Alison Arden Besunder

Top rated estate & trust litigation attorney in New York, New York

Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP
Alison Arden Besunder
Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP

Practice Areas: Estate & trust litigation, Estate planning & probate, Appellate; view more

Licensed in New York since: 1999

Education: Brooklyn Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2022

Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP

One Pennsylvania Plaza
31st Floor
New York, NY 10119 Visit website


Attorney Alison Arden Besunder is a partner at Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP and the Chair of the Trusts + Estates Practice.  Prior to joining Goetz Fitzpatrick, Ms. Besunder founded her own firm, Arden Besunder P.C.   Ms. Besunder provides exceptional advice to clients to find straightforward solutions to complex problems.  A top-rated attorney with more than 20 years of legal experience, Ms. Besunder represents a diverse range of clients throughout the greater New York City metro area and Long Island who have legal needs involving any of the following:

  • Trusts + Estate Litigation
  • Contested Guardianships
  • Estate planning (Wills, advance directives, Powers of Attorney)
  • Trust and estate administration
  • Commercial litigation
  • Business succession planning

Before establishing her own practice, Ms. Arden Besunder worked for more than 10 years as a commercial litigation attorney at a prominent national law firm. Among other significant cases,  she assisted clients in the fashion industry with trademark and copyright infringements and combatting counterfeits. She also has extensive experience representing attorneys in disciplinary hearings before the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts' Grievance Committees as well as advocating on behalf of the First Amendment rights of small entertainment companies.

Through her estate planning and administration practice, Ms. Besunder delivers exceptional counsel and support to clients to help them protect themselves and their assets for the future while also assisting them with creating lasting legacies for their heirs and loved ones. She continues to incorporate her intellectual property background into her estate planning practice by advising authors, musicians, and artists on the disposition of their works through their estate.  She has a genuine passion for advising her clients on how to best prepare to avoid any potential problems down the road.

A 1995 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Ms. Besunder obtained her Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 1998. She holds her license to practice in New York and Massachusetts, she is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

A leader in her field, Ms. Besunder has numerous publications to her credit, and she has conducted many lectures and continuing legal education seminars across her region on a variety of topics ranging from estate planning to social media and ethics. She also serves on the adjunct legal faculty at Columbia Law School, where she teaches classes on estate planning.

Moreover, Ms. Besunder is the former co-chair of the New York State Bar Association's Special Task Force on Privacy Law, and of the association's Technology Committee.  She is also a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association.

Practice areas

Estate & trust litigation, Estate planning & probate, Appellate, Business litigation, Elder law

Focus areas

Will contests, Estate planning, Guardianships & conservatorships, Living wills, Power of attorney, Probate & estate administration, Trusts, Wills

  • 40% Estate & trust litigation
  • 30% Estate planning & probate
  • 10% Appellate
  • 10% Business litigation
  • 10% Elder law

First Admitted: 1999, New York

Professional Webpage:

