How We Take a Team Approach to Helping Our Clients

How We Take a Team Approach to Helping Our ClientsIn a world that is more globally connected than ever, individuals and organizations face increasingly complex problems. Taking a team approach to addressing all kinds of legal issues is one of the most effective ways a law firm can help clients find creative solutions that meet their specific needs. Whether you are going through a divorce, starting a new business, or want to create an estate plan that protects your legacy, you may be surprised to find that many of these matters overlap when it comes to the law.

Why We Take a Team Approach

In businesses, families, communities, and other settings and scenarios, teamwork has always been an essential element of getting things done. To provide the best client-centered experience possible, our team must take a collaborative approach and share knowledge to develop effective legal strategies and solutions. From business lawyers and divorce attorneys collaborating to help clients reach a fair agreement in a divorce to estate planning attorneys assisting with a client’s business succession plan, much of our best work happens across a wide range of legal disciplines.

When collaboration is done right, it helps our clients, attorneys, and professional staff feel confident about what they do and the goals they accomplish together. Cultivating relationships with our clients, communities, and each other builds trust, creating a solid foundation on which our clients can rely.

Collaboration Holds Us Accountable

At Carosella & Associates, we recognize that our success and the success of our clients depend on the individual and collective efforts of our team. This interdependence fosters our dedication to offering the best possible legal services with professionalism and respect for our clients and each other. We treat each client as if they were our only client while being mindful of adding value and providing efficient, effective legal counsel that protects our client’s interests and meets their unique needs.

A Client-Centric Approach and Personalized Service

Although the breadth of knowledge and experience of our team is wide enough to handle all types of complex cases, we are proud to provide responsive, personal attention to each of our clients. Our forward-thinking, collaborative philosophy gives rise to innovation and provides clients access to our entire organization of legal professionals. Each member of our team is committed to using their skills and experience to support their colleagues and solve client problems. Whether you need the assistance of a real estate lawyer for a land development deal or a criminal defense attorney for a loved one, our dedicated team has you covered.

Construction Delay Disputes: How a Real Estate Lawyer Can Help

Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer: Things to Look ForWhether you are renovating a rental property or redoing your kitchen, it is not uncommon for construction projects to run into some snags. Issues like permits, inclement weather, and availability of materials can all slow a project’s progress, but when an unreasonable delay causes hardship, you may need to take legal action. Real estate lawyers can help you understand your rights, represent your interests, and help you find ways to settle a construction delay dispute.

Have a Lawyer Review Your Construction Contract

Before you sign any contract and work begins, it is vital to understand your rights and the rights of the contractor. Having a construction contract lawyer review the document before signing can help you save a lot of headaches in the long run. It is also important to find out what permits you will need and whether the contractor will take care of obtaining them and iron out any  land use and zoning issues that could arise. An experienced real estate attorney can ensure that all of these matters are addressed before work begins.

If you have a project that has stalled, before taking any action, it is essential to understand which party is responsible for the delay, the types of damages the other party has incurred, and what rights each party has according to the contract. A Pennsylvania real estate lawyer can evaluate your circumstances, review the contract, and advise you of your options.

Types of Delays That Cause Conflict

In construction contract disputes, there are two basic types of delays: excusable and inexcusable. An excusable delay is usually due to unforeseen events, such as the weather making it impossible for a contractor to work and get a project completed on time. An inexcusable delay might be something like failing to appropriately plan and schedule all aspects of the project. Regardless of the type of delay, a lawyer may be able to help you come to a reasonable resolution without filing a lawsuit.

Ways to Resolve Construction Delay Disputes

Negotiation – The first step to take when trying to resolve a dispute is to meet and discuss the issue.  Direct negotiations are much less costly than litigation, and even if you do not come to an agreement, all parties will know where they stand. Regardless of whether you are the property owner or contractor, it is always a good idea to have an attorney as your advocate during these kinds of negotiations.

Mediation – Working out a disagreement through mediation can also help resolve delay issues in an efficient, cost-effective manner. In mediation, a neutral third party assists the parties in conflict with negotiating their differences. The mediator does not render a decision, but can facilitate civil discussion and provide ideas for solving problems.

