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Frankfort Law Blog

We help make estate plan visions become reality

Preparing for the future is something that we should all do, but many of us fail to do adequately. There may be a few reasons for this. First, many of us keep telling ourselves that we have time to prepare for the future. The problem is that we keep telling ourselves that until, eventually, we are out of time. The second reason we put off planning for the future is that we are afraid of what we must confront. This may be especially true when it comes to estate planning, as most of us don't want to think about the end of life.

Yet, estate planning shouldn't cause you to think about yourself. Instead, estate planning is about figuring out how best to take care of those you love. When a well thought-out estate plan is kicked into action, beneficiaries can be left assets in accordance with an individual's wishes, taxes may be avoided and excess costs may be dodged. Additionally, an estate plan can create powers of attorney that ensure that your medical and financial decisions will be adhered to in the event that you are suddenly rendered unable to make those decisions.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy not always the right debt relief option

As many Illinois residents know, facing financial difficulty is nothing short of challenging. It can leave an individual feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, while at the same time they are overly stressed with trying to find a way to dig themselves out of debt. Although some of these people are able to get themselves out of debt, others only find themselves falling into a deeper hole. When this is the case, it might be wise to seek debt relief. This may include filing for personal bankruptcy.

Yet, choosing the right type of bankruptcy is critically important to an individual's financial security. To see just how important this decision can be, one need only look at recent bankruptcy statistics in the Chicago area. According to reports, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings amongst African Americans have skyrocketed. Under this type of bankruptcy, debtors are required to make repayments for a period of five years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, allows debt to be discharged after a significant period of an individual's assets are liquidated.

Parenting education: A helpful tool during a divorce

Parents who are going through a divorce face some challenges that people without children don't have to worry about. Since your children are impacted by the divorce, you need to consider how each decision you make now can impact them.

In some cases, you might be told that you need to take parenting education classes. This isn't a negative reflection on your parenting. It is a good tool that can help you find ways to make the child custody plan easier on your children and learn ways that you and your ex can handle the challenges of splitting parenting duties.

What is a power of attorney?

It is not always easy to plan for the future. Estate planning can be a complicated endeavor. First, one must confront his or her own mortality, which is never an easy thing to do. Second, the process itself can seem overwhelming, as the number of estate planning tools can seem limitless. To create a strong estate plan, though, Illinois and Indiana residents don't have to go at it alone. Instead, they can find assistance from a skilled estate planning attorney, who can walk an individual through the process and develop a plan that meets that individual's needs.

In many instances, an estate planning attorney will recommend that an individual create a power of attorney. Generally speaking, a power of attorney gives another person the ability to make decisions for another individual who is incapacitated. This power, of course, can be quite great, but the creator of the document can specify to what extent the agent will have control over the principal's matters.

High-asset divorce ends with large payout

Marriage dissolution can affect an individual on many levels. Emotionally, he or she may feel cheated, devastated, disappointed or angry. Although these emotions can be more than enough to cope with, they can only be exacerbated by the potentially life-altering financial changes that can accompany them.

To see an example of how much can be at stake, financially speaking, one need only look to the recent result of a divorce involving the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and his wife. According to reports, Alicia Stephenson will walk away with $27,500 a month in alimony in addition to a one-time payment of $6.5 million and a $450,000 payment for housing. The judgment comes after eight years of heated arguments that could not be resolved without litigation.

Women may see estate planning through a different lens

Many of us think that we have plenty of time to focus on our retirement. While this may be true for some, many Illinois residents wait far too long before implementing a plan that protects their financial security in the future. The same holds true for estate planning. In most instances, individuals hold off on estate planning because they hate the idea of confronting their own mortality. For others, again, they feel like they have plenty of time to address the issue. Yet, estate planning is something that should be done early and updated often.

Estate planning, while essential for all individuals, may be especially important for women. Why? One reason is that, on average, women live longer than men. This means that women need to ensure that they not only have enough to cover their longer life but also that an estate plan is in place to handle their spouse's and their own assets upon their passing. Additionally, some women may find themselves at a financial disadvantage if they have taken time off work to help raise a family. For these women, the details of an estate plan can be pivotal to their financial well-being.

What are deceptive trade practices in Illinois?

When Illinois residents buy a good, they probably put little thought into whether they are getting what they are paying for. Sure, a lot of us try to do our research before making a purchase, as is often the case when one buys a car, but we rarely consider whether a business is actually trying to trick us into purchasing something that isn't what we want. There is good reason why we're not concerned. For decades, federal and state legislatures and agencies have worked hard to curtail consumer fraud. Yet, there are still far too many businesses out there that are trying to dupe their consumers.

So what make a trade practice deceptive in the eyes of the law? There are many ways deceptive trade practices can occur. For example, a good that confuses a customer as to its source or when a business tries to pass off goods or services as those of another, then deception has occurred. Deception also occurs when a business claims that a product is new when, in fact, it is used.

Is a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy right for you?

Coming to terms with your financial state might be rather shocking, especially if you find that you have more debt than you realized. For many people, delving into the finances is very difficult because it might seem like the debt is insurmountable.

If you take a look into the finances and realize that you are in over your head, you might be ready to look into your options. Two options that you will likely find on the list are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While both of these offer marked benefits, there are some differences to consider.

We help to decipher the bankruptcy process

Previously, this blog discussed how many Americans are struggling to pay off their credit card bills. This, when taken together with other debts, including medical expenses, income hardships from a lost job, reduced hours or decreased pay, can leave an individual in a dire financial situation. He or she may not know what to do to protect themselves and their family, and the pressure can rise when unrelenting creditors continue to hound him or her.

At the Frankfort Law Group, we understand that there is a sense of pride that comes with being able to dig one's self out of a financial hole. Yet, as we often advise our clients, going through this process can create unnecessary stress and may, depending on the circumstances, create more severe long-term financial problems than filing for bankruptcy. For this reason, we discuss the bankruptcy options with our clients so that they fully understand the routes they may choose to follow in an attempt to claim the fresh financial start they deserve.

The types of claims in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Illinois residents who are facing financial difficulties may struggle to find a way to secure their financial future. Working overtime and additional jobs may not be enough to overcome their debts, leaving them fearful for their future. These individuals should take comfort, though, in the fact that debt relief options may be available to them. Depending on the circumstances at hand, the most effective of these options may be bankruptcy. However, before pursuing bankruptcy, an individual should understand the process as fully as possible.

For those thinking about Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which essentially restructures debt into manageable monthly payments for a period of time before debts are discharged, should know about the types of claims they must deal. First are secure claims. These are debts held by creditor, which are backed by collateral, such as a car or a home. Second are unsecure claims, which are not backed by collateral. Credit card debt is an example of unsecured debt.


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