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Rockford Illinois Law Blog

What to know about credit card debt

Illinois residents and others across America have seen their annual credit card debt levels increase since 2015. That year, Americans accrued $43 billion in debt while that number rose to $87 billion and $92.2 billion in 2017. Overall, the Federal Reserve says Americans have more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt. The $92.2 billion accrued in 2017 was the highest total seen since 2007, which was just before the Great Recession.

One reason why credit card debt levels may be increasing is because of looser lending standards. This may be because of the historically low charge-off rates. However, the increased amount of credit card debt has also lead to an increase in the delinquency rate to 7.5 percent from 7 percent in 2016. While not as high as the 15 percent rate seen during the Great Recession, it is still worth paying attention to.

Financing to improve startups

Business owners in Illinois may find that in order to take their enterprises to the next level, they will need to secure financing. With a small business loan, they can make necessary repairs or create more of their products to keep up with demand. To improve their chances of getting the financing their business needs, there are certain steps business owners can take.

It is important to know exactly how much of a loan the business requires. It needs to be large enough to address the needs of the business but not so big that it will be difficult to pay back the lender.

Which business structure is ideal for my company?

Making the choice to start a business in Illinois is a serious decision. There could be significant challenges ahead, and while it is an exciting time, there are important choices you have to make as you begin. In addition to making the choice to enter the world of entrepreneurship and having a business plan, you will also have to make the choice of which type of business structure is best.

The type of business you choose will have an impact on your operations for years to come. Making the right choice is clearly important, but you may be unsure of the options available to you. Before you move forward, it can be helpful to understand more about the types of business structures and what they can offer your business.

Credit card debt averages $7K in U.S.households

When it comes to personal finances, Illinois residents have something to be thankful for: They don't live in one of the top 10 states where residents have the most debt. California heads that list.

Nationally, only about 52 percent of Americans have emergency savings account balances that are higher than their credit card balances. About 24 percent have outstanding credit card debt that exceeds their bank account balances. A 2017 Bankrate study found that 39 percent of Americans have no savings at all while 57 percent have less than $1,000 in savings. The average credit card debt per household is $7,136.

Changes coming to spousal support under tax bill

Due to provisions of the tax law overhaul that was signed in December 2017, many Illinois couples in unhappy marriages might find a new reason to call it quits sooner rather than later. An attempt to avoid a provision in the new law that will soon make alimony payments more costly could produce additional filings. This part of the tax bill will be effective for divorces finalized in 2019 and thereafter.

Some family law attorneys have noted an increase in inquiries and initial appointments following the enactment, especially for couples with significant assets who are likely to be impacted by the change. The current system allows alimony payers to deduct the amount on their tax returns. This will change in 2019, when alimony will no longer be eligible for a tax deduction, thus lifting the cost of those payments overall. Despite the new law, people who finalize their divorce in 2018 will continue to function under the existing system throughout the period of spousal support payments.

How can you shield assets from the probate process?

Estate planning is something that not everyone does, even though it is something that everyone should care about and address. but we are human, and as such, we are imperfect. We prioritize things we shouldn't, and leave important things on the back burner. Estate planning is often one of these "back burner" items. For those that do address their estate in a timely and appropriate fashion, avoiding the probate process is a goal that most people strive for.

This is because the probate process, though not always problematic, is time-consuming and can become complicated very easily. So many people that plan their estate do so in a way that allows them to avoid the probate process, if not wholly then partially.

Do you really need a lawyer to buy or sell a home?

Buying a home in Illinois is an exciting step for your family, but you would be wise to take measures to ensure that you avoid as many issues and complications as possible. When you work to avoid problems before they happen, it can save you significant time, money and stress as you work to reach your real estate objectives.

Many people think that all they need for success in their real estate transaction is a knowledgeable real estate agent. In reality, it can be quite beneficial to also have the assistance of an experienced attorney. Your legal ally can review your contracts, protect your interests and help you effectively navigate any challenges that threaten your financial well-being. 

The business of planning for your business's future

If you own a small business in Illinois, you have put in countless hours and immeasurable effort while you were first building your business. It takes a lot of work to make a small business succeed, and you know how hard you worked to get where you are today. For this reason and many more, you would be wise to have a strong succession plan in place for your business.

You can include your succession plan as part of your complete and updated estate plan. Not only does this outline your future objectives for your company, it can ensure that you have a plan in place in case you ever become ill or injured and are unable to either run your business or make decisions for yourself.

Schlueter Ecklund & Davitt
4023 Charles Street
Rockford, IL 61108

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