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Frankfort Law Blog

Personal loans becoming more common, can lead to debt problems

People can quickly become overwhelmed with debt. Sometimes finances become tight when a job is suddenly and unexpectedly lost. In other instances, the onset of a serious medical condition leaves a family struggling to get by. There are some debt options that may help prevent one from becoming overwhelmed, but even these options pose financial risks.

One of these options is personal loans. Many individuals, especially millennials, are turning to personal loans to wipe out higher-interest bearing debts, like those related to credit cards. One benefit these borrowers see to personal loans is that debt can't be added to the balance like it easily can be when it comes to credit cards. Another reason personal loans are becoming much more prevalent is because they are easily obtained from online lenders that continue to expand their reach.

Tips to effectively communicate about estate planning

Income, wealth and wealth management are not things that are commonly discussed in American households. When these topics do come up, it can leave the individuals involved feeling uncomfortable. This is one reason why so many people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. We hope that the tips provided below will serve as a strong starting point for those who wish to have meaningful conversations with their loved ones about estate planning.

The first tip is to slowly shift into having more conversations about wealth and wealth management. Those who suddenly and unexpectedly jump into those issues can leave family members a bit shell-shocked, which can cause even the best laid plans to go astray. By slowly changing one's behavior with regards to how this matter is addressed, as well as how frequently addressed, those on the receiving end of communications about estate planning may very well be more receptive.

Set the framework for your child custody agreement

Trying to come up with suitable terms for child custody is challenging. Not only do you have to think about what works for you, your ex's needs also have to be considered. There comes a time when you are going through other major life changes.

As you work with your ex to come up with the plan for parenting the children you share, remember that you need to focus on what is going to help now. As your child matures, certain points might change. This is what modifications are for. Here are some points to help you when are getting ready to embark on this process:

Don't wait too long to consider debt relief options

Life is full of changes. Some of them are planned for and expected, but others can take you by complete surprise. This is often the case with the onset of a sudden medical condition, loss of job or even the filing of divorce. Each of these scenarios can throw your finances into upheaval, making it difficult for you to make ends meet. Oftentimes, individuals who find themselves in this position find themselves too prideful to seek adequate debt relief options, but the truth is that these options, including personal bankruptcy, are often the best way to secure your financial future.

Far too many people spend years, even decades, trying to catch up with debt that is simply insurmountable. In many instances, this equates to nothing more than wasted time and money. This is because filing for bankruptcy can provide you with instant protections from creditors and even foreclosure. If successful in the process, you may even be able to shed debt, thereby allowing you to focus on your fresh financial start.

How are alimony payments determined?

Illinois and Indiana residents who are considering divorce may be concerned about the emotional impact marriage dissolution may have on them and their family. While the emotional toll can be significant, so, too, can the financial ramifications. Property division can dictate who receives the family home and certain retirement accounts, and noncustodial parents are often ordered to pay child support. Another major financial issue that often accompanies divorce is alimony, which is also referred to as spousal support.

Spousal support is intended to assist one former spouse who may have given up an income or career in exchange for raising children or supporting a working spouse during the course of marriage. The specific amount that a court orders an individual to pay in alimony is dependent upon a number of factors. The length of marriage, for example, can play a significant role. Couples who were only married for a few years may not see an order for spousal support, whereas a couple that was married for 20 years is much more likely to see that obligation put into place.

The interplay of bankruptcy and divorce

As we've discussed on this blog before, while divorce can be an emotionally trying time, it can also be a financially difficult time, too. Marriage dissolution often leaves individuals facing money woes, and quite frequently, those financial difficulties contribute to the divorce itself. When debts owed become too overwhelming to keep up with, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. But how does that play out when one is considering divorce?

It depends on the circumstances. For example, if an individual and his or her spouse are on good terms, than it may be worth filing for joint bankruptcy. This will allow the couple to share the cost of attorney and filing fees. Yet, if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for an individual, then filing jointly may not be an option because it may push one over the income limit.

Don't forget about "soft" estate planning

When people accumulate wealth and property, they often think of ways to protect them. Most people who consider estate planning think of utilizing wills and trusts to protect their wealth for the benefit of their loved one. This is, in fact, a large part of estate planning, and it should be addressed consistently and appropriately. Doing so can allow an individual to protect his or her estate from unwanted taxes and distribution, and it can allow him or her to retain control over the estate's wealth for years to come.

Yet, dealing with major assets is not the only purpose of estate planning. Many people fail to consider engaging in "soft" estate planning. An example of soft estate planning is delineating how one's funeral will play. By utilizing estate planning tools, an individual can dictate the music he or she wants played at his or her funeral, whether burial or cremation is appropriate and even whether flowers will be accepted.

The importance of legacy planning

When we purchase thing, we often do not think about what will happen to them after we pass. Most people who engage in estate planning look at it as a matter of leaving their possessions to their closest loved ones and doing as much as they can to ensure that creditors and tax collectors don't take too big of a bite out of their estate beforehand. While this is certainly a valiant endeavor that everyone should engage in, some Illinois and Indiana residents may want to engage in planning that is larger in scope. These individuals may want to approach estate planning in a way that seeks to protect their legacy.

Why is legacy planning important? Primarily to ensure that wealth remains in the family and has a long-term effect. Studies have shown that standard estate planning results in estate wealth being exhausted by the time it hits its second generation in 70 percent of cases. Ninety percent of the time that wealth is gone by the time it reaches its third generation. By engaging in estate planning that seeks to protect your legacy, you can better ensure that your estate will have a significant impact for generations to come.

Family law: what is the right of first refusal?

When Illinois and Indiana couples have a child in common but don't live together, it can be difficult to hash out visitation that is fair under the circumstances at hand. It can also be challenging to ensure that both parents are kept up-to-date about everything pertaining to the child. This often leaves parents afraid that they will be pushed out of their child's life. One thing that could help alleviate this concern, though, is the utilization of the right of first refusal.

The right of first refusal gives a parent the priority option to provide care for his or her child prior to the child's other parent seeking care from anyone else. Therefore, if a custodial parent wants to take a vacation and leave the child with the child's grandmother, then the noncustodial parent must first be contacted and refuse to assume care of the child before the child can be left with that grandparent. A child's parents can agree to this right of first refusal, but they don't have to.

Common questions about personal bankruptcies

There are a lot of questions that some people ask if they considering filing for bankruptcy. It is understandable since it is imperative that you have all the information possible when you are trying to make your decision.

If you are drowning in bills and don't see a way out, personal bankruptcy might be a viable option. Here are some common questions and their answers for you to peruse to determine if this is the right choice for you:


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