Making a will to appoint a Guardian for your children

My wife and I had our first child 4 years ago. A few months before she was born, I think we spent about 3 hours in babies r us, and probably 10 or more hours online and in books studying up on the safest carseat for her. If you’re a parent, then I assume you probably had a similar experience.  We all want to protect our kids and make sure they are as safe as possible.

Here’s the part no one likes to think about. What if something happens to us? Who will be there for the kids? Or, maybe you already thought about it and went and got some life insurance. That’s a step in the right direction, but there’s more.

Under the unpleasant circumstances of both natural parents deaths, there are two answers to the question of who will take care of the kids:

(1) your kids will be cared for by the Guardian(s) you appoint in your will, or

(2) the court will appoint a Guardian if you have not named one.

Regardless of the size of your estate, parents of minor children (under the age of 18) should have wills naming a Guardian or Guardians for their children.

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of Guardians for minors: (1) Guardian of the Person, and (2) Guardian of the Estate. Those two can be the same person serving as Guardian of the Person and Estate of the minor child.

The Guardian of the Person is the person that will make general decisions related to the care of the child. The Guardian of the Estate handles the money forming the Guardianship Estate for the child. Some people appoint the same person for both positions.

In the event of the deaths of both of the natural parents, failure to have appointed a Guardian by will makes a court proceeding necessary to determine who the Guardian of your children will be.

Family harmony and the best interests of the minor children are best preserved by appointing a Guardian or Guardians in your will as opposed to subjecting them to court proceedings.

Additional planning can provide even greater guidance and control over the management of money you leave for minor children by including a trust for the benefit of a minor child or children in your will.

Such a trust is generally known as a testamentary trust because it is created by your will at the time of your death. In such a situation, the trust is only funded upon the death of the individual who created it.

For more information on trusts for minors, I’ll be writing a new post soon titled “trusts for minor children.”

Inspections and Contingencies Under The Pennsylvania Standard Agreement for the Sale of Real Estate

If you’ve bought a home, or are buying a home, you may have seen the “Standard Agreement For The Sale Of Real Estate” being used by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors.

Including the “Notices” sections of the form, it exceeds 20 pages of small print. Some of the most important provisions of that form are found in the “Inspections” and “Inspection Contingencies” paragraphs.

This article will provide some general information regarding inspections and contingencies.

The Buyer generally has the option to elect certain inspections he or she wishes to have on the property. For example, by electing the “Home/Property Inspection” paragraph, the Buyer indicates that he or she will conduct a home inspection, which has the effect of making the Agreement of Sale contingent upon the Buyer’s satisfaction with that inspection.

The Buyer will hire, at his or her expense, a licensed home inspector to conduct an inspection of the Property. The home inspector will inspect the property and produce a report, which will direct the Buyer’s attention to any defects or repairs needed.

With the report in hand, the Buyer’s options under the Agreement of Sale are the following:
1. He or she can accept the property with the reported defects; or
2. Terminate the Agreement; or
3. Propose that the Seller make certain repairs based on the report.

The Buyer’s chosen course of action determines his or her obligations under the Agreement. There are strict deadlines for the Buyer to give notice to the Seller, and the Buyer’s failure to comply with those deadlines could lead to the Buyer accepting the property with defects and releasing the Seller from taking corrective actions.

It goes without saying, that as a Buyer or Seller of property, one must fully understand his or her obligations under the Agreement of Sale with regard to inspections and inspection contingencies.

Before you sign an Agreement of Sale, whether as a Seller or Buyer, you should consult an attorney to be sure that you fully understand what you’re signing and what your legal requirements or remedies are under the contract.

What is a Franchise?

There are numerous state law definitions of what is legally considered a franchise. The Federal Trade Commission has yet another definition. You don’t need to know those unless perhaps you are a franchise lawyer.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s use this definition: A franchise is a business relationship between a corporation that owns an identified brand (called a “Franchisor”) and an individual that pays money for a license to conduct business under that brand (called a “Franchisee”).The rules of the relationship are documented and governed by a written agreement called a franchise agreement.

You are probably encountering several franchises every day. Have you seen a Subway, McDonalds, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Chili’s, Haircuttery, Supercuts, Hollywood Tans? All franchises. There are thousands of franchises in every imaginable area of business.

The most telling sign of a franchise relationship is common brand identification such as logo, name, and advertising. For example, every Subway looks the same, acts the same, and advertises in the same way.

Now that we know what a franchise is, let’s look deeper into that bound multi-page document the franchisor hands out.

Next post – What is a franchise disclosure document?