Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Ins and Outs of Negotiating a Commercial Lease

Whether you’re just starting out or you are a seasoned business owner, making sure your commercial lease is beneficial to you as a tenant is vital. There are several types of commercial leases, and some important factors must be taken into account before you even think of signing anything. Seeking the counsel of an experienced real estate transaction lawyer to help you understand this complex contract and guide you through the negotiation process will ensure your rights and interests are protected.

Consider the Length of Your Commercial Lease

Depending on how well your business is established and what type of business you’re in, it may be a good idea to sign a short-term lease in the beginning. A term of one or two years with an option to renew is usually best for small businesses. That way you’re not committed for a long period of time but your lease gives you the option to stay if it’s a good fit. However, if your business is a very location-dependent establishment such as a restaurant, a long-term lease of five or more years may make more sense.

Do Your Research on Local Rent Costs, Zoning and Other Requirements

Check out comparable rents in the area and talk with your city or township zoning officer before you start negotiations on any lease. Zoning rules vary according to location, and if something is prohibited or you need to get a variance, it’s best to be aware of these facts and consult with an experienced attorney before you waste your time, money and energy negotiating a commercial lease.

Negotiate Concessions

Some commercial leases require the tenant to be responsible for property taxes, utilities, maintenance, repairs and any damage to the property, including costly expenses such as fixing or repairing HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. If you decide to sign a long-term lease, it is essential to insist on certain concessions from the landlord. This means asking for items in relation to the length of the lease such as move-in allowances, free rent and renovations or improvements to the property at the landlord’s expense. A knowledgeable lawyer for contractswill advise you on which modifications to the lease will benefit your unique situation and ensure that the contract you end up signing is in your best interest.

Include Important Clauses

There are various clauses to protect your interests that should be included in any commercial lease. Making sure the lease includes a clause that allows you to sublease the property is important in case your business needs to relocate or close before the term expires. A co-tenancy clause will allow you to break the lease if a large anchor tenant that affects your business moves out.

Seek the Assistance of a Qualified Attorney

Leases are legal contracts and should be thoroughly scrutinized and understood before you even consider signing. Carosella & Associates’ real estate and business lawyers at our law firm in West Chester will ensure you get the best possible deal for your particular situation.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Advantages of Setting Up a Special Needs Trust for Your Child

Having a solid estate plan in place is essential, especially if you want to make sure a disabled loved one is taken care of after your passing or incapacitation. A Special Needs Trust is created specifically for the benefit of a person with physical or mental disabilities who lacks the capacity to manage their own finances.
 
 


How Will A Special Needs Trust Help My Loved One?

Special needs trusts are often created to ensure that a beneficiary won’t lose government assistance such as Medicaid, SSI, vocational rehabilitation and other vital benefits. Leaving assets to your disabled loved one without a trust can disqualify them for these types of government assistance programs.
Typically, a Special Needs Trustee does not give money directly to a beneficiary. Instead, they use the trust assets to purchase certain necessities and extras for your loved one. A trustee can buy services and products for your loved one for vacations, hobbies, recreation, home furnishings, education, home companions and even minor items like toiletries.
The assets in a Special Needs Trust are also protected from creditors.  If your estate or the beneficiary of the trust is sued and a judgment is awarded creditors cannot seize the assets in the Special Needs Trust. Using an experienced attorney who offers comprehensive estate planning services to create a Special Needs Trust ensures that all of your child’s needs are taken care of and their financial future is protected. Not only that, your attorney can assist you with other important estate planning matters such as drafting a will and business succession planning.

Choosing a Trustee

A Trustee is a person or entity you choose to be in charge of the assets in the Trust.  The Trustee must comply with the Trust terms and responsibly manage and invest assets to ensure that the assets are used to their fullest potential. This is extremely important if the beneficiary relies on the Trust for his/her care and support.  It’s much easier for another party to take control of your child’s money if assets are not administered by a trustee. The Trustee can make sure that your loved one is not victimized by unscrupulous people who may try to take advantage.
Carefully choosing the right Trustee for your child’s Special Needs Trust is vital. If a reliable, trustworthy family member or friend is not available, having experienced wills and trusts attorneys manage the assets in your loved one’s trust can give you peace of mind knowing that their best interests will be fully protected after you’re gone.

