2014 Judicial Award – Pa Attorney Whalen

The Bar and the Judiciary Have Made It Clear: You’re One of the Best.

You are part of a tradition that goes back 130 years.

That’s how long the members of the Bar and Judiciary have been a part of the Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rating™.  For over 130 years, the Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rating™ from members of the Bar and Judiciary has distinguished the country’s elite attorneys.

You are a part of this exceptional group.

After all, this is a time-honored award that goes to the best attorneys in the country.

And now you deserve to honor your accomplishment with your elegant Judicial Edition Plaque.

This stately showcase piece is the most dignified way to let everyone know that you’ve reached the top.

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How Is A Pa Will Modified?

§ 2507. Modification by circumstances.

Wills shall be modified upon the occurrence of any of the following circumstances, among others:

(1)  (Repealed).

(2) Divorce or Pending Divorce. If the testator is divorced from the bonds of matrimony after making a will, any provision in the will in favor of or relating to his spouse so divorced shall thereby become ineffective for all purposes unless it appears from the will that the provision was intended to survive the divorce.

(Amended By 2010 Act 85 To Read As Follows Effective December 27, 2010).

(2) Divorce or Pending Divorce. Any provision in a testator’s will in favor of or relation to the testator’s spouse shall become ineffective for all purposes unless it appears from the will that the provision was intended to survive a divorce, if the testator;

(i) is divorced from such spouse after making the will; or

(ii) dies domiciled in this Commonwealth during the course of divorce proceedings, no decree of divorce has been entered pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323 (relating to decree of court) and grounds have been established as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. § 3323(g).

(3) Marriage. If the testator marries after making a will, the surviving spouse shall receive the share of the estate to which he would have been entitled had the testator died intestate, unless the will shall give him a greater share or unless it appears from the will that the will was made in contemplation of marriage to the surviving spouse.

(4) Birth or adoption. If the testator fails to provide in his will for his child born or adopted after making his will, unless it appears from the will that the failure was intentional, such child shall receive out of the testator’s property not passing to a surviving spouse, such share as he would have received if the testator had died unmarried and intestate owning only that portion of his estate not passing to a surviving spouse.

(5) Slaying. Any person who participates either as a principal or as an accessory before the fact in the willful and unlawful killing of any person shall not in any way acquire property or receive any benefits as the result of the willful and unlawful killing but such property or benefits shall be distributed as provided by Chapter 88 (relating to slayers).

20 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2507

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Ps – Lucid Intervals – Maria’s Share

… My mother, Noreen A. Whalen, passed away on December 20, 2011 …
… I can write that date without a blink of an eye or a second thought …
… I just can’t write anything further about my mom …

… My father, John B. Whalen, passed away on January 23, 2004 …
… I can write that date without a blink of an eye or a second thought …
… I just can’t write anything further about my dad …

… In my line of work, I deal with loss and dying and death on a daily basis …

… People deal and cope with loss and dying and death in different – and their own ways …

… Some write about it … Some think about it … Some bury it … Some ignore it …

… However … “it” never goes away … “it” never gets easier … “it” is always there …

… And your life is changed forever …

… But I digress (as I tend to do) … This post is not about me … This post is from a very good friend of mine (Maria), who did write about her experience with loss and dying and death …

… Fortunately – and as always (at least for me and I hope for her, as well as you also) it has helped me beyond ways Maria can or will ever understand (just as I will never understand how Maria feels) …

… As usual, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have …

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Ps – Lucid Intervals – Maria’s Share

I’m about to share a very personal and emotional personal experience in the hopes of eliciting some deep reflection on a difficult and contentious topic.

The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman rings so close to home for me of a past that to this day haunts me.

There have been many to die before him of a drug overdose but for some reason his story has churned up a plethora of emotions.

You see I am my mother’s daughter and SHE was a rescuer. She began her nursing career as a Psychiatric hospital nurse and then became the Director of a drug treatment center.

I too am a rescuer – a rescuer of animals of all kinds including the human animal. My mother taught me to value every living thing and to understand that none are perfect. We all have demons.

I began rescuing at a very early age. Whether it was to rescue my neighbors dog from an isolated life in a laundry room or my first cat Samantha, who followed me home one dad and I had to keep her, or whether it was my first long and very complicated relationship.

You see that relationship was with a heroin addict, one much older than me, but a life disrupted that I thought I could save. I could not.

