Our Estate Attorneys Help Safeguard Your Assets

The last thing you want to do is see your estate mishandled, leaving your loved ones in a bind. You also want to avoid them having to deal with an extended court process to access your assets. So it's best to consult with an estate attorney near you to avoid legal logjams. Our attorneys serve clients in Montgomery County and Bucks County, PA.

Our estate attorneys provide comprehensive estate planning services to ensure that doesn't happen. And to ensure you avoid probate court with your assets. They'll assist you with these legal documents and concerns:

  • Advance Directives
  • Estate Administration & Probate
  • Guardianships
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Probate
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Taxation
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Will & Trust Litigation

What is Estate Planning?

An estate plan gives you a say in transferring assets to your family, organizations, charities, etc. It leaves a written record of your intentions while presenting how you want your property and other belongings distributed.

Beyond allocation of assets, however, estate planning designates who carries out your wishes at death or if you become incapacitated. And that's why it's best to speak with an estate attorney to ensure the estate plan is ironclad. Unfortunately, many people fail to recognize the importance of estate planning.

You can learn more about the essentials of estate planning here.

What are the Benefits of an Estate Plan?

Contrary to popular opinion, estate plans aren't just for wealthy or retired people. More than ever, they are the right decision for anybody with a family. Or for anyone owning a business or wanting to be in control of personal health and wealth. And a life insurance policy is only one piece of the puzzle.

But according to Caring.com, only 42% of adults in the U.S. have estate planning documents. So if you are one of those individuals, here are some reasons to consider talking with an estate planning attorney.

Manage Your Needs

An estate plan isn't just for planning your death and distribution of assets. Instead, it protects you if you become incapacitated or incapable of making decisions for yourself.

Elect Estate Trustees

Estate planning simplifies the administration of your estate. For example, you can assign authority to an executor or trustee to save money and reduce the burden on your spouse.

Take Care of Your Family

Your state of residence typically decides the distribution of your assets after death with an estate plan. However, having appropriate documentation removes any questions about your estate's dispersal.

Reduce Taxes

The IRS places limits on how much money you can transfer without taxation. As a result, an estate plan can help minimize tax payments. Money transfer involves three different taxes – estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax.

An Estate Attorney Helps Preserve Your Wealth

Estate planning can help preserve wealth by removing your name from assets. Instead, you can place them into legally-protected vehicles like trusts or limited liability entities.

Our Doylestown and Norristown estate attorneys support your decision to protect your family's future proactively. Our law firm can protect, preserve and manage your estate. We'll help you reach your goals, including:

  • Safeguarding assets
  • Planning for orderly business succession
  • Minimizing inheritance taxes
  • Ensuring the benefits of your hard work go to your family, not to the government.

An Estate Attorney Helps You Decide What Goes into Your Estate Plan

Whether your estate is modest or complex, estate planning requires some foundational items:

Wills & Trusts

A will or trust is a crucial component of your estate plan. It expresses your final wishes regarding your estate distribution. Your will takes effect when you die, but living trusts take effect immediately. You use a trust to set aside funds or property for a specific purpose.

Many people elect to create their will through web-based tools. But remember, the wording of your will is critical. To avoid having your will contested, you must craft it consistently to reflect how you've bequeathed assets and assigned beneficiaries.

Often, it's still best to contact an estate and trust attorney or a will lawyer near you.

Advanced Directives

Advance directives for healthcare in Pennsylvania allow you to decide the type of healthcare if you become incapacitated. Advance directives also apply to establishing your life wishes regarding accepting, rejecting, or stopping medical treatment.

In addition, you might also consider including a second agent or health care power of attorney. That's essential if your primary agent isn't available or unable to act on your behalf. Our estate planning lawyers can help you work through the process.

A living will also determine painful decisions about your care for your loved ones. You can learn more about advanced directives here. An estate attorney can draft an advanced directive so you know your wishes remain intact.

Female patient patient lying in a hospital bed to demonstrate the importance of estate planning

Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows someone you trust to handle your money or medical matters if you can't do it yourself. Without a POA, a court may decide what happens to your assets if it finds you mentally incompetent. However, its judgment may contradict your wishes, so talk with a POA attorney.

A POA gives legal authority to your agent to transact on your behalf and make legal decisions for you. You can appoint a healthcare or financial power of attorney.


Your will or trust should include a clause regarding guardianship of your minor children. Unfortunately, parents often overlook selecting a guardian. Independent of a guardianship designation, however, a court may rule that your children live with someone you may not have chosen.

Moreover, in extreme cases, the court could even rule your children become wards of the state. A guardianship attorney can protect your interests.

Estate Administration & Probate

Estate administration is the process of managing and distributing the deceased's assets. Generally, the estate administration and probate tasks fall to the executor or personal representative named in the will. But if there is no will, the court will designate an administrator. You can read more about your debt obligations here: What Happens to A Deceased Relative's Debt When They Die?

The legal system distributes your estate to heirs through a probate process. In Pennsylvania, however, small estates can go through a simplified process.

Regular probate procedures apply if the estate has more than $25,000 worth. In either case, our estate planning attorneys can guide you through the executor or personal representative responsibilities. That ensures you meet deadlines and comply with your fiduciary duties.

Consult with an Estate Attorney Relating to Plan Disputes

When a will or trust is in dispute, it can tear families apart when they should pull together. Our estate lawyers work to resolve those disputes to minimize financial and emotional distress. However, we provide vigorous advocacy for our clients if litigation becomes necessary.

Ready to Talk to an Estate Attorney Near You?

A well-crafted and regularly reviewed estate plan is the best gift you can give your loved ones. We're an experienced and well-recognized law firm serving Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Our estate attorneys can help you create a plan that works for you and enables you to meet your goals.

Our estate planning attorneys manage substantial estates with care and foresight. They'll counsel you about preserving your estate for the future generation you're considering creating an estate plan. Our firm has offices in Doylestown and Norristown, PA, so contact us for a consultation.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Gilbert P. High Jr.

Gilbert P. High Jr. | municipal and estates Attorney | High Swartz Attorneys at Law

Municipal Law Attorney Gilbert P. High handles land development, zoning litigation, tree law, estate planning, easements, and rights of way.

Renata T. Pabisz

renata t pabisz estate planning attorney at High Swartz attorneys for law

Renata T. Pabisz is an immigration lawyer and estate planning attorney concentrating on probate, estate administration, and elder law in the Philadelphia metro area.

Donald Petrille, Jr.

Donald Petrille, Jr. | Business & Estates Attorney | High Swartz Attorneys at Law

As an attorney, Donald Petrille, Jr. primarily represents businesses as they wrestle with complex legal issues and individuals in estate planning matters.

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