Why Do I Need An Attorney To Create A Special Needs Trust?

There are countless unforeseen circumstances that can impact your loved one’s financial future. Many important things you should consider when preparing a will may not even come to mind unless you seek the advice of an experienced attorney. At Carosella & Associates, our estate planning lawyers address your family’s specific needs and help you develop effective solutions to safeguard your loved ones’ financial future.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

What are some examples of misdemeanors?

In Pennsylvania, misdemeanor offenses can have serious consequences, including thousands of dollars in fines, jail time and a permanent stain on your record. Misdemeanor charges are not something to take lightly, so it’s vital to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the legal process and ensure your rights and interests are protected.
 

Types of Crimes that are Considered Misdemeanors in PA

Alcohol-related crimes such as DUI, carrying an open container, minor in possession of alcohol and other offenses. The law varies by jurisdiction, so it’s important to seek the counsel of a skilled local criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities of both state and local law.
Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor charge that often goes hand-in-hand with alcohol-related offenses and more serious charges. Typically, disorderly conduct includes any type of unruly behavior that provokes a disturbance.
Simple assault is a very serious charge in Pennsylvania. If you are convicted of physically attacking another person with the intent to cause harm or physical injury, the repercussions can include significant jail time and made it difficult to find employment, housing and other basic necessities that allow you to make a living. Depending on how severe the assault was, charges can even lead to a felony conviction.
Criminal mischief includes various crimes such as vandalism and destruction of public or private property. Although committing a crime like drawing graffiti on a building may seem minor, if you are over the age of 18 and have a previous criminal record you may face dire consequences for your actions.
Criminal impersonation can be charged when someone pretends to be another person with intent to defraud or injure someone else, as in cases of identity theft and insurance fraud. It is also illegal to impersonate a public servant such as a police officer or other law enforcement official.
Trespassing offenses can be charged at several levels under Pennsylvania law. If you are illegally found on or inside a property that does not belong to you or are in violation of a Protective Order, having a lawyer who is well-versed in misdemeanor and domestic violence offenses to represent you is vital.

Penalties for Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania

There are three basic types of misdemeanors in Pennsylvania, which include first, second, and third-degree offenses. First-degree misdemeanor offenses are the most serious type, and can lead to significant jail time and costly fines. Some misdemeanor crimes in Pennsylvania have mandatory minimum sentences associated with them.
The maximum penalties for misdemeanors in PA are:
  • First-degree: Up to five years in jail and $10,000 in fines
  • Second-degree: Up to two years in jail and $5,000 in fines
  • Third-degree: Up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines
If you or a loved one is facing misdemeanor charges in Pennsylvania, our experienced West Chester criminal lawyer at Carosella & Associates will fight for your rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Using Estate Planning to Protect Assets

There are multiple facets to estate planning, and asset protection plays a large role in this important process. Regardless of your age, seeking the counsel of experienced probate and estate lawyers who will advise you on how to use estate planning to protect your assets can give you peace of mind and help ensure that your family’s financial future is protected.

Estate Planning and Asset Protection

Each person’s circumstances are different, but one of the most important estate planning goals for many people is to ensure that their assets are passed on to their beneficiaries, not their creditors. This is just one reason why creating a will is not enough—there are many other essential estate planning documents that serve an important purpose in preserving and protecting everything you’ve worked hard for.

