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What types of trusts can be created in an estate plan?

Estate planning is critical for anyone who hopes to pass assets to beneficiaries. Without an estate plan, one's possessions and cash may be distributed in a fashion that doesn't suit their desires. Yet, even those who know this truth find it difficult to proceed with planning. One reason is that they are afraid to think about passing on, but another reasons is because they are unfamiliar with what makes up an estate plan and how it can prove beneficial. This week we will look at trusts as part of the estate plan.

There are many types of trusts that one can create. First, though, it is important to understand the purpose of a trust. A trust allows an individual to decide who will benefit from their assets while making those benefits subject to certain rules. A trustee oversees a trust for the benefit of a beneficiary. One of the most common types of trusts is the revocable. This trust is created during an individual's life and, as such, it can be changed or eliminated at any time. One benefit of this kind of trust is that it allows those involved to avoid probate, which can be lengthy and costly to an estate. Despite this benefit, though, a revocable trust is not the best way to protect assets from creditors.

Child custody and parental relocation

When a divorce is finalized, parties may find themselves breathing a sigh of relief, and for good measure. Divorce, after all, marks a new beginning, and former spouses may be happy to put behind them the emotional pain they suffered during the marriage and the divorce process. They may also feel a weight lifted off of their shoulders, knowing that critical family law legal issues, such as property division and spousal support, have been settled. Despite the relief of initially handling those issues, though, an Illinois resident may find him or herself continuing to deal with divorce legal issues well after marriage dissolution.

This may be especially true when it comes to children. Child custody and child support can be modified when changes arise, but that's not the only time a problem can pop up. For example, many custodial parents, at one time or another, find themselves wanting to relocate with their children. It may sound easy enough, but this desire can kick start a legal battle.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's estate planning mistakes

Planning for death is difficult for most people, as very few of us want to think about our own mortality. Yet, planning for the distribution of your assets can be a great way to put your mind at ease and ensure that your beneficiaries are recipient to whatever property you want to leave to them. Without proper estate planning or errant planning, your estate could wind up facing delays, excessive costs and distribution that completely goes against your wishes.

To see an example of just how serious these matters can be, one need only look at Philip Seymour Hoffman's estate. The actor, who passed away in 2014, left all of his assets to his girlfriend via will. According to the will, the girlfriend is to use the money to raise his children and ensure that they visit major metropolitan areas to obtain an appreciation for the arts. However, simple errors in Hoffman's planning may have cost his family millions of dollars.

Estate planning is important in all life stages

Some young adults think that they don't need to handle estate planning matters right away. While it might be true that these individuals have a lot of time left on the Earth, you just can't predict what might happen. Estate planning is best done as early as possible.

Surprisingly, there are even some older adults who haven't taken the time to get an estate plan together. No matter what stage of life you are in, you should think carefully about your estate plan and then get it all taken care of so that your loved ones won't have to guess about your wishes if something happens to you.

Why should one consider creating a will?

Very few, if any, of us like to think about death. Instead, we want to focus on the life that we're living, putting our full effort into living in the moment. Yet, death will find us all. Although we don't have control over that fact, we can control what will happen to our assets upon our passing. Estate planning can not only provide an individual with peace of mind, but it can also ensure that his or her beneficiaries receive what he or she wants them to receive without the matter being contested in court.

One effective piece of estate planning is the creation of a will. There are a number of reasons one should consider drafting this legal document. First, it allows an individual to decide how his or her estate will be divided upon death, which can eliminate the potential for familial fighting down the road. Second, a will can announce who will care for one's children upon his or her death. Without a will in place, a judge will be left to decide this important role.

Medical debt credit reporting standards to change

Although the economy seems to be recovering, far too many Americans continue to live paycheck-to-paycheck. These individuals are just one unexpected life event away from facing financial ruin. Being in this position can be extremely stressful, and when one of those life events occurs, they may find themselves overwhelmed with no idea how to resolve their financial difficulties. This often happens when an individual is hit with unexpected medical expenses.

In fact, studies show that more than half of all debt reported to credit agencies are associated with medical costs. This medical debt can cause serious damage to an individual's credit rating, which can cause even more financial strain. It may not only be harder to obtain a loan or other line of credit, but people in this situation may face excessive interest rates when they do obtain credit.

Americans are paying off credit cards more slowly

The Great Recession left many Illinois families on hard financial times. Unemployment in and of itself left many without the funds they need to make ends meet. Thus, many of these individuals and families had to turn to credit cards to stay afloat. Although the nation has steadily climbed out of the recession, many Americans continue to see themselves overwhelmed with credit card debt.

In fact, a recent study found that many Americans have slowed down the pace at which they pay off their credit card debt. Some analysts suggest that the sharp increase in declining credit card payoffs point to loosening industry lending standards rather than tough financial times for Americans. After all, they claim, the Great Recession triggered tougher standards so that banks could protect themselves from those who were unable to pay off debt. Now that the economy has recovered, those banks are loosening up a bit.

A new child support formula went into effect on July 1

On July 1, a new child support model went into effect for child support cases in the Illinois. The new model doesn't automatically apply to child support orders that were issued prior to the July 1 start date, so if you already have an order, you should continue to follow it.

Illinois has done away with basing child support on the number of children and a specific percentage of the paying parent's income. Instead, the state has moved to an income shares model, which proponents claim is a fairer option and better for the children.

Illinois firm helping individuals find debt relief

Previously, this blog discussed some of the drawbacks of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We hope that you found it informative and helpful as you try to figure out how best to deal with your overwhelming burden. Regardless of which approach you choose, Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to ensure that you are taking all the steps you need to in order to successfully navigate your bankruptcy plan. If you fail to do so, then you could be at risk of a failed bankruptcy, meaning you will not be able to obtain the debt relief you seek.

This is why the legal team at the Frankfort Law Group ensures that its clients fully understand their personal bankruptcy options and how best to work through their bankruptcy plans. We also aggressively advocate for our clients when they are accused of straying from their repayment plan or lying on their bankruptcy petition.

Wife of pro athlete files for divorce and seeks custody of child

Divorce and other family law issues in Illinois are always complex and pockmarked with difficult terrain no matter the circumstances. When it is a high asset divorce involving people well-known in the community and across the country, it is even harder. Everyone, no matter their situation, needs help with the variety of family law matters that will inevitably come up. A recent case involving a professional baseball player exemplifies this point.

The wife of Addison Russell, the shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, has filed for divorce. This filing comes not long after allegations of domestic abuse came to light. The couple has been married for about a year-and-a-half. Mrs. Russell is seeking custody of their child, a son who is one-year-old, and would like support. The couple has been living separately.

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