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Get peace of mind with a health care power of attorney

Although you may be healthy today, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll always feel your best. There may come a point in the future when you require medical care. Furthermore, it's not out of the question that you could become incapacitated temporarily or permanently.

If you're unable to make medical decisions on your own, either because of a mental or physical incapacity, it's important to know that someone you trust will step in and make all the right decisions on your behalf.

Don’t forget to address these Chapter 13 bankruptcy questions

If you aren't eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there may come a point when you learn more about Chapter 13. While this is a different approach to improving your financial situation, there are a variety of benefits that can work in your favor if you go forward with a Chapter 13 filing.

The main thing to remember about Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you are required to repay some of your debts through a repayment plan. This plan typically lasts for three to five years, so you must be committed over the long term.

Comparing wills and trusts

The public has a general understanding of both wills and trusts, but it is mostly gathered from the way that films and television shows talk about them, not from any personal experience with these legal tools.

While both wills and trusts are an essential part of most estate plans, they serve different purposes, and one generally cannot fill in as a substitute for the other. If you are beginning your estate planning journey, you need to understand the uses of these fundamental tools, since virtually all estate plans involve a will and many involve trusts.

Is every type of debt dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

As you begin to consider the pros and cons of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you'll likely enjoy the fact that you can discharge some of your debts. Discharging a debt means that it is wiped clean, and you don't have to pay back those creditors in the future.

While this is the number one benefit of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, remember this: Not all types of debts are dischargeable. There are some that remain with you, even after your filing is complete:

  • Most types of tax debt, such as federal taxes owed from past tax years
  • Debts for obtaining money or assets through fraud or false financial statements
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Debts for some types of penalties and fines
  • Student loan debt
  • Debts you did not list on your Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms

Is bankruptcy the answer to your financial problems?

There may come a point when you realize that your financial problems are too advanced to solve on your own. If this happens, it may be time to learn more about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both of these can go a long way in improving your finances, thus allowing you to start fresh in the future.

Since bankruptcy is such a big decision, you don't want to go down this path until you first consider your other options. There are many alternatives to bankruptcy to consider, such as:

  • Debt consolidation. With this, you're putting separate debts under the same loan. This improves your organization, while also saving you money on interest charges.
  • Contact your creditors. Don't assume that your creditors are against you. They want things to work out, so contact them to discuss a repayment plan (or any other idea they have).
  • Default on the debt. This isn't the ideal situation, but there are benefits if you don't have anything left of value for a creditor to come after.

Important questions to address when creating a will

Creating a will is one of the best things you can do from an estate planning perspective. Even if you do nothing else, this legal document will ensure that your property ends up with the right person or people upon your death.

There are several important questions to address before creating a will, including the following:

  • Is it right for you? While a will is a commonly used estate planning document, you should compare the pros and cons to a trust. This will help you determine what's best.
  • Do you have to create a will? There is no law stating that you have to create a will, but if you don't have a valid will, your estate is settled based on the laws in your state. This may not align with what you want to happen.
  • Can you create a will on your own? DIY will creation tools are popping up all over the internet. The problem with these is that you never know for sure if you're making the right decisions or doing something that is against the law.
  • Who's the best person to name as your executor? This is the person responsible for the probate process upon your death. You need to choose someone you can trust to handle everything in a timely and efficient manner. Most people select a close relative or a trusted friend.

Potential pitfalls of Chapter 13 bankruptcy

If you find yourself swimming in debt and unable to make any progress, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be one of the best ways to escape trouble and get your finances back on track.

Before you pull the trigger, you'll want to better understand the potential pitfalls of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It can take three to five years to repay some or all of your debts through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan
  • You don't get to keep all your disposable income, as it will go toward satisfying debts through your repayment plan
  • A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for as long as 10 years, thus making it difficult to secure credit during that time
  • If you've filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the last six years you are unable to file for Chapter 7
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not have any impact on child support payments, alimony or student loan debt
  • After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it's more difficult to secure a loan to purchase a home or vehicle

5 nursing home red flags

It is very important to you to find the best possible nursing home for your aging parents. You know that they need care and assistance. You know that living on their own is dangerous; one fall could lead to some serious medical bills or, tragically, could even turn fatal.

At the same time, you do not just want to pick any nursing home. The quality of care that they get has a massive impact on their lives moving forward. You love your parents. You do not want to accidentally put them in a home where they are in danger or where they get neglected by the staff.

Should you create a durable financial power of attorney?

There are many ways to create an estate plan that gives you the peace of mind you're seeking.

In addition to a will or trust, which is designed to ensure that the right people receive your assets upon your death, there are other estate planning documents you can use to your advantage.

What are the drawbacks of Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

With a variety of benefits, it's easy to assume that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is exactly what you need to put your financial mistakes in the past and live a better life in the future.

While some consumers find that the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy outweigh the potential drawbacks, you don't want to assume this will be the case. Instead, you need to do your homework to ensure you are making a confident decision.

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