We are delighted to announce that our physical office is re-opening to our existing and new clients. To provide safety to both our clients and staff, we are adapting the CDC guidelines for social distancing while we are in the yellow phase. Rest assured, that we have and will continue to regularly clean all areas of the office especially the high-traffic areas. All attorneys and staff will have their temperature taken daily and will be wearing masks when interacting with clients. Any attorneys and staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will work remotely. They will then be required to follow CDCrecommended steps, including not returning to work until the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.

As the health and safety of our clients and their families is our top priority, we are asking that our clients follow the procedures below during the yellow phase:

  1. Upon entering the building, we ask that all persons wash their hands or hand-sanitize. We will be providing access to soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
  2. We will also be taking temperatures with non-contact thermometers upon entering the office.
  3. Our office is set-up to comply with social distancing of six feet. In the conference and mediation rooms we are asking that each person sit a minimum of one chair apart from attorneys and/or staff at all times.
  4. Masks are available and will be provided open request.
  5. Teleconferences Zoom meetings, and FaceTime are available in lieu of inperson meetings if requested.
  6. We will continue to have the drop-box available for delivery of documents.

In the event that anyone is sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask that you reschedule your appointment or utilize the electronic forums listed above.

As each county determines the procedures that will be followed, please ask your attorney of the specific procedures regarding the county in which your case in pending.

Please note that we will also continue to accommodate the needs of new clients, who are welcome, and as always we encourage and appreciate referrals. During this uncertain and unprecedented time, please stay safe and remember that Sweeney Law Office, LLC will remain by your side for all of your family’s legal needs. We ask that you have patience during this challenging time.

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Understanding Pennsylvania’s intestate succession guidelines

While most adults in Cranberry Township likely understand that they should start considering their estate planning, few have actually completed the process. Indeed, according to information shared by the American Association of Retired Persons, as many as 60 percent of Americans do not have a will. There may be many reasons why people put off estate planning: they may fear the prospect of facing their own mortality, or they may simply believe that they will always have time later to do it. Yet one of the primary reasons is likely misunderstanding. 

Among that misunderstanding may be the notion that if one does not leave a will, it is left to their heirs to determine how to divide their estate. That is not the case. If a person dies intestate (without a will) the state then determines how their assets are dispersed. Pennsylvania’s intestate succession guidelines can be found in Chapter 21 of the state’s Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code. Here it states that one’s surviving spouse is entitled to their entire estate if they die intestate and leave behind no surviving issue (direct descendants). If one does leave behind any issue (who are also the issue of the surviving spouse) or they are survived by their parents, then the spouse is entitled to the first $30,000 of their estate plus one-half of its remaining balance. The estate is split evenly if one leaves behind issue who are not biologically related to the surviving spouse. 

If one who dies intestate leaves no surviving spouse, then the order of succession is as follows: 

  • Issue
  • Parents
  • Siblings (or their issue)
  • Grandparents
  • Extended family

If one has no familial connections, their intestate estate goes to the state. Thus, those hoping to leave assets to parties they are not directly related to must stipulate that in a will

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