We all have coping mechanisms. A popular one is to ignore a problem and it will go away. Of course, we all know that does not work, though it does help curb the stress of the moment. Unfortunately, ignoring legal documents generally does not end well for the recipient. If you receive documents from a law firm or a court, do not sit on your rights. Usually, acting at the earliest moment will preserve your rights and defenses. Failure to act will likely result in losing any defense to a claim you may have had.

The Law Office of James Clark is equipped to deal with the stress brought upon you by whatever frightening legal document you received. If you receive legal documents, do not just put them aside. Contact the Law Office of James Clark and we will develop a strategy molded to your particular situation. The sooner you call, the more options you will have.

House Guest or Tenant?

Have you heard about the "Nightmare Nanny" in California? A live-in nanny was fired and asked to leave the home, but she refused to go. While it would seem the home owners had every right to kick-out the nanny, the state of California disagreed. The home owners had to initiate eviction proceedings to remove the nanny from their home. Sound absurd? Well, it can happen in Pennsylvania too.

If you have a "house guest" who has overstayed their welcome and have lived with you for over 30 days, do not expect a quick resolution to your squatting guest. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania considers that anyone living at a property for over 30 days has obtained "residency." The Commonwealth's position is reinforced by any act of "household contribution" your house guest might make. The best way to avoid any issue is to have a contract setting forth everyone's obligations...even if you think the house guest is "temporary."

Marriage For All! So, What Comes Next?

On May 20, 2014, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down a 1996 state law that declared same sex marriage void. Finding the statute unconstitutional, the Honorable John E. Jones, III concluded that "all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage." The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit may receive the matter on appeal, but its reversal is unlikely. Already, several long-awaited ceremonies have taken place, so what comes next?

Planning for the future, while often pushed aside until "something happens," should be seriously considered with proactive measures taken by each partner in a relationship, married or not. Nobody enjoys contemplating their own mortality (and hopefully nobody else's mortality), but it is one of the few certainties we have. Why wait until "something happens" before you take action - what if there's very little time in which to act? Emotions can be powerful, so it is best to prepare for the inevitable while it is only a consideration.

Consider the following documents that will help reduce your loved one's stress, frustration, and expenses during one of life's worst moments:

- will: a declaration that sets forth the desired disposition of all your property.

- living will: a document setting forth your desires in the event you are unable to make your own decisions.

- power of attorney: a document that may be drafted in various ways to allow another person to control, hold or dispose of your property when you are otherwise unable.

- pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement.

The Law Office of James Clark is here to help you understand your options and assist you through the complexities of long-term care, trusts, and taxes.