News

Rules Governing Military Benefits in Divorce Cases

A military spouse considering separation and divorce should be aware of protections afforded by The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) and options for dividing military retired pay.  Primarily, USFSPA was enacted to provide financial protections to former spouses of military members, to include allowing states to divide military disposable retired pay as marital property upon the entry of a Divorce Decree.  USFSPA also provides certain categories of a spouse’s additional protections and benefits:

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What is a Gun Trust? Do I Need One?

If you are not a gun collector, you may not have heard of the term “gun trust.”  Even if you have heard of it, you may not understand what a gun trust is, how it works, or how it can be of use in an estate plan.

A gun trust is a revocable or irrevocable management trust established to hold the title to your firearms.  The trust is a legal entity, it becomes appointed as the legal owner of the firearm, and ownership is shifted to the trust or bought by the trust.  Revocable trusts are more common, as they can be amended during the lifetime of the grantor.  A trustee is designated to administer the trust for the trust’s recipients.

What are gun trusts used for?

Although any legally owned weapon can be placed into a gun trust, these trusts are specifically used for weapons that are classified under the National Firearms Act (NFA) Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968.  Examples of these weapons would include a fully automatic machine gun or a short-barreled shotgun or a suppressor, sometimes called a silencer.  The transport and ownership of firearms that are so heavily regulated can easily become a felony without the owner even knowing they are breaking the law.

Even if there are no Title II guns owned, there still may be important benefits in setting up this trust.  For example, an owner of a large collection of firearms may find it easier to transfer ownership of his or her weapons to a gun trust, reasons being protection of privacy, allowing for the disposition of the collection, and addressing the possibility of incapacitation. 

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hands in handcuffs

When can negative prior acts evidence be used against a defendant in a criminal case?

(And why you need diligent counsel to represent you)

The district attorney’s office has several advantages in any criminal case. They have immense discretion, vast resources, and the benefit of several evidentiary rules. Among those rules is Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 404(b), which allows the limited use of “prior bad acts” evidence against defendants in criminal cases. In some cases, that rule allows the prosecutor to tell the jury about other bad things the defendant supposedly did—even if they were never charged or convicted.

When can prosecutors use prior bad acts evidence?

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baby feet on pavement

What Happens in a Custody Case in Lancaster County?

I. Appearance in Family Business Court

This does not happen in each case. When your case begins, it may be necessary to have a “temporary”

Custody Order. This will require an appearance in Family Business Court. Family Business Court is a Court Session which is held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday (depending on the letter of the alphabet of the Defendant’s last name). At this time, attorneys speak with the Judge, make arguments, and the Judge makes a determination regarding their request. A Temporary Custody Order may be entered after a Family Business Court Session. This is not a final, permanent Order.

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hand next to pile of $100 writing "testament my last wish"

Moving From/to a New State? Make Sure to Have Your Estate Plan Reviewed When You Are Settled

When relocating to a new state, it is important to have your estate plan documents, such as a Will, Power Of Attorney, Durable Health Care Power Of Attorney (Living Will), or Trust, reviewed by an attorney in your new state as soon as possible, as some states have unique laws and requirements regarding these documents.  Estate and Inheritance Tax provisions should also be considered upon relocating.

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gavel on a table

How Much to Ask For In A Personal Injury Settlement In Pennsylvania

If you are claiming an injury as a result of someone else’s fault (and you did not contribute to your own injuries), there are several factors that will help determine how much to ask for in the demand letter, which typically starts the settlement process.

How much to ask for in a personal injury settlement? Personal injury settlements can range from $3,000 to over $75,000 on average nationally, and frankly, these ranges even vary from county to county or state to state. How much also depends on the attorneys’ experience and what such cases/injuries typically settle for in Pennsylvania. Get what you deserve! Experience counts. Call Pyfer Reese Straub Gray & Farhat for a consultation.

Read further to learn what impacts how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement.

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taxes and the law

The Tax Process During an Estate Administration

There are, generally, three tax returns that may be filed after the date of death of the decedent by the executor (administrator) or executrix (administratrix) of an estate:

    (1) Personal Income Tax Returns, and

    (2) Fiduciary Income Tax Returns, and

    (3) Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return.

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children in a wagon

Relocation in Custody Matters

Parties to a custody action commonly seek to relocate with their child or children. Pennsylvania has set forth precise procedural requirements in these situations. That said, the threshold determination in these matters is whether the relocation triggers the aforementioned formal process at all.

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personal injury law

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

There is no definite answer to this question. It depends. It depends on your injuries. It depends on the number of parties. It depends where you file your lawsuit. It depends on the backlog of the specific court where you are filing. And during these unsettled times with COVID-19 lurking, the answer becomes even more complex and unpredictable. In essence, a personal injury lawsuit may take months or years to resolve, from the date a complaint is filed to the date a trial or a settlement or some alternative dispute resolution procedure takes place to bring closure to your lawsuit. 

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child getting COVID vaccine

Legal Custody and Vaccination Disputes: COVID-19 Impact

COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available for children ages 5 years and older, and booster shots are being offered for children ages 16 years and older and children who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.  If you are a parent, you have likely considered the COVID-19 vaccine and whether it is appropriate for your child. 

There is no question that the decision to vaccinate—or not vaccinate—has led to spirited debate among adults, and similar discourse has occurred between parents who are considering the vaccine for their child. 

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