The Importance of Estate Planning: Creating a Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will

Estate planning is an essential part of life, and if you don’t have your estate plan in order, it can be a huge burden on both yourself and those around you. If you do not have an estate plan in place, state laws will likely grant decision-making authority to your immediate relatives if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.  These same state laws will also determine who will receive your assets after your death.  However, you can take control of these choices through estate planning.

There are three (3) core estate planning documents that everyone should have created by an estate planning attorney: a Will, a Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. If any one of these documents is not properly executed or does not exist when the time comes to pass away, the consequences could be dire. We’ll go over each document briefly so you know what they do for you as well as how to get started with creating them.

Creating a Will

Your Will is the document that outlines how your assets are to be distributed after your passing and specifies who you wish to manage your estate after your death and to whom your assets will be distributed.

It is important that your estate plan includes not only what you want to happen with your assets, but also who should have custody or guardianship of any children. Any final thoughts or requests can also be included in a will, which should include naming an executor and giving instructions for how the funeral service should proceed, among other details.

Assigning a Power of Attorney

The Power of Attorney is the document that designates the person you trust to handle your affairs in the event you become incapacitated and specifically names someone to act on your behalf regarding financial, legal and healthcare matters if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

If you decide to assign a power of attorney, it is important that the person you choose has knowledge of your assets as well as an understanding of estate planning law.

The Living Will

A Living Will, also known as an Advanced Medical Directive, provides instructions to your doctors or healthcare agents/providers concerning end-of-life care.  It indicates the type of medical treatments you desire (or do not desire) in the event you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious, such as whether you would want to be placed on life support or resuscitated, among other details.

Before getting started:

For our firm to get started with the process of estate planning, we require two decisions be made in advance. Who is going to be your Executor? And who will be your Beneficiary?

Who is going to be the Executor?

The Executor is the person in charge of carrying out your final wishes. This includes handling things like distribution of property, paying bills, and making sure estate taxes are paid. It is important that this person be someone you trust to best carry out your intentions after your death.

Who will be the Beneficiary?

Your Beneficiary is the person (or people) that you want to receive your property or your assets. This is the person you want to inherit your personal property any other gifts in your estate after your death.

Estate Planning is not always the most pleasant conversation to have, but creating these documents will help reduce the stress on your loved ones at the time of your death. These documents are necessary if you want to ensure that when you pass, someone else will handle your affairs appropriately without any disputes or confusion as to how you would have wanted them to be handled.

Furthermore, the process of Estate Planning may seem daunting now, specifically because many people don’t think about their own mortality until they’re old enough for retirement (generally age 65), but we urge you not to put off this task any longer because every day counts! 

If you would like our help in creating these legal documents, please contact our office today so that we can assist you through this process.

Marina Kats LAW ‘88, LL.M. ’95 Announces Bar Prep Scholarship for Temple Law Students

Marina Kats LAW ‘88, LL.M. ‘95 and her firm, Kats, Jamison & Associates, are proud to announce the Marina Kats (LAW ’88) Temple Law Bar Prep Scholarship. This scholarship will award $1,000 each to five recipients from Temple University Beasley School of Law. Ms. Kats established this bar prep scholarship to support students who are pursuing their dreams of becoming an attorney.

How to Apply

Applications are being accepted until April 1, 2021. The recipients will be notified by Temple Law’s Financial Aid Office via email by April 7th.

Temple Law students can apply for the Bar Prep Scholarship here.

Why Marina Kats Selected Temple University Beasley School of Law

Philadelphia businesswoman and lawyer Marina Kats, a three-time graduate of Temple University, was elected a member of the University Board of Trustees for Temple University in December 2019. Kats is a 1985 graduate of Temple University and a 1998 graduate of Temple Law School, to which she returned in 1995 to earn a prestigious LL.M. in Trial Advocacy.

A native of Kiev, Ukraine, when Kats arrived in the U.S. she had only a dream – she did not even speak the language. Her education at Temple University and Temple Law School enabled her to achieve that dream and more, joining the first set of women to receive the LL.M. degree nationally. She has established this scholarship to support Temple Law students who, like her, are pursuing their dream of becoming attorneys.

