Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Pennsylvania

Estate planning is an important legal strategy that allows you to make sure your wishes are honored regarding the distribution of your property and assets in the event of incapacitation or death.

Estate planning goes beyond just drafting a will. It includes the creation of trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives that direct your loved ones on how to manage your estate. 

Despite the importance of estate planning, over 60% of Americans have not created an estate plan, according to recent surveys. Failing to establish an estate plan can result in significant legal complications for your estate and cause emotional distress for your family during an already challenging time.  

This is why it's imperative to contact an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you set up a comprehensive estate plan. At Barsik Law Office, we offer estate planning services for creating wills and trusts, minimizing taxes, and preparing your assets for distribution.  

Our estate lawyer, Sean E. Barsik, proudly serves clients across Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Philadelphia, Stroudsburg, and the surrounding areas. 

For Experienced Counsel 


What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning involves legally structuring your affairs, detailing how your assets should be managed and distributed should you become incapacitated or pass away. The essential elements of an estate plan typically include drafting wills, establishing trusts, designating powers of attorney, and creating healthcare directives.  

  • Wills: A will is a legal document that specifies how a person's assets and estate will be distributed upon their death. It can also appoint a legal guardian for minor children and specify wishes for funeral arrangements. For a will to be considered legal in Pennsylvania, the testator (the person creating the will) must be at least 18 years old, of sound mind, and must sign the will in front of two witnesses, who must also sign the will in front of the testator. 

  • Trusts: Trusts are versatile tools that hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts allow you to protect your assets both during your lifetime and after your passing, offering you more control over how and when your assets are distributed and ways to minimize estate taxes. 

  • Powers of Attorney: A power of attorney permits someone else to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf if you're unable to do so yourself. A general power of attorney gives the named individual authority to make decisions regarding all your affairs, while a limited power of attorney is often limited to specific duties. 

  • Healthcare Directives: Also referred to as advance healthcare directives or living wills, a healthcare directive articulates your preferences for medical treatment if you're incapacitated. This can include life-sustaining measures, such as being placed on a ventilator, or organ donation in the event of your passing. 

The goal of estate planning is to safeguard an individual's assets and minimize the legal and tax implications for the estate and its beneficiaries. By consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney, like our team at Barsik Law Office, you can make sure your estate plan meets the required legal standards while clearly articulating your wishes. 

Why Should You Create an Estate Plan?

A comprehensive estate plan offers significant benefits that can help protect your assets and your loved ones. These often include: 

  • Avoids probate: The probate process can be time-consuming, costly, and public. An estate plan that includes trusts can help avoid probate, thus saving your beneficiaries time and money. 

  • Reduces estate taxes: A well-designed estate plan can minimize estate and inheritance taxes, maximizing what your beneficiaries inherit. 

  • Protects beneficiaries: An estate plan allows you to designate who will receive your assets and when, providing protection to minors and adults who may not be financially savvy. 

  • Protects your business: For business owners, estate planning is critical for outlining succession plans and ensuring the smooth transition of ownership. 

  • Prevents family disputes: By clearly outlining your wishes, an estate plan can reduce the potential for disputes among family members. 

Understanding Intestacy and Probate

If you pass away without a will, your estate will be considered "intestate." This means the distribution of your assets will be conducted by a court according to the state's intestacy laws rather than your wishes. Intestacy laws vary by state and typically prioritize spouses, children, and other close relatives, which may not always align with what you wanted. 

Probate is the legal process that validates a deceased person's will and oversees the distribution of their estate. Even if you leave a will, your estate must go through probate. Probate can be time-consuming and costly, involving court fees, legal fees, and other expenses. It also makes the estate a matter of public record, which can cause issues for some families. 

What Estate Planning Services Do We Offer?

At Barsik Law Office, we provide tailored and innovative estate planning solutions that reflect the specifics of each of our client's estates. With an in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania estate planning laws, we provide a wide range of services to handle your estate according to your specific direction.

Some of our key services include: 

  • Drafting wills and trusts: Creating the necessary documents that detail how and when you want your assets distributed after your death 

  • Setting up powers of attorney and healthcare directives: Setting up the necessary permissions for someone you trust to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf 

  • Tax planning: Advising on strategies to minimize various taxes that may be owed on your assets 

  • Beneficiary designations: Making sure your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets are distributed according to your wishes by properly designating beneficiaries 

  • Business succession planning: Helping business owners smoothly transition ownership and management after their death 

  • Charitable giving: Advising on how to structure charitable donations as part of your estate plan 

  • Establishing guardianships and conservatorships: Assist you with obtaining a court order appointing a guardian or conservator to manage an incapacitated person or their finances 

Estate Planning Attorney Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Choosing Barsik Law Office means partnering with a firm that profoundly understands the importance of thoughtful estate planning. Our focus is on creating individualized estate plans that protect your assets and honor your wishes.

With our extensive experience in Pennsylvania law, our team is equipped to help you craft an estate plan that meets your needs and complies with state laws, providing security for you and your loved ones.