Attorneys and Consultants
Robert J. Stern | Counsel


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Malvern, PA

Robert Stern is a senior attorney in the Trusts & Estates Department. He brings a wealth of experience to his practice, which focuses on all areas of trusts, estates, personal planning and Pennsylvania nonprofit corporations. He is the author of Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation Law, a 700-page treatise providing insight into this important area of law. In addition to the full text of the statute, the fully-indexed book contains commentary, checklists, cases and forms covering the full scope of nonprofit corporate law in Pennsylvania. 

Mr. Stern’s practice includes, among other things:

  • incorporating both charitable and non-charitable nonprofit corporations and foundations, and obtaining federal and state tax exempt status

  • nonprofit litigation in the Orphans’ Court Division involving approval of amendment of articles, mergers, divisions, consolidations, dissolutions, cy pres petitions and related issues

  • estate and trust litigation involving will contests, objections to accounts, surcharges and removal petitions

  • estate planning and preparation of wills and trusts, including irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder unitrusts and grantor retained annuity trusts

  • estate and trust administration, including probate, accounts, petitions for adjudication, audits, schedules of distribution, formal accounts, and informal receipt and releases

  • federal and state taxes, including Federal Gift Tax Return (709), Federal Estate Tax Return (706), Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return and audits in connection therewith

  • federal and state income tax returns, including U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (1040), Pennsylvania Individual Income Tax Return (PA40), U.S. Fiduciary Income Tax Return (1041), Pennsylvania Fiduciary Income Tax Return (PA41), New Jersey Fiduciary Income Tax Return (NJ1041) and Split-Interest Trust Returns (Form 5227)

Mr. Stern has been the lead attorney in at least 14 reported decisions. In one notable case, (In re Neamand's Estate, 456 Pa. 22, 318 A.2d 730) he represented an appellant before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Although the court initially ruled against his client, the legislature shortly thereafter amended the statute to support his position and effectively overrule the Supreme Court (§2204(d) of the PEF Code). In Henkels & McCoy, Inc. v. Adochio, (138 F.3rd 491 (3rd Cir.(Pa.)), the appellate court upheld the somewhat startling decision of the lower court, granting Mr. Stern’s client a judgment against limited partners of one partnership for the debt of another partnership.


Mr. Stern’s varied career experiences have provided him with a wealth of insight that complements his current practice. From 1963, when he received his law degree, to 1978, he was an associate and then a partner in general practice at Stern and Stern, handling not only estates and trusts, but also charitable foundations, corporations, real estate and litigation. While at Stern and Stern, he was also an instructor at The Institute for Paralegal Training in the areas of Estates and Trusts and Real Estate. From 1978 until 1997, he was a partner at another law firm, handling estates and trusts, charitable foundations, corporations, securities and real estate, with an emphasis on commercial and casualty litigation in both federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels for both plaintiffs and defendants.

He has been recognized as a preeminent AV-rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.

Trusts, Estates & Personal Planning
Nonprofit & Religious Organizations
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Supreme Court
LL.B., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1963
B.A., cum laude, Williams College, 1960
Philadelphia Bar Association, Probate and Trust Law Section
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