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PRACTICE AREAS

ESTATE PLANNING

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Our attorneys draft wills, trusts, powers of attorney and living wills to suit the unique goals of each client.

Our Estate Planning Attorneys Have Decades of Experience and Provide Sensitive Insight when Drafting Estate Plans for Clients. Our Clients Reside throughout Greater Pittsburgh, Beaver Valley, and the Surrounding Counties.

Preserving Financial Legacies and Inheritance for Family, Friends or a Lifetime Partner is Extremely Important.

Estate Plans achieve important goals:

  • Well drafted Estate Plans ensure transfer of assets and personal property to family members and loved ones.

  • When children are beneficiaries, Wills and Trusts can be tailored to securely administer assets until maturity age.

  • Trusted individuals are appointed to oversee management of assets for spouses and children.

  • Financial and medical affairs can be managed with Powers of Attorney if illness or incapacity occur.

  • Concerns about a child’s marriage and the impact of divorce on inheritance can be addressed.

  • Wealth can protected for children if remarriage occurs after the death of a spouse.

  • Funds that are administered for the education of children and grandchildren can be established.

  • Attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors can work together to implement Estate Plans after death.

A well devised Estate Plan resulting from clear, understandable, and thought provoking discussions between our attorneys and clients accommodates the unique needs of our clients’ families and loved ones. It also ensures that inheritance transfers to the intended beneficiaries, or is administered and managed for for their benefit.

 

Whatever the objective, our attorneys have decades of experience drafting estate plans tailored to meet a variety of objectives, some simple, and others complicated.

Our Firm's Estate Planning process:

Initial Consultations and Retaining or Attorneys:  Our firm does not charge for initial consultations. We have an initial meeting with estate planning clients to get to know them. We discuss any special circumstances and objectives, and we confidentially discuss all pertinent aspects of their finances. We then provide an easy to understand explanation of the work we recommend, its cost, and the timetable for completion. When an initial understanding is reached as to the scope of work to meet the client’s goals, we provide a Retention Letter that outlines the scope of work, the fee to be charged, and the ethics and guidelines that govern our attorney-client relationship. We commence work after our attorney-client relationship is confirmed through execution of the Retention Letter, making it the agreement that governs our representation and work.

Scope of Simple Estate Planning Legal Work:  After providing a clear, understandable explanation of the legal work to be completed and confirming our engagement, we draft power of attorney documents that designate who will manage and make decisions about financial and medical matters if our clients are unable due to illness or incapacity. Simple plans also include wills, often with trust provisions to manage inheritance for children or spouses with trusts after death. For some clients, we draft revocable trusts to avoid probate and to simplify matters at death.

 

These documents include:

 

  • General Financial Power of Attorney Designating Spouse, Child, or Trusted Other to Manage Financial Affairs if Unable

  • Medical Power of Attorney Authorizing Spouse, Child, or Others to Make Medical Decisions if Unable

  • Living Wills in which Directions are made Regarding End of Life Medical Issues and Treatment

  • Simple Wills

  • Revocable “Living” Trusts

More Complex Estate Planning Legal Work:  When the scope of our estate planning work is more complex due to our client’s high net worth or concerns regarding management and preservation of inheritance for spouses or children after death, our firm also offers:

  • Wills with Trusts for Children or Spouses

  • Wills with Tax Shelter Trusts

  • Estate Plans for Clients who have Children from Prior Marriages

  • Irrevocable Trusts including Life Insurance Trusts

  • Supplemental and Special-needs Trusts

When appropriate our clients authorize their financial advisers and accountants to work with us to address estate plans involving retirement accounts, income tax considerations, and potential consequences of various estate planning options.

Legal Fees:  Our attorneys want our clients to be satisfied with both the quality of our legal services and the reasonableness of the fees we charge for those services. As a result the majority of our Estate Planning work is done by our attorneys at a flat rate that is explained and agreed upon at our initial free consultation. The flat rates we charge are based upon our experience performing the work, and the time that we anticipate it will take to complete it. The majority of our clients prefer this to an hourly fee approach. It is our primary goal when determining a fee for any work we perform that it be both fair and reasonable and it is our experience in discussing fees with new clients that they are pleased with the fairness of our fees in comparison to those quoted by other attorneys and law firms. That said, some of our more complex work is performed at our an hourly attorney fee rates due to the complexity and scope of the issues involved.

Do you need an Estate Plan?

Estate Plans are recommended by attorneys, financial advisors, and accountants for good reasons. An Estate Plan enables assets and inheritance to be left to family, friends, and charities that are the intended beneficiaries. Without an Estate Plan that includes a Will or Trust certain assets are divided at death and distributed based upon a Statute that can have unintended results. The failure to have Medical and Financial Power of Attorney documents designating trusted individuals to oversee these affairs can result in costly guardianship legal actions where the Court appoints guardians to manage personal and financial matters. And absent a Living Will, families and friends can be left without the immediate authority to oversee end of life medical issues and to carry out directives. While many Estate Plans are simple, families have special circumstances requiring sensitive discussions with our attorneys. In those situations we provide legal advice to address issues related to disability, family discord, loans to children, and planning issues resulting from remarriage and stepchildren. Our attorneys are skilled listeners and communicators whose ability to facilitate discussions about even the most sensitive special family and life circumstances and objectives results in estate plans that carefully address these issues. It is our experience dealing with the difficult issues families and individuals face when loved ones or friends do not have a Will or Trust, or a Financial Power of Attorney, or a Medical Power of Attorney, or a Living Will that is why we recommend these important legal documents to all of our clients.

Making an appointment to develop an Estate Plan.

Since 1993 the Attorneys at West & Zuberbuhler, P.C. have provided a FREE initial legal consultation to all new Estate Planning clients. We invite you to contact us to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment to meet our Attorneys to formulate your Estate Plan or to review and update an existing Estate Plan.

The Attorneys at West & Zuberbuhler, P.C. provide estate planning legal services to clients who reside throughout Greater Pittsburgh and its surrounding Counties and in the Beaver Valley. As a result of our convenient office locations we represent clients and their families who reside in Pittsburgh, Sewickley, Sewickley Heights, Franklin Park, Wexford, Cranberry Township, and throughout the I-79 and Route 376 corridors from Washington to Mercer, and Pittsburgh to New Wilmington.

Zip codes Served: 16066, 15042, 15005, 16046, 15143, 15090, 15101, 15044, 16059, 15050,15066, 16063, 16033, 16059, 15237, 15229