Arbitration – The alternative dispute resolution method is more formal than mediation. Each party can present evidence and arguments. Once the arbiter has seen and heard all evidence and arguments, they render a decision. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding, and your real estate attorney can represent you in an arbitration hearing.

Litigation – If alternative dispute resolution is unsuccessful, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover damages for any losses you suffered due to construction delays.

Construction delay disputes can be frustrating, but you do not have to go it alone. Our West Chester real estate attorneys can evaluate your case and provide practical advice on how to move forward.

Tips for Choosing a Business Attorney

Tips for Choosing a Business AttorneyWhether you own a small mom-and-pop shop or a large manufacturing company, it is critical to be proactive about protecting your interests and making sure you follow the law. A business attorney can help you avoid potential problems and assist you with all types of legal issues. Choosing a business lawyer may seem like a daunting task, but these tips can help you choose wisely and find an attorney who is right for you.

Why You Need a Business Lawyer

Many business owners do not think about hiring an attorney until legal problems occur. However, the ideal time to seek the counsel of a business lawyer is before issues arise. A business attorney can assist you with a range of important matters from forming a business entity to drafting partner agreements. Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for years, a business succession planning attorney can help you map out what will happen should you retire, become unable to work, or pass away.

All business owners should be concerned with forming risk mitigation strategies that protect their companies from potential litigation and other problems. Business liability lawyers can help you find ways to enhance the efficiency of your day-to-day operations, improve your bottom line, and minimize the impact of decisions that do not work out as planned.

Ask for Recommendations

One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to get referrals from trusted colleagues in your industry, friends, family, and others who have worked with a business lawyer they liked. Do not hesitate to ask why they would recommend the attorney and whether they know where his or her specialties lie. For example, an experienced business contract lawyer may be a great fit if you are expanding your business and need help with drawing up employment contracts for new employees. After you get a few names, do some research online and check out your state’s bar association website to learn more about each attorney.

Questions to Ask a Business Attorney

Write down a list of questions you would like to ask your potential business lawyer. Some important questions include:

  • Have you worked with companies similar to mine?
  • Do you have any conflicts of interest with my line of business?
  • Are you experienced in business litigation?
  • Who will be my main contact at your firm? Will I always work with the same attorney?
  • What is the best way to contact you? How long can I expect it to take to get a response?
  • Have you successfully represented clients in cases like mine?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • Do you offer a flat fee for routine matters such as business entity formation?

Do you need a business attorney to assist you with legal matters? Our experienced team can help.

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Lawyer Services

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Lawyer ServicesBuying or selling property and dealing with other legal issues surrounding real estate can be complicated. A qualified real estate lawyer can assist you with many different aspects of your transaction, from creating sales agreements to helping you settle disputes. Learning about the services that real estate attorneys offer can help you understand why you need a professional looking out for your best interests.

What is a Real Estate Attorney?

Real estate lawyers are licensed attorneys who focus on real estate transactions and other legal matters related to real estate. They possess the knowledge and experience needed to assist parties in both simple and complex transactions like short sales.

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

In some states, buyers and sellers are required to hire a real estate attorney when involved in a transaction. If you’re purchasing or selling residential or commercial property that involves unusual circumstances or contractual issues arise, having an experienced real estate lawyer by your side can help you save a lot of hassles and money in the long run.

Real estate attorney services include:

  • Confirming ownership of a property, such as researching titles and deeds
  • Identifying liens, loans, litigation, or other claims against a property
  • Helping clients address and clear liens and restrictions
  • Arranging for title insurance
  • Drafting, reviewing, and negotiating contracts and real estate sales agreements
  • Handling escrow and funds transfers
  • Preparing disclosures and settlement statements that list funds received from the buyer and the charges to all involved parties, such as title search fees, real estate agent commissions, attorneys’ fees, and underwriting fees
  • Facilitating closings where the buyer and seller sign documents and finalize the deal the closing
  • Assisting with conflict resolution when disputes arise
  • Zoning, easement, and property line issues
  • Other land disputes
  • Commercial and residential leases
  • Any other issues specific to the circumstances

Why Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer?

