Estate Planning in Pittsburgh

For the people that live here

Put an estate plan in place for your family. It is the final gift to give to them when you are gone. The families that care for each other leave their loved ones a roadmap of what to do.  

What will you do...leave your family struggling to know what to do next? Or will you ensure that they have a plan and team in place to walk them along all the steps for after you are gone?

We partner with families that want an estate plan in place for their loved ones. Beyond that, we are the trusted advisor for these families on ensuring that the important people in their lives are cared for properly.

Our approach is to guide each person that we work through our estate planning proven process. 

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is when we map out the actions necessary to properly handle and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. Proper estate plans are built with the beneficiaries and family in mind. The goal is to provide for their needs and well-being. A primary consideration of thoughtful estate planning is to design to minimize taxes. Attorneys design estate plans based on the goals of their clients and utilize the different documents as tools to accomplish these goals.

Wills and Trusts

Wills are used to determine an executor of your estate. Once formally probated, a will directs assets to your beneficiaries.

Trusts on the other hand are unique in that they avoid probate. Many people use trusts because you avoid much of the headache of the courthouse and keep your families details private. 

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney lets you appoint someone to act as if they were you, for your benefit. This can be for financial and for healthcare purposes.

These are important because they affect you while you are living. It is important to choose people that are responsible and would have your best interest at heart.

Titling of Assets

For the average family in Pennsylvania, only 30-50% of their assets will flow through their will. It is important to partner with an attorney that understands the difference between probate and non-probate assets.

This means the difference between the right people inheriting and the wrong ones.

The goal isn't to create a Will or Power of Attorney

It's to know that our families have a path forward when we are gone.

How do you put an estate plan in place?

Every person and family is different. We meet you on your level and get to know you. It's important that we understand what matters to you - that's what matters most.

Discovery Call

This is a free phone meeting where we get to know you. We want to know what matters to you, why this is important, and if you've done it before.

We want to make sure that we are a good fit for each other before moving further ahead. You will get a proposal with fees and a breakdown of our proven process after this meeting.

Design Meeting

Once you decide to work with the firm, we will set up your estate planning design meeting with your attorney. This meeting can be virtual via Zoom from the comfort of your own own, or you can travel to our office.

This is where we will work together to design your estate plan. Your plan will be carefully designed to meet your unique needs and goals for your family.

Review Estate Plan

Our team will begin to carefully prepare each of your documents, and then the comprehensive plan will be approved by your attorney.

Once approved, your estate plan is sent to you! We encourage each of our clients to read through their documents. Your attorney is available to you to answer questions via email or during a meeting. We want you to understand and feel comfortable with your documents.

Signing Ceremony

Now it is time for the most important part - making your estate plan official! We would love to host your signing ceremony at our office. For individuals that have hectic schedules or that don't wish to travel, we can make alternate arrangements for you to use an independent notary.

Once signed, witnessed, and notarized your documents are ready to go! Many of our clients then receive information on updates to accounts and assets that will complete their estate plan.

What is it like to work with you?

Don't take our word for it, see what others have to say for themselves!


What are some questions that I should ask?

Here's everything that we get asked all of the time!

Do you focus on estate planning?

We sure do! Our practice is exclusive to estate planning, probate, and elder law. If the neighbor's dog bites you or you are in a car accident, call us - and we will partner you with a fantastic attorney.

Our team has spent years perfecting estate planning for YOU!

I have a big surgery coming up, can you help?

Yes, we can. Please let our team know during your discovery call that you have unique circumstances. We always do our best to help people and we do have options to expedite your estate plan.

Why shouldn't I use an online will maker?

That's like going to the store, buying a hammer, and declaring that you are going to build a house. There is a lot more to it than that. If you feel that you can condense thousands of hours of training into a few minutes online, feel free. Your family will just pay more to correct your mistakes when you are gone.

We're busy people, do we have to come to your office?

No, you don't! In today's world it makes sense that we would meet virtually in a Zoom private conference room. Why worry about traffic, taking time off of work, and finding time to drive to us.

Just grab a convenient time, sit on the sofa, and we can get to work!

I want a Will so that my family won't have to probate.

Wills don't avoid probate.  Having a will (or not having a will at all) means that your family will be forced to go to probate.  Only careful estate planning and a trust-based plan is the only way to be sure you will avoid probate. If avoiding probate is important, let us know during your discovery call.

I have a modest estate, why would I want a trust?

It depends. Many of our clients ultimately use trusts because they want to avoid probate and to keep their families details private. Others have minors inheriting or someone with special needs that will be a beneficiary. Trusts aren't about how much money you have. Trusts are about the process your family goes through (or doesn't have to go through) when you are gone.

How long is my estate plan good for?

Estate plans are a snapshot in time. This snapshot encompasses your family dynamic, your assets, and your goals and wishes at that time. When those things change, it is important to reach out to us so we can evaluate if any changes are needed. They don't expire. Life happens, and when things come up we are here to make sure your family is cared for when you are gone.

Can I protect assets from the nursing home?

Yes, we do this with Asset Protection Trusts. These are a unique type of irrevocable trust that allows for the protection of assets from the nursing home when implemented properly. If you have concerns of depleting your hard earned money and assets on nursing care, let our team know and we can build a plan to protect your assets.

I have young children. I heard having a will is important, is that true?

When you have young children, a Will is important because you can name guardians to raise your children should something happen to you. This is a primary concern of all parents. We will put a plan in place that ensures your children are cared for in the event something should happen to you.

Schedule your free discovery call today.

Get peace of mind knowing that your family is taken care of and has a plan in place for when you are gone.

Group Copy 3 svg
Internet Provider

Contact Us

Zihmer Law Firm - Pittsburgh Office
3244 Washington Road
Suite 210
McMurray, PA 15317

Phone: 412-223-2525


Copyright © 2023 Zihmer Law Firm, LLC | All rights reserved.