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Recent Blog Posts

Trusts are an effective estate-planning tool

 Posted on November 09, 2020 in Uncategorized

Estate planning is typically focused on passing assets after you die. But planning may include both wills and trusts to help preserve your income when you are still alive. There are some general features you should know about trusts.

General description

A trust is a legal agreement with at least three people who can serve different roles. More than one person can serve in these roles at the same time.

A trust agreement contains terms governing the trust. A trust cannot fully operate until it is funded through the transfer of property.

The person who created the trust is the trustor, grantor, settlor, or creator. The second person, the trustee, has legal title to the property and manages it according to the trust agreement and Colorado law. The trustee has the fiduciary duty of managing the trust property only in the beneficiaries' interests and in accordance with the trust agreement and state law.

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Will I lose everything if I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

 Posted on November 03, 2020 in Bankruptcy

People in Geneva facing financial difficulties in these uncertain times may wonder if filing for bankruptcy is right for them. One fear they may have regarding bankruptcy, though is that they will lose everything in the process and be destitute. However, this fear is unfounded as there are a variety of exemptions that allow people filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to keep certain assets so they can move forward on solid financial footing.

What are some unlimited Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions?

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets will be sold, and the proceeds used to pay you're your creditors. This is why it is referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy.” However, when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are allowed to keep any property that is “exempt” under state or federal law. Some examples of exempt assets in which a person can keep no matter what the value of the asset include:

Considering bankruptcy? Get real information about your options.

 Posted on October 30, 2020 in Bankruptcy

Americans are facing a lot of hardship right now. The pandemic spurred a recession which may hamper the U.S. economy for years. If you've lost a job, seen a reduction in hours, accrued steep medical bills or suffered any other pandemic-related misfortune, you may be wondering if bankruptcy is something you can even consider, much less take advantage of.

Before you decide, though, why not discuss your case with an experienced bankruptcy attorney? You may be surprised by what you learn when you hear the facts and receive case-specific advice.

Are you making decisions based on facts of fiction?

Unless you've really done your research, chances are good that what you know about bankruptcy was probably pieced together by things you've heard or overheard throughout your lifetime. As such, the assumptions you make about bankruptcy may be partially or completely false. That's not a very effective way to make such an important decision. Here are some of the myths about bankruptcy you may have heard or may assume are true:

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Tips on how not to mess up a solid estate plan

 Posted on October 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

We are in a historic time of uncertainty and death. Every day, we are faced with news reports of the national crises and accompanying death toll that seems to never stop increasing. Naturally, as a result, many of us are now looking to create or update our estate plans to ensure that, if the unthinkable happens, our families are protected. This may be one of the only bright sides of 2020, though, we must be mindful of the estate planning process to ensure that we do not cause more harm than good.

Tip 1: retitle trust assets immediately

Estate plans often include revocable living trusts. These are used because they avoid probate and some taxes, which ensures that one's beneficiaries have less burdens after one's death and the estate value is maximized. However, this also means that title to one's assets must be put into the name of trust. If one forgets to do this, and they subsequently die or become incapacitated, all the assets not in the trust (i.e., all the assets not retitled into the trust's name) will likely need to go through probate. This, of course, defeated the entire point of the estate plan.

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A reaffirmation agreement can help you keep assets

 Posted on October 02, 2020 in Uncategorized

A lot of people who struggle with debt are worried that personal bankruptcy will leave them in a worse position. They oftentimes believe that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will strip them of all of their assets, making it nearly impossible for them to get back on their feet again. Fortunately, this simply isn't the case. There are a number of bankruptcy exemptions that allow you to keep some assets, and a limited amount of value in other assets, so that you have the financial stability you need to start your life post-bankruptcy.

What if I want to keep certain assets that aren't fully exempt?

Even in these instances you have options. Let's say that you have an expensive vehicle. When pursuing Chapter 7 bankruptcy you can either liquidate the asset and free yourself of any debt attached to it, or you can reaffirm the debt. Reaffirmation is simply the process where you agree to retain the asset post-bankruptcy along with the debt that is tied to it. This can allow you to have a little more flexibility so that you can keep the assets that are important to you.

