Amanda K. DiChello
Amanda K. DiChello understands the delicate interplay between the transition of wealth and the preservation of the family unit, through her work as an attorney advising high-net-worth individuals and families on estate, tax, wealth planning and business succession planning matters. A substantial number of Amanda’s clients are high-net-worth women who have either inherited significant wealth, or who have independently built and grown significant wealth. As a partner and the Co-Chair of Saul Ewing LLP’s Private Client Services Group, which is comprised of approximately 30 attorneys firm-wide, Amanda helps her clients navigate the legal and emotional intricacies that impact the preservation of family and personal wealth through multiple generations. Amanda also advises her clients on legal strategies to address family and monetary problems with an aim toward protecting her clients’ assets and minimizing both their legal risks and their tax and other financial liabilities. If family discord leads to litigation, however, Amanda is an experienced and savvy advocate for her clients in matters associated with estate, trust, and fiduciary litigation. Her clients include high-net-worth individuals, beneficiaries and families, private and charitable foundations, family offices, and individual and corporate fiduciaries.
Amanda’s knowledge of the law is recognized by her peers and various state legal organizations and associations which regularly invite Amanda to speak, publish, and instruct other attorneys on topics including estate, wealth, and tax planning, will and trust disputes, fiduciary litigation, trust and estate litigation, and charitable trust and nonprofit issues. Her understanding of complicated tax issues and her confidence in the courtroom stem not only from her practical legal experience but also from her dual advanced legal credentials. Amanda holds an LL.M. in Tax from the Villanova University School of Law Graduate Tax Program, as well as an LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from the Temple University Beasley School of Law, where she also graduated with high honors and was the sole recipient of the Faculty Award for outstanding achievement in courtroom presentation and performance. For the past seven consecutive years, Amanda has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star in the areas of estate planning and administration and estate and trust litigation. Amanda is currently appointed as a Council Member to the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and serves as a legal advisor to the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. Amanda serves as an adjunct professor of law at the Villanova University School of Law, where she instructs on the subject of wealth transfer and taxation.
Peer and referral source testimonials*
- “I can say that in my more than 45 years working collaboratively with attorneys, I have rarely seen the intensity of commitment to excellence displayed by Amanda. Her responsiveness is unrivaled.”
- “I chose to work with Amanda because she is truly a rare breed - extremely knowledgeable, efficient, organized, and timely with both her work product and responsiveness. She is approachable and easy to work with, and provides excellent client service. And on top of it all, her work product is consistently flawless.”
- “I would describe Amanda as a caring, responsive, intelligent, skillful, dedicated, strong, professional advocate.”
- “Peace of mind - she gets the job done! She makes the difficult and complicated ‘not difficult and uncomplicated.’”
* Quotes provided upon request from peers and referral sources. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
Testimonials from clients**
- “When I worked with Amanda, I felt that she cared as much about protecting my mother as I did. And with that level of comfort and trust, that’s all I really needed to know.”
- “Working with Amanda has made me feel much calmer and confident. I know that she truly cares about me, and she is doing her utmost to help me through this difficult legal process.”
- “Amanda has given me the confidence that I can put my situation in her capable hands - that has helped me to sleep better at night. To know that Amanda is totally in my corner and working diligently on my behalf, has certainly reduced the stress I was feeling.”
- “Amanda is a dedicated attorney who is caring, intelligent, professional, and what I would call a ‘firecracker!’ You’d want her on your side!”
** Quotes provided upon request from clients. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
Will and Trust Challenges and Contests
- Tried a 30-day will challenge in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part, Gloucester County, involving disposition of decedent’s farm and the validity of the decedent’s will; obtained a verdict upholding the validity of the decedent’s will despite allegations of lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence.
- Brought a will contest in the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, in which the client challenged the validity of the decedent’s last will and testament on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, and fraud in the inducement; several days into the case-in-chief, the opposing parties offered a favorable settlement.
- Convinced the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, that typical will challenge concepts of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity should apply to challenges to a payable on death beneficiary designation form for a brokerage/securities account.
- In Allegheny County, PA, defended on two separate occasions (at the Register of Wills level and the Orphans’ Court level) a decedent’s four-page handwritten holographic will from a challenge by the decedent’s intestate heirs alleging that the document did not constitute a last will and testament under Pennsylvania law.
Surcharge Actions and Trustee/Executor Litigation and Removal Actions
- Defended an executor in a two-week surcharge and removal lawsuit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, involving allegations by the beneficiaries that the executor favored herself over other beneficiaries and mismanaged the estate assets.
- Obtained a significant monetary surcharge on behalf of a client against two co-executors and co-trustees in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, for the damage they caused to an estate and trust; proved that the co-executors mismanaged estate assets, comingled irrevocable trust assets with the estate assets, failed to file and delayed in filing estate and trust tax returns, incurred substantial interest and penalties for the failure to timely file estate and trust tax returns, and unreasonably delayed distribution of the estate and trust assets to the beneficiaries.
- Represented an executor before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, who was the decedent’s significant other, in a surcharge action wherein the decedent’s children alleged the executor mismanaged the estate and misappropriated estate assets in his favor; established that a purchase money resulting trust existed in favor of the decedent’s significant other, resulting in dismissal of the surcharge action.
- Defended two executors from a surcharge action in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, where the beneficiary alleged mismanagement and improper sale of the estate’s real property.
- Sought and obtained court removal of a co-trustee and co-executor in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, due to delay in completing administration of an estate for more than a decade and failure to properly account for administration of estate and trust.
Guardianship and Incapacitated Persons Matters
- Represented the guardian of the person of an incapacitated person in Philadelphia County, PA in obtaining a significant increase in the monthly budget for the incapacitated person’s estate for the care and maintenance of the incapacitated person.
- Established in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, that the client, an incapacitated person, partially regained capacity, was able to manage a significant portion of her own funds, and possessed testamentary capacity to make a will.
- In a guardianship action in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, obtained an emergency court-appointment of a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate of an incapacitated woman whose mother passed away unexpectedly.
Other Trust and Estate Litigation and Register of Wills Litigation
- Defended an action brought before the Register of Wills of Philadelphia County in which the decedent’s girlfriend alleged that she was the common-law wife of the decedent and the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s intestate estate; after a multi-day trial, the Register of Wills issued an opinion denying the girlfriend’s claims of common-law marriage and finding that her client was the rightful intestate heir of the decedent’s estate.
- Before the Register of Wills of Philadelphia County, established on behalf of client that the decedent’s daughter committed fraud upon the Register of Wills when she sought to obtain Letters of Administration for the decedents’ estate; the Register of Wills removed the decedent’s daughter as administrator and appointed the client as successor.
- Brought an action before the Register of Wills of Philadelphia County establishing that the decedent’s alleged husband was never legally married to the decedent and therefore was not entitled to Letters of Administration as the decedents’ surviving spouse.
- Represented the executrix of a decedent’s estate before the Atlantic County Superior Court, Chancery Division, in a multi-week trial concerning the validity of a shareholder agreement that the decedent and his business partner executed, which agreement would have resulted in the inequitable division of the company to the detriment of Amanda’s client; following trial, the court issued an opinion in favor of the client and found that the agreement was invalid.
- Represented a trust beneficiary before the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, to compel trustees to account and subsequently negotiated and obtained a sizeable settlement for her client before litigation concerning the accounting commenced.
- Negotiated settlement among estate beneficiaries involved in protracted litigation in the Ocean County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part concerning distribution of the decedent’s estate and real property.
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