Although some real estate transactions are fairly straightforward, for-sale-by-owner, short sales, and foreclosure, and commercial transactions can be rife with complex issues. A real estate transaction lawyer provides valuable advice and ensures their client’s rights and interests are protected, whether they’re representing a buyer or seller.

A real estate attorney may consult with estate planning lawyers to help clients determine the best ways to preserve and protect their assets for their loved ones. If you’re concerned about the tax implications of a transaction, your real estate lawyer can determine how a sale or purchase could affect property and income tax liability. Having a lawyer negotiate on your behalf can also result in a better deal for both buyers and sellers.

How Do I find a Real Estate Lawyer?

Although online reviews can be helpful, one of the best ways to find a qualified real estate attorney is by asking friends, family, and other people you trust if they have worked with anyone they would recommend. It is also a good idea to check your state’s bar directory to find real estate lawyers in your area.

Do you need assistance with a real estate transaction or another legal matter? Our experienced team of real estate lawyers, business attorneys, and estate planning lawyers can help.

Estate Planning Help in PA – Protect Your Legacy

Estate Planning Help in PA - Protect Your LegacyDrafting a will and creating an estate plan is not something most people like to think about. However, regardless of your age or socioeconomic status, a solid estate plan can protect your interests and the legacy you leave behind. Seeking the counsel of estate planning attorneys can help to ensure your wishes are carried out, make things easier for your loved ones, and give you peace of mind.

Important Questions to Consider

Lawyers who specialize in wills recommend taking some time to consider your wishes for what will happen after you pass away and who you want to manage your affairs if something were to happen while you are still alive. You may want to ask yourself these important questions:

  • Who do I want to decide on my behalf if I am incapacitated?
  • What types of medical care and life-sustaining measures do I want if I become ill or injured?
  • Who will I name as guardians for my minor children?
  • How do I want my estate to be divided after my death?

Although it can be a difficult subject to breach, discussing these matters with your loved ones and an attorney can help you create an estate plan that works best for your family.

How an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

There are several essential elements that go into creating an estate plan. In addition to drafting a will, estate planning lawyers can help you create powers of attorney, trusts, and any other legal documents that might be useful in your specific circumstances. If you own a business, it is vital to think about business succession planning if you haven’t already. It often goes hand in hand with estate planning and can keep your business rolling along smoothly in the event of your retirement, illness, or passing.


Creating a will can help your loved ones avoid a lengthy probate process and ensure your wishes are carried out as you intended. You can name guardians for minor children, specify how your assets will be dispersed, and include details about how you’d like personal items to be distributed.  You can also name caretakers for your pets and include specifics about their care.


Trusts are valuable estate planning tools that can also allow you to specify how to distribute assets, provide tax advantages, and help assets avoid probate so beneficiaries have access to them sooner. If you have children or other loved ones who need someone to manage money or assets for them, a trust ensures those funds and property are used according to your wishes.

Powers of Attorney

Durable powers of attorney help protect you in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself. A power of attorney for health care allows you to name an agent to make medical decisions for you. This document outlines what kind of medical care you want and what you don’t want. You can also include an advance directive, which enables you to express your wishes for end-of-life care.

In a power of attorney for finances, you name an agent to handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. It can be as specific or as broad as you would like. Your agent can do things like pay bills, sell property, and manage assets on your behalf.

Thinking about what may happen after you are gone can be overwhelming. Estate planning lawyers guide you through the process and provide compassionate, practical advice that meets your needs. If you are looking for an estate planning law firm in eastern Pennsylvania, our team can help.

Why You Should Hire a Business Attorney When Changing a Business Entity

Why You Should Hire a Business Attorney When Changing a Business EntityLike other aspects of life, businesses change and grow. If your business is evolving and you are considering changing your business entity, it is essential to understand the procedural requirements, tax implications, and liability considerations of each type. A corporate business attorney can evaluate your circumstances and advise you on which option will best meet your needs and protect your interests.

