Regardless of the size of your estate, putting a will, powers of attorney, and other legal documents in place is crucial to protect your family’s future. If you die intestate (without a will), your family won’t have the legal right to divide and distribute your assets. In these cases, the court will divide your assets according to Pennsylvania law. This may result in a portion of your estate going to the government in the form of increased tax payments.
Our estate planning attorneys strive to develop and implement individualized, goal-oriented estate plans for our clients. Our overarching goal is to facilitate and support family harmony. As such, we take a holistic approach that balances financial goals with the needs of each client’s particular family dynamics. The client, of course, always has the final say—but we think it’s important for each client to look at the full picture before executing their plan. This philosophy goes hand-in-hand with our understanding of estate planning as a multi-disciplinary process. As such, we pride ourselves in our ability to recognize that we as estate planning attorneys, while integral, are still just one part of a larger team that often includes financial planners, accountants, real estate agents, and other seasoned professionals.
Wetzel Gagliardi Fetter & Lavin LLC provides estate planning representation to individuals, families, married, and unmarried couples—as well as same-sex couples—in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can work with estates of all sizes, including those with complex assets or of a high net worth. We have extensive experience creating guardianships for special needs adult children and incapacitated adults. Additionally, we provide estate administration and probate representation.
Our estate planning attorneys can draft, redraft, or review estate planning documents such as a will, trust, financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, heath care directives, and a living will. We’ll provide you with documents that ensure that the wealth that you worked so hard to acquire and protect will go to the people that you want to receive it in a way that ensures that they’ll be able to receive it in a manner that maximizes its benefits. If you’re divorced, we can remove your former spouse from your existing estate plan and ensure that the documents provide for your children.
The firm provides assistance with testamentary trusts and revocable living trusts. We can also help you create trusts to serve specific needs such as tax savings with credit shelter trusts, bypass trusts, and AB trusts. If you own property out of state or want to avoid probate, you may want to create a revocable living trust, though this type of trust won’t avoid inheritance taxes.
Another point of pride in our practice is that no estate planning client will ever complete the estate planning process without having an adequate understanding of how essential it is that their estate planning documents work seamlessly with assets such as homes, retirement accounts, and accounts with beneficiary designations which don’t pass via their estate planning documents. We offer to assist clients in reviewing and revising their beneficiary designation forms for such assets to ensure that their estate planning goals are not inadvertently foiled by incomplete planning.