On March 16, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared a statewide judicial emergency drastically reducing the functions of Pennsylvania courts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It then issued several subsequent administrative orders outlining the impact the judicial emergency will have on court functions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In response, most county courts of

A key feature of the recently enacted federal CARES Act is individual stimulus checks that the federal government will pay to help ease the financial burden the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. The CARES Act refers to these payments as a “Recovery Rebate for Individuals.”

Here are some answers to common questions about these new changes.

On March 27, 2020, the president signed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act into law. One of the key provisions of the Act provides substantial relief for federal student loan borrowers.

The U.S. Department of Education has put together a guide to help students, borrowers, and parents navigate the Coronavirus forbearance process. The guide will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

Federal Student Loan Payments Stopped

Under the CARES Act, federal student loan payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through September 30, 2020.  Note: This does not apply to private loans.  If you have a question as to whether your loans are federal or private, contact your loan servicer.

During this time, auto-debit payments will be suspended. In some cases, loan servicers have accepted payments made after March 13, 2020. Any payments processed between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020, can be refunded by calling the loan servicer.
Continue Reading Student Loan Forbearance During Coronavirus – The CARES Act

For the first time, you can now cast your ballot by mail. Recently enacted election reform laws now allow all registered voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to vote by mail. Prior to the change in the law, only voters who obtained an absentee ballot, after explaining why they were unable to vote in person, could vote by mail. Now, anyone who wishes to, regardless of whether they are or are not able to make it to their polling place, can vote by mail.

You can check your voter registration status online to determine if you are registered to vote and where your polling place is. You can also register to vote online or by mailing a voter registration form to your county voter registration office.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


Continue Reading Get Out The Vote (Or Stay In And Vote From Home)

I have been thinking a lot lately about all of the new “holidays” that are being invented. While I am all for celebrating National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and National Sibling Day, I am having a hard time keeping up. While scrolling through Facebook recently to catch up on all the cute baby pictures my friends have been posting, I saw a notice from the Facebook Privacy Team about “Data Privacy Day.” Turns out, Data Privacy Day is an annual event that occurs each year on January 28th.

This announcement from Facebook got me thinking about how private my online presence is across all of my personal accounts. Although I am very cautious about my social media privacy settings, only allowing my “friends” and approved followers to view my content, I am not so sure about how secure my other accounts really are. So, I decided, to go all in on celebrating Data Privacy Day.
Continue Reading Something to Celebrate: Data Privacy Day!

When “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018, her family thought she died without a Will. There were many questions about what would happen to her estate and what Aretha’s wishes were upon her death.

In legal terms, it was believed that Aretha died intestate, or without a Will. You can read more about Pennsylvania’s intestate laws and how an estate is handled when someone dies without a Will here.

In many cases, when someone dies without a Will, it can cause controversy in an already grieving family. For Aretha Franklin, we can only assume that the vast size of her estate and the legacy attached to it left her heirs wondering Who’s Zoomin’ Who?
Continue Reading Oh Me, Oh My It’s Time to Get Your Estate Plan in Order: Lessons from Aretha Franklin’s Death and Her Handwritten Wills

I first became aware of the spotted lanternfly (“SLF”) when, as a Penn State Football season ticket holder, I received a notice that I was supposed to search my car for any evidence of SLF presence before leaving my home in Lancaster County en route to State College. I became more concerned about the SLF after I read a news article about a family whose home was overtaken by SLFs that were attached to their Christmas tree.

The SLF is an invasive plant-hopping insect that can have a detrimental impact on local agriculture. The SLF was first discovered in Berks County and has spread to a number of nearby counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, several counties, including Lancaster County have been placed in a SLF quarantine zone
Continue Reading Does your business or organization need to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly Permit?

This is part two of a three-part series about courtroom procedure and etiquette. Part one of this series was How Do I Get There?

In my previous post, I walked through what a litigant or witness can expect from the time they enter the courthouse to when they enter the courtroom. In this second installment of the series, I will discuss who you can expect to see in a courtroom and what their role is.

When you are in a courtroom, the star of the show is the judge. The judge sits at the “bench,” which is typically located on an elevated platform in the front, center of the courtroom. The judge presides over the hearing, rules on objections, instructs jurors and is responsible for how things are done in the courtroom. Each judge has different requirements and expectations for parties, their attorneys, witnesses and observers. For example, some judges require attorneys to stand up any time they speak, while other judges permit attorneys to remain seated. Some judges allow jurors to take notes, while others do not. Your attorney can clue you in to what the particular judge you are appearing before prefers.
Continue Reading What to Expect When You’re Expected in Court Part II: Who Are These People?