Why Change Your Business Structure?

For many small business owners, a sole proprietorship or informal partnership is appropriate when first starting out. Although these structures can be effective for a company with one or two people, if a business starts to grow, hires employees, or wishes to woo investors, an LLC, partnership, or corporation provides protections and benefits that make more sense.

Considerations for Choosing a Business Entity

Before changing your business structure, it is vital to consider several elements, including:

  • Taxation
  • Liability
  • Forms and fees
  • Investment needs
  • Operational continuity

All of these components should be taken into account when creating a business succession plan as well. Seeking the advice of an experienced business lawyer can help to ensure that important details are addressed so you do not choose a structure that could end up affecting your business negatively.

In rare cases, a business owner may decide to go from a more complex business structure to a simpler one, which can be challenging. An attorney can help you understand the common taxation, liability, and legal issues that may arise, depending on your specific situation.

A Lawyer Can Help with Paperwork and Procedures

If you are changing to a more complex structure like a corporation or LLC, you must register it with the state in which you do business. You may also need to update your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and file a DBA (doing business as) form. An attorney can help you complete this paperwork and send it to the proper government agencies.

In addition, LLCs and LLPs require formal operating agreements. These agreements outline the rights and responsibilities of the owners of the company.  It is important to make sure these agreements are sound and all your legal bases are covered. A business lawyer in West Chester will know what is required by state and federal authorities like the IRS and can help you draft an agreement that includes all relevant information.

Changing to a Corporation

If you’re switching to a corporation, there are certain legal requirements that must be met. You must file articles of incorporation with the state and appoint officers of the company, such as a president and secretary. You will also need to choose a board of directors. Corporate bylaws, which lay the ground rules for operating your corporation, should also be prepared. Stock may be issued and a shareholders agreement must be created. Having an attorney help you draft this vital document ensures that the rights and responsibilities of the owners and other important information are clearly stated in the shareholder agreement.

Regardless of which type of entity you choose, the seasoned business attorneys at Carosella & Associates can help you get it right and provide the legal guidance you need throughout the process.

How to Settle Contract Disputes Out of Court

How to Settle Contract Disputes Out of CourtContract disputes are very common in almost all business sectors. Most contract disputes are settled out of court, as litigation is time-consuming and costly. Whether you are facing an issue with a commercial lease, non-disclosure agreement, or another type of contract, it is important to know the options available to help you get it resolved. Contract attorneys can assess your situation, determine possible ways to settle the dispute, and provide legal representation that protects your interests.

Informal Negotiations

The first step most business lawyers take when dealing with a contract dispute is to contact the party and try to work out a resolution. Sending a letter or having discussions can often be enough to settle a dispute. If you do negotiate a settlement both parties agree to, it is critical to have an attorney prepare a formal agreement that outlines the terms. That way, if one party does not hold up their end of the bargain, the other may pursue a legal remedy.


Mediation is a popular alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method that helps parties in conflict resolve issues. In mediation, a third party facilitates and guides the process to help you reach a mutually agreeable outcome. However, a mediator does not make a decision about the dispute. Their job is to help you address specific matters and facilitate civil communication.

Mediation is often a good choice for resolving disputes, as it is much faster and less expensive than suing someone in court. Because the results are determined by the parties involved, not a judge, it can also help them feel like they have more control over the situation. If you decide to pursue mediation to settle a contract dispute, it is vital to have an experienced lawyer assist you throughout the process. For example, if you are dealing with a dispute involving the sale of a property, you should have a real estate attorney by your side in mediation.


Arbitration is a method of ADR that enables you to bring a contract dispute in front of a private arbitrator to decide your case. One advantage of both mediation and arbitration is that they are private, which allows parties to keep details confidential.

The arbitration may involve one arbitrator or a panel of three. Although the process is less formal than court proceedings, parties may present evidence and question witnesses. After all, evidence is presented and witness testimony is heard, the arbitrator makes a decision, much as a judge would.

In binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is final. You must abide by the result just like you would if you stood before a judge. However, unlike court decisions, rulings in binding arbitration typically cannot be appealed.

In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s determination is advisory. However, it is an effective, practical way to resolve many types of disputes. Even if a decision is rejected by one party, it can give you insight into how a case may play out in court.

Do you have a business matter or contract dispute that needs to be settled? Our business lawyers in West Chester are skilled negotiators who work to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Does My Estate Have to Pay My Debts After I Pass Away?

Does My Estate Have to Pay My Debts After I Pass Away?If you hold considerable amounts of debt, you may wonder whether your spouse or other family members will be responsible for paying it after you are gone. Even if you have a substantial estate and little debt, it is beneficial to understand how it may affect the assets you leave to your loved ones. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you address these issues and create an effective plan that protects your family’s financial interests.

How Debts are Paid After Someone Dies

When someone dies, both their assets and debts pass to their estate. This means that generally, the deceased person’s estate must take care of any unpaid debts. If there is not enough property or money, debts may go unpaid. In Pennsylvania, most assets must go through probate unless they are held in a trust. Accounts payable on death and funds from life insurance policies can also skip probate.

One of the first steps an executor or administrator must take is to notify creditors of the person’s death. The executor or personal representative must advertise the decedent’s death in two newspapers in the county where they resided for three weeks. Creditors have one year to submit their claims against the estate to receive payment for any unpaid debts. A lawyer can explain the probate process so the executor and beneficiaries understand how it works.

The executor or personal representative must pay inheritance taxes, medical bills, funeral expenses, court costs, and any other outstanding debts that may be left behind. If necessary, the executor may liquidate and sell assets to cover all debts of the deceased person. Once all debts are paid, any remaining assets will be distributed to beneficiaries according to the will or the laws of intestacy.

However, if the funds are distributed to beneficiaries and the estate does not have enough funds to cover other claims brought within the one-year period, the personal representative or executor can be held personally liable for paying these creditors.

What is an Insolvent Estate?

If an estate does not have enough assets to pay off debts, it is considered insolvent. In Pennsylvania, certain debts and expenses must be paid and prioritized in the following order:

1. The costs of estate administration, such as attorney fees, court costs, and the personal representative’s fees

2. The family exemption, which provides $3,500.00 for each family member who lived with the person at the time of their death

3. Funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, Medicaid costs, and any services performed by employees within the last six months

4. Cost of the grave marker

5. Rent for the deceased person’s home for the six months preceding their death and any claims by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

6. All other claims, such as medical bills and rent owed previous to the last six months of the person’s life

While some creditors of an insolvent estate may be paid, some may only receive a portion of what is owned or nothing at all.

Could I Be Held Personally Responsible for a Loved One’s Debt?

Generally, individuals are not required to pay the debts of someone who dies. However, there are rare exceptions to this rule, such as:

  • You were a joint account owner with the deceased
  • You were a co-signer on a loan
  • In certain community property states, a spouse may be responsible for paying their deceased spouse’s debt that was acquired during the marriage.

Even if you were an authorized user on a credit card that belonged to the person who died, you are not responsible for paying their credit card debt. If creditors contact you about someone else’s debt, a family wills and trusts lawyer can advise you on whether you are legally obligated to repay it.

It is important to consider how your debts may affect the distribution of your estate when you pass away. The experienced estate attorneys at our law firm in West Chester can help you create a plan that keeps your loved one’s interests in mind.


Steps to Take When an Employee Sues Your Business

Steps to Take When an Employee Sues Your BusinessAny business can run the risk of getting sued by an employee. A lawsuit can do serious damage to your company, so it is critical to consult a corporate business attorney as soon as you receive notice that you are being sued. These steps can help you protect your reputation and finances and put you on the right track for dealing with a lawsuit.

Be Proactive

Although you treat your employees well and offer great pay, benefits, and a positive work environment, there is always a chance a worker may feel they have been wronged in some way. If a current or former employee makes a complaint or you are aware that they may be disgruntled, talk to your lawyer to get your lawyer’s thoughts on the matter. If you have an HR specialist, keep them in the loop and make a plan for how to move forward.

