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Studies reveal that many older Americans have money troubles

A recent study suggests that a worryingly high number of senior citizens in Illinois and around the country are struggling to cope with unmanageable financial situations, and spiraling medical debt is often to blame. Bankruptcy filings among Americans 75 years of age or older increased by 300 percent between 1991 and 2016 according to figures from the Consumer Bankruptcy Projects, and Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petitions made by individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 more than doubled.

Americans of retirement age now account for one in seven personal bankruptcy filings. Experts say that this figure has grown by about 500 percent in less than 30 years as the baby boom generation began leaving the workforce in larger numbers. This is a concern for experts and lawmakers because almost one in four Americans will be of retirement age by 2050. The CBP report, which was based on a survey of 895 personal bankruptcy filers, was published by the Social Science Research Network in July 2018.

Are you afraid of power of attorney abuse?

As you considered your estate plan, you may have already had an idea of details you wanted to include in your will. After all, you may have believed that your will would act as the most important part of your plan. However, your estate plan can address many different aspects of your life, including events that could take place while you are still alive.

In particular, you can use your plan to address how you want your care handled if you suffer from an incapacitating event, and you can also use a power of attorney document to appoint someone to act on your behalf when it comes to your finances. Of course, this agent would have a considerable amount of power over your affairs, and you may worry about possible abuses.

Can joint custody affect child support?

When parents share legal and physical custody of their children after a divorce or separation, this is generally referred to as joint custody. As more Illinois families are composed of two working parents and their children, joint custody has become an increasingly popular solution. According to a joint custody plan, both parents should share the financial responsibility for raising their children as well as the physical effort of doing so. This may make parents wonder about the impact that joint custody could have on a child support order.

Child support payments are generally based on a state formula that takes several factors into account, including income and the number of children that each parent has. Traditionally, child support is a financial contribution by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent who bears the majority of the physical and financial aspects of child-rearing. However, joint custody agreements do not necessarily mean that child support obligations are eliminated; the relationship between child support and joint custody varies depending on the individual family situation.

Automatic stays and emotional distress damages

Illinois residents who file for personal bankruptcy may be able to obtain actual and punitive damages if they are harmed by the purposeful violation of the automatic stay that is set in place when bankruptcy is filed. However, there is a question whether the actual damages they receive should include damages for emotional distress.

The courts have determined that the intent of the automatic stay in the bankruptcy process is to allow the debtors to have a period in which the collections efforts against them are ceased and to stop harassment. The stay is also meant to provide debtors relief from the financial stresses that brought them to bankruptcy.

Business owners should focus on revenue generation

New business owners in Illinois often make some common mistakes. They might focus too much on trying to make everything perfect while failing to pay attention to driving sales. If they do not work to build and maintain their sales momentum, the businesses will likely fail.

Regardless of whether businesses sell services or products, they should work on generating sales every day. Businesses that haven't started producing the products that they will sell are still able to take deposits and place orders. Those that are selling services should work to book clients even if they aren't quite ready.

Making wise financial decisions after a divorce

Ex-spouses in Illinois know firsthand the effect that divorce can have on one's finances. In many instances, ending a marriage means splitting financial assets in half, trying to support multiple households at the same time and covering attorney fees. Research shows that households that have never gone through a divorce have about 30 percent more wealth than those that have. It's important to note that many post-divorce challenges are unique to ex-wives.

Some financial experts encourage women going through a divorce to not hold on to the family house. While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all financial approach for divorcing women, it generally takes a lot of money to maintain a house, pay the mortgage and cover property taxes. Couple on to that landscaping, repairs and homeowner association fees and one can clearly see why for some divorcing women, the house goes from being an asset to a liability.

Make sure your commercial lease works for your business

Part of owning and operating a business may include seeking a leased or rented space in order to run operations. Finding the right location for your Illinois business is not always easy, and it is smart to proceed carefully and thoughtfully through the process of negotiation and drafting an appropriate lease.

With guidance, you may be able to secure terms that are beneficial for your company and do not expose you to unnecessary risks. Before you sign a lease agreement, you would be prudent to carefully review the contract and seek an explanation of how you can protect your rights and interests.

How to properly bootstrap a company

Illinois residents and others who want to be entrepreneurs may be able to fund their companies on their own. This means using whatever funds that they have in the bank as opposed to getting a loan from a bank. While this allows a business owner to have more control over the future of their company, it also means that a product needs to go to market as soon as possible.

This doesn't mean that the finished product needs to be offered to customers. Instead, it could be the core offering with the promise of more items to be added later. The initial launch can be used as a time to collect customer input and generally learn more about what works and what doesn't for a given organization. In some cases, a product that was intended for one market works better in another, and being flexible could help the company become viable in the long run.

How to choose an executor

Illinois families who have suffered a loss may discover just how much planning and effort it takes to manage an estate when a person passes away. Choosing an executor for estate administration is a task unlike any other. The decision to choose the person who will act as an executor is a serious one because the executor will play a significant role in probate, personal property and wealth protection matters when a person passes.

Submitting the will to the court as a part of probate administration, overseeing asset valuation and estate administration are responsibilities that are the power of appointment for the role of executor. The executor oversees the valuation of the estate. He or she may be responsible for locating and calculating all assets and liabilities. Tax filings are also the responsibility of this fiduciary. The executor's responsibilities for overseeing an estate plan can last years. Once the assets have been distributed and distributed among the heirs, the person's responsibilities end.

How to construct a short sale purchase agreement

The purchase agreement drawn up for a short sale has a lot in common with a traditional home purchase agreement. However, it may be best for those buying property in Illinois to have an attorney create a custom agreement. This is because those found online or written by the buyer run the risk of not being in adherence with state law.

It is also not a good idea to use the same agreements that local real estate agents do. This can be true even for those who choose to use a real estate agent when buying a short sale property. In most cases, they are designed to be fair to both parties involved instead of being in the buyer's best interest. Of course, it is possible that the seller will want to make changes to the agreement, and a buyer can review the revised terms with his or her attorney.

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