Trusts

A trust is very common estate planning tool that is used to protect assets. A trust is a legal document in which one person or qualified entity, the trustee, holds property for the benefit of another, the beneficiary. The property in the trust can be any kind of real or personal property, including money, real estate, stocks, and other personal possessions. There are different types of trusts, so it is vital to make sure you seek estate planning services from a seasoned attorney who will advise you on everything you need to know about trusts.
One type of trust that protects your assets from creditors (and some estate taxes) is an irrevocable trust. When an irrevocable trust is created, the grantor no longer owns the assets that were used to fund it, and cannot modify, control or terminate the trust. Irrevocable trusts are often used for life insurance planning and setting aside education funds for children. Assets left in a fully discretionary trust with a third-party trustee can provide maximum assets protection for beneficiaries.
Because the grantor no longer owns the assets held in an irrevocable trust, a future creditor cannot go after them. However, it’s important to note that a transfer to a trust can be undone if a court finds that the trust was created with the intention of deceiving creditors. That’s why planning ahead and creating trusts to shield your assets before you are subject to any liability is vital.
With a revocable trust, grantor maintains ownership of the assets, and can change or revoke the trust at any time. As such, a revocable trust does not protect assets—creditors can force the owner of a revocable living trust or its estate to terminate the trust and surrender the assets.  The extent of protection a trust provides can vary widely from state to state. If you live in Pennsylvania, seeking estate planning services in West Chester, PA will ensure that you are working with attorneys who are well-versed in the complexities of state law.
Although a will is also a vital estate planning document, there are significant differences between a will and a trust. Unlike a will, a trust is a private document. A will must be filed in the probate court before it is determined to be valid. Most types of trusts allow the assets in the trust to avoid probate. Probate is typically a public process. If you are concerned about privacy, this is just one of a number of important things to consider when preparing a will.
While a will doesn’t protect your assets from creditors or probate, dying without a will can make circumstances very difficult and complicated for your family. Seeking the services of lawyers who deal with wills to help you draft this vital document will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and help your loved ones avoid conflict and save time and money.

Gifting Assets

Gifting assets to family members, friends or charity can keep them safe from creditors as well, but it’s important to keep in mind that these types of transfers are irrevocable and you cannot force a return of these assets, which can be problematic if the issue of divorce arises.

Insurance

Carrying an adequate amount of homeowners, auto and life insurance is essential to protect your assets and your family. Make sure to include plenty of liability coverage and raise your insurance deductible or eliminate dual coverage to save on premiums. An umbrella policy is an economical way to insure against many different types of risks, and provides coverage for claims that may be excluded by other liability policies. It’s important to shop around for all types of insurance—costs can vary significantly from one company to another.

Tenancy by the Entirety

The manner in which your assets are titled can also protect them from creditors. Pennsylvania law usually treats those assets owned jointly with a spouse as “tenants by the entireties” property, which refers to a way of titling joint property only available to married couples.  In most instances, Pennsylvania law protects this type of property from the creditors of either individual spouse. For example, if your spouse injures someone and a judgment is entered against him or her in excess of any liability insurance that there might be, any assets that the two of you own as tenants by the entireties cannot be seized to satisfy that judgment.

529 & Retirement Plans

A 529 plan is a savings plan that’s designed to encourage saving for future education costs. Assets deposited into a 529 plan for children, grandchildren, stepchildren, step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews provide certain tax advantages and may be protected from creditors, and can be an effective way to shield large sums of money. There are fees and expenses associated with 529 plans, but the tax benefits often outweigh these costs.
Depending on the circumstances, assets contributed to retirement plans such as a 401(k) or IRA may also be sheltered from creditors.

Planning for Incapacity

Not only is it vital to have a lawyer write up your will, there are other important estate planning and asset protection documents that should be in place in the event of your incapacitation or death. Properly drafted power of attorney is essential to ensure that both your health and assets are protected in the event of your incapacitation. Power of attorney for health care lets you designate someone to make decisions about your medical care and end-of-life options if you become incapacitated and are unable to convey your wishes.  If you are incapacitated, a power of attorney for finances will allow your agent to take care of financial affairs such as paying bills and selling property without any need for court involvement. Again, setting up useful estate planning tools like trusts ahead of time can protect some of your assets from being wiped out by long-term care expenses in the future.
A durable power of attorney for finances is especially important when it comes to succession planning for your business. Failing to have a proper exit plan for your business can put your assets in jeopardy, which can lead to financial problems in retirement and affect the distribution of your assets when you’re gone.

