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.

Getting Started in the Role of Executor

So You've Been Named as the Executor, Now What?

Serving as an Executor (sometimes called a Personal Representative or Administrator) of an Estate doesn’t have to be a nightmare, but it’s important to be organized from the start. As the Executor you are going to be the person who is legally responsible for protecting the assets of the decedent until the probate estate... Read More

What's the Difference Between an Executor and an Administrator

Executor? Executrix? Administrator? Administratrix? You’ve heard the terms and you know they have something to do with someone’s death, but what do the folks serving in these roles really do?

Basically each of these terms is simply making reference to the person who is going to be overseeing the administration of a deceased person’s estate. An executor (male) or... Read More




If you’ve recently lost a loved one and find yourself tasked with being the Executor or Administrator the estate, you probably have a lot of questions. There are many, many attorneys out there, but who can you trust and how do you find someone that you feel comfortable working with. A good starting point is to conduct an online search for and “... Read More

Common Misconceptions About Probate Estate Administration

Most folks typically don’t know a whole lot about the laws of Probate Estate Administration. They may know that it has something to do with what happens after a loved one dies, but not a whole lot beyond that. However, it’s a very good idea to educate yourself on at least some of the basics that are involved. Here are some of the more common misconceptions that people often... Read More

Probate Doesn't Have To Be Scary


You’ve probably heard people say a million times: It’s best to keep your family’s assets out of probate.  While I agree that’s it’s often a good idea to limit or minimize the effect that the probate estate administration process may have on your assets after your death, it’s still important to keep in mind that in many states probate... Read More

Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes

JAMES GANDOLFINI died on 6/13/2013 in Rome as the result of a Heart Attack.


Tony Soprano might have been a wise guy, but the actor who played him might not have been too smart for not putting his estate into a trust. He left only 20 percent of his estate to his wife, who had an unlimited deduction as his spouse. So 80 percent of his $70 million... Read More

Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes


AGE: 40

DIED: 11/30/2013; Valencia, CA; Car Crash


The "Fast & Furious" actor used a pour-over will to funnel his $25 million estate into a trust for his 15-year-old daughter. This arrangement makes the estate a public affair. He also failed to update his plan for 12 years, so it might not have represented... Read More

The Duties and Obligations that await the Executor

So you've been named as an Executor.  It's an honor, but it's also a job.  I came across this very interesting blog that lays out the duties and responsibilities that await an Executor and the many pitfalls that need to be avoided.

Do You Really Want to be an Executor?

By Charles Wagner and Rachael Kwan | Blogs, Estate Law, Executors / Trustees | 0 comment | 1... Read More

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Pittsburgh Probate Estate Administration and Estate Planning Lawyers