. Four out of five new clients to our firm found us through word-of-mouth referrals from friends, family, co-workers, and other lawyers.


It can be hard to predict the course of your estate or trust litigation or what challenges and obstacles may arise. Estates & trusts litigation is a highly specialized area of the law. You need a law firm that has seen it all, has extensive experience in a wide range of estates & trusts matters, and has handled complex cases. If things get complicated, you know your attorney is up to the task. Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman has been serving clients throughout New Jersey since 1929. Over the past century, our attorneys have won significant settlements, verdicts, and decisions in landmark cases in trial and appellate courts.


You also deserve legal representation that has the resources to handle any complexities in your estate or trust litigation matter. Although we at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman consider ourselves a mid-size firm, we have the big-firm resources to pursue even the largest and most complex litigation. Our legal team has in-depth knowledge of the laws controlling estates & trusts matters. Several of our attorneys have accounting backgrounds and also hold Master of Law in Taxation degrees.

last will and testament

When you consult with our trusts and estates litigation team, we will:

  • Meet with you in person or on Zoom
  • Review all pertinent documents related to your situation
  • Ask you to present a timeline of the events in question.
  • Ask pertinent questions following your presentation
  • Provide you with honest advice and reasons for the advice
  • Identify pitfalls in your case
  • Explain the procedures relevant to filing suit or responding to a suit already filed
  • Remain keenly aware of costs and discuss cost-control methods we implement
  • Perform a risk-reward analysis so you can make an informed decision
  • Present alternative dispute resolution options with the pros and cons of each
  • Discuss available fee arrangement options
  • Offer to provide an opinion letter to help you decide if and how to move forward


Talk to Our NJ Estates & Trusts Litigation Attorneys

If you have a legal dispute over a will, estate, or trust, the attorneys at the law firm of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman are here to help. Our New Jersey estates & trusts litigation attorneys are ready to effectively and efficiently pursue your case and fight to get you the most favorable outcome possible.

Going to court is hardball. If you want results, then be well-represented.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation and find out how our firm can guide you through the litigation process to pursue the results you need.

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