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Disclaimer: No information in our newsletter or on our website should be taken as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to receive the legal advice appropriate to your situation.


Social Security Information for Widows and Widowers

Section 603 of the PA Tax Sale Law allows any property owner whose property is scheduled for upset tax sale to have the sale postponed by paying at least 25% of the delinquency and entering into a written agreement to pay the balance in no more than 3 installments within 1 year.

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017

A married couple in 2018 can effectively give away during life or at death amounts exceeding approximately 22 million before incurring federal estate or gift tax.

Who get survivors benefits?

They’re paid to the spouse of a worker who dies. You have to have been married for at least nine months, although there are exceptions – for example, if your spouse died in an accident. Qualified children get benefits, too, as do ex-spouses if the marriage lasted at least 10 years.

If your future retirement benefit at 70 will be greater than your full survivors benefit, and you expect to have a normal life span, take the survivors benefit right away, says Bill Reichenstein of Switch to your own retirement benefit at age 70, when it will have had years to grow.

Conversely, if your retirement benefit at 70 is the smaller one, take that benefit right away; switch to survivors benefits once you reach full retirement age. (Unlike retirement benefits, survivors benefits do not grow after you reach that milestone)

What if you’ve been married twice?

You generally collect on the account of your second spouse. If you remarried after you turned 60, you can collect on the account of the spouse with the higher benefit. 

A Guide to Legal Issues for PA Senior Citizens

Difficult times generally become no less difficult with age - planning for the future can be especially difficult (especially for seniors and their families). To help ease some of this stress, the PA Bar Association has recently published A Guide to Legal Issues for Pennsylvania Senior Citizens. This guide is meant to help highlight and guide you in some of the most common areas where seniors may have legal questions or need legal help.

For more information, or for help answering some of the difficult questions you may need help with, call 724-863-6770, contact us online, or visit the PA Bar Association website.

CARE (Caregiver Advise Record and Enable) Act Update

It is estimated that more than 1.6 million people in Pennsylvania care for older parents' spouses or other family members. The CARE (Caregiver Advise Record Enable) Act goes into effect on April 20, 2017. This law gives the patient the opportunity to name a designated caregiver who must be notified before discharge.

Caregivers are being asked to do more for their loved ones at home and to be given explanations and demonstrations of medical care before their loved one is discharged. This instruction will help loved ones who remain in their home and not in a facility.

This law may also help decrease readmission to the hospital. Bottom line, everyone wants to stay at home as long as possible.

To read more about the CARE Act, visit the PA General Assembly Website, 2016 Act 20 page.

Upset Tax Sales

When a property is scheduled for an upset tax sale, and the taxpayer can pay at least 25% of the amount due, the Tax Claim Bureau has a duty to advise the property owner that this property will not be exposed to a tax sale if they enter into a plan to pay the balance due over a period of no more than 12 months.

Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility

On July 27, 2015, the Senate passed H.R. 876 Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) When a patient is receiving services as an outpatient for more than 24 hours, it will require hospitals to notify those patients of their outpatient status within 36 hours, or, upon discharge if that occurs sooner. Because the beneficiary is receiving outpatient-rather than inpatient-services:

  • The beneficiary will be subject to cost-sharing requirements that apply to outpatient services, and
  • The beneficiary’s outpatient stay will not count toward the three-day inpatient stay required for a beneficiary to be eligible for Medicare coverage of subsequent skilled nursing facility services.

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