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Pennsylvania Legal Resources

Overview of the Pennsylvania Court System

In their capacity as the trial courts of general jurisdiction, the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas hear both civil and criminal cases and exercise original jurisdiction over cases not subject to the appellate jurisdiction. There are 60 districts in the Courts of Common Pleas.

Unlike many states that only have one, there are two intermediate appellate courts in Pennsylvania: the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania exercises jurisdiction over the actions of various state agencies while the Superior Court exercises general jurisdiction over the Courts of Common Pleas. Lastly, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in the state and exercises jurisdiction over lower court decisions.

Pennsylvania Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Pennsylvania attorney by location and by practice area. We have Pennsylvania attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

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Pennsylvania Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Pennsylvania legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

LawInfo's Residential Lease Agreement is a tool to help property owners obtain peace of mind. Many individuals seek to lease real estate in hopes of making a return on their investment and keeping their properties maintained during their absence. Lease agreements facilitate the owner's relations with his or her tenants by clearly defining the terms and conditions under which the rental is active. In the event of a dispute, both parties may refer to the lease to resolve the contention amicably.

The Last Will and Testament form on LawInfo outlines asset and property disbursement after one passes on. In many cases, property owners pass away without having specified their inheritors or how their assets are to be disposed of, and the state may be left with no choice but to act as an executor on their behalf. Property owners may wish to decide on one of two forms of estate management: trust-based or will-based. A will-based plan allows the owner to specify his or her inheritors while a trust-based plan leaves such decisions in the hands of an executor.

Sometimes, the owner of an estate is unavailable to oversee his or her assets as vigilantly as he or she may prefer, but a Power of Attorney legally authorizes an appointed trustee to act on the person's behalf and help ensure that his or her wishes are properly fulfilled. Absent a durable power of attorney authorization, properties may remain vacant for long periods of time, potentially leading to various legal complications depending on the jurisdiction in which they are located, and one's finances may go unmanaged. In addition, a durable power of attorney for health care can allow a person to designate another person to make medical decisions on his or her behalf in the event of incapacity.

Starting a Pennsylvania Business

While starting a new business is an exciting prospect, a little forethought may help potential entrepreneurs avoid the typical stressors that may accompany such endeavors. PA Biz Online offers valuable information on structuring and managing a new business that may prove useful to individuals thinking of bringing their organizations to Pennsylvania. In addition to guiding entrepreneurs on business plans, organization and various legal considerations, the site includes a step-by-step guide to starting a business by the Department of Revenue and a glossary to help you understand the jargon used by state businesspeople.

Pennsylvania Business Statistics

Business owners are a vital component of Pennsylvania's economy. In the private sector, 48.6 percent of the labor force is employed by small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Additionally, small businesses comprise 98.3 percent of the state's employers.

In 2011, Pennsylvania's gross state product saw a 3.6 percent increase according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the unemployment rate decreased by 0.6 percent. As of 2010, there were 2.4 million workers employed in small businesses. Pennsylvania is home to many Fortune 500 companies, including AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Comcast (CMCSA) and Rite Aid (RAD).