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Limited Tort Insurance Limits YOU

The Limited Tort Car Insurance option should be called “Limited Coverage” – it has a confusing name – just confusing enough that people choose it without knowing any better.

When you choose the “Limited Tort” option when you renew your car insurance you should be aware what you are choosing.

There are only two possible options  1.. Full Tort   or    2 .  Limited Tort

Yes, you will pay lower car insurance premiums if you choose Limited Tort.  Limited Tort will save you about 20% — which is significant.

What you are giving up by paying this 20% discount is your right to sue for pain and suffering if you are injured — regardless of who is at fault for the accident.  Even if the accident really  is “the other guy’s fault” you have a very limited recovery.

When somebody hurts you in a car accident, afterward you can bring a cause of action (Sue) for three possible things:   1.Lost Wages  2. Medical Bills and 3. Pain and suffering

if you opted for Limited Tort then you are limited to only number 1 and number 2 —–  and you do not get to be compensated for pain and suffering — which is usually the bigger money.

If you opt for FULL TORT coverage — you can also sue for PAIN AND SUFFERING.  you are not limited.

You might be interested to know that even if have Limited Tort coverage, you actually can still seek damages for pain and suffering, however, ONLY if you suffered a serious injury.  The law has specific and harsh tests for what rises to the level of ‘serious injury’ and the insurance company will fight that the injury does not rise to the level of serious.

It is best to have Full Tort car insurance.  The only person who is limited by electing limited tort, is you.


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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

My favorite Chapter to file bankruptcy, by far, is Chapter 13.  When the circumstances are right, the filing of a Chapter 13 can take a seemingly hopeless situation and completely reorganizes all debts.  Usually this translates to the Debtors being able to keep their house.  The Debtors can spread-out the arrears and agree to dedicate their future earnings (income) to be paid each month into a “Plan”  then a Trustee distributes the money each month consistent with that Plan.  It all sounds rather complicated (and it actually is), however this procedure can help somebody who lost their job, or became sick or had some other expensive problem come along,  to keep their house.  Chapter 13 is particularly helpful if you are:

1.  Behind on Mortgage
2.  Behind on annual real estate taxes

CHAPTER 13 will allow you to pay-back the mortgage arrears over the life of a Plan (36-60 months) at 0% interest.  Oftentimes, you only have to pay a fraction of your general unsecured debt.


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Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

I will sit down with you from the start and give you my honest assessment whether you have any chance at “beating the charges” – I won’t take a large Trial Fee from you only to inform you months later that you have no chance.   Sometimes there actually are defenses to DUI.  Other times, there is no realistic chance of beating the charges at trial or before (except for hail-Mary tactics — which are rarely the best option).  As your case progresses, if there is a chance to seize an opportunity that will lead to a lighter license suspension, or will take the possibility of jail out of the equation – there are many ways that a DUI case is ‘defended’ short of winning at the end of a trial.   Many of them are about damage control   —  only getting probation, or house arrest and no jail time — something to that effect can be the best possible outcome.

taking the right road from the start is the key.

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2016 Gift Tax Exclusions

From time to time, our clients ask us about gifting.

Here’s the skinny — the gift tax exclusion amount for 2016 is $14,000.  That means that this year you can make gifts of $14,000 (or less) to as many people as you like without triggering the requirement to file a gift tax return.  However, if you make a gift larger than that to any one person, you will need to file a gift tax return.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will need to pay gift tax, but you will at least need to file the return.

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Pennsylvania’s New Power of Attorney Laws

Did you know that the Pennsylvania legislature enacted significant changes to the Pennsylvania Power of Attorney laws?   Some of the new changes are effective immediately and some are effective as of January 1, 2015.

A few highlights to the new changes:

  • Revised execution requirements
  • Changes to the required notice on the front page
  • Requirements that certain powers must be specifically granted and are otherwise waived
  • The duties of the Agent (or Attorney-in-Fact) were revised
  • Certain duties of the Agent can be waived or modified by the document
  • Gifting powers have been redefined
  • Third party protections were broadened

What does this mean for our clients?   Your current Power of Attorney is still valid, BUT now is a good time to take a good hard look to make sure that it accomplishes all of your goals.  Truth be told, an update in the new year is a pretty good idea.   If you don’t yet have a Power of Attorney, think about getting one.  We can walk you though it.

Samara - Your article perfectly shows what I needed to know, thanks!

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