Entity Formation

Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) can be a valuable asset protection tool. When you form an FLP, you transfer ownership of a particular asset or assets to the FLP in return for an ownership interest in the FLP itself.  Many states give these entities “charging order” protection, whereby creditors can only reach a distribution made from the entity to an individual owner. If structured properly, these entities can have numerous other advantages beyond asset protection, such as providing discounts for gift and estate tax valuation purposes, providing a vehicle for the consolidation and effective management and control of family assets and keeping family assets within the family. Also, perhaps most importantly, a liability arising with respect to the assets held by the entity should be limited to the entity’s assets, thus insulating other assets of the owner of the entity from any such liability.
At Carosella & Associates, our experienced estate planning and business attorneys can help you create an effective asset protection plan that will ensure your assets are preserved today and in the future.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Can you be Charged Twice for the Same Crime?

Can you be Charged Twice for the Same Crime?You’ve probably heard of double jeopardy, an important legal concept which means that a criminal defendant cannot face prosecution twice for the same offense. Although double jeopardy is a vital component of the U.S. Constitution, there are scenarios in which it does not apply. If you commit a crime in different states, counties or your offense violates both state and federal law, you may face prosecution for the same crime in multiple courts.

Facing Criminal Charges in Multiple Courts

Regardless of whether you have been convicted or acquitted in a particular jurisdiction, you typically cannot not be tried again for the same crime in the same court. However, you can still be tried in another state or the federal court system if charges have been brought against you in those jurisdictions. This falls under the legal concept of “dual sovereigns,” which means that if your crime violated both state and federal laws, the United States and state governments may both prosecute you without violating the constitutional protection against double jeopardy. These types of cases are very complex, so it is vital to seek the counsel of knowledgeable criminal lawyers who are familiar with all aspects of criminal law and have experience representing defendants in multiple jurisdictions.

Prosecution after a Mistrial

A judge may declare a mistrial for several reasons. One of the most common scenarios that lead to a mistrial is a “hung jury,” which occurs when all jurors cannot come to a consensus on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The concept of double jeopardy only applies in cases where the defendant was definitively and unanimously found not guilty by a jury. In a mistrial, because the original jury was unable to reach a verdict, the prosecutor could potentially try the defendant again in a new trial with a new jury. Again, if you’ve been federally charged or charged with the same crime in another state, you may face another trial in that jurisdiction, even after an acquittal.

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Regardless of whether you’re facing charges in one or more jurisdictions, it is critical to have skilled criminal attorneys in your corner who will fight to protect your rights and help you understand the complexities of criminal defense law. The distinctions among local, state and federal law are complicated, and a lawyer whose focus is not in the area of criminal law may not know precisely what happens after a felony conviction or the ins and outs of representing a criminal defendant in multiple jurisdictions.
At Carosella & Associates, we use our combined skills and experience to develop effective defense strategies and work to achieve the best possible outcomes for all of our clients. If you are facing criminal charges, our experienced and compassionate legal team provides personalized, top-quality legal representation and will relentlessly fight to protect your rights and interests.

This blog was originally posted at https://carosella.com/can-you-be-charged-twice-for-the-same-crime/

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Think You’re Cut Out For Doing FSBO? Check this out.

Think You're Cut Out For Doing FSBO? Check this out.These days many homeowners are putting their homes on the market without the assistance of a real estate agent. With so much information available online, selling “For Sale by Owner” can help you avoid paying a realtor a commission and let you keep more money from the sale of your home. Although it’s easy to look up comparables in your area and research the local market to determine a fair price, the legal and financial complexities of real estate transactions require an experienced lawyer to review contracts, prepare sales agreements and ensure that the sale of your home goes smoothly from start to finish.

Advantages of Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer for FSBO

Hiring a skilled real estate lawyer in PA to assist you with selling your home can end up costing far less than paying a realtor a six percent commission fee. Your attorney will guide you through the entire process—he or she will ensure your rights are protected and help you avoid common mistakes that often surround FSBO transactions. An experienced real estate lawyer can help you come up with a successful strategy for selling your home, negotiate on your behalf and accompany you to the closing to make sure all loose ends are properly tied up. Real estate lawyers also have resources and connections that can help you find a reputable title insurance company, appraisers and other services.

Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement

residential real estate lawyer will save you the hassle of handling the more complicated aspects of your FSBO sale. Once you accept an offer from a serious buyer, your attorney will create a real estate purchase and sale agreement, a vital document that’s designed to safeguard both parties’ rights and interests. This contract outlines many important aspects of the sale of property, including title condition, property details, final sale price, earnest money deposit, disclosures, contingencies and closing date. Your attorney may also act as an escrow agent by holding the buyer’s earnest money in a lawyers’ trust account.

Preparing a Deed For Sale By Owner

There are many specific details and language that must be included when preparing a deed for sale by owner. There are multiple steps, documents and standards that are required by all recorders of deeds in Pennsylvania.  A lawyer who is well-versed in handling for sale by owner transactions knows exactly what is required when creating and registering a new deed, including how to correctly prepare payments for fees and transfer taxes.  Having a lawyer prepare the deed will ensure that ownership of the property is transferred according to all local and state laws and requirements. If these requirements and procedures are not properly followed, transfer of ownership could be deemed invalid and result in costly legal claims down the road.
At Carosella & Associates, our experienced West Chester real estate attorneys offer exceptional legal counsel and real estate law services. Our skilled legal team will work hard to make your FSBO transaction  trouble-free from beginning to end.

This blog was originally posted at https://carosella.com/think-youre-cut-out-for-doing-fsbo-check-this-out/

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What is a No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce can help couples separate amicably, avoid stress and cut down on family conflict. Simply put, no-fault divorce allows one spouse to obtain a divorce without the other spouse’s consent. Regardless of the type of divorce you may be considering, seeking the counsel of experienced local divorce attorneys is vital to protect your rights and interests.

No-Fault Divorce

If you file for fault-based divorce, you must prove wrongdoing by your spouse. No-fault divorce means that the person filing for divorce is not required to show any fault by their spouse. “Irreconcilable differences” is often cited in no-fault cases.
If your spouse does not consent to a divorce, you must wait a designated period of one year before you can seek relief through the courts including division of assets and any determinations regarding alimony. If your spouse has been in a mental hospital for 18 months and will remain in the hospital for at least another 18 months, you can file for divorce on no-fault grounds.
If both parties agree to the divorce, you can seek an uncontested divorce by mutual consent, which is typically granted 90 days after the divorce filing. Mutual no-fault divorce gives both spouses an opportunity to consent to divorce and avoid a long, drawn-out process. An uncontested divorce by mutual consent means that both parties give sworn affidavits declaring that the marriage is irreparably broken. In this type of no-fault divorce, it is crucial to have a lawyer draft a divorce settlement agreement, which outlines the terms of the divorce, rights and responsibilities of each party and division of property, assets and debts.

Filing for No-Fault Divorce

Before you file for divorce, it’s a good idea to make an appointment for a legal consultation and prepare the right questions to ask your divorce lawyer that would help to determine your best course of action. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand how divorce and custody proceedings work in Pennsylvania and prepare you for any pitfalls that may arise.
To file for any type of divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must have lived in the state of PA for at least six months. To file for no-fault divorce, you must first file a divorce complaint with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where you or your spouse resides. Your complaint should outline your eligibility for divorce in Pennsylvania, the reason for your divorce, and include any other matters you want the court to decide. These documents need to be served on the other party within 30 days of the date they were filed. It’s important to remember that even if you’re filing for no-fault, you may still encounter frustrating roadblocks that can delay proceedings if your spouse does not consent to the divorce. A divorce attorney can provide advice and more specifics on how to file for divorce in PA.
At Carosella & Associates, our skilled Chester County divorce lawyers  will help you determine which type of divorce best fits your needs and ensure that your rights are protected.

This blog was originally posted at https://carosella.com/what-is-a-no-fault-divorce/