Estate Planning

(Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills)

Effective estate planning can be a tool to protect loved ones and ease the burdens associated with death and incapacity.  It is never too soon to put these planning tools in place.

The lawyers at Crabbs & Crabbs have assisted hundreds of clients with future-planning and regularly advise clients on the uses of Wills and/or Trusts to meet their goals.  Powers of Attorney are also strongly recommended as a way to protect one’s assets and family in the case of sudden incapacity or gradual mental decline.

Estate Administration

When a loved one passes away, it is often necessary to “administer” his or her estate. The activities that come to the minds of most are transferring real estate, paying the funeral bill, selling vehicles and other items of personal property, and closing bank accounts. However, it is also necessary to follow the procedure to be sworn in as Executor/Administrator, pay debts and taxes, ensure no third-party liability, file an accurate Inheritance Tax Return, and account all activities to other heirs or beneficiaries.

By accepting the role of Executor or Administrator, one takes on the legal responsibility to administer that estate according to law and to act in the best interests of the heirs. If the estate is not administered correctly, that Executor/Administrator may be subject to personal liability. Having experienced legal representation to guide him through the process provides an Executor the comfort of knowing that he has acted according to law and will be free of any liability at the conclusion of administration.

Orphans’ Court litigation

(Will contests, guardianships/incapacity)

The Orphans’ Court hears disputes related to decedents’ Wills; activities of Agents under Powers of Attorney; and guardianships/incapacity matters, to name a few. Having experienced representation in such significant proceedings is invaluable.


Adoption is the legal process whereby a person or two people take on the role, obligations, and duties of parenting another person – a child or adult. Often it is a way to provide security and permanency for a child whose birth parent or parents cannot or will not give the love and stability that the child deserves. The law has developed with various safeguards and procedural requirements to ensure that a proposed adoptee is protected.


When a person cannot manage his or her own affairs, because of a lifelong condition, gradually deteriorating mental abilities, or sudden tragedy, it can be necessary for a friend or loved one to gain control over the individual’s assets and person. In the event that there is no Power of Attorney granting that authority, the Court must be asked to deem the person incapacitated and to appoint a guardian or guardians to take over.

Name Change

Minors and adults in Pennsylvania may request Court approval of a name change provided that certain statutory requirements are satisfied.


(Divorce, Custody, Support)

“Family law” is a broad category, covering divorce and division of assets and debts, custody of minor children, spousal and child support, and prenuptial agreements. With all of the incorrect information circulated on the internet and among friends and family, having an attorney familiar with these practice areas can provide assurances that the client is well-informed and well protected.

Attorney Ruth Crabbs Gunnell handles the family law matters at Crabbs & Crabbs and offers a one-hour Strategy Session to new clients for the fee of $100.00. In this Strategy Session, Attorney Gunnell will explain the process or processes that the potential client will be facing, clarify common misconceptions, and assess the potential client’s particular situation.

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