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Kane County bankruptcy lawyerThere are a lot of different reasons that people ultimately choose to declare bankruptcy. Anything from a single unexpected medical emergency to a patch of unemployment can quickly cause a person to rack up debt they will not be able to pay off. Bankruptcy is based on the idea that people deserve a fresh start and there should be a way out of insurmountable debt. However, it is important that bankruptcies are handled correctly so that they do not lead to more legal issues. 

Mistakes during bankruptcy can cause further financial difficulty rather than relieving financial strain. It is quite easy to slip up and make a potentially costly mistake. Your best bet is to have your bankruptcy handled by an attorney. 

What Mistakes Should I Avoid When Declaring Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy can be a very delicate legal procedure. Everything needs to be done correctly and in good faith. Some common mistakes people make during bankruptcy proceedings include: 

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Geneva estate planning attorney Estate planning means more than just writing your will. While a good estate plan may certainly include a will, there is a lot more to it than that. Testamentary planning - deciding what should happen to your property after you pass away - is an important part of estate planning. When most people think of estate planning, they are really thinking only about testamentary planning. Incapacity planning is an equally important part of estate planning.

Incapacity planning allows you to prepare for the possibility that you could become incapacitated in your own lifetime as is common in old age. No estate plan is complete until both parts have been thoroughly addressed. The exact types of documents you will need to accomplish both goals depends on your own personal situation and preferences. It is best to work with a qualified attorney to develop a complete estate plan. 

What is Testamentary Planning?

Testamentary planning is the part of estate planning where you decide how your property should be distributed after you pass on. It is important to do this even if it is emotionally challenging. If you pass away without having a testamentary plan, state law determines who gets what and your family will have to go through the notoriously difficult intestate probate process. 

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Kane County bankruptcy lawyerIf you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may feel like you have very little control over your financial life or the bankruptcy process. This is not entirely true - people who file for bankruptcy in Illinois still have options. For most personal bankruptcy situations, there are two different types of bankruptcy your attorney will discuss with you to help you choose the best option. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings can both lead to a new, debt-free life, but in different ways. Both types have benefits and drawbacks. The type of bankruptcy that will make the most sense for you will depend on your personal situation and preferences. It is important to speak with a lawyer to make sure that you have a complete understanding of how each type of bankruptcy will affect you. 

What Happens When I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can create a quicker and cleaner path to freedom from debt, but the major drawback is that your assets will be liquidated. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will appoint a trustee. The trustee will then be responsible for identifying your assets and selling them off in order to pay off your creditors as much as possible. 

It is relevant here that not all of your property is subject to liquidation - there are statutory exemptions so that you can keep some personal property. An attorney can give you a better idea of which of your assets are or are not exempt. The benefit is that after liquidation, the rest of your eligible debt is forgiven, and you are free to start a new, debt-free life. 

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Geneva trusts attorneyEstate planning is full of choices. Completing the process can give you control over how your property will be distributed after you are gone, as well as control over some of your own end-of-life decisions. Once you have decided to use a trust rather than a will as your primary testamentary tool, you still have quite a few decisions to make. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, and there are even more subcategories. You also get to set most of the terms of your own trust - these are highly customizable legal instruments. 

Your best bet is to talk with an estate planning attorney who is highly knowledgeable about the different types of trusts and how they can be written. After you explain your goals and give some information about your beneficiaries, your lawyer will be able to guide your decision from there. 

Factors to Consider in Choosing a Type of Trust

You have quite a few things to consider when you go to create a trust. Be prepared for your lawyer to ask a lot of questions, some of which can be a bit personal. However, it is important that you answer openly so that your attorney knows what concerns to factor in when designing a trust for you. Things to think about include:

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Kane County bankruptcy lawyerBankruptcy can provide a way out for many Illinois families and individuals who have become buried in insurmountable debt. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings can give you an opportunity to ultimately discharge most debts through different means. If you are considering bankruptcy as a solution to your debt, it is important to understand which debts can and cannot be discharged through the bankruptcy process. Before you file, it is a good idea to consult a qualified attorney who can help you make sure that bankruptcy will help you achieve your goal of becoming debt-free. 

What Types of Debt Are Not Discharged During Bankruptcy Proceedings? 

It may not seem fair that some debts can be discharged through bankruptcy, and you are stuck with others. Unfortunately, this is the reality. Whether bankruptcy would be helpful for you depends heavily on what type of debt you are struggling with. Even in bankruptcy, you will generally not be able to discharge: 

  • Family support - This includes both child support and alimony. In particular, a child’s right to be financially supported by both parents is considered extremely important and will take precedence. 
  • Legal fines - Fines associated with traffic tickets, or fines that are part of a criminal sentence cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This includes any restitution you have been ordered to pay to a victim. Otherwise, a good many people could file bankruptcy simply to avoid criminal penalties. 
  • Taxes - Tax debts, including recent income tax debts, are generally still owed after bankruptcy. 
  • Drunk-driving related personal injury liability - If you owe compensation to someone you injured while driving intoxicated, this debt survives bankruptcy as the victim is still entitled to payment. 
  • Forgotten debts - It is extremely important to ensure that you have listed all dischargeable debts in your bankruptcy filing. Any debt that you leave off your bankruptcy papers by mistake will not be discharged during these proceedings unless your creditor happens to become aware that you have filed. 
  • Student loans - Traditionally, student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. The law has loosened up just a bit on this rule, however - in cases where paying back your student loans would create an undue hardship, it may be possible for them to be included in your bankruptcy. It is critical to seek the advice of an attorney if you believe this applies to you. 

There are other types of non-dischargeable debts that are specific to either Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings. If you are unsure which debts you may or may not be able to discharge in bankruptcy, it is important to consult an attorney before filing. A lawyer can offer you guidance that can help you decide whether bankruptcy is the right solution for you. 

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