Eminent Domain in Philadelphia

In Sharswood dozens of residents are being displaced through the use of eminent domain, clearing a path for the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s sweeping plans to transform the neighborhood. For our series Remaking Sharswood, reporter Ryan Briggs caught up with residents affected by eminent domain about their experiences and the road ahead.



Do you really need a will?

You May Not Think You Need a Will, But You Really Do.

Most Americans do not have a simple will as part of their estate plan. You might believe that a will is only for the rich and famous, and not the average person who has a far smaller net worth. On the other hand, you may think that a will is entirely unnecessary since you have a trust, jointly owned property, or have named beneficiaries on your insurance. (more…)


Which life events that require an immediate estate plan update?

Estate planning is the process of developing a strategy for the care and management of your estate if you become incapacitated or upon your death. One commonly known purpose of estate planning is to minimize taxes and costs, including taxes imposed on gifts, estates, generation skipping transfer and probate court costs. However, your plan must also name someone who will make medical and financial decisions for you if you cannot make decisions for yourself.  You also need to consider how to leave your property and assets while considering your family’s circumstances and needs. (more…)


Highest and Best Use, Mitigation?

Eminent domain practitioners are well versed in analyzing a property’s highest and best use. Under these principles, a property being condemned is not necessarily valued based on its current, existing use. Where the appraiser can show that the property’s actual value is based on a different use, that use can often be the foundation for the valuation (assuming that other use meets the four-part test of highest and best use, which is beyond the scope of this post; if you’re really bored today, here’s a link to Wikipedia’s discussion of highest and best use). (more…)


Small Takings on Preserved Agricultural Land

Pa. development fight grows on ‘sliver’ of farmland
Updated: JANUARY 22, 2017 — 3:03 AM EST
by Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer @MichaelleBond

It is a mere “sliver” in the county that has the state’s richest harvest of farmland, more than 100,000 acres of which is off-limits to development.  But conservation activists say the future of land preservation in Pennsylvania hinges on the fate of a patch of Lancaster County farmland that is less than a third of an acre.  So-called sliver taking is a process in which small parcels of farms are seized by eminent domain to accommodate road projects. (more…)


Important 30-Day Time Period in Eminent Domain Actions

Important 30-day Period in Eminent Domain Actions

Once a Declaration of Taking (D/T) is filed against your property there is an important 30-day period that begins to run.  A property owner must within the 30-day period file any objections to the taking with the Court. (more…)


Estate Planning for Unmarried Partners

When you’re in a romantic partnership – as opposed to a marriage – you need to create the legal protections and benefits automatically afforded to those who are married. For example, married persons legally inherit from each automatically and can visit their spouses in the hospital without question. You and your partner can do the same, but only if you have the legal documents that create those rights. (more…)


Is a Financial Plan Enough? Why Experts Say You Need an Estate Plan, too

If you want to leave a robust financial legacy for your family, a financial plan alone is like trying to guide a boat with just one oar. It’s only part of the big picture for your overall monetary health. A well-informed financial plan is worth your time for several reasons, but let’s look at how financial and estate planning can work in tandem to create the best possible future for you and your family in the years to come: (more…)


Your Estate Planning Binder: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

You finally crossed “getting your estate plan done” off your list, and you’ve (rightly) breathed a huge sigh of relief. By tackling this challenge, you’ve not only established protections for your loved ones and legacy, but you’ve also freed up some important “mental space” that had previously been preoccupied. (more…)