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Uniontown Legal Issues Blog

Estate planning should take sibling dynamics into account

Families in Pennsylvania are just like families across the country. They are made up of imperfect people who have imperfect relationships with each other. One of the relationship dynamics in play in most families is sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalry should be taken into account when doing estate planning. There are some key approaches to doing so.

One good approach is to give the siblings gifts of money during their lifetimes. When a parent is in their waning years, with more money than they will be able to spend in the time they have left, giving gifts of cash can have multiple advantages. One is that the tax treatment of gifts can be better, up to certain limits, than the tax treatment of inheritances, depending, of course, on the size of the inheritances. Giving cash gifts to siblings can also help them know that they are cared about and reduce the tension between them.

New Pennsylvania laws may hurt defendants' rights

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed six new lbills into laws. All of them are designed, at least in theory, to give the victims of crime more rights during trials.

The problem is that some of those bills may be taking rights away from the defendants in the cases. Pennsylvania's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that some of the laws may, in fact, be unconstitutional and impair the ability of a defendant to get a fair trial in court.

Stability for children is key when couples break up

Breaking up is hard to do when the couple has children. Simply put, the children have been used to living with both of their parents, and when their parents separate or divorce, the children know that they will never again share a home seven days a week with both parents. Addressing that difficulty is a key issue in family law.

The parents, if they put their children above any need to "win" and make the other parent "lose", can do a lot to help their children after a separation or divorce by committing themselves to successful co-parenting. One key to doing so is understanding that each parent is going to take care of the children in a different way.

FAQs about Pennsylvania workers' compensation

Sustaining a workplace injury can be disorienting and confusing. An occupational accident can send you into a whirlwind of financial and emotional difficulties. The aftermath of a work injury may be hard for you to navigate.

It is important to understand as much as possible about the workers' compensation process in Pennsylvania. Here is some general information about how to pursue compensation for a workplace injury in the Keystone State.

Getting started with estate planning

Some Pennsylvania residents hear the term "estate planning" and presume (in error) that it is something only for the very wealthy. However, the fact is that all Pennsylvania residents who have anything of value, and loved ones they want taken care of, can benefit from estate planning. It is a good idea for adults of any age, and indeed many experts advise starting estate planning as early in life as possible. Remember, you can always adapt your estate plan later as your circumstances, and your circle of loved ones, change across the years.

In the meantime, there are key things to do to make your estate planning successful. The first one is very basic: you should make an inventory of all of your assets and all of your liabilities. Your assets include money in the bank, property, other material possessions, stocks, bonds, businesses and anything else that can be a source of material value. The attorney you work with in developing your estate plan can help you to make sure that your inventory covers all of the assets that it should. Of course, you should make an inventory of your liabilities as well.

Could my loved ones inherit my debt after I pass?

Making your end-of-life plans can be a sensitive matter. You may want to leave certain assets to your spouse or children. But what if you die with debt? Could your loved ones stand to inherit this as well? Could this negatively impact their financial future?

In most cases, your debt will not become your family’s responsibility after you die. However, passing away with debt could affect what your beneficiaries stand to inherit.

Boredom, the open road and the risk of distraction

One potential problem people face when they spend a lot of time in the car is simple: They get bored. The beginning of a road trip is fun, with the excitement of getting underway. The end is fun, when you arrive at your destination. But those 10 hours in the middle, as you drive through land that all looks the same? That's when you feel bored.

As such, people often seek out distractions. They turn up the music. They talk to passengers. And, far too often, they eat.

A new bill may prevent repeat DUI offenders from driving again

Pennsylvania state lawmakers recently passed a bill that calls for stiffer penalties for those who are convicted of two or more driving under the influence (DUI) offenses. Now families of victims who have lost their lives in drunk driving crashes are championing Deana's Law. If passed, it would make it even harder for individuals previously convicted on DUI charges to ever behind the wheel of a car again.

The newly proposed bill has been named after a 45-year-old Delaware County woman who lost her life when she was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver.

How to divide assets in a Pennsylvania divorce

While getting ready for a divorce, one of the first things you consider is property division. You may have concerns about who gets what. Additionally, you probably have a lot of questions about how the process of dividing marital property works. 

Before you split up any assets, you must go through the process of identifying, categorizing and valuing them. Here are the general steps and guidelines for dividing marital property in a Pennsylvania divorce.

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