As a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy, we've seen clients that have tried to lower their debt by going through a debt relief company. This can be a legitimate way to get relief, but there are many scams that take advantage of those who are on the brink of bankruptcy. Learn the signs of debt relief scams and how you can avoid them while going through a stressful time.
How to Avoid Debt Relief Scams
There are few things more stressful than drowning in debt. With all that stress, many consumers are swayed by debt relief company claims that are frequently too good to be true. Thousands of people are taken advantage of every year and left with the same debts they had before – after paying out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for some debt relief.
Don’t fall victim to their scams! Become knowledgeable about the most common
scams and how to avoid them.
Debt Settlement Scams
In this type of trick, the debt settlement company advises you to stop paying your
Filing for bankruptcy is an option you might consider if you are in debt and can no longer pay your creditors. Bankruptcy is becoming an increasingly popular option among retirees, but there are a few things you’ll want to know before deciding if bankruptcy is your best course of action.
Consider these aspects:
What is Chapter 7...
Estate planning is an uncomfortable subject for many. For the self-employed, the topic can be even more sensitive. Estate planning can be quite complicated when you own a business. There are business assets, business accounts, and the ever-looming threat of bankruptcy.
Health issues are another concern. Entrepreneurs are often unable to afford good health insurance or long-term care protection. Business assets are at risk if you become unable to work.
Business owners can also have a much larger estate tax burden. Minimizing these taxes requires thoughtful planning and expert guidance.
If you’re self-employed, consider these ideas regarding your estate planning:
1. Power of Attorney. For the more conventionally employed, all that’s usually needed is someone you can trust. For the self-employed, remember that the person with power of attorney will be making business decisions if you become incapable.
A growing body of research confirms that kids are usually better off with both parents in their lives as joint custody becomes the preferred solution to child rearing after divorce. Familiarizing yourself with the benefits of shared custody and learning these strategies can help you make the best arrangement for your family.
Basic Principles to Keep in Mind
1. Understand the difference between physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. Legal custody refers to a parent's right and responsibility to make major decisions that affect their child on issues like education and health care.
2. Appreciate the benefits of joint custody. Shared custody is currently awarded in approximately 20% of divorces and that figure is likely to grow. Kids who spend substantial time with both parents appear to have fewer physical and emotional health issues. Their self-esteem is higher and they do better in school.
3. Put your children's...
Trusts are important financial instruments in estate planning. Unlike a will, with a trust, you can legally arrange your estate in a way that saves your family a substantial amount of money on taxes, avoids probate and those expenses, and distributes your assets according to your wishes after you're gone.
What is a Trust?
The most common type of trust is a legal arrangement that someone sets up to designate what will happen to their assets upon their death. Typically, such trusts name a “trustee,” a person who’ll be responsible for carrying out the trust’s instructions.
The person setting up the trust, known as the “trustor” or “grantor,” also names beneficiaries of the trust funds. Beneficiaries are the people who’ll receive the assets when the trustor dies.
A trustee is legally appointed by the trustor to be responsible for managing the funds for the beneficiaries of the trust. You probably know that beneficiaries...
Most people view estate planning in the same way they view a root canal: Put it off until the pain is too great to ignore any longer. Also, those with little income or net worth believe that estate planning doesn’t apply to their situation. But estate planning is much more than just the allocation of cash, real estate, and other assets. There are other things to consider, too.
There are many errors that occur again and again in estate planning. Avoiding these mistakes is half the battle.
Steer clear of these mistakes for a successful estate plan:
1. Estate planning is a little like completing a tax return. No one really wants to do it. But it’s so important to push your resistance aside and get it done!
2. Not paying attention to the conflicts that exist within your beneficiaries and estate plan. For example, if your will declares that your husband receive your retirement account, but your ex-husband’s name is still listed as the...
Divorce increases the risk for mobility issues and chronic conditions including heart disease and diabetes for both men and women, according to a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
On the other hand, the experience varies for each individual. You might feel overwhelmed by emotional and financial issues. You might find yourself thriving and enjoying life more.
Whatever your circumstances, the end of a marriage is a major transition. Try these suggestions for keeping your mind and body strong and fit.
1. Schedule screenings. The stress of a divorce can affect your immune system and make you more vulnerable to many serious health conditions. Be proactive. Discuss your situation with your doctor and follow their recommendations...
How to Create an Estate Plan
An estate plan is an important part of organizing your future. Legal forms used in estate planning let you stay in control of your care in the event of incapacitation and establish how your assets will be passed along when you pass on.
1. Find an estate planning attorney. You will need an experienced attorney to help you put together an estate plan. This can be a complicated matter that requires a great deal of legal paperwork.
2. Organize your files and examine your assets. Your attorney will need to see the details of your assets.
3. Discuss potential issues with your attorney. Do you anticipate a big fight among your children once you're gone? Do you have extensive debts that need to be paid?
4. Ensure you have a will. You may also want a living will so your wishes for your medical care are followed if you become incapacitated.
5.File beneficiary forms and make final...
Divorce and Financial Survival
No one gets married with the expectation of getting divorced someday. Regrettably, though, divorce rates are expected to continue climbing. Divorce affects all areas of your life, including your financial health, and can result in significant challenges.
If you're struggling through a divorce, there are several things you can do to minimize the negative effects on your finances.
Consider these options to help you financially survive a divorce:
1. Come to an agreement on how to divide your assets. A particularly difficult thing in any divorce is the decision of who gets what. You and your spouse both may have an economic and emotional investment in almost everything, from the house to the art collection you acquired together.
2. Try mediation....
Many people believe that bankruptcy ruins your life and should never be considered. But bankruptcy can be a reasonable solution for some and can offer a fresh start. It does create challenges, but those considering bankruptcy already have challenges.
Your financial situation will only get worse for the foreseeable future. Your debt is increasing every month and you have no way of increasing your income. Bankruptcy is worth consideration under these conditions. Check off the situations that apply to you: