For its 100th Anniversary, High Swartz donates trees to Montgomery County’s Norristown Farm Park

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Oct. 30, 2014) – In April, the law firm of High Swartz donated funds to Montgomery County’s Norristown Farm Park for the purchase of several new Dogwood trees. Recently, High Swartz employees celebrated the planting of the eight trees along the park’s boundary on the 1700 block of West Sterigere Street. Included as part of the donation is a bronze pedestal marker commemorating the firm’s 100th anniversary and its service to Norristown and the surrounding communities.

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Also this past spring High Swartz employees volunteered at the popular 690-acre park, maintaining trails and taking part in various gardening projects. The firm’s contributions to the Farm Park were part of its “Setting the Bar High: High Swartz Gives Thanks for 100 Years in Norristown” initiative. Throughout 2014, attorneys and staff have participated in a different volunteer or fundraising event each month, reflecting a range of causes.

“Supporting such an important organization in our community as Norristown Farm Park is yet another way High Swartz can continue serving the neighborhoods in which we live and work for years to come,” said Joel Rosen, managing partner.

“We’re thankful to High Swartz for its generosity in enhancing the Farm Park’s beauty, and congratulate them on reaching this truly significant milestone,” said Park Supervisor Kenneth W. Shellenberger II. “We hope the trees remain as a symbol of the firm’s continued growth in Norristown.”

The Farm Park is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is operated and maintained by Montgomery County.

Celebrating its 100th year, High Swartz LLP has a track record of legal excellence for clients in Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and other Mid-Atlantic States, as well as dedication to the community. The firm counsels clients in a broad range of areas including litigation, business, employment, real estate, and municipal and governmental law.


Did You Forget Something When You Sent Your Child Off To College?

By Stephanie A. Henrick, EsquireOctober 28, 2014 Registration, books, dorm supplies, background check on roommate, loan applications, meal plan, passport? “Check”.Financial and Health Care Powers of Attorney? “Oops”!More often than not, children leave for college without executing these crucial documents, usually because of the common misconception that being a parent gives you the right to your child’s medical records, report cards, and financial information. However, this is not the case once your child turns 18.

Why does my child need a Health Care Power of Attorney?

It’s hard enough getting copies of your own medical records, let alone someone else’s. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), does not require a health insurance provider or health plan to share information with family members of the patient, unless they are the personal representative/designated agent of the patient. The law does permit disclosure of information, in certain circumstances, e.g. an emergency, when the patient is unable to give informed consent, if the provider determines that sharing the confidential information is in the best interest of the patient.When it comes to your child’s health care, when have you ever left it to the provider’s discretion? If your child designates you as agent under her Health Care Power of Attorney, you will be able to obtain medical records for her, assist her in health care decisions, and speak with her providers. If your child is in a situation where she is unable to understand, make or communicate a health care decision, this document gives you the authority to do so for her.

Why does my child need a Financial Power of Attorney?

She brings her laundry home; she asks for financial assistance; and she may even ask you for help on her homework. It’s not so far fetched a notion that she may need you to deposit and/or endorse a check for her, pay a bill, renew her vehicle registration, file and execute her tax returns, deal with student loan providers, or even argue with her wireless provider about the astronomical data charges that showed up on her last bill. Without a Financial Power of Attorney, your child’s requests may be nearly impossible to handle.

When is my child going to find the time to get this done?

The holidays are right around the corner, which is a perfect time to get this done. Give your child peace of mind this year, by setting up a consultation with us. We can speak with her over the phone and/or by email and have the documents prepared and ready for signing when she comes home for the holidays. It is much easier and much less expensive to have this done now, rather than waiting for an unfortunate event that may require the necessity of legal proceedings to establish a guardianship. For more information about Powers of Attorney or other estate planning issues, please contact Stephanie A. Henrick or any member of our Estates Group at 610-275-0700.The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances. The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.  

Retirement Plan In Pay Status – Is It Income or Can There Be a QDRO?

Q: For divorce settlement, if a retirement plan is already paying the former employee, is this income or can there be a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for division of marital property?A: You definitely want to treat the retirement payout as an asset subject to equitable distribution. If husband and wife were not living together and no support payments were made, the retired employee spouse should be charged with getting retirement payments post separation.If the plan is in pay status, as it is, a QDRO probably will not be available.You can agree to an attachment of the payments as alimony though DRO as another vehicle to secure payment from the former employee to the non-employee. In fact if the payment is treated like alimony the non-employee spouse should get 50% of the pre-tax amount and pays taxes on it as alimony (maybe at a lower rate that the former employee and the former employee gets to deduct the pre-tax amount as alimony. It may be a type of win-win. Really it’s the same as getting a QDRO tax wise. But it may be simpler to get a DRO order of alimony to divide the retirement payment than the usual QDRO aggravation.Since the pension is in pay status the non-employed spouse likely has the survivor benefit already. In an ERISA plan the non-employee spouse is given a 50% survivor benefit at the employee’s retirement unless the non-employee spouse waived it.That also means the non-employee spouse as an asset of value the survivor interest. That can be very helpful. It should not be ignored.By Mary Cushing Doherty, October 2014

Are Pennsylvania’s Distracted Driving Laws Outdated?

October 15, 2014high swartz; distracted drivingWhile states across the nation are enacting laws intended to curb distracted driving, Pennsylvania remains behind the pack. As such, the state continues to see no reduction in the kind of car crashes that experts say are caused by distracted teens. Continue reading “Are Pennsylvania’s Distracted Driving Laws Outdated?”

High Swartz Celebrates 100 Years of Legal Service

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (October 3, 2014) – In 1914, the law firm of High Swartz was established in Norristown. A century later, the firm – still headquartered in Norristown – continues to provide legal services to individuals and businesses in Norristown, Southeastern Pennsylvania and nationally.High Swartz officially celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 2nd at an event attended by more than 100 clients, friends and members of the legal community. The firm has been observing its centennial milestone since January with the launch of a charitable campaign called “Setting the Bar High: High Swartz Gives Thanks for 100 Years in Norristown.” Throughout the year, attorneys and staff have participated in monthly volunteer or fundraising events for local charities, including the Montgomery Office of Children & Youth, Montgomery SPCA, Southeastern Veterans Center (Spring City), Norristown Farm Park, Childway Pediatric Services, and others. The firm also established a scholarship fund for employees’ children and grandchildren in memory of a partner’s husband.To capture the history of High Swartz’s first 100 years, the firm published A Century In The Making, co-written by firm partner Thomas Rees.The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners issued proclamations recognizing High Swartz for responding to the ever-changing needs of the communities it serves, protecting clients’ best interests, and maintaining a tradition of excellence. The Norristown Municipal Council acknowledged High Swartz with a Key to the City. amp_highswartz-7 High Swartz LLP serves clients in Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and other Mid-Atlantic states. The firm counsels clients in a broad range of areas including litigation, business, employment, domestic relations, real estate, and municipal and governmental law. Commitment to community service is a priority.