Estates & Trusts


The Estates & Trusts practice group is part of Eckert Seamans’ Tax, Estates & Employee Benefits Group. Our lawyers provides a full array of estate planning and administration services to individuals, entrepreneurs, owners of family businesses, fiduciaries, charitable foundations, and other nonprofit organizations. We strive to meet client needs by preserving current income and assets, minimizing income and transfer tax consequences, and optimizing the financial benefit to present and future generations. Staying ahead of developments and new trends in estates, trusts, and wealth transfer tax is a priority of our attorneys, many of whom lecture on these subjects at continuing legal and professional education seminars.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in the law of decedents’ estates, trusts, probate, and taxation. We counsel clients on developing, implementing, and administering comprehensive lifetime and testamentary estate and tax planning strategies that carefully balance personal and wealth accumulation goals. Matters such as the succession of a family business enterprise, asset protection, and philanthropy are routinely addressed.

Our estates and trust attorneys work closely with business owners and corporate executives and their families in designing and selecting various alternatives under pension, profit sharing, and other corporate benefit plans. Clients are advised on income and wealth transfer tax strategies and on the repositioning of assets so that insurance and other beneficiary designations are in harmony with their estate plan.

Because successful trust and estate planning focuses on the unique requirements of each case, attorneys design individually tailored revocable and irrevocable trust instruments, wills, durable powers of attorney, advance health care directives, and other documents necessary to effectuate the client’s wishes and objectives.

We are sensitive to those family members who serve as executors or trustees at a time when they might have difficulty focusing on fiduciary matters. Our attorneys are skilled in counseling personal representatives, trustees, and other fiduciaries on such matters as post-mortem tax planning, valuation and allocation of assets, distributions to beneficiaries, collection of life insurance proceeds and retirement benefit payouts, and the orderly accounting for receipts and disbursements. We are also experienced in the preparation of income, gift, inheritance, and estate tax returns.

Our estates and trust attorneys represent clients in all types of federal and state tax controversies involving estate, gift generation-skipping, and income tax matters. The firm is also equipped to efficiently handle estate and trust-related litigation matters, including will contests, distribution disputes, fiduciary liability actions, and guardianships. Our attorneys also have significant experience with limited liability entities, private annuities and grantor trusts, and other sophisticated planning strategies.

News & Insights

Legal Updates:

The SECURE ACT: New Opportunities for Trust Beneficiaries of Retirement Benefits

The SECURE Act Nears Passage - Trust as Retirement Plan Beneficiaries - What it Means to Your Clients

Estate Planning and Tax Alert: Happy?? New Year(s)! Federal Estate and Generation Skipping Taxes "Gone Today" -- 2010 Repeal "Here (Again) Tomorrow" -- 2011 or Earlier


Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2019 recognizes 21 Eckert Seamans attorneys from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh offices

E. Duffy Myrtetus joins Eckert Seamans in Richmond

Robert P. Avolio joins Eckert Seamans in Princeton

Best Law Firms 2019: U.S. News – Best Lawyers again ranks Eckert Seamans among the nation’s top law firms

Eckert Seamans welcomes Laura DelFratte to Pittsburgh office and Business Division

Nancy Rackoff to receive YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s Tribute to Women in Leadership Award

Law firms Eckert Seamans and Tener, Van Kirk, Wolf & Moore combine practices, effective February 1

Jennifer Rawson elected to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Warren Vogel named 2015 Five Star Wealth Manager

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2015 recognizes Eckert Seamans lawyers in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh offices

Eckert Seamans’ Raymond C. Vogliano Elected a Fellow of American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Best Law Firms 2015: U.S. News – Best Lawyers again ranks Eckert Seamans among nation’s top law firms

Best Lawyers in America® 2015 Recognizes 43 Eckert Seamans Attorneys

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2014 recognizes 35 lawyers from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh offices