About Marina Kats

Kats is the founder and shareholder of Kats, Jamison & Associates. She is also a very active member of the Temple Law Alumni Association and a charter member of the Law School’s Centennial Society, as well as a member of the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. Bar Associations.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Woman of the Year and Super Lawyer from Philadelphia Magazine. Her litigation firm is well-respected and has offices in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, specializing in representing individuals in criminal and civil litigations.

To learn more about Marina, visit her bio or if you would like to learn more about Philly Lawyers, visit phillylawyers.com.

 

What Do I Do If I’m Involved in a Car Accident And the Other Driver Leaves the Scene of the Accident?

Millions of car accidents take place every year, and they can be extremely frustrating and jarring experiences. There are situations where a car accident can change your entire life. So what do you do if you are in Philadelphia or one of the adjacent counties, i.e., Bucks, Chester, Delaware or Montgomery County, and you notice that the other driver has decided to leave the scene of the accident?

This is illegal, but it still takes place more often than you might think in the greater Philadelphia area, to include Montgomery and Bucks counties and many other counties throughout the United States. First and foremost, it is important to remain calm and make sure that every passenger in your car is safe. Once you have established this fact, it is then time to document everything that you can. Are there any injuries? Who was injured and how severe are the injuries?

The next step is simple: start trying to document as much information as possible. For example, try to remember the license plate of the car that drove away. You should also write down any relevant information while it is still fresh in your mind, such as the color, make, and model of the vehicle. Some cars may have more defining characteristics to note, such as tinted windows, bumper stickers, or custom rims. If you remember any other information that could help identify the driver, write it down or document it in some way as soon as possible.

After this step, you should contact the authorities (whether it is Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia County, the best thing to do is dial 911 and explain the situation.) Police officers may still be able to locate the fleeing party. Although that is not a guarantee, any information that you provide the police will be extremely helpful in that regard. A police report will prove useful later when you consult with your car accident attorney and also when you are filing a claim. Remember that your insurance company requires a report from a proper authority within 30 days from the date of the accident in order for you to be able to collect for any injuries under the uninsured portion of your insurance policy.  Your personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on all of the potential options to receive a payment as a result of your MVA.  It’s important to remember to remain calm and cooperate with police.

Lastly, you should speak to all potential witnesses so that your side of the story can be verified. At this point, you should consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible to review your options.

5 Safety Tips for Fall and Winter Driving

Winter driving in Philadelphia can be a challenge even to experienced drivers. A mild rain can soon turn to snow or a blizzard and the roads can get treacherous. Ideally, as the roads begin to get covered in sheets of ice in Philadelphia, Bucks County, or Montgomery County, you should stay indoors. But for those who have no other option but to drive, here are 5 safety tips for fall and winter driving in Philadelphia to avoid a car accident.

5 Safety Tips for Winter Driving in Philadelphia

Get your car checked  

Before it gets too late, get your car thoroughly serviced. Ask your mechanic to check your vehicle’s fluid and antifreeze levels, tire-pressure, battery, and wipers. They should also examine the brakes to see if they are functioning properly.

Go slow

No matter where you are headed, no matter how tempting it may get, always go slow on icy roads to avoid a car accident. This is especially true when you are accelerating on decelerating. Remember that with ice, it takes longer to come to a halt. Watch out for frozen roads that may look wet, often called ‘black ice.’ 

Beware of wet leaves

Wet leaves are as slippery as ice. With a lot of wooded areas, this means more roads for drivers to slow down and be cautious.

Watch out for animals

Food becomes scarce for animals during winter and they start exploring more. Inadvertently this may lead them to roads. Poor visibility adds to the problem, and therefore, drivers should be cautious, especially around wooded areas.

Stock up

Your tank should be at least half-full, and your mobile phone must be fully charged. You should also carry extra blankets and gloves.

As the days get shorter, there should be added precautions while driving at night. And if you meet with an accident, make sure you call your personal injury attorney at the earliest.