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What happens if you don't pay your credit card bill?

 Posted on September 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

Almost every Geneva area resident has at least one credit card. In fact, the average American has four credit cards. Credit cards are used for every day purchases as well as any emergency that may crop up such as medical expenses, car repairs, etc. Although most people understand the importance of paying their credit card bill each month, sometimes it is not that easy. A job loss, accident, divorce, or other major life event. There are serious things that can happen if a person does not pay their credit card bill.

When a Geneva area resident is unable to pay their credit card bill there are certain things that happen. The following is the basic process that credit card companies follow when their customer does not pay their credit card bill.

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Just how important is a power of attorney for healthcare?

 Posted on September 08, 2020 in Uncategorized

When considering all that is entailed in planning your estate, one of the most important decisions you may make is whether or not to include a power of attorney for healthcare. Choosing a spouse, family member or close friend to be your advocate when it comes to your care, the choice of medications, or end-of-life decisions should you become incapacitated, is arguably one of the most important part of your estate planning.

It is important to note two different estate planning tools that involve healthcare. Where a living will is an advance directive that spells out your preferences for end-of-life treatments and the kind of care you do or do not agree to, a power of attorney entrusts a loved one with responsibilities to ensure that your wishes are honored.

Power of attorney under Illinois law

In Illinois, a statutory short form power of attorney for health care empowers the health care agent with decisions concerning health care of the principal. Should your physician determine that you are incapacitated, your health care agent will talk with your caregivers about your condition or treatment, will have access to your medical records and can grant permission to others to see them.

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Things nobody warns you about being the executor of someone's estate

 Posted on August 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

When someone trusts you to handle their estate, you may feel both completely honored to be chosen — but watch out. While the process of handling an estate from start to finish usually goes smoothly, the job can be somewhat overwhelming if you aren't prepared.

Here are the problems nobody realizes that an executor can face (unless they've been down that road before):

  • Heirs with sticky fingers: Part of the executor's job is making sure that the deceased's assets are all collected and secured before they're disbursed. If you're too trusting, however, one or more of the heirs may decide to help themselves to mom's jewelry or dad's antique watches. If valuables go missing, you may be held to account for them.
  • Heirs that are disagreeable: You're only doing whatever the deceased wished, so you might believe that the heirs will respond accordingly. Most will — but some may accuse you of playing favorites or something equally unpleasant. Others may demand that you fork over their inheritance right away, and get angry when you say that you can't.

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Are credit cards a scam?

 Posted on August 07, 2020 in Uncategorized

When you start having issues with credit card debt, they can start to feel like a scam. Say you can't afford to pay off the entire balance. The fees are large enough that just paying them off is all you can manage the next month. This process repeats itself over and over until you realize that you've been paying for months without actually making any headway.

Certainly, there are credit card scams. People may try to give you fraudulent cards, they may steal your identity, or they may sign up for cards in your name. These scams do exist and you need to know what to watch out for.

On the whole, though, the idea of credit cards is not a scam in and of itself. In the example above, you're just experiencing the strict penalties that go along with failing to pay the minimum balance. That's not a scam, as you were told how it worked at the beginning.

What it is, though, is a financial situation that is designed to make money for the credit card companies. They charge you hefty fees and interest rates because it's profitable. It's not set up to make it easy to get out of debt. If you're just treading water, that's good for the credit card company. They're making money off of all those fees and interest payments, even if you're not actively using the card anymore because you can't afford it.

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Is an irrevocable trust the right choice for you?

 Posted on July 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

When you're considering setting up trusts, something you may want to consider is an irrevocable trust. Irrevocable trusts have a few benefits that you may not see with others.

Why? When you create an irrevocable trust, you're taking assets out of your hands. That means that you can:

  • Protect your assets against creditors if you die with debt
  • Assign assets to specific children, family members or friends
  • Save money on your tax bill by limiting the value of your estate

There are many different kinds of irrevocable trusts, which is why it's a good idea to talk to your attorney about creating one if you're interested. Some possible kinds of irrevocable trusts to consider include:

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