Western PA's Premier Estate Administration & Estate Planning Law Firm


We strive to make the process of estate planning and estate administration as simple and straightforward as possible. At American Wills and Estates we speak to our clients in plain English, and we are sensitive to the fact that many of our clients are still grieving the loss of a loved one. Our number one goal is to put our clients at ease and to reassure them with competency and compassion in their times of need.

  • Proudly addressing all of our clients Probate and Estate Planning Needs for over 25 Years

    2018 Resolution: Give Your Estate Plan A Checkup

    1. Anticipate a time when you may not be able to think or act for yourself. Rapid advancements in medical science and healthcare may enable us all to live longer, fuller lives, but the flip side to that is that many more of us are likely, at some point in our lives, to suffer from a diminished mental state–a harsh reality that’s often difficult to accept.  ... Read More
  • Ten Common Estate Planning Errors

    Here is list of 10 common estate planning errors that people often make. An eleventh mistake, and perhaps the worst mistake of all, is to have no estate plan at all!

    1. Improper use of jointly held property.

    Owning everything jointly makes the provisions of one's Last Will and Testament null and void. Namely, property held jointly with the right... Read More

  • Avoiding the 5 Most Common Reasons For Not Having an Estate Plan.

    As attorneys who have practiced exclusively in the areas of estate planning and probate estate administration for the past twenty years we have heard people make every excuse why they do not need to take the time to put an effective estate plan in place. Here are five of the most common excuses we hear:

    1. I don’t have enough assets for it to matter... Read More
  • Types of Ownership: Do You Know The Difference?

    There are three basic ways that property is typically titled: in an individual’s name alone, in joint names with one or more other parties, and by or through certain designated contractual rights. Whether or not a particular asset or piece of property that you own at the time of your death will have to pass through probate will often depend entirely upon... Read More

  • 8 Considerations To Make Before Choosing A Guardian

    If you have a minor child or multiple children, you need to make sure that you have appointed, in writing, someone who would raise and take care of them as a guardian in the event that both you and your spouse would be killed in an accident, or should both die before they have reached adulthood.

    As you begin to list and evaluate your candidates as... Read More

  • Why is Estate Planning Important?

    Anyone who owns or has anything has an estate. Your estate might include a home, cars, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, retirement plans, business interests, furniture and other miscellaneous personal goods and household effects.

    What happens to your estate—when you die, or if you become incapacitated physically or... Read More
  • 6 Steps To Preparing An Estate Plan at American Wills & Estates

    At AW&E, we have developed a streamlined and manageable process for estate planning that helps our clients overcome procrastination.

    Stage One: Initial Meeting

    You will have a free initial legal consultation with an AW&E attorney (with optional additional meetings, if necessary, also at no charge). Here we learn basic information about you... Read More

  • Has the Fiscal Cliff Been Averted? Yes and No.

    If you’ve been paying attention, you probably already know that Congress passed a tax compromise that, to a large degree, has averted the so called fiscal cliff and makes permanent the federal estate tax with an exemption of $5.12 million/individual (indexed for inflation) and a flat tax rate of 40% for amounts over the exemption.  Still, many folks will... Read More

  • Even Celebrities Make Estate Planning Mistakes

    Here are some classic examples that you can avoid.
  • Jimi Hendrix’s Critical Error: Doing Nothing
    Story: Music legend Jimi Hendrix died at age 27 in 1970 without a will. Under state law, his dad, Al, got everything, leaving his close brother Leon with nothing. Al built Hendrix’s musical legacy into an $80 million venture, but in his own will cut out... Read More
  • Probate Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

    As an attorney who has practiced exclusively in the areas of estate planning and probate estate administration for the past twenty years I have heard people make every excuse under the sun why they don’t need to take the time to put an effective estate plan in place. Here are five of the most common excuses I hear:

  • I don’t have enough assets for... Read More
  • What Is A Living Will or Advance Health Care Directive and Why Should I Have One?

    The two seminal legal cases that led to the development of what we know of today as Living Wills or Advance Health Care Directives were the Karen Ann Quinlan and Terri Schiavo right-to-die cases.

    Karen Ann Quinlan was just 21 when she became unconscious after arriving home from a party. She had consumed alcohol and a combination of prescription... Read More

  • What Are An Executor's Duties And Responsibilities?

    An Executor’s duties and responsibilities for handling the administration of a Decedent’s estate can include many different things. The Executor may be responsible for arranging the Funeral, taking possession of all of the Decedent’s documents to ascertain both assets and liabilities, taking interim possession of all of the property, having the estate... Read More

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    Pittsburgh Probate Estate Administration and Estate Planning Lawyers