Take the Time To Update Your Will

By some accounts, 70% of adult Americans do not have a will. If you at least have gone to the trouble of getting a will, consider yourself ahead of the curve and pat yourself on the back. Then come back to earth and understand that your work is not completely done. A will is not a static instrument. To serve its purposes, it must keep current with life changes, including an individual's financial circumstances, and with some external factors, such as tax laws.


Protecting Your Home Investment--Let Your Title Insurance Do the Job

When someone buys a home, in addition to the land, bricks and wood, the buyer purchases the legal title to the property. If the title is defective, it could result in serious financial loss to the purchaser.


Businesses Beware: Sending Unsolicited Fax Advertisements Could Be Costly

Beginning on January 9, 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin enforcing regulations, which make it unlawful to send an unsolicited advertisement to a facsimile machine without the prior written permission of the recipient. The current FCC standard permits businesses to send unsolicited faxes to clients or customers with whom the advertiser has an existing business relationship. However, the new regulations require advertisers to obtain prior written permission from both new and existing customers/clients.


Zoning Hearing Board Membership

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires that each municipality that adopts a zoning ordinance must establish a board that is made up of three to five members. These members are appointed by a resolution adopted by the local municipality. One to three alternate board members may also be appointed to serve in the event that the zoning hearing board does not have a quorum due to absences or disqualifications.


Employer Alert Proposed Revisions to FMLA Regulation Released

The United States Department of Labor has released their proposed revisions to the Family Medical Leave Act regulations. The proposed regulations were prompted in part by continued tension between employers and employees concerning intermittent leave and recent decisions by the courts of this country. Employers and employees have until April 11th 2008 to consider and comment on proposed changes. CGA is providing a brief outline of some of the proposed changes on these issues which CGA has had to deal with on a continuing basis in our representation of our clients.


Family Responsibilities Discrimination Claims at the Forefront in 2008

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in cases involving "family responsibility discrimination" (FRD). According to a study performed by the University of California-Hastings Center for Work Life Law, the number of FRD cases increased by 400% from 1996 to 2005. FRD cases usually involve employees of both sexes, who allege that they were discriminated against by their employer because of their family caregiver responsibilities.


School Projects May Be Done Through Single Contract

On November 21, 2007, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision that is significant to contractors that perform work on school projects in Pennsylvania. In the companion cases of Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Pennsylvania vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Education, et al. and General Building Contractors Association, et al. vs.


IRS Gets Tough on Deferred Compensation

The much-anticipated and much delayed rules from the IRS on the income tax treatment of deferred compensation are now available. At almost 400 pages, the rules are not exactly light reading for the average taxpayer. The regulations are effective as of January 1, 2008; however, taxpayers have until the end of 2008 to make any necessary changes to their deferred compensation plans to comply with the regulations.


Child Support Obligations

Child support is a shared responsibility of both parents. No matter what custody arrangement exists between parents for the sharing of physical custody of a child, some sharing of financial obligations usually is ordered by the courts if one parent seeks child support from the other parent. In deciding whether a parent must pay child support, the courts focus on the earning capacity of both parents, and not simply on their actual earnings.


Valuation Discounts For Estate And Gift Taxes

Upon the death of the owner of stock in a closely held corporation, the fair market value ("FMV") of the stock must be determined before an estate tax return can be filed. For gifts of such stock, it is also necessary to ascertain the value of the stock for gift tax purposes. Unlike publicly traded stock, the value of which can be determined easily on the Internet or in a newspaper, stock in a closely held business has a value that is more difficult to nail down. By definition, the shares are held by a much smaller number of people and are not widely traded.


Should You Incorporate Your Business?

Following fast on the heels of a decision to go into a particular kind of business is the decision about what type of legal entity it should take. The most common options are a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a limited liability company ("LLC"). Traditionally, the corporate route enjoys an understanding of its concepts, and you may like the sound of having "Inc." after the company's name, but there are more practical, business-like considerations to take into account.


Where to Sue? Websites Can Affect Jurisdiction

In a nation of 50 different systems of state courts and a highly interconnected national economy, the issue of when one state's courts can assert jurisdiction over a nonresident person or business has always been fertile ground for litigation. State legislatures have addressed the matter with laws that are the civil counterparts to the notion that criminals cannot escape the "long arm of the law." But "long-arm statutes," as they are known, do have their limits.