Why is it Important to Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Represent You?

One of the first questions people charged with a crime ask is if it’s necessary to hire a criminal defense attorney. Even though an experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you get the best possible outcome for your case, the cost of hiring a lawyer is often too intimidating.

If you’ve been convicted of a crime in Philadelphia, Bucks County, or Montgomery County, our criminal defense and DUI attorneys can help. Here’s how:

They Understand the Legal System

The legal system is often confusing and extremely difficult to navigate on your own. Our criminal defense attorneys have collective decades of experience moving through the inner workings of the criminal justice system. 

They Can Save You Money

If you’ve been charged with a crime, then chances are you’re worried about losing your job, your home, and your livelihood. By hiring an experienced defense attorney to fight for the best possible outcome, they can help you keep your job, your professional license, and even help you avoid a lengthy court trial that will result in lost income. 

They Can Examine Law Enforcement

Experienced criminal defense lawyers know the ins and outs of every step of criminal justice proceedings, including how evidence needs to be handled for it to be admissible in court. Our attorneys will examine your case to make sure your rights haven’t been infringed upon and will fight to have inadmissible evidence thrown out of your case. 

Whether you’re at risk of losing your professional license, you’ve been accused of domestic assault, or you’re facing a DUI charge, Kats, Jamison & Associates can help. Our team of experienced criminal defense and DUI attorneys will fight to ensure that you get the best possible outcome following your criminal charge, protecting your family and your future.

What to Do if you’ve been in a Car Accident

Six million automobile accidents occur each year in America. Fortunately, most of these accidents only involve damage to a vehicle. However, on an average 33% of those accidents result in personal injury.

If you are involved in a car accident, it is easy to panic and make irrational decisions. The purpose of this post and graphic is to help you know what to do in the event you find yourself involved in a car accident. 

What to do if you’ve been in a car accident:

  1. First, never leave the scene of an accident. This is the definition of a “Hit and Run” which is a crime. Regardless of inconvenience, it is important to remain present while evidence is gathered and witnesses are interviewed
  2. Keep yourself protected and safe. Being on a busy road presents safety challenges every time. Consider purchasing and using a roadside emergency kit including flares and road markings. Use flashlights in the dark. 
  3. Contact Law Enforcement. Whether the car accident is major or minor, it is a good idea to call in law enforcement for help. Law enforcement officers will gather all the initial information which they need to proceed with their investigation.The automobiles involved in the accident should remain at the same place, unless they are in a traffic area. 
  4. Cooperate with Law Enforcement Officials to gather all of the necessary information for their investigation. Tell them what you know about an accident and don’t hesitate to tell them that you don’t know certain things. 
  5. Make sure that you take pictures of the vehicles in case of visible damage. You should also take photographs of visible injuries. Pictures taken at the scene of the accident will help you in further investigation. 
  6. You should exchange basic information such as name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident (drivers and passengers) as well as licence & insurance information should be documented. 
  7. Consider seeking medical attention, even if there are no outward signs of injury. Often, adrenaline masks injuries at the moment of the accident and underlying muscle injuries may not become apparent until the next day. 
  8. Document as much as possible, because evidence may disappear quickly. Keep all your accident-related documents and information in one place. 
  9. Contact a Personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. The personal injury attorney can help with compensation for any medical expenses that may arise. 

Your attorney can advise you on major issues like compensation and medication, and they make sure you are getting the best medical treatment and full compensation. If you have been in an automobile accident and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact us as soon as possible so we can help you with your case.

How to maintain Social Distancing if you’ve been in a car accident

At the time of this blog post, our world is still in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and many of us have been societally isolated by government stay-at-home orders. However, despite these lock-downs, life must go on, and while we are venturing outside for groceries or commuting to our essential jobs, Car Accidents and Truck Accidents are a very real possibility.

 

What adds to that possibility is the fact that more Motorcycles and Bicycles are on the road as the weather has gotten warmer.  And with the Coronavirus being front and center in everyone’s mind, it’s probably fair to say that drivers are more distracted than ever.

