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Greensburg Legal Issues Blog

Avoiding common estate planning mistakes

As the year comes to an end, many in Pennsylvania are making resolutions for a positive 2019. One of the best resolutions people can make for themselves and their families is to begin the process of estate planning. This is not something that can be rushed or done without careful consideration since it involves issues that deal with the end of someone's life as well as providing for loved ones through an inheritance. For such sensitive matters, it is wise to have legal counsel to avoid some of the common mistakes that can result in distress for those left behind.

Even the simplest estate may have different kinds of assets that would be difficult for loved ones to find and manage after the estate owner's death. These may include real estate in other states, bank accounts in multiple banks, investments and digital assets. Failing to leave loved ones with the information and authorizations they need to locate and access those accounts can create confusion and stress. Some advisors recommend that clients keep a roster of those accounts, locations and passwords in a secure place where loved ones can find them when necessary.

DUI rates rise during the holiday season

For most, the holiday season is a time of merriment and cheer and a chance to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holiday season also means a higher number of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests, crashes and fatalities both in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 300 people lost their lives nationally in alcohol-related crashes during the stretch of time between Christmas and New Year’s Day over the past five years. In 2016, almost 800 people died in December alone as a result of drunk driving crashes.

Family law decisions make holidays difficult for some

Perhaps one of the most upsetting realizations newly divorced parents have is understanding they will be spending at least part of their holidays without their children. This may be a most painful separation, such as not having them at the table on Thanksgiving Day or waking up in an empty house on Christmas morning. Whether the decision was negotiated by the parents or handed down by a family law judge, it may be a difficult though not impossible adjustment to make.

Facing the holidays after a divorce, even when several years have passed, may be difficult for many Pennsylvania parents. It is understandable to grieve the separation from one's children or losing favorite traditions. It may help to know there are other parents going through the same thing, and seeking them out may give one something to look forward to on the hardest days.

Marijuana possession charges in Pennsylvania

States very greatly in how severely they treat marijuana possession in their laws. How about Pennsylvania? What type of offense is marijuana possession under state law?

Here in Pennsylvania, recreational marijuana possession remains illegal. However, such possession is typically a misdemeanor, not a felony. It is important to remember though that just because a person isn’t facing felony charges in relation to pot possession allegations doesn’t mean that such allegations can’t have major ramifications on a person’s life. 

Pennsylvania man faces drunk driving charges

A man from Greencastle is facing serious charges following an alleged hit-and-run crash on the evening of Sept. 28, according to local sources. Pennsylvania police arrested the man on suspicion of drunk driving after he allegedly struck another vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. He was set to appear for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 9 at 8:15 a.m., and at last report was being held against $35,000 bail in a county prison.

Pennsylvania man faces drunk driving charges

A man believed to be intoxicated behind the wheel has been taken into custody following a serious crash that sent another driver to the hospital with critical injuries. The Pennsylvania man was apprehended following the Sept. 15 crash and now faces drunk driving charges in addition to several related charges. He is currently being held at a county prison against $100,000 bail. 

According to the report provided by Pennsylvania police, the man was traveling westbound on Bristol Road around 6:20 a.m. when the accident occurred. He apparently left his lane and traveled into the eastbound lanes of the road, which led to him crashing into two other vehicles head-on. Police believe the man was driving a vehicle he did not own at the time of the crash. 

The price rowdy college kids can pay

If you’ve recently sent your son or daughter off to college, you may have already covered rules about underage drinking and possession.

However, there is one charge that can easily be forgotten. A growing number of Pennsylvania students are facing conduct violations, such as disorderly conduct charges.

Estate planning mistakes may lead to disputes

Creating an estate plan allows an individual in Pennsylvania to set out expectations for their personal, professional and financial future. Unfortunately taking on the task of creating and maintaining an estate plan intimidates some people, even to the point where they never do it at all.

It’s important that all prudent planners sit down with financial and legal professionals to strategize and plan for their futures. It isn’t the daunting task many perceive it to be, so consider the benefits of comprehensive and inclusive estate planning. With no plan in place or an improperly prepared plan, the probate process may end up in a litigious, tense battle between loved ones in a time of grief.

Did a stop at a DUI checkpoint result in a drunk driving charge?

Law enforcement departments all over the state of Pennsylvania conduct DUI checkpoints randomly throughout the year. They are required by law to tell residents when these checkpoints will be taking place, but they are not required to say the exact locations where they will set up shop. If you stand accused of drunk driving after being stopped at one of these checkpoints, legal counsel may be able to help you fight it.

If people knew where DUI checkpoints were going to be, they would likely find other routes to their destinations. Unfortunately, law enforcement can set them up wherever they want as long as they have given official notification to the public. Once in line at a DUI checkpoint, it can be hard to get out of it.

Police say drunk driving led to unborn baby's death last year

Pennsylvania State Police troopers end up investigating all kinds of accidents. One of the first considerations of many law enforcement officers, including troopers, is whether one of the drivers involved was impaired at the time. Confirming that suspicion requires a significant amount of time, so charges may not come for weeks or months after the incident occurs, but that does not mean that someone suspected of drunk driving involving an accident should wait for an arrest warrant to begin planning a defense.

For instance, a man involved in an accident on July 17, 2017, was just recently charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and recklessly endangering another person, among other charges. In that crash, a pregnant woman suffered serious injuries and underwent an emergency cesarean section to deliver her baby. Sadly, her unborn child ultimately passed away, allegedly due to the accident.

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Skala | Miller
Skala Miller, PLLC, Attorneys at Law

115 N. Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601

Phone: 724-221-3181
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