Contact an Attorney If You Receive Notice of a Complaint or Lawsuit

Before a lawsuit is filed against your business, you will likely receive a demand letter from the employee, their attorney, or another organization such as the EEOC. This letter may ask your company to take corrective steps and threaten to sue if these recommended measures go ignored. It is normal to be frustrated and angry if you or your company is accused of wrongdoing, but do not contact the employee or respond to the letter in any way to avoid risking further legal peril.

Instead, stay calm and seek the counsel of a business lawyer who is well-versed in handling employee claims. Whether your company is faced with an employment lawsuit, personal injury claim, or another matter, an experienced attorney can assess the situation, advise you of possible outcomes, and determine a course of action to protect your personal and professional interests and your company.

Protect Your Finances

Depending on the type of lawsuit, you may already have insurance that can help safeguard your finances. For example, if an employee is suing you due to an injury your employee sustained at work, your worker’s compensation or your general liability insurance company may cover it if a claim is submitted. Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) insurance is specifically designed to provide coverage against claims related to workplace-related issues such as discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation.

Regardless of what the lawsuit is about, do not automatically assume that your insurance will cover a claim, as the circumstances surrounding the lawsuit may make it a non-coverable event. If you receive a legal demand letter or notice of a lawsuit, contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

Safeguard Yourself Against Future Lawsuits

Unfortunately, the lawsuit you are dealing with may not be the last. Creating a risk mitigation plan, having a business contract attorney draft or review any employee agreements, and providing a comprehensive employee handbook outlining policies, rules, and guidelines can prevent problems before they start. Whether you run an office or a factory, keeping up with employment and labor laws and OSHA safety standards can help you avoid litigation as well.

Our experienced business lawyers in West Chester handle all aspects of business law, including succession planning, employment issues, business entity formation, litigation, and more.

What is a Letter of Instruction and Why Do You Need it?

What is a Letter of Instruction and Why Do You Need it?A letter of instruction can help your loved ones tie up loose ends and give them peace of mind after your passing. Although it is an informal document, lawyers who specialize in wills often encourage clients to create one as part of their estate plan. A letter of instruction enables you to clarify your wishes and address matters that may not be in your will and gives you the freedom to offer personal messages to your family and friends.

What is in a Letter of Instruction?

Also known as a letter of intent, a letter of instruction may include everything from social media passwords to specifics about your wishes for funeral arrangements. It can also provide an easy-to-follow guide for the executor or personal representative in charge of settling your estate. Your estate planning attorneys can help you write up a letter of intent and ensure it covers everything you wish to address.

A comprehensive letter of instruction may include:

  • A list of all your assets
  • Information about where any tangible assets are located
  • A list of bank, brokerage, investment, and retirement accounts
  • Names and contact information for any financial professionals who handle your assets
  • Usernames and passwords for accounts, social media, email, and websites or apps
  • Specifics about how to disperse personal items like jewelry, family heirlooms, photos, etc.
  • The location of financial and legal documents such as wills, trusts, insurance policies, bank statements, tax returns, birth certificates, and titles or deeds for real estate, and vehicles
  • A list of beneficiaries and their contact information
  • Locations of safe deposit boxes and keys
  • Information about any debts, such as credit cards, loans, and mortgages, and contact information for debtors
  • Details and contact information for all insurance policies, especially life insurance
  • Instructions for the care of any pets
  • Instructions for final arrangements
  • Your preferred charities for donations if applicable
  • Any personal messages you’d like to convey to loved ones

A Letter of Instruction Eases Your Loved Ones’ Burden

Having all of this information in one place can make it much more convenient and less stressful for your executor and loved ones. Discussing these matters can be challenging, and a letter of instruction enables them to know exactly what you would have wanted.

A letter of instruction can cut down on conflict, provide comfort, and give family and friends more time and energy to support each other after a loss. Make sure to review and update your letter of intent with your estate planning lawyers every so often to ensure the information in it is up to date.

Our experienced team of attorneys and legal professionals offer comprehensive estate planning services that protect your interests and the legacy you wish to leave behind.