His demons were much too dark for a teenager, albeit I was a different type of teenager than your average one, but still the possessive nature of addiction was more than I was ready to tackle at the time.

I had known [him] for years before a relationship formed and was there to help him when his own mother finally took her own life (after threatening to do so many times before). This was really when our relationship grew stronger.

It was a very controversial and difficult relationship for my family to understand.

I knew that, but the bond between us was very strong.

He was – for me – a soulmate.

He was more intelligent than most knew and I – to this day still – have scribblings that he wrote about how things in society should change, and how very much he hated the addict that he was.

These were notes for him not meant for others to read and I found them in his belongings and I have had them tucked away for almost 30 years, after three very long and tumultuous years in a relationship that was understood by very few.

I found him lifeless on the floor of the apartment where he lived. It is a day, a scene and a smell that is burned into my memory for eternity.

It was about 7:30 in the morning and I was stopping by on my way to work to give him some presents I bought him for his birthday. I knocked on the door and got no answer.

He knew I was coming and my first feeling was that of anger. You see, this was an all too familiar thing to have him not be where he was supposed to be or doing the things he was supposed to do. Addicts are not all that reliable.

I peeked in the window and could see him lying on the floor with his back to the door – not that strange really – there were 3 people living in this one bedroom apartment, so often times one would sleep on the floor. I knocked again louder this time and nothing, so I tried the door and it opened.

I went in laid down next to him and put my arm around him. That was the moment I realized something was dreadfully wrong.

There was an odor, an odor I will never forget, one of death.

I quickly sat up and turned him over and he was blue and sputum streamed out of his mouth. I shook him harder than I had ever shaken anything in my 18 years.

I knew he was gone.

My life changed immeasurably that day.

But it has helped sculpt me into the person I am today.

Oddly my family Doctor wanted to prescribe Valium for me to “help” me deal with the situation. I refused. Even my family wanted me to take them. I would put it in my mouth and pretend to swallow it and get rid of it.

Why are doctors so quick to prescribe drugs to help people deal with trauma? That masks the underlying issue – it doesn’t heal it.

I had never done a drug to that point and had no intention of trying to “fix’ the traumatic events with the very thing that had caused it. I prefer to simply face things head on and deal with the root of the problem instead of bandaging it in the hopes that it will simply go away.

I continue to be a rescuer, which is a continuous source of angst, disappointment, and heartache.

I worked at the drug treatment Center with my mother for 7 years and I became callused and angry with many of the addicts because too many of them seemed to be happy with their lives and “playing” the system.

I too must remind myself that addiction is more than just a weak person’s disease and that for many it is desperate attempt to shield oneself from pain and it sickeningly encompasses and destroys the soul to which it has attached it’s tentacles.

Below are some very poignant points about addiction from an article I just read in regards to Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death.

I must say it relates to many addicts but not all, some simply do not want to change and others are desperate to find a way out of the living hell they have created in an attempt to find euphoria.

At any rate some food for thought :

***

Addicts don’t want to be addicts.

Addicts don’t want to die.

Addicts don’t want to throw their lives away.

Addicts don’t want their children to grow up without parents.

They just want to feel better. They just want to feel normal. They just want to stop feeling everything else for a little while.

Addicts are people, just like you and me.

Addicts come in all forms, dependent on many different things, drugs just being one version of dependence.

The problem is that our system is limited, laboring under the illusion that drug addiction is a criminal issue, a medical issue on the fringes that can be fixed with proper rehab. That all ignores the fact that drugs aren’t the problem…what led that person to drugs in the first place is the problem. The drugs are just a means to an end.

Rehab doesn’t fix addicts. It primarily treats the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Prison doesn’t fix addicts. It just puts them in a cage for a while.

Even death doesn’t fix addicts. It just leaves the people who love them here, forever wondering how different things might have been.

The only way to really deal with addiction is one that is multi-faceted, one that makes us uncomfortable. It is messy and complicated and takes a lifetime of effort. It sometimes involves relapses and second chances and third chances. It involves support, sometimes sponsors. It involves therapy and counseling until whatever the root cause is has been revealed and addressed. It involves consideration of not just the physical withdrawal, but also the emotional withdrawal, the social withdrawal, the psychological withdrawal. It requires a mental health system with adequate resources, which clearly doesn’t exist. It requires us to do better. It requires support instead of judgment.

