Blog Posts

Cryptocurrency and Digital Assets in Estate Planning

December 7, 2021

Cryptocurrency can be defined as the collection of binary data that is designed to work as a medium of exchange where individual coin ownership records are stored into computerized databases using cryptography in order to secure transaction records. One of the most common types of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Bitcoin has existed since 2009 but has recently been growing in popularity. Many more investors have invested in these cyber assets, but care needs to be taken when you are developing your estate plan. In an estate where cryptocurrency is held, an executor or administrator of this estate may be put into a tough situation where they have to choose how to secure control over these digital assets. This includes determining where all of the digital accounts are held, but most importantly locating all of the decedent’s private keys and passwords. A simple solution to an issue like this would be for the account holder to leave behind all of the detailed instructions of how someone can access the “coins.” If this was done, however, it would ultimately defeat the purpose of investing in these digital assets. Information like such would have to be stored in a way that would protect these…

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Superior Court Case Affirms That ARD Cannot Be Considered A Criminal Conviction

November 1, 2021

A Superior Court case, Commonwealth v. Richards, has affirmed the ruling in the case of Commonwealth v. Chichkin, 232 A.3d 959 (Pa. Super. 2020), that a prior ARD offense cannot, should not, and will not be considered a criminal offense and therefore a defendant should not be tried or sentenced as a second-time offender if they received ARD for a prior offense.  Musi, Malone & Daubenberger wanted to take the opportunity to inform readers about the facts of this case and how it worked to uphold the importance of the Chichkin case. During this case, the Defendant was charged on two counts of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and related summary offenses. Both of the DUI offenses Defendant was charged with were graded in the criminal information as second offenses because the Defendant had previously completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for a DUI offense in 2011. The Commonwealth had argued that the ruling in Chichkin allowed them to grade offenses based on the Defendant’s ARD DUI if it proved beyond a reasonable doubt at sentencing that the prior DUI offense had actually occurred. The Defendant had entered numerous motions to argue that after Chichkin, the Commonwealth was not…

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Auto Accident? Full Tort or Limited Tort – Why it Matters

October 22, 2021

There are an overwhelming amount of car accidents occurring and this trend has been seen for a very long time. In total, there is in excess of two hundred fifty million vehicles that are registered in the United States. In the early 2000’s, we saw approximately six million car accidents in the first few years. There are many different causes of car accidents, but a majority of these accidents are solely the result of someone acting negligently. A number of these negligent acts include someone not adhering to a particular motor vehicle law. For example, 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3112 (a)(3) of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code states that an individual must stop at an intersection if there is a solid red light. Failure to stop at this solid red light may cause an accident, and thus be considered negligent by the statute. This is just one example of a negligent act that can cause motor vehicle accidents. The millions of motor vehicle accidents that occur result in personal injury claims for recovery of economic and noneconomic damages. In turn, insurance companies have become overwhelmed with claims. Pennsylvania and New Jersey hold some of the highest insurance claims in the nation, with…

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Factors Considered in Trial for Primary Physical Custody

October 11, 2021

The head of Musi, Malone & Daubenberger, LLP’s Family Law Department, Lucas A. Clark, IV, Esquire, was retained to take a custody case to trial that involved two parents operating under a 50/50 shared physical custody order who were both fighting for primary physical custody of their 15-year-old son.  The parties had this shared physical custody arrangement in place for years and lived very close to one another.  However, throughout this case and at trial, Luke focused mainly on the co-parenting issues between the parties that needed to be highlighted in order to show the Court that primary physical custody should be awarded to his client, who is the mother of the child.  Additionally, some major points highlighted during the trial that helped Luke obtain this victory were the well-reasoned preference of the child based on the child’s maturity and judgment as well as the attempts of one of the parents to turn the child against the other parent.  The Court found both of these factors to be in favor of the mother and this ultimately led the Court to find that the 16 factors of the Best Interest Test, which the Court is required to set forth and address…

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CDC – Federal Moratorium on Evictions – Update

August 27, 2021

The End of Moratorium On August 26, 2021, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The Court found that the CDC did not have the constitutional authority to issue a national moratorium, and any further moratorium would need to come from the legislature. The federal moratorium on evictions was previously extended until October 3, 2021, for all United States counties facing a high spread of coronavirus. Practically speaking, this accounted for 95% of the nation. With the latest Supreme Court Ruling, that extension is over. What Does this Mean for Landlords? Many landlords across Pennsylvania have not been receiving regular rent since the first CDC moratorium went into effect in 2020.  Some landlords have not received any rent at all.  With the latest Supreme Court ruling, landlords are once again free to seek eviction of tenants who are past due on rent. While the moratorium stayed evictions, it did not stay the requirement for rent. With the moratorium now over, landlords may freely seek all past due rent, and eviction. Depending upon the lease agreement, landlords may also seek a judgment for any attorney fees,…

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