Estate Planning Attorney in Pittsburgh.


Plan ahead… those two words capture the best way to address the legal needs of the elderly. Estate planning prepares you for an uncertain future, and helps you make sure that you and your assets will be taken care of as you intend.

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What is estate planning?

Many people think of estate planning as merely writing a will or trust to leave assets to particular heirs. Every estate plan should also contain:
  • a durable power of attorney for naming someone to handle your affairs when you can’t, due to illness, dementia, disability, or some other reason
  • an advance health care directive to name a person to make health care decisions when you’re unable, and to leave “living will” instructions to be used if you suffer an end-stage medical condition with no realistic hope of recovery

Good estate planning should involve more than just inserting your name into pre-made documents. We guide you through a process of clarifying your goals and needs, and then work with you to design a thorough estate plan that best fits your objectives.  As part of that guidance, we invite you to attend one of our estate planning workshops.

How we add value.

Is estate planning with a legal professional any better than buying an estate-plan-in-a-box software package or a pre-printed form from a legal stationery shop? Our experience tells us it is. Too often, people hire lawyers to try to repair the damage after shoddy estate planning goes wrong. Click here to read Examples.

We would much prefer to help you do it right on the front end than do damage control later. In the long run, good estate planning is a better value for you, and more satisfying for everyone involved.

We recognize that estate planning is complicated. To help you understand what we do, why we do it the way we do, and how it benefits you and your family, we’ve compiled a list of 25 features and benefits for the estate planning clients of Sykes Elder Law. We think you’ll agree that while our services require an investment of your money and time, our approach is more cost-effective than alternatives available elsewhere, including many other law firms.

Do you only do estate planning for the elderly?

We do estate plans for clients of all ages. At our elder law practice in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, we help families with Medicaid issues and estate administration as well as estate planning. But the skills we have developed crafting estate plans apply to all age groups. Many of the same goals apply to anyone making an estate plan: avoiding unnecessary taxes, naming those who should inherit your property (and in what amounts), making special bequests to friends or charities, preparing for disability or illness, and so on.

We emphasize tailoring the plan to suit your circumstances. For a younger family, that may mean more attention to provisions for a guardian and trustee in the event that both parents die unexpectedly. Whatever your circumstances, we are ready to use our skills to develop a plan that is right for you.


What happens to your beloved pet when you die or become disabled? To read about innovative ways to provide for your “non-human family members,” click here.


Do you have a disabled family member?
A special needs trust can help provide for their needs without endangering public benefits like SSI or Medicaid. To learn more, click here.

Call now for an appointment with one of our elder law attorneys: (412) 531-7123

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Estate Planning Examples to Avoid

An often overlooked benefit of professional estate planning: avoiding mistakes that ruin your best intentions. Here are just a few examples: Well, it looked like the right place to sign… In 1962, George Glace signed one of the blank spaces of a pre-printed legal form as follows: “I, , of Sunbury, Pa., of the County of […]

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Two must-have estate plan provisions for parents with minor children

Despite our “elder law” moniker, we frequently write estate plans people of all ages. When I see parents whose children are minors, I make sure to address two specific issues that are usually not important with elderly clients. If you parent minor children, make sure your will addresses these issues too. Nominate a guardian. Who will […]

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ever adult should have POA

Why every adult should have a POA

Having a power of attorney (or POA) is at least as important as having a will. As people’s lifespans have increased, many spend more years than ever with a weakened ability to manage their own affairs and increasingly rely on others.

Posted in Elder Law - General, Estate Planning | Comments Off on Why every adult should have a POA

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