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Erie, Pennsylvania, Legal Blog

Avoiding probate does not mean avoiding taxes

Estate planning is a complicated process, and writing a last will and testament alone can create some tension and make people want to put the process off. But every day without a plan for passing on property and assets puts undue risk on family, friends and benevolent organizations that deserve our care.

One alternative to a plan for turning assets into inheritances is avoiding probate, which is the legal process through which the assets of a deceased person legally become another person's property. This can be accomplished by transferring assets to people during the owner's lifetime and by making accounts "payable on death" to a beneficiary or joint signatory.

Common places for aggravated assault arrests

Plenty of Pennsylvanians have seen their fair share of brawls. One incident could lead to another until the police show up to arrest one or both of the fighters. According to the FBI, Pennsylvania had over 20,000 aggravated assault cases in 2016, which was the 8th highest amount in the nation. While it may not have one of the highest rates due to the state’s large population, it does still demonstrate that a significant amount of people face aggravated assault charges annually.

One major factor in aggravated assault cases is where the attack ultimately took place. This is very important information due to how much surrounding evidence can prove the defendant’s innocence or guilt or how much the setting would ultimately influence the attack. Those facing potential charges need to keep these in mind when preparing their defense.

Pennsylvania lawmaker moves to legalize marijuana

A Pennsylvania legislator has introduced a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults. The proposed legislation (HB 50), which would amend the state's Medical Marijuana Act, has 26 co-sponsors, as well as supporters in the Senate.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Jake Wheatley, the Democratic representative from the 19th District around Pittsburgh, says it is "a bold call to move Pennsylvania onto the right side of history and into the 21st century." The proposal comes as nearby states like New Jersey and New York are taking steps to legalize marijuana.

The different types of assault charges in Pennsylvania

If you have been accused of assault, the consequences that you face will depend largely on the type of assault you were accused of and the circumstances surrounding the alleged event. In order to defend yourself successfully, it is important that you first take the time to understand how the crime is prosecuted.

There are two main types of assault that are recognized in Pennsylvania. These are referred to as simple assault and aggravated assault. These acts are quite different from each other, and therefore, they lead to very different consequences.

Who is at the highest risk for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

Bankruptcy may feel like hitting rock bottom, but it has always been designed to give people a new start into financial health. Debt is a serious problem for many Americans, and states like Pennsylvania and Florida are seeing changes in the bankruptcy landscape for an unfortunate reason.

What population is at greatest risk for bankruptcy?

Planning for Digital Assets in Pennsylvania

Traditional estate planning has addressed how a person might leave their assets to their family and friends after their death. "My children are to receive my property but my best friend will get my dog, Daisy, and all things associated with her" a client might say. But with advancements in technology, who receives the right to access the pictures of Daisy which are stored online in the client's cloud? That result has not been are clear as advancements in technology have outpaced advancements in the law.

Why young parents should create estate plans

Raising children is said to be one of the greatest joys in life. You watch your child grow from a tiny little baby into a small person that walks and talks with opinions of his or her own. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to raise your children right. You make them eat healthy, send them to the right schools and teach them right from wrong.

Unfortunately, sometimes the worst happens. You and your spouse could get into an accident or become ill. Even though you may be young and healthy now, there are no guarantees. What if the worst occurs while your children are still minors? Who will take care of your children then? Here are four reasons young parents should consider creating estate plans.

Study: Some millennials don't foresee ever getting out of debt

It doesn't take long for young adults to accumulate a fair amount of debt. This debt is not just student loans, which are becoming increasingly more burdensome. It often includes credit card and other personal debt.

A recent study by CreditCards.com found that over 60 percent of people in the millennial generation (18 to 37) said they do not know when they'll be debt-free -- or if they ever will. Almost a fifth said they expected to be in debt when they die. Another study by Northwestern Mutual of people from 18 to 34 found that their average personal debt was approximately $36,000 -- and that was excluding mortgages.

The cost of a car accident may be more than you think

If you or a loved one suffered from bodily injuries after a car accident in the state of Pennsylvania, you almost certainly have had to pay medical bills in some regard. Depending on the extent of the injuries, these medical bills can mount up to extortionate costs, and professional medical care may be needed for months or years to come.

In addition to physical injuries, a person who is in a serious car crash will likely suffer emotionally, too. It is important that a car accident victim seeks professional support to get through their trauma or anxiety in the aftermath of the event. Due to the profound ways that a car accident has the potential to affect a person's life, the cost of a car accident can be more than you may think.

Collaborative law is now part of Pennsylvania divorce law

It is easy to feel like life is ending when it is time to seek a divorce. In some ways, life is ending; two people are looking to start plotting their own, separate paths. But the process does not have to make a mess of a caring relationship. Even spouses who no longer get along have opportunities to avoid a messy divorce process.

Pennsylvania is one of the latest states to adopt an approach to collaborative law as a way of resolving disputes. House Bill 1644 allows spouses in the Keystone State to choose an effective, cost-cutting and time-saving legal process to get divorced.

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