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Overwhelmed with debt? Consider bankruptcy in 2018

Many Illinois and Indiana residents take pride in their ability to effectively manage their finances. This is why when they face financial difficulties they often choose to try to fight their way out of their hole rather than seek financial relief. Although, personal bankruptcy may be able to provide these individuals with a way out by giving them the fresh financial start they need.

It is estimated that 733,000 individuals and businesses will seek bankruptcy protection this year. That's an increase of about 50,000 individuals and businesses who sought bankruptcy last year. This comes at a time when household debt is climbing, spurred by student loan debt, auto loans, mortgages and credit card debt. Unfortunately, though, many of these people wait too long to seek the protections offered by bankruptcy. If they had only sought it out sooner they could have avoided additional financial losses and overwhelming stress.

The duties of an estate executor

We all have to make decisions at some point in life. Many of these decisions must be made when one engages in the estate planning process. After evaluating an individual's assets and debts, he or she must determine how to distribute them upon his or her death and whether there will be any contingencies attached to the passing down of wealth. Once an individual obtains a clear sense of this larger picture, he or she can begin to put together the legal documents necessary to carry out his or her vision.

One way to ensure that one's vision for his or her estate will be carried out appropriately is to name an estate executor in his or her will. An executor has a number of duties that can be overwhelming, so this individual should be carefully chosen. Those duties can include locating the deceased individual's assets and protecting them, which may force an executor to make a decision about which assets to sell and which to keep as is. An executor will also have to ensure that the estate's property is properly passed down to beneficiaries. This means the executor may have to track down and contact beneficiaries.

Have a legal ally in your corner during personal bankruptcy

Facing financial challenges can be frightening. It often forces hardworking individuals to make financial decisions that hurt themselves and those they love. Your transportation, for example, may become unreliable, and one mechanical breakdown may put you in a position where you have to decide between fixing your car and paying your rent or mortgage. This is an overwhelmingly stressful situation and one that you should not have to face.

The good news is that you may not have to deal with it. Although many people continue to struggle to get out of debt, they often waste years merely digging their hole deeper. Instead of pouring time, money and your own mental well-being into such a big problem, you should consider seeking debt relief. Although it often carries a negative connotation, personal bankruptcy is one of those debt relief options that should be carefully considered, as it may be able to provide you with the fresh financial start you need.

Traumatic brain injuries: Life impacts come with all cases

Protecting the head is something that many people do automatically. Football players and motorcyclists wear helmets. Construction workers wear hardhats. It is easy to understand why this is when you think about the scope of life impacts that can occur when a person has a brain injury.

Some brain injuries are classified as traumatic. Even some injuries that might seem minor, such as concussions, fall into this category. If you have suffered a hit to the head or a violent shaking of your head, you should make sure that you familiarize yourself with some basic information about traumatic brain injuries.

The logistical challenges of military divorce

The brave men and women of our military put their lives on the line to ensure our safety, as well as the safety of many overseas. Since these individuals put their normal day-to-day lives on hold in order to serve our country, they are provided certain legal protections. This includes protections under family law. Those who are in the military, as well as those seeking to address divorce and other family law issues with a member of the military, should familiarize themselves with these laws, as they can play an important role in the timeline and outcome.

Under federal law, most military members are protected from divorce proceedings while they are on active duty. This protection also extends to 60 days after they return from active duty. Once divorce proceedings are ready to be initiated, though, the parties must decide where the case will be heard. While most divorce cases are heard where the parties live, in the case of a divorce involving a member of the military, it may be heard in the state where the individual is stationed. It is best to discuss this matter with an attorney, though, as every state's law approaches family law differently.

Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Many Illinois and Indiana residents face financial challenges at some point in their lives. While some are able to overcome the difficulties associated with the loss of a job, the onset of an unexpected medical condition or soaring interest rates on lines of credit, others find themselves completely overwhelmed. In the latter circumstances, it is wise to consider all debt relief options, as it is unrealistic to try to climb out of a hole that just keeps getting deeper.

One option is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This form of personal bankruptcy is often referred to as liquidation because an individual is required to sell his or her assets, with some exceptions, to pay off creditors. Once this process is completed, any remaining debt may be forgiven. This bankruptcy option can be a great way to escape overwhelming debt and secure a fresh financial start.

The living will: Legally binding ... sometimes

A living will is a useful tool that lets your medical team know what treatments and procedures you are willing to have and which ones you don't want to endure. For the most part, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are bound by the terms of the health care directive.

There is some misunderstanding that surrounds these estate planning documents. It is imperative that you fully understand what a health care directive is and when it will go into effect so that you can make sure that you are taken care of in the way you prefer.

Estate planning and the AB trust

Some individuals may not know where to start when it comes to drafting a plan for their future. However, there are a number of estate planning tools at one's disposal. Most people are familiar with the broad terms of wills and trusts, but each category is filled with intricacies which, depending on how they are addressed, can help an individual create the customized estate plan that meets his or her needs. This is especially true with trusts, as there are a variety of trust options available for individuals to utilize.

One of these trust options is the AB trust. Put in its simplest terms, the AB trust allows one spouse's assets to pass to the other spouse upon death without taxation. When assets are left to beneficiaries via a will, the estate's assets can be heavily taxed. The AB trust, however, may allow an individual to avoid these taxes. Of course, estate taxes usually only kick in when large estates are in play, but even those with relatively smaller estates may want to speak with their attorney about this option.

FTC's consumer fraud report shows extent of the problem

Fraud can touch individuals and businesses in a wide variety of ways. The Federal Trade Commission recently released its annual report on consumer fraud, and the numbers are eye opening. The report indicates that nearly three million fraud reports were filed, with many of them falling into the fields of debt collection, identity theft and imposter scams. Although most people who reported these frauds were able to protect themselves financially, 21 percent of those reports accounted for more than $900 million in losses. Most people found themselves losing somewhere between $400 and $500 dollars.

A somewhat surprising finding was whom the frauds targeted. According to the report, those between the ages of 20 and 29 appeared to be more trusting, as 40 percent of those in that age group who reported a fraud suffered a loss. That is compared to only 18 percent of those age 70 and older. However, it is worth noting that when older individuals were victimized by fraud, their losses were much larger. In fact, those age 80 and older had a median loss of over $1,000 compared to $400 for those in the 20 to 29 bracket.

7 key co-parenting tips

You and your spouse have lived in Frankfort all your lives. You starting dating in high school and got married not long after. Ten years later, you have two children together. You both work and you have been very successful.

Unfortunately, your marriage has not seen the same success. It has been falling apart for the last two years, and you both know it. You wanted to make it work and try counseling, but your spouse wanted to end it. He or she finally just filed for divorce.

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