Barclay Damon
Barclay Damon

Catherine T. Wettlaufer

Catherine T. Wettlaufer


p: 716.566.1430

f: 716.566.4021

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Buffalo Office

The Avant Building
200 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14202

Cathy is a seasoned practitioner in the area of trusts and estates, and she brings to her work legal skills honed over the past 25-plus years. Whether dealing with a complex family business succession plan, preparing wills, health care proxies and power of attorneys for clients or managing a contentious often litigated, family estate administration, her goal is to ascertain her clients’ goals and work to achieve them. As a wife, mother, teacher and community volunteer, Cathy never loses sight of the human element involved in working with individuals on personal legal matters. Cathy welcomes the opportunity to know and work with her clients and their families, and to partner with them and their advisors to achieve solutions that not only meet their needs, but provide peace of mind and security for their future.

Cathy serves as a leader and mentor at the firm, serving as Chair Emeritus of the Trusts & Estates Practice Area. Cathy is also an active member of our Women’s Forum.

Representative Experience

  • Designed, completed and maintained estate plans for diverse clients ranging from multimillionaires to young couples with children with family, business succession and/or tax issues. 
  • Advised clients on trust and estate administration including tax and construction issues as well as fiduciary duties to beneficiaries, with respect to investment policy and distributions to interested parties. 
  • Practiced in Surrogate’s Court regarding intestate and probate matters, contested and voluntary accountings, right of election for surviving spouses, adoptions, kinship proceedings and various statutory proceedings to protect beneficiaries interests and locate estate assets. 
  • Planned for clients and their families with special needs including guardianship proceedings for minors and adults and supplemental needs trusts. 
  • Create and adapt healthcare proxies, living wills and powers of attorneys to clients individual wishes and situations. 
  • Advised clients on issues regarding the elderly, including long term care, both insurance and placement, capacity and court-supervised guardianship.

Practice Areas


  • University at Buffalo School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1985
  • Mt. Holyoke College, A.B., 1970

Admitted To Practice

  • New York, 1986

Memberships & Affiliations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • Erie County Bar Association
  • Estate Analysts of Western New York
  • Financial Planning Counselors of Western NY
  • Chief Judge's Task Force on Attorney Professionalism and Conduct, Former member
  • Eighth Judicial District of the State of NY Grievance Committee, Former member
  • New York State Bar Association, Estate and Trust Section, Former Member for the Eighth Judicial District
  • New York State Bar Association Committee, Professional Discipline

Civic Activities

  • King Charter School, President, Board of Trustees
  • Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Board of Directors, former Director and Chair
  • City of Buffalo Board of Parking, former member
  • Western New York Planned Giving Consortium, Founding Member
  • Burchfield Penney Art Center Council, former Trustee
  • Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Past Chair, Members Council and Junior Group; Past Board of Trustees Member
  • Elmwood-Franklin School, Board of Trustees, past Member Board of Trustees and President
  • State University of New York Law Alumni board, past Vice President
  • United Way Campaign, former Attorney Division Chair
  • University of Buffalo Law School, GOLD Group, Founder
  • Professional Advisory Board of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, former Member
  • Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled, or Disadvantaged of WNY, former Board Member

Speaking & Publications

  • “Ethics Panel Issues Surrounding Execution of Documents,” New York State Bar Association, October 2011
  • “Intro into Estate Planning,” Erie Institute of Law, October 2011
  • “Estate Litigation, New York State Bar Association,” June 2011
  • “Children, Charities, Contests & Clients,” Erie Institute of Law, June 2011
  • “Practical Skills Probate and the Administration of Estates,” New York Bar Association, October 2010
  • “ABCs of Elder Law in 2010,” Erie Institute of Law, May 2010
  • “Guardian Ad Litem,” Erie Institute of Law, May 2010
  • “Everything You Wanted to Know about Estate Planning (But Were Afraid to Ask),” New York State Bar Association, May 2009
  • “Survival Strategies After Law School,” Erie Institute of Law, March 2009
  • “Brush Up Your Surrogate’s Practice: A Review of Topics of Relevance,” Erie County Bar Association 2009
  • Surrogates Court Guardian Ad Litem, Erie County Bar Association 2009
  • “Getting it Right: Wrongful Death in Surrogate’s Court,” Erie County Bar Association, 2007
  • “Erie Institute of Law: Estate Planning Challenges & Introduction to Court Case in Surrogate’s Court,” May 2006
  • “Erie Institute of Law: Survival Strategies for Life after Law School,” March 2006
  • New York State Bar Association: Insiders Guide to the Surrogate’s Court, 2006
  • “Dealing with your Client’s Retirement Assets,” Chair and Moderator, New York State Bar Association CLE, May 2012


  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Buffalo Trusts and Estates "Lawyer of the Year", 2012 
  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Trusts and Estates, 2011-2019
  • Business First’s Woman of Influence honoree, 2003
  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York: Estate Planning & Probate, 2008-2012 and 2014-2018 
  • Martindale-Hubbell “AV” Peer Review Rated for Very High to Preeminent Ethical Standards and Legal Ability

Prior Experience

  • Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Partner