Estate Planning.

Estates, Trusts and Administration

One of the hallmarks of the purpose and design of the law firm at William F. Caye II, LLC is a team approach to achieving each client’s particular objectives. This is nowhere more evident than in the area of wills, estates and trusts, where Attorney William F. Caye II frequently joins or partners with our clients’ own investment advisers, accountants and life underwriters stationed in and around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania. Perpetuating and protecting wealth are goals that never fall out of favor.

For that reason, the professional legal and consulting services provided by William F. Caye II, LLC in these areas of practice are immeasurably valued and remain timeless to all clients. Whether those clients are individuals, families, corporations, partnerships, domestic or foreign entities, William F. Caye II, LLC will competently help aid and develop meaningful tax-planning strategies, as well as create and administer estates and trusts, and handle tax controversies and other adversarial proceedings.


Estate Planning and Counsel

The introduction of innovative strategies to preserve wealth and the evolving law regarding valuation make estate planning a dynamic, evolving field. Consequently, at William F. Caye II, LLC we focus on basic experiences in the core fundamentals and modern nuances of this elder law discipline and thus are poised to offer sound professional assistance across the board. By way of illustration, in the area of traditional estate planning, we can:

  • Structure domestic and international estate, gift, income, and generation-skipping tax planning
  • Prepare wills and trusts in light of special circumstances including multi-generational wealth transfer, second marriages, charitable aspirations, and care of family members with special needs
  • Fashion lifetime gifting programs through use of outright gifts or gifts in trust
  • Plan for times of disability through living wills, powers of attorney for management of property, powers of attorney for healthcare, and revocable trusts
  • Minimize income and estate taxes through outright charitable gifts, gift annuities, charitable lead trusts, and charitable remainder trusts
  • Provide estate planning advice in connection with closely held businesses including shareholders’ agreements, restructuring, dissolution, and transferring business interests to “younger generations” of owners
  • Administer estates, trusts, and guardianships utilizing state-of-the-art software
  • Represent individuals as beneficiaries of existing estates and trusts
  • Counsel personal representatives and trustees concerning estate and trust administration; fiduciaries with property in multiple jurisdictions; and trustees and directors of charitable, educational, and other public-benefit organizations

Furthermore, at William F. Caye II, LLC we seek to go beyond the traditional execution of testamentary documents, by engaging family run businesses and maintaining a broad referral network that includes the leading providers of financial planning; long-term care insurance; nursing home and assisted living facility placement; estate asset valuation, sale and liquidation; and Medicaid consulting. This ability and focus allows the attorneys here to handle a select and varied type of legal issue or issues involving client estates and trusts in and around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and throughout Western Pennsylvania. These include the sale of art, real estate, and other assets, as well as enforcement of legal rights by or against the estate or trust.


Estate and Fiduciary Litigation

William F. Caye II, LLC has an Estates, Trusts and Administration practice area that enjoys extensive experience in the representation of fiduciaries, which allow the firm to offer clients an understandable, practical, and comprehensive approach in substantive and procedural matters in our courts. For instance, in the history of the practice in referral collaboration with BusinessLegal P.C. Attorney Lynn Emerson, Attorney William F. Caye II has successfully represented corporate and individual fiduciaries on such issues as accountings; surcharge and removal actions; interpretation issues; reformation of governing instruments; and tax planning, and tax controversies.

In addition, William F. Caye II, LLC in the past has also represented individuals in contests of testamentary instruments, incapacity proceedings, and the disposition of assets. In doing so, the firm has capably resolved these matters through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, or trial – whichever is the most appropriate to achieving positive results. Among the assortment of elder law and Orphans Court cases, the attorneys here have:

  • Defended corporate fiduciaries in surcharge actions challenging executor’s commissions and administration expenditures
  • Obtained a favorable federal estate valuation of a structured settlement
  • Defended individuals acting as an agent under a Durable Financial Power of Attorney in various surcharge actions
  • Recovered significant funds improperly gifted by an agent under a Durable Financial Power of Attorney
  • Prosecuted and defended “will contests”
  • Obtained court approval of a complicated post-mortem estate plan designed to maximize federal estate and generation-skipping transfer tax savings through reformation, disclaimer and division of the resultant trusts
  • Obtained the appointment of neutral administrators in contentious guardianship and estate administration matters
  • Successfully defended a corporate fiduciary in a surcharge action challenging the valuation of decedents interest in a closely held business
  • Obtained several favorable private letter rulings enabling the fiduciary to avoid substantial federal generation-skipping transfer tax liability
  • Obtained the abatement of substantial penalties and interest originally imposed by the Internal Revenue Service

A last will and testament is a legal document that dictates what happens to your possessions and assets once you pass away. A testator (a person making a last will) must make sure that the document fulfills a number of legal requirements. In the case of an estate plan, it is be best to have an attorney help you write your last will and testament.

Durable Power of Attorneys (POA’s) are legally enforceable documents by which you can designate, appoint and authorize another person(s) to act on your behalf in the event of either your mental or physical incapacity or disability. The person(s) that you select as your “Agent” under a Durable Power of Attorney will be responsible for taking over the day in and day out management of both your personal and financial affairs. Among other things, the person(s) that you select as you “Agent” will have the power to make both medical and financial decisions on your behalf, sell you property, make gifts on your behalf, borrow money, and file your taxes and much, much more. Clearly, your “Agent” needs to be a very responsible, trustworthy individual who will always act with the aim of protecting your best interests.

A living will, despite its name, isn’t at all like the wills that people use to leave property at their death. A living will, also called a directive to physicians or advance directive, is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. It has no power after death. With prudent estate planning, don’t overlook a living will. It can give invaluable guidance to family members and healthcare professionals, if a person can’t express his or her wishes. Without a document expressing those wishes, family members and doctors are left to guess what a seriously ill person would prefer in terms of treatment. They may end up in painful disputes, which occasionally make it all the way to a courtroom.

A Trust is actually a legal entity created by a formal document that states that the contents (assets) of the Trust are being held for distribution to another party (beneficiaries). Trusts are managed by designated “trustees” and distributed to beneficiaries based on the specific terms set forth within the document itself. Today, trusts often play a vital and significant role in many estate plans. The Trustee under a trust has many fiduciary duties that are inherent in the administration of any type of trust. First and foremost, the Trustee must put the interests of the beneficiaries of the trust above all other considerations, except as they relate to his or her duties under the law. Understanding the pros and cons associated with trusts, the duties and obligations of a trustee under a trust, and the role that trust planning might play in your case is why you should consult with an attorney knowledgeable and experienced in estate plan law.

Providing Probate Estate Administration services when a person passes away, a number of legal considerations are quickly put into motion to settle that person’s “Estate”.  It is necessary to take into consideration the sum total of the assets, holdings and liabilities that the individual either acquired or incurred during their lifetime. This is the process of Probate Estate Administration—and it begins with the opening of the Decedent’s estate in the court of the local county in which they died, but that’s really just the beginning of a complicated process designed to ensure that the person’s final wishes are fulfilled and carried out accordingly.

An Executor (someone designated to manage final affairs by the Decedent—the person who died) has a host of responsibilities. In the absence of a Will, an Administrator is the legal term given to the individual designated to handle the same responsibilities. A Probate Estate Administration attorney can reasonably help you organize financial documents and personal paperwork, catalog and locate assets, investments and holdings, identify creditors and claims against the Estate, and ultimately help you move the estate toward distribution in a competent, legally enforceable, and timely manner.