Pro bono/Community Service:
  • I have served on my co-op board since 2010, and as the President of the Board for the last 3 years.  
  • I serve as Court Examiner, being appointed by the court to review the annual accounts submitted by guardians, 2010
  • In 2001, I assisted a widow of a victim who died in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Although she was married to the Decedent, a former wife came forward alleging that she and the Decedent were never actually divorced. The case involved searching marriage, divorce, and other government records in Israel and both Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Through dedicated negotiations, I worked with opposing counsel to maximize the benefits available to the estate from Workers Compensation, Social Security, insurance, and the Victims Compensation Fund, and achieved a settlement that yielded my client and her daughter nearly half of the available proceeds while also protecting the Decedent's child from his prior marriage, 2001
  • I volunteer at a homeless shelter in my neighborhood, organized and hosted at our synagogue, by providing meals and assistance for the individuals who are provided overnight shelter, 2015
  • I served on the Board of Trustees of my synagogue, helping the synagogue to create and implement a "legacy society" to raise funds for the operation of the synagogue and special programs, 2014
  • Achieving Legal and Financial "Independence" on Independence Day, Independence Day
  • Changes to New York State's estate and gift tax laws, Spring into Spring
  • Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days to get engaged.  This newsletter advises on the legal steps to take to protect yourself before saying I do, This Valentine's Day,
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • American Camp Association, Tri-State, Board
  • United States Supreme Court
  • US District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • US District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Member, Brooklyn Bar Association
  • Second Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Former Member, New York State Bar Association Committee on Animals, 2009-2013
  • Member, New York State Bar Association, Trusts and Estate Section, 2009
  • Former Member, NYSBA Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, 2007-2009
  • Former Co-Chair, New York State Bar Association, Special Task Force on Privacy Law, 2009-2011
  • Former Member, New York City Bar Association, Committee on Professional Discipline
  • Former Member, Technology Committee, Artificial Intelligence Subcommittee, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association, Elder Law Section, 2009
  • New York Metro Super Lawyers list, 2019
  • CALI Award for Excellence, Civil Practice and Procedure, CALI Award for Excellence, Civil Practice and Procedure, CALI, 1997
  • CALI Award for Excellence in Commercial Paper, CALI Award for Excellence, Commercial Paper, CALI, 1998
Educational Background:
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, 1995, B.A., English, 1995
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • The present global circumstances of economic and political uncertainty, a high federal estate tax exemption, and a low-interest rate environment merit a focused examination of whether a SLAT or another irrevocable trust structure can help clients meet many of their objectives., Author, SLATs: The Hot New Estate Planning Technique for 2021, New York Law Journal, 2021
  • While alternative dispute resolution has been successful in Surrogate’s Courts, Article 81 guardianship proceedings present unique challenges relating to an alleged incapacitated person., Author, Mediation in Adult Guardianships, New York Law Journal, 2020
  • A focus on how the pandemic has affected litigators and litigation practices, which developments may and should be here to stay, and some best practices for navigating the new normal of virtual advocacy, whether in discovery or in trials., Author, Litigation in the Time of COVID: Best Practices for Virtual Advocacy, New York Law Journal, 2020
  • Not Your Parents’ Robot, NYSBA Journal, 2018, Author, Not Your Parents' Robot, New York State Bar Association Journal, 2018
  • Discussion of the dispute between Tiffany and eBay as it wound its way to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Author, Circuit to Decide Who Should Monitor Online Counterfeiters, New York Law Journal, 2015
  • Non-probate assets such as joint assets are frequently the subject of litigation, usually after an account owner dies.  Yet little if any thought is given when a depositor opens an account or changes the title, Author, Quagmires Lurk in Non-Probate Assets and Joint Accounts, New York Law Journal, 2013
  • Despite becoming the sixth and most populous state to recognize same-sex marriage 4 years before the decision of the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, same-sex spouses remained unable to enjoy the same federal benefits as their opposite-sex counterparts, Author, For Love and Money: Inequalities Remain Despite Same-Sex Marriage, New York Law Journal, 2011
  • New York's Marriage Equality Act took effect on July 24, 2011. The act itself is simple: It allows marriage licenses to issue to same-sex couples and recognizes all same-sex marriages legally performed in any of the seven U.S. jurisdictions that expressly allow it. Less simple is (was) how same-sex spouses managed their day-to-day financial and legal affairs in the wake of the Act but before the decision of the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, Author, Closing the Gap: Same-Sex Estate Planning Following the Marriage Equality Act, New York Law Journal, 2008
  • Opening a New Front in the War on Fakes: Landlord and Third-Party Liability in the U.S., Managing Intellectual Property, December 2007
  • Fighting Fakes, an interview with Shopping Centers Today, March 2008
  • The Interplay Between the T.T.A.B. and Federal Court Decisions, Advanced Seminar on Trademark Law, 940 PLI/PAT 69, July 16, 2008
  • Online Auctions in the U.S. after Tiffany v. eBay, PLI’s In Brief, October 2, 2008
  • Building an Anti-counterfeiting Program, Association of Corporate Counsel Newsletter, October 2008
  • Righting the Wrong: Damages Available in Lanham Act Cases, Advanced Seminar on Trademark Law, Practicing Law Institute, 2009
  • Editor, Trademark Reporter, 2007
  • Obtained directed verdict at close of plaintiff's case in a jury trial involving one sister attempting to recover property that she transferred to her two sisters just before filing for bankruptcy, later claiming that she was entitled to have it back. , 2022
  • Obtained successful result in contested guardianship representing spouse of an alleged incapacitated person whose daughters tried to remove their mother from the home.  , 2021
  • Obtained the first consent permanent injunction in New York City against a landlord for the sale of counterfeit fashion products by a commercial tenant in Chinatown.  The consent injunction was obtained on behalf of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe and Burberry.  The consent injunction required the landlord to take affirmative steps to deter the sale of counterfeit products on its premises.  The success of the injunction program was revealed when New York City conducted the largest seizure of illegal counterfeit merchandise in its history, recovering $1 million in counterfeit merchandise and closing three Canal Street buildings that were the most notorious Canal Street shopping malls in June 2008.  The City's seizure did not uncover counterfeit merchandise of any of the brands covered in the injunction., 2008
Industry Groups:
  • Art
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Family Business
  • Fashion Law
  • Lawyers)
  • Music And Entertainment
  • Real Estate
  • Service Professionals (Physicians
  • Trust Companies

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“Alison is an attentive planner and an effective advocate. She keeps client objectives in mind, she manages client expectations about those objectives, and then she brings her energy to bear on the goal.”

“Alison is an efficient, practical lawyer who gets stellar results. ”

“Alison really knows the ins and outs of estates and trusts and teaches CLE courses for Lawline and the NYSBA. She is extremely active in the community and writes an award-winning "Ask an Attorney" article for New York Parenting. Alison's firm yet fair, compelling yet compassionate personality into the courtroom to effectively represent her clients, but more importantly, she serves as a trusted resource, educating and supporting her clients on proper estate planning with the goal that families stay in harmony and out of court.”

“Outstanding attorney. Very professional and competent.”

Office location for Alison Arden Besunder

One Pennsylvania Plaza
31st Floor
New York, NY 10119

Phone: 212-695-8100


4 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2022

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