 

Just yesterday, as I was driving to get my own blood work done, I saw the aftermath of two separate car accidents. The first accident involved a car and a truck, and the second was a three car collision.

 

Seeing the drivers at these accident scenes got me thinking about how distraught drivers must be today. Whether it’s dealing with the fear of what the “new normal” looks or worrying about a loved one that they haven’t seen in several months, drivers are distracted, and this can lead to pretty significant car accidents. 

What to do if you’ve been in a car accident during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

First, always be sure to wait for the responding officers. Gathering evidence at the scene in the event that you need a car accident attorney is still just as crucial now as it was before the coronavirus.  Even if there are no injuries immediately apparent, do not let fear of the Coronavirus force you to leave the scene of the accident prematurely.

 

Next, be sure to engage in proper Social Distancing practices at the scene.  Odds are that the responding police officers will be wearing face masks, so you should wear your face mask as well.

 

Be sure to cooperate and provide as many details as possible about the accident. Just like before the pandemic, details are important. Evidence tends to disappear, memories fade and stories change. And the fact that the other driver is probably wearing a mask can make identification and recognition more challenging later on.

 

One suggested tip is to ask the other driver to hold their documents in their hands while you take pictures of them with your cell phone. This would include their driver’s license, insurance information and auto registration, all of which will be necessary for you to report a claim. Be sure to extend the courtesy of doing the same for the other driver.

 

Finally, if you have been injured in a Car Accident or Motorcycle Accident, hospitals, medical facilities, doctor’s offices are open. It is important that you get a thorough examination to ensure there is no risk of delayed injuries, so call and schedule an appointment.

 

If you are injured or in paid, remember that suffering in silence will cause more damage to your health and your claim.

 

The Law Offices of Kats Jamison and Associates are here, even remotely, to help you if needed. You can call our office at 1-800-LAW-1917 to schedule a free consultation.

When to call an Attorney if you’ve been in a car accident

There are about 5.5 million car crashes in the USA each year (half of which result in an injury). And regardless of how careful and defensive you drive, there’s always a chance of being involved in an incident yourself because you cannot control the driving of other people. 

If you’ve recently been in a car crash, you may be wondering if you need a car accident lawyer or how long you should wait before finding an attorney. The truth of the matter is this:  if you’ve been injured or if the incident resulted in the filing of any insurance claims or the assignment of fault or responsibility, then it’s important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

You’re not overreacting when you choose to speak to a lawyer after a car accident. You’re making the right choice to ensure that nothing gets lost or forgotten while the legal system processes your claim. 

Court proceedings can be a long and frustrating process, but they are necessary in order for you to get the justice you deserve, especially if you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and/or resulted in a personal injury. Simply resolving a filed insurance claim will require as many details as possible, regardless of whether the case goes to trial or not. Unfortunately, over time the details about what happened during your accident can become hazy. 

Finding a lawyer quickly after a car crash will ensure that:

  1. None of the evidence disappears. A lawyer will work with police, investigators, doctors, tow-truck companies and anyone else involved to ensure that all physical evidence is collected and dealt with properly.  That way it is available when the time comes for a judge’s review; and 

 

  1. Witnesses don’t forget what they saw. An attorney will find, speak to and gather the statements of every witness to your accident, and will furthermore know exactly how to organize and document the testimonial dates, images, and other aspects in a way that a judge and jury would understand. It’s important to get these statements as early as possible since time can minimize the accuracy and details of an event. 

The process begins while the facts are still fresh.  You’ve only got a short window of time for legal action after being involved in a car accident. Waiting too long to consult with a lawyer after the date of a collision risks you’re losing crucial physical evidence and witness testimony.  If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident in the Commonwealth of Philadelphia and need an injury attorney, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team for a free consultation to find out what your next steps should be.

Most dangerous intersections in Bucks County and Montgomery County Pennsylvania

Victim of Slip and Fall? – What should you do?

In a slip and fall case, the most crucial aspect is what happens immediately after the fall.
To present the case there needs to be a defect that caused you to slip, trip, or fall.