Bill is a member of the firm’s Trusts & Estate and Elder Law groups, concentrating his practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and fiduciary litigation. He is one of only approximately 65 attorneys in Pennsylvania certified in elder law by the National Elder Law Foundation. Part problem solver, advocate and family counselor, Bill’s practice combines an understanding of government benefit programs, tax law, business law, debtor/creditor issues, trust and estate law, and litigation. His role is to help families navigate the myriad of legal and emotional obstacles to successfully achieving their long-term care and retirement planning goals.
Bill’s elder law practice involves advocating for older adults and guiding them through complex government bureaucracies like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. He works with a wide variety of clients from those with very limited means to those with substantial wealth. He routinely helps clients protect assets from being depleted by the cost of long-term care. This includes helping clients establish asset protection trusts and utilize Medicaid-compliant immediate annuities. Bill drafts customized family caregiver agreements that help families protect assets and provide superior care to loved ones. He also helps clients successfully apply for Medicaid benefits by walking them through the application process and representing them in administrative appeals when their benefits are denied or reduced improperly. Most importantly, Bill excels in explaining complex issues in ways his clients understand and helps them feel confident in the decisions they make.
Bill’s estate planning practice includes drafting complex documents like revocable trusts, asset protection trusts, wills, powers of attorney, family limited partnership agreements, charitable remainder trusts, and dynasty trusts for high-net-worth clients. He is thoroughly versed in the tax issues that impact estate plans, including federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes, the income taxation of retirement plans and the business taxes that apply to corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies. Business succession planning for family businesses is a common component of Bill’s practice. Early in his career, Bill assisted clients with a variety of corporate matters including business formations, mergers and acquisitions, and business financing. This experience dovetails with his estate planning work.
Estate and Trust Administration
Bill represents executors and trustees and helps them administer estates and trusts properly. For estates, this means he takes a hands-on approach to completing the estate’s work, thereby relieving the executor from most of the estate administration work. This includes preparing the inventory, inheritance tax return, and estate tax return along with all other documents required by the register of wills. He also reviews fiduciary income tax returns and the decedent’s final lifetime tax returns. Bill oversees the preparation of the estate accounting and communicates with beneficiaries to keep them updated on the status of the estate’s administration. Although most estates are closed informally with a family settlement agreement, he also handles formal court adjudications before the Orphans’ Court when it’s necessary to resolve disputes associated with the administration.
When representing trustees, Bill counsels them on all aspects of their position including developing an appropriate investment plan, maintaining financial records, and properly exercising their discretion when making distributions. Occasionally, Bill also represents trust beneficiaries who have concerns about a trustee’s performance and works to develop an amicable resolution of those concerns.
Sometimes amicable resolutions are not possible. In those instances, Bill works with the firm’s litigation attorneys to advocate for the rights of beneficiaries and fiduciaries. This includes bringing or defending will contests, surcharge actions against fiduciaries and objections to fiduciary accountings. This work also includes appointing guardians for incapacitated individuals and helping guardians file their annual reports with the court.
As a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Bill works with compassion and sincerity. He prides himself on being able to relate to his clients and is more “cardigan and corduroy than pinstripes and power ties.” Bill listens empathetically, explains clearly, and helps clients see how legal, medical, and emotional issues converge and intertwine in their lives.
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (2010-2012, 2020-2022)
- Certified in Elder Law, National Elder Law Foundation
- National Elder Law Foundation, member
- Estate Planning and Elder Law section of the Berks County Bar Association, chair
- Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorneys, board member
- Berks County Estate Planning Council, past president
- “Assessing Client Capacity to Sign Documents”, Berks County Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference (August 2020)
- “Simple Planned Giving Strategies Anyone Can Use”, Easterseals Eastern PA Donors (May 2019)
- “New Guardianship Rules and the GTS Tracking System”, Berks County Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference (April 2019)
- “How to Close an Estate”, Pennsylvania Bar Institute (March 2019)
- “End of Life Medical Decision Making”, Berks County Bar Association (October 2018)
- “Three Important Legal Documents All Seniors Need”, Berks Encore (October 2018)
- “What Accountants Need to Know About Long-Term Care and Asset Protection Planning”, Baker Tilley Virchow Krause LLP (May 2018)
- “Top 10 Orphans’ Court Cases in the Last Year”, Berks County Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference (April 2018)
- “Medicaid Planning”, Lancaster County Estate Planning Council (November 2017)
- “Use of Special and Supplemental Needs Trust for Children with Disabilities”, John Paul II Center (March 2017)
- “How to Close an Estate”, Pennsylvania Bar Institute (August 2016)
- “Use of Annuities in Medicaid Planning”, Berks County Bar Association (July 2015)
- “Asset Protection Planning”, Berks Encore (July 2015)
- “Powers of Attorney and Living Wills”, Family First Resource Senior Center (April 2015)
- “Misconceptions About Long-Term Care Planning”, Berks Elder Network (April 2015)
- “Asset Protection Planning”, Berks County Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference (April 2013)
- “Federal Estate Tax Update”, PICPA Winter Conference (December 2011)
- “Use of Trusts in Estate Planning”, RKL Associates (September 2011)