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Estates & Trusts

The firm’s Estates and Trusts practice group represents individuals and fiduciaries in estate planning, estate, trust and guardianship administration, and Orphans’ Court litigation matters. 


The firm’s Estates and Trusts practice group represents individuals and fiduciaries in estate planning, estate, trust and guardianship administration, and Orphans’ Court litigation matters. Our attorneys structure customized plans to implement our clients’ unique needs, including wealth transfer, tax minimization, business succession planning, asset protection, planning for special needs beneficiaries, and elder law.

Estate Planning

  • Wills for those in all stages of life, marital status, and wealth accumulation
  • Tax planning-federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax, Pennsylvania inheritance tax, related income taxes
  • Planning after the repeal of DOMA provisions
  • Planning after the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

Incapacity Planning

  • Financial powers of attorney
  • Health care powers of attorney
  • Living wills (advance directives)

Elder Law

  • Estate and Trust Planning and Administration
  • Retirement Planning
  • Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney
  • Guardianships
  • Medicaid (Medical Assistance Long Term Care) Planning
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Advanced Healthcare Directives (Living Wills)
  • Asset Protection
  • Veterans’ Benefits
  • Medicare Advocacy
  • Disability Planning
  • Incapacity Planning
  • Mediation/Alternate Dispute Resolution
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Orphans’ Court Litigation
  • Nursing and Long-Term Care Facility Admission Agreements and Contracts

Trust Planning

  • Revocable trusts (living trusts)
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts
  • Dynasty or generation skipping trusts
  • Minors’ and young beneficiary trusts
  • Education trusts
  • Spousal, asset protection, and charitable trusts
  • Special/Supplemental Needs Trusts
  • Pet Trusts
  • Opioid Trusts

Retirement Asset Planning

  • Beneficiary designation planning
  • Trusts for retirement assets/Stretch IRA planning
  • Spousal and non-spousal IRA rollovers
  • Options for inherited IRAs

Business Succession Planning

  • Multi-generational planning
  • Transfer of ownership/management to younger generations
  • Buy-sell agreements, funding for succession plans
  • Management succession planning
  • Planning for sale of business
  • Estate and business succession planning required by lenders

Special Needs

  • Guardianships
  • Handling personal injury awards and settlements
  • Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts
  • Medicaid (Pennsylvania Medical Assistance)
  • Qualifying and maintaining eligibility for public benefits
  • Gifting strategies
  • Remedying poorly planned bequests

Charitable Planning

  • Charitable trusts and annuities
  • Charitable gifting strategies
  • Maximizing tax benefits of charitable giving
  • Formation of private foundations

Estate Administration

  • Probate of the will
  • Preparation of probate filings (inventory, notices, etc.)
  • Preparation of tax returns for income, Pennsylvania inheritance, and federal estate and gift taxes
  • Collection, management, and distribution of assets
  • Compliance with tax, accounting, and other requirements

Trust Administration

  • Duties and responsibilities of the trustee
  • Beneficiary rights
  • Compliance with tax, accounting, and other requirements
  • Preparation and filing of trustee accounts
  • Preparation of fiduciary trust income tax returns
  • Advising on requirements of fiduciary investment
  • Trust terminations
  • Regulatory matters for corporate fiduciaries
  • Preparation of non-judicial settlement agreements
  • Preparation of modification of trust agreements

Orphans’ Court Litigation

  • Initiating and defending will challenges
  • Disputes involving estates and trusts
  • Executor and Trustee account filings
  • Guardianship proceedings for minors and incapacitated persons
  • Cemetery trust triennial account filings

Estates & Trusts Representative Experience:

  • Successful defense of executor in will contest trial before the Allegheny County Register of Wills. Obtained compulsory non-suit on behalf of respondent due to petitioner’s failure to show that testator suffered from weakened intellect. Obtained summary judgment in companion trust action brought in Orphans’ Court.
  • Design, implementation, and maintenance of numerous estate plans for individuals and families, ranging from ultra-high-net-worth families to young clients who are just getting started working and elderly clients with very modest means.
  • Estate and trust administration for high-net-worth business owner with multiple entities operating in several states and also owning significant real estate holdings.
  • Successfully petitioned for the forfeiture of an absent parent’s right to a minor child’s estate valued at $1.2 million following a hearing and briefs on the Petition.
  • Represents clients on a wide variety of estate and trust matters.
  • Assists clients with elder law and special needs planning.
  • Advises clients on the best way to minimize tax liabilities via charitable giving.
  • Advise numerous clients with asset protection and transfer planning associated with the acquisition and operation of specialty real estate such as vacation properties, second homes or family farms.
  • Successfully defended clients’ positions in a variety of trust and estate related matters, including the published opinion of Debone v. Commonwealth, 929 A.2d 1219 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2007).
  • Assists clients with long-term care planning, including Medicaid eligibility, asset protection planning, and discussion and evaluation of care options and payment for long-term care.
  • Drafts Wills, Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, and Trusts. 
  • Assists clients with public benefits planning and eligibility and special needs planning, including drafting of special and supplemental needs trusts.
  • Represents clients in guardianship proceedings.
  • Handles all aspects of estate and trust administration for clients.
  • Crafts and implements tax-efficient strategies, such as drafting foundational estate planning documents, coordinating charitable gifts or other bequests, and implementing trusts and trust modifications.
  • Represents clients in connection with adjudications of incapacity and appointment of guardians, fiduciary allowances and confirmation of accounts, petitions to show cause.
  • Represents high net worth families as well as young adults to ensure that entire families, old and young, are provided with coordinated plans to protect their surviving loved ones and to transfer assets as intended in a tax-efficient manner. 
  • Assists older clients in planning for incapacity and navigating the options for Medicaid planning.
  • Assists special needs individuals and their loved ones in the legal planning for their long-term special needs, whether through trusts, ABLE accounts, or other methods.
  • Planning for and transferring retirement assets.
  • Matches charitable intent and tax minimization strategies to assist clients who are charitably inclined but also want to achieve the possible tax benefits associated with giving, from situations of selling a business or appreciated assets to annual charitable giving and income tax deductions.

Serving our clients successfully since 1900

The same attributes that have anchored over a century of success are still our guiding principles today.

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