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Retirement approaching: Time to update your estate plan

Planning for retirement typically involves budgeting and many years of careful saving throughout your professional career. Before you book that European river cruise or start planning your convertible trip down Route 66 with your spouse, there are a few other considerations beyond the immediate financial concerns of a retired person.

Specifically, anyone going through a transition in life needs to consider whether the changes they face will impact their estate plan and last will. Those approaching retirement will have concerns that younger testators may not consider in their estate plan.

What role does zoning play in building or buying a property?

Philadelphia is a very old city whose layout and structure largely reflects the lack of planning common in the early development of the East Coast of the United States. At one time, development and new construction occurred whenever and wherever someone wanted it to, but eventually, local lawmakers realized careful planning was necessary.

These days, anyone who wants to build or even modify an existing building will likely need the approval of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission or the support of the Zoning Board of Adjustment if they want to use a property in a manner for which it does not currently have the right zoning.

A DUI can seriously damage your reputation: Protect yourself

When people talk about DUIs, they talk about how serious they are in terms of the financial toll. They might bring up the risk of imprisonment as well.

Those aren't the only ways that DUIs can affect you, though, and as a professional, those might be among the least problematic. What is more serious is the risk of damage to your reputation.

As a Pennsylvania developer, how do you subdivide a property?

Housing is one of the areas of the economy that never seems to slow down or stagnate. After all, no matter what else happens with the economy, people will always need a place to live. Older homes, as well as new construction, will typically have people interested in purchasing them, particularly if they have upscale amenities or a great location.

When there isn't enough existing real estate on the market to meet demand, new development and building can increase housing supply. Areas that have become dilapidated or that have previously never seen improvement or investment could soon become popular residential areas. Real estate developers and architects may see large areas of vacant land as a potential opportunity.

When can you as a landlord retain a tenant's security deposit?

Landlords across Pennsylvania work hard and invest their own time and capital to help themselves develop a sustainable stream of mostly passive income. Once you have tenants in a property, they will continue to pay rent every month, which can cover your costs for the mortgage, insurance, taxes and maintenance of the building. Most tenants will pay their rent and maintain a clean and safe home in your rental unit.

Unfortunately, there are those individuals who simply don't engage in the proper care of the place that they live. These individuals could cause damage to your rental unit and leave you wondering if you can retain their security deposit. Understanding how Pennsylvania law expects you to handle the security deposit can help you ensure compliance and avoid financial complications.

The ways a Pennsylvania DUI could impact your professional career

Hard-working professionals need a chance to unwind, but sometimes, kicking back can put your career in danger. Whether you went out for drinks with potential clients or with your co-workers to celebrate signing a big sale, if you choose to get behind the wheel after a few drinks and get pulled over by police, you may find yourself in a precarious position.

You likely already know that the state of Pennsylvania has significant penalties for those accused of impaired driving, particularly repeat offenders. However, it is not just the criminal consequences that you need to consider, but also the potential civil consequences.

Here are 6 interesting facts about alcohol that you may not know

Alcohol is a great way to unwind and enjoy your night, but it can also lead to problems for those who choose to enjoy a little too much. From DUIs and life-changing charges to crashes that cause injuries, drinking and driving is one of the worst things people can choose to do.

Sometimes, the issue is that there have been myths about alcohol use that cloud people's vision. For example, a common myth is that coffee will help you sober up if you've been drinking. The reality is that coffee won't help at all.

Get help defending yourself against an unfair DUI

When you decided to go out for a night on the town, the last thing you were planning to do was drink. However, while you were out, you ran into an old friend, and throughout the night you both had a little too much to drink.

When it was time to leave, it was already 4 a.m., and the roads seemed deserted. You decided to try to make it home, since it was only a few blocks away. Needless to say, that didn't work out in your favor, and you went off the road as a result of the combination of being slightly impaired and exhausted from a night out with no sleep.

Addressing a neighbor who creates a nuisance in Pennsylvania

There's a famous old saying that Robert Frost once used as the basis for a narrative poem that good fences make good neighbors. In Frost's poem, he implies that fences don't necessarily impact a neighborly relationship, but it doesn't take a social scientist to understand why boundaries and barriers benefit people who live in close proximity to one another.

Whether you live in a condo that shares a wall with someone else or you have a stand-alone home, the people who live close to you can directly impact both the property value of your home and the quality of your life. When your neighbor becomes a nuisance, it may be time to sit down with a Pennsylvania real estate attorney to talk about your rights as a homeowner.

Your estate plan should address health issues, not just death

Estate planning is an important decision-making process that many people delay. Even those who have taken the time to create a last will may not have spent adequate time attending to other potential future needs. Creating a comprehensive estate plan beyond just a last will offers you the most protection and peace of mind.

For example, creating a trust can help you structure an inheritance for an heir whom you know doesn't make good financial decisions. You can also create a special needs trust for a child with a severe physical or mental disability. However, we shouldn't just think of other people when you plan for the future.

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Kenneth L. Baritz & Associates, P.C.
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Philadelphia, PA 19110

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