Estates and Trusts

Basic estate planning tools that everyone should have:

  1. WILL - A will is an important estate planning document for everyone. Even if everything you own will avoid probate through a will substitute, there is always the possibility that you will acquire something and die before it is put in trust or made joint. If your plan is different from the states estate-planning scheme you need a will to ensure that these probate assets do not benefit the wrong heirs.
  2. DURABLE FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY - Permits the agent of the incapacitated person to perform all duties they normally would be able to do while healthy. Example pay bills, buy sell real estate, hire/fire employees, sign tax returns, make gifts, etc.
  3. DURABLE HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY - Permits the agent of the incapacitated person to make healthcare decisions for the incapacitated person such as: obtain information on my behalf in accordance with the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA), sign waivers, releases and the like.
  4. LIVING WILL (ADVANCE HEALTHCARE DIRECTIVE) - A document in which you convey your wishes regarding your medical care if you are in a permanent vegetative state or terminal condition. A Living Will gives you the ability to name another person to make medical care decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Have you written a Will or named a guardian for your children?
  2. How will your assets pass to your family?
  3. Do you have current powers of attorney covering both health and financial issues?
  4. Do you have a durable power of attorney?
  5. Should you make gifts during your lifetime? Do you want to give anything to charity?
  6. Have you considered how you will transfer your business ownership and to whom?
  7. Do you anticipate any significant changes in your total income in the future (special bonus/inheritance)?
  8. Do you feel your current planning will allow you to achieve your goals?
  9. How do you want to be remembered?

Estates & Trusts Practice

Angelo & Angelo, LLC advises clients throughout their life as they accumulate assets, experience life changes such as birth or adoption, marriage, planning for retirement and prepare for an orderly disposition of their estate. By a personal approach to client satisfaction we forge close working relationships, learn what matters to them and then design our advice appropriately. We pledge to address our clients concerns in a concise and unambiguous manner.

Our practice encompasses general estate planning, estates and trusts administration, estates and trusts litigation, personal income tax planning, estate tax return preparation, transfer tax planning, charitable giving, business succession planning, adoption concerns and guardianship.


General Estate Planning

Many of the traditional vehicles of estate planning are encompassed in this category and include:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Living Wills (Advanced Healthcare Directives)
  • Powers of Attorney (Financial and Healthcare)
  • Charitable Gift Planning
  • Estate & Gift Tax Returns
  • Living Trusts
  • Pour-over Will to Trust Agreement
  • Credit Shelter Trust
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Insurance Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Spendthrift Trusts
  • Residuary Trusts
  • Residuary Trusts

Estates and Trusts Administration

Our firm will handle handles all phases of estate settlement in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Probate of Wills
  • Asset Distribution
  • Appointment of Executor/Executrix
  • Accounting for Executors/Trustees
  • Inventory of estate assets
  • Sale of real estate and other assets
  • Asset distribution including retirement plans
  • After death tax-planning, including elections that can be made by a spouse at such time
  • Accounting for accounts of executors and trustees
  • Estate tax returns preparation, encompassing IRS audits and tax litigation in the U.S. Tax Court

Estates and Trusts Litigation

Our firm handles many complex litigation matters that require extensive experience, such as:

  • Will contests
  • Trustee Removal
  • Will Interpretation
  • Undue influence disputes
  • Interpretation disputes concerning wills and trusts
  • Estates and trusts administration disputes
  • Reformations of trusts for tax and obsolescence reasons
  • Guardianship of mentally ill
  • Medical treatment of mentally ill
  • Disputes concerning guardianship of mentally ill and mentally retarded persons and their property along with any medical treatment decisions encountered

Personal Income Tax Planning

Angelo & Angelo, LLC advises clients with respect to various employee benefits such as qualified retirement plans, IRA withdrawals, deferred compensation plans and stock options.

Estate Tax Return Preparation

Our firm takes pride in the fact we can fully service our clients with respect to all aspects of tax matters including the preparation of their tax returns as well as tax planning advise. Our attorneys are equipped to prepare individual, partnership and corporate returns so that our clients may have some continuity and one-stop-shopping without having to decipher the Internal Revenue Code and eliminating the need for more costly accounting services.

Transfer Tax Planning

In 2001 President George W. Bush signed in a myriad of tax law changes including a phasing out of the federal estate tax up to the year 2010 where the exclusion becomes unlimited. However, there remains significant uncertainty in the year following 2010. Married individuals should keep in mind that though the marital exclusion will eliminate the federal estate tax to one spouse, the second spouse to pass will be subject to it. If you are a client who is subject to the federal estate tax or may become one, there are many vehicles available to reduce or even eliminate the tax including:

Gifting of assets over the grantors life via irrevocable trusts such as:

  • Irrevocable Insurance Trusts
  • "Crummy" Power Trusts
  • "Section 529" Qualified state tuition programs
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts ["GRATs"]
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts ["QPRTs"]
  • Intentionally Defective Grantor Income Tax Trusts ["IDGITs"]
  • Lifetime Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trusts ["QTIPs"]

Devices that will reduce asset value for estate purposes, including:

  • Split Dollar Life Insurance
  • Development of LLC's, limited partnerships and closely-held corporations, which will achieve maximum valuation discounts
  • Revising interests in real property to fractional tenancy-in-common interests reducing the value to the interest holder

Our firm has experience in preparing estate and gift tax returns to correctly report transactions involving any of the above devices.

Charitable Giving

For clients who have charitable aims, we offer a variety of vehicles to take maximum advantage of the tax deductibility of those gifts. We will work to achieve goals from setting up scholarship designations to a clients alma matter to Charitable foundations. Some of the following trusts help achieve these goals:

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts [CRT]
  • Charitable Lead Trusts [CLT]
  • Private Foundations

Business Succession Planning

If you own a business, succession planning may be an option that you want to look into. By planning for the transfer of your closely-held business to family members you will have the opportunity to plan for the following generations with respect areas such as management and tax implications. Some important options to consider are:

  • Equalization of ownership for family members that choose not to work in the business
  • Mechanisms to initiate the reduction of imminent estate taxes with respect to the business

Adoption Concerns and Guardianship

Angelo & Angelo, LLC will walk our clients through a lifelong dream of adoption. We will navigate you through the necessary legal filings to bring that new addition to your family with the smoothest possible transition.

Additionally, our firm takes looks into our clients future, much like a chess champion plots his strategy many moves ahead, while planning for your estate. We will make insightful proposals to avoid potential difficulties that could arise in the future with respect to personal concerns of family members. Each family will have different needs with unique situations. Some approaches however will be unforeseen. In these cases we can suggest the following options:

  • Acquiring the necessary court permission to plan for the estate of an incapacitated person
  • Acquiring a guardianship over a person by court authority
  • Acquiring a commitment order from the court to protect a family member from themselves or others

"Helping people like you by providing personal attention
to your legal matters with
Professionalism, Integrity and Respect."