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Orlando Bankruptcy And Estate Planning Blog

Create your will and make sure your wishes are known

Did you know that approximately 55 percent of people in America die without an estate plan or will? If you can help it, you could do all you can to make sure you don't fall into that statistic.

As someone who has children, a family and assets, it is your responsibility to make sure you and they are taken care of. It's possible to set up an estate plan that does just that.

Have you appointed someone to manage your finances if you cannot?

Many people believe that they can avoid appointing others as substitute decision makers until they can no longer make decisions on their own. However, this belief is a common misconception. Like most legal documents, you must be of sound mind when a durable financial power of attorney is created.

If you wait too long, you may lose the ability to choose your own alternate decision maker, called an agent, with a durable power of attorney. Instead, your loved ones may be forced to seek guardianship, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process for them and a more restrictive option for you. Additionally, bills and other financial tasks can pile up during this time, which could lead to even bigger problems. To prevent this, consider drafting a durable power of attorney before you need it, so you will have an agent ready to step up as soon as he or she is needed.

Payless ShoeSource to close all U.S. stores

Bankruptcy can affect even businesses that seem as if they're doing well. Take, for example, the well-known shoe store chain, Payless ShoeSource. This store has been around since the 1950s, but after filing for bankruptcy the second time, it has decided to close its doors for good.

In 2017, the company closed 673 stores with its first bankruptcy. It was hoped that this would help the company stay afloat, but with competitors such as Zappos, Walmart, Target and Kohls, the store found itself irrelevant. The company also found itself in a high amount of debt due to expanding too quickly, which ultimately led to the company having to close its doors.

Do you have to give up assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called liquidation bankruptcy, is a kind of bankruptcy that allows you to get out of debt by eliminating your debts through legal action. To do this, you must be willing to give up certain items that are not exempt from liquidation. They are then sold, and the proceeds are used to repay creditors. Once the proceeds are used up, the remaining debts are forgiven.

There are several benefits to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include:

  • Being able to eliminate all unsecured debts (alimony, tax debts and student loans are not usually dismissed)
  • Having no repayment plan
  • Completing bankruptcy in around 3 months

Millions are behind on their car payments. Are you?

As of January 2019, more than 7 million borrowers are 90 days or more behind on their car loans, according to the New York Federal Reserve. That’s 1 million more than the previous high in 2010 when the U.S. was in the Great Recession. The Fed also noted a $584 billion jump in total auto loan debt, the highest number in the 20 years the Fed has been keeping this data.

The source of the increases: More sub-prime auto loans offered by auto finance companies to less-qualified borrowers. While the number of auto loans has jumped, it also means there are more borrowers at high risk of delinquency, according to the report.

Are you exempt from federal estate taxes in 2019?

With the new year, there is no better time to look over your estate plan. Each year, it's a smart move to do this, since new laws, especially tax laws, could impact your estate.

In 2019, the federal exemption for an estate is $11.4 million per person, which is up from the previous $11.18 million in 2018. This is also a dramatic increase from 2017 when the maximum exemption was only $5.49 million per person. Now, if you have assets in the amount of $11.4 million or less, you won't have to pay federal estate taxes.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy can help your business stay open

Bankruptcy isn't easy to go through no matter what situation you're in, but it can be made easier if you're prepared to take the steps you need to take before you file. Doing your best to try to renegotiate contracts and free up capital could help you avoid bankruptcy with your business, but if you can't, then your attorney may suggest a type of bankruptcy to help you.

There are several kinds of bankruptcy for different situations, but one of the most commonly used for businesses is Chapter 11. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as restructuring bankruptcy. It allows your business to remain open while you negotiate new contracts and create a plan to help your business move forward in the green.

The consequences of missing credit card payments

Paying bills is usually not a pleasant experience. They always seem to be higher than you thought they would be and each time you make a payment your bank account balance goes down. Though paying bills is a necessary evil that many people dread, the feeling after missing a payment can be much worse.

Missing a credit card payment is not always due to the fear of reducing your bank account or seeing the new balance. Sometimes you may have just forgot the due date or simply do not have enough money in the bank to make the minimum payment. Credit card companies can even get sneaky about payment dates, requiring you to make payments online up to seven days before the due date for what they call “processing.”

Eliminate debt and get back on firm financial footing

Bankruptcy is an option that you have when you have so many debts that you cannot pay them back on time or with any certainty. Some people opt for bankruptcy to get a fresh start, while others turn to it with no other options.

The good thing about bankruptcy is that there are different types. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, known as liquidation bankruptcy, helps you by liquidating assets. Some people believe that they'll lose everything through this kind of bankruptcy, but exemptions make it possible to maintain many of the things you already own.

How does a living will differ from a health care surrogate?

Are you prepared in case something unexpected happens, causing your to be seriously injured and unable to make decisions for yourself? The future is uncertain, so regardless of your age, it may be beneficial to have both a living will and a health care surrogate to ensure you are as prepared as you can be.

Because both documents address the care you want to receive when you are unable to advocate for yourself, people are sometimes confused about what each document does and why they should have both. If you, like many people, are uncertain about the differences, it may be helpful to learn a little more about what a living will and a health care surrogate can offer.

ABA Defending Liberty Pursuing Justice American Bankruptcy Institute The Florida Bar 1950 CFAWL Criminal Florida Association For Women Lawyers Orange County Bar Association
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