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ESTATE PLANNING:

TRUSTS FOR ANIMALS/PETS

Section 7738 of the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code of Pennsylvania provides for the creation of an Animal Trust to provide for the care of pets upon the owner’s death or disability. Learn about Estate Planning, Trusts for Animals/Pets.

It is not generally recommended that a formal trust be established for the care of a pet.  A better approach may be to discuss this issue with a family member or friend and obtain their agreement to care for the pet upon your death or disability. In this scenario, a specific sum of funds is set aside in your Will to provide for the expenses related to your pet’s ongoing care.  This eliminates the need to establish a formal trust account which would require additional, unnecessary expenses. The informal animal care approach is certainly is the more cost effective approach.

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Get Legal Help to File for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monetary benefits to individuals that qualify based on a disability that meets SSA statutes or, in the case of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are low income eligible. The process of filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI will vary for each individual, as each individual’s situation is unique. An attorney at Pyfer, Reese, Straub, Gray & Farhat, P.C. is available to assist you at any stage throughout the filing process, beginning with a free consultation.

Filing an Initial Application

The initial application can be filed in person at a local Social Security office, over the phone, by mail, or online at ssa.gov.   If applying via paper forms, these will be sent to you in the mail for you to complete.  While the initial application may seem straightforward, there are steps that you can take to best ensure that you are approved at the application level.

Accurate completion of these forms is critical to the decision that will be made in your case.  The forms should be filled out appropriately and returned promptly. An applicant may be required to have an examination by SSA doctors during this time. The best steps for an individual to take at the application level are unique in each case and would require review prior to advice being provided. This first level can require approximately 3-6 months before a determination is made on your application.

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Kids Have A Say In Custody Decisions

When determining an award of custody, Pennsylvania Courts consider sixteen (16) factors as listed and described under 23 Pa. C.S. § 5328. One of those factors, specifically, 23 Pa. C.S. § 5328(7) provides that the “well-reasoned preference of the child based on the child’s maturity and judgment” be considered when making a decision concerning custody.         

Common sense would dictate that the older the minor child subject to a custody action, the greater the evidentiary value his or her preference would have for the presiding judge in a custody hearing. But for a few exceptions, the foregoing is accurate for obvious reasons. First and foremost, the older minor child would be more able to articulate his/her preference than would a much younger child. Second, the older child’s stated preference would more likely impact a decision concerning custody because it would be the manifestation of a more mature and developed intellect, based on age.

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Contemplating Divorce?

Think and Plan Ahead!

Steps to Take When Pondering Divorce

            Many individuals seek legal counsel once they have left their spouse or their spouse has left them.  If you are contemplating divorce, the best course of action is to seek counsel before you leave.  It is critical to understand all of the opportunities and responsibilities you will have if you make this life changing decision.

            First, we recommend you draw up a budget.  How much money do you expect to bring in after the separation?  How much money do you expect to have in bills?  Will you have to pay support to your spouse?  How much support will your spouse pay to you?

Next, you need to figure out housing.  Do you have enough money to take over the mortgage on your own?  Do you have enough money to afford rent on your own?  It would be wise to speak to a banker and/or a local apartment complex to make sure you will be able to afford housing after the separation.  If you have children, you need to consider the cost of housing in your local school district.

Finally, examine your health insurance status.  Can you provide your own health insurance?  How much will that cost?  Do you want your spouse to provide your health insurance?

Considering these major questions will make the transition smoother.  Planning ahead can give you comfort and confidence as you go forward.  Our family law attorneys have a wealth of knowledge to get you on the right path and advise you on what to expect throughout the case.  We are here for you from start to finish.  Call 717-299-7342 to schedule a consultation and prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Contact Pyfer Reese Straub Gray & Farhat, PC.


Happy National Administrative Professionals Day (April 21, 2021)

We value our office and administrative professionals and their ability to keep our office running smoothly. We recognize them as advocates for our industry and respected liaisons between our partners and staff.

Our legal administrative assistants support our paralegals and lawyers by keeping office operations efficient, managing schedules, by helping to prepare legal and management reports, and many other duties that typically take place “behind the scenes.” Our administrative professionals are crucial to this law firm’s success.

thank you card to our administrative staff