Greensburg Pennsylvania Law Blog

Should I have a guardian appointed for my elderly relative?

When a parent or grandparent is showing signs of not being able to exercise self-care any longer, you might have to make plans for someone else to look after your elderly relative. Some Pennsylvania residents ask a court to appoint a conservator, also known as a guardian, to take care of their loved one. As FindLaw explains, this is not a simple process and may require careful consideration of alternatives before proceeding.

Ideally, a guardian provides an elderly person with needed care. This includes making important decisions regarding the senior's living arrangements, such as where the senior should live and who can be a caretaker for the senior. In many cases, the guardian will take over the finances of the senior. These actions are meant to protect the senior's assets and preserve the senior's health as much as possible.

How do special needs trusts protect assets?

Parents of children with special needs have all sorts of fears about what will happen to their offspring when they are no longer around to care for them. Some of these fears include their children losing money that they need for their daily care. This is one reason why Pennsylvania parents create special needs trusts for their children to help guard their children's money.

The main reason a special needs trust protects money is because the assets in the trust do not actually belong to the child. CNBC explains that money placed in an irrevocable special needs trust actually belongs to the trust itself. Payments from the trust are administered by a trustee. The trustee is in charge of the trust assets, investing them and providing care for the child as instructed.

Do moms have an advantage over dads in custody cases?

A common question that a Pennsylvania family law attorney gets asked when they meet with a new client for the very first time is whether their gender impacts their prospects for being awarded custody of their kids. While it used to definitively impact cases some decades ago, gender doesn't play as much of a deciding role as it once did. Judges focus on what's in the best interest of the kids instead.

Back decades ago, many judges tended to award custody of kids in higher numbers to moms instead of dads. They did, in part, because more mothers stayed home with their kids at the time. Studies conducted by child psychologists also emphasized that awarding custody to mothers, especially when a child was younger, may have been most ideal for them.

Most individuals who file for bankruptcy have high medical debts

Some individuals in Pennsylvania who find themselves in debt do so because they have lived beyond their means. Then there are those who tried their hardest to be as responsible as possible with their finances -- and still ended up drowning in debt. There are some trends when it comes to why individuals end up filing for bankruptcy.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health earlier this year, captures how only a little more than 44% of bankruptcies are filed because individuals live beyond their means. The researchers found that at least 45% of those who file for bankruptcy end up doing so because they find themselves tied up in unaffordable mortgages. A staggering nearly 67% of all bankruptcy cases are filed because of medical debt.

Long-term care does not always mean nursing home

When your grandmother was aging, she had few options. She could hope that one of her children could care for her, or she could go into a nursing home. It was not unusual for an elderly person to spend the last decade of life in a nursing home with other residents in varying stages of decline. This is not so today.

If you are planning for the future, you should know that you have many more choices than your grandmother did. In fact, you have options for many stages of life and levels of care. The challenge is to prepare yourself financially so you can pay for the type of care you need and the quality of care you deserve.

What are the requirements to file for divorce in Pennsylvania?

If you and your spouse have reached an impasse with one another or you've grown apart, then you may feel that your only option is to go ahead and get a divorce. Like many other states, there are certain requirements that you have to meet to be eligible to file for divorce in Pennsylvania (PA).

To be eligible to file here, either one or both of you must have lived in the state for a least six months before filing for a divorce. You can either negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement in your divorce among yourselves. State law also allows you to provide at-fault grounds for requesting to end your marriage as well.

Pennsylvania House considering bill dealing with pets in divorce

We have written before about what happens to pets when Pennsylvanians divorce. For example, even before marriage, a couple can execute a prenuptial agreement with terms controlling what would happen to any pets should divorce occur. Or, at the time of divorce, the spouses may agree on matters related to a family pet in a marital settlement agreement.

How many people have actually done their estate planning?

If you haven't done your estate planning yet, despite knowing that you're going to need those documents eventually, you're not alone. A lot of people put this off or just completely neglect to do it.

In fact, some reports show that more than 50% of people in the United States have not even done the most basic estate planning.

Pennsylvania alimony law gives judges discretion with direction

A major issue in most divorces is whether one spouse will have to pay alimony for support to the other spouse. People often negotiate the resolution of the issue of alimony when divorcing and include it in a settlement agreement. Or, the parties may have predetermined alimony as a term of a prenuptial agreement.

If not agreed upon by the parties, the judge in a Pennsylvania divorce must decide whether to award alimony and the terms of the award such as the amount of payments and its duration.

How can an attorney help you if you and your spouse separate

For many couples, separation is a precursor to divorce. For others, taking some time apart helps them reevaluate their relationship, resolve their issues and build a stronger marriage. Regardless of the eventual outcome, separation from your spouse is no small change -- particularly when you have children together.

Even if you and your spouse haven't decided whether you'll eventually divorce, it's wise to take inventory of your finances. It's always better to do this sooner rather than later. If you proceed toward divorce, your communication may deteriorate and it may be more difficult to have full transparency of your marital assets.

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