And sometimes, even when all those things exist, it fails. It fails because addiction can take people and swallow them whole. It can rob them of everything they value, everyone they love. It can strip them of everything they care about, rob them of reason and logic. It can convince them that they aren’t worthy, that they have failed not just themselves, but everyone else. It tells them that they are broken and irreparable. Then it shoves them back down and does it again.

* * * * *

Quoted thoughts courtesy of DeBie Hive: Addiction, Mental Health and a Society That Fails To Understand Either

* * * * *

… Thank you very much, Maria …

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What Is The Form And Execution Of A Pa Will?

§ 2502. Form and execution of a will.

Every will shall be in writing and shall be signed by the testator at the end thereof, subject to the following rules and exceptions:

(1)  Words following signature. The presence of any writing after the signature to a will, whether written before or after its execution, shall not invalidate that which precedes the signature.

(2)  Signature by mark.  If the testator is unable to sign his name for any reason, a will to which he makes his mark and to which his name is subscribed before or after he makes his mark shall be as valid as though he had signed his name thereto: Provided, That he makes his mark in the presence of two witnesses who sign their names to the will in his presence.

(3)  Signature by another. If the testator is unable to sign his name or to make his mark for any reason, a will to which his name is subscribed in his presence and by his express direction shall be as valid as though he had signed his name thereto: Provided, That he declares the instrument to be his will in the presence of two witnesses who sign their names to it in his presence.

20 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2502

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How Do You Revoke A Pa Will?

§ 2505. Revocation of a will.

No will or codicil in writing, or any part thereof, can be revoked or altered otherwise than:

(1)  Will or codicil. By some other will or codicil in writing;

(2)  Other writing. By some other writing declaring the same, executed and proved in the manner required of wills; or

(3)  Act to the document. By being burnt, torn, canceled, obliterated, or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revocation, by the testator himself or by another person in his presence and by his express direction. If such act is done by any person other than the testator, the direction of the testator must be proved by the oaths or affirmations of two competent witnesses.

20 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2505

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Ps – Trust Living – Dear Prudence Farrow (Video)

… Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play? …

… Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day …

… The sun is up, the sky is blue …

… It’s beautiful and so are you …

… Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play? …

Ps – Trust Living – Dear Prudence Farrow

The Beatles (John Lennon)
1960 – 1970
English Rock Band.

Ps – Trust Living – Dear Prudence Farrow – Note

Dear Prudence” is a song written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was released by the Beatles as the second track on their 1968 double-disc album entitled The Beatles (commonly known as “The White Album“).

The subject of the song is Prudence Farrow, actress Mia Farrow’s sister, who was present when the Beatles went to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Prudence Farrow became so serious about her meditation that she “turned into a near recluse” and “rarely came out” of the cottage in which she was living.

John Lennon was asked to “contact her and make sure she came out more often to socialize”. As a result, Lennon wrote the song “Dear Prudence”.

In the song Lennon asks Farrow to “open up your eyes” and “see the sunny skies” reminding her that she is “part of everything”.

The song was said to be “a simple plea to a friend to ‘snap out of it'”.

Lennon said later that “She’d been locked in for three weeks and was trying to reach God quicker than anyone else”.

According to Farrow: “I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so I could meditate. John, George and Paul would all want to sit around jamming and having a good time and I’d be flying into my room. They were all serious about what they were doing, but they just weren’t as fanatical as me”.

John Lennon did play the song for Farrow while they were in India together. According to Farrow, “I was flattered. It was a beautiful thing to have done”. The lyrics of the song are simple and innocent and praise the beauty of nature in the lines: “The sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful, and so are you”.

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Ps – Trust Living – Eddie Vedder Spoke

… I don’t even know if the concept came across …

… there was shot in the video that we didn’t keep of the young kid with the gun in his mouth …

… certain people would let us show it …

… I understand, ya know …

… I understand why they don’t want teenagers with guns in their mouths in front of a classroom …

… I understand …

… but, uh, that’s what happened … I’m not making it up, ya know …

… and I’m sorry that there is a reason to make this video or to write that song or a song about that …

… it shouldn’t have happened …

[...]

… I’m sorry that people had to watch it so many times …

Ps – Due Influence – Eddie Vedder Spoke

Pearl Jam
1990 – Present
American Rock Band.

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