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The real estate market is still feeling rumblings from 2007

The recession of 2007 may just be a bad memory for most people, but for many in the real estate market, its effects still linger.

With roughly 8 million homes lost to either short sales or foreclosures, it's understandable that there are still reverberations in the industry.

Should you settle for a handshake deal?

It is tempting to assume that a handshake deal is good enough, especially when you start entering into business with people you know and trust.

For instance, perhaps you started your own company three years ago. You made a lot of friends and really got connected in the community. You met other business owners with similar companies. Eventually, you started spending your free time with them, as well. You became friends.

Start off right: The importance of business incorporation

When you have an incredible idea for a business, service or product, it is completely natural to want to move quickly to make that idea into a money-generating reality. Many people who want to start their own business focus on the smaller details, like packaging and naming products, rather than the legal technicalities involved with forming and operating a business.

Whether you intend to own and operate the business on your own or you plan to partner with investors, you should take some time to consider your options. For many small and medium-sized business owners, a sole ownership or partnership may be all that you need to begin business operations. However, if you anticipate any kind of liability or financial risk, it may be in your best interests to seriously consider forming a corporation.

How well do you understand security deposit rules in Pennsylvania

Becoming a landlord sounds like an attractive prospect on paper. To hear real estate investors talk about this career, it seems like a dream. All you need to do is secure financing to purchase a property and then sit back and collect a rent check, right? Many people who venture into the rental real estate world find themselves facing a rude awakening about the reality of landlord responsibilities.

Owning a property and renting it to tenants can be a great source of income, but it is also a source of responsibility. You need to maintain the structure, as well as the critical appliances and fixtures, like the furnace. When tenants move out, you will need to clean and make repairs, which can become quite costly. Most landlords offset the expenses related to tenant damage by charging a security deposit. However, if you don't understand state law about security deposits, you could end up in a difficult position.

Driving while impaired includes many substances, not just alcohol

When you drive anywhere, you have to be ready to react quickly to hazards around your vehicles. When you are impaired by anything, whether it is alcohol or some other substance, you can't react in the time or manner that you intend. This can be fatal or very dangerous.

Because of this danger, states have enacted laws making it illegal it to drive while you are impaired. While many people associate these laws only with alcohol, this isn't the case. Impaired driving laws apply to a variety of substances.

Is it time to update your will to protect your loved ones?

If you've already made your will, you may think it is good enough to let it be until the time comes to use it. Unfortunately, this is simply untrue. While it is good to have a will, especially considering how many people do not have one, an outdated will can create numerous complications for your family and loved ones once you pass away.

Many life changes may affect the terms of a will, making it necessary to review its terms regularly and possibly amend them. Also, the laws that govern estate planning and taxation are constantly changing, so even those who have not experienced significant life changes may still need to look their will over and make sure it complies with current laws.

Making sense of your new commercial lease agreement

Signing a commercial lease for a new property is always an exciting prospect. Perhaps your business started off in your garage or basement, and now you're finally ready to expand into your own facility. Maybe you're finally able to start producing some of your own components in-house, or you just need more space as you add more office staff to your company.

Much like residential leases, commercial leases outline the responsibilities of both tenants and landlords. Unlike a residential lease, however, there are often more obligations to the tenants in commercial leases, from charges like CAM fees to extended lease terms. While month-to-month or single year leases are common in residential rentals, for commercial spaces, leases often run several years. It's critical that you understand what you sign before you agree to anything in writing.

Take the time now to create a thorough estate plan

Far too many put off the creation of a last will or estate plan until they are at or even past retirement age. That can leave their families in a difficult position and end up wasting a substantial portion of their assets on probate court in the event of an accident or sudden medical event. In situations that involve minor children, not having a last will or naming a guardian could leave them vulnerable. Do you have someone you would trust with medical and financial decisions on your behalf? Do you have enough assets to make creating a trust a worthwhile procedure?

No one wants to imagine dying while still relatively young and healthy, but it does happen, often without warning. Failing to take steps to guide the process of handling your assets ahead of time can leave your loved ones to deal with a frustrating and potentially confusing estate.

Ways to challenge breathalyzer results

When a driver receives DUI charges based on breathalyzer results, it can feel as though there is no room to build a decent legal defense. This is understandable because the media often portrays breathalyzers as airtight proof of intoxication, but this is simply not the case in many instances.

Although breathalyzers do measure the amount of alcohol in a subject's blood stream with impressive precision, these instruments are far from perfect. Even if you believe that the evidence against you is very strong, it is still wise to consult with a DUI defense attorney to fully understand your rights and the legal options you have available.

Do not ring in the New Year at a DUI checkpoint

For many people, New Year’s Eve means being with friends and imbibing in festive alcoholic beverages. This means that over the holiday more people drive while under the influence (DUI). As a responsible driver, you may be at risk for accidents and injuries over this year’s holiday weekend.

January 1st is the second most common day of the year for fatal drunk driving accidents. Because of this spike in accidents, Pennsylvania law enforcement sets up more DUI checkpoints over the holidays to take drunk drivers off the road. This post will cover how you can protect yourself from accidents and the steps you should take if you are charged with a DUI.

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