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Lawrenceburg Indiana Bankruptcy and Estate Planning Blog

Bankruptcy filings see only slight decline

As the new year gets off to a start, many people in Indiana may be wanting to focus on finding a solution to their debt in 2019. For some consumers, January can be exceptionally hard as the post-holiday spending spree can either propel them into debt or make an existing debt situation even worse.

Bankruptcy is not generally a first course of action for getting out of debt but there are situations when it may be the best choice. Many people avoid considering bankruptcy because they are afraid of the stigma they feel is associated with it. However, they need to know they are far from alone.

2018 holiday spending trends

People in Indiana who struggle with debt rarely end up in such a position from just one holiday season. Nonetheless, this time of year can definitely put a damper on a consumer's attempt to pay down debt or to avoid racking up more debt. Despite the best of intentions, buying during the holidays seems to be one of those things that is hard to resist. 

As reported by Supply Chain Brain, the 2018 holiday shopping season has been a strong one, at least from the point of view of major retailers and creditors. Mastercard is noted as experiencing an increase in sales by more than five percent. In total, their sales topped $850 billion, a figure that is higher than the company has seen in six years. Comparing 2018 holiday spending to 2017 holiday spending, Mastercard SpendingPulse notes a 19 percent increase this year.

What happens if you die without a will

If you die without having written a will, your estate is called "intestate" and Indiana has very specific rules about how your estate will be distributed. Without a will, your estate might not be distributed according to your desires. It also might not be distributed in a way you believe is best for your spouse or heirs. It's a one-size-fits-all law meant to treat everyone fairly when there's a lack of information as to your desires.

Can a family meeting prevent issues after you die?

Estate planning can be stressful. It is made even more so if you are dealing with difficult family members who you fear will cause trouble when you die. Nothing will stall probate in the Indiana courts as bad as arguing among family members over who gets what. To avoid this issue, Boston University suggests holding a family meeting.

A family meeting calls together everyone to discuss your estate plan. It enables you to explain what will happen when you die. Your family can ask questions. You can explain your decisions. It makes it very clear what your wishes are and why you made those decisions so that nobody can object when you pass away.

Estate plan review time

If you are like most people in Indiana, the holiday season can feel very all-encompassing and even distract you from other important things you need to take care of. As December moves closer to the end of the year, however, your attention may well turn to the new year and what you want to do to get it started well. One of the activities you should put on your New Year's list is to review your estate plan. 

As explained by Fidelity Investments, even the best and most thorough estate plan can be in need of updating now and then. This is because your life and the lives of your beneficiaries are very dynamic and subject to change. If you have moved and bought and sold a home, you may need to revise a trust if your old home was part of that. The birth, adoption or death of a family member may also necessitate amendments to a trust or a will.

When does the fiscal year end?

The end of the fiscal year is probably a big time for your business: Many Indiana entrepreneurs have their schedules lined up for their fiscal, tax and calendar years. For sole proprietorships and one-person LLCs, this coordination is, in fact, an IRS mandate.

However, if you have a multi-person LLC or if your business is incorporated, you may want to think about strategizing your fiscal and tax year calendars. Doing so could provide you with some unexpected savings. It could also give you time to collect on your pending accounts before you have to pay out your taxes.

Who is Chapter 13 bankruptcy most beneficial for?

Indiana residents like you who are suffering under debt will also likely be looking for ways to dig yourself back out again. Miller Flannery Law is here to help lay down a few different possible options. Today, we'll take a look at Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

This type of bankruptcy is also called "debt reorganization". Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which essentially allows you to wipe away debt in exchange for the liquidation of assets, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to allow you to make a debt repayment plan instead.

What is a special needs trust?

If you are an Indiana resident who has a loved one with special needs, you may hope to provide for his or her long-term maintenance after your death by bequeathing him or her with an inheritance in your will. While your heart is in the right place, this situation requires careful estate planning. According to FindLaw, people with disabilities may become ineligible for government benefits if they inherit assets in one large lump sum. A special needs trust avoids this problem by putting the inheritance in the hands of a trustee who manages your property for your loved one's benefit.

Individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities can benefit from special needs trusts tailored to fit the unique lifestyle, specific needs and future considerations of each beneficiary. Otherwise, a special needs trust is similar to other types in that the trust lasts as long as it is necessary, either until the funds run out or the beneficiary dies, and a trustee manages and distributes the property to your beneficiary according to your specifications. If your intended beneficiary lacks the mental capacity to manage his or her own finances, the role of the trustee is particularly important.

When should I file for bankruptcy if I’m getting divorced?

It’s not uncommon for couples to consider filing for bankruptcy while seeking a divorce. In fact, financial disagreements are the second leading cause of divorce in the U.S.

But, before your finances drive you to bankruptcy, it’s wise to consider the implications your divorce may have on it. In some cases, it’s best to file for bankruptcy before divorcing. In others, it’s not an option. Here are a few key considerations to take before making your decision.

The importance of estate planning for millennials

If you are one of the many millennials in Indiana, you may be moving into your thirties and this may have you thinking differently about your life than you have up to this point. This new way of thinking might include long-term plans for the coming decade and possibly into retirement. Another thing you should also be considering is making an estate plan.

As explained by NerdWallet, an estate plan can benefit you and your family members if you were to die but also in many other situations. For example, a durable power of attorney gives another responsible adult the ability to manage your financial and other personal matters in the event that you are suddenly unable to do so. A durable power of attorney for health care grants another person the right to make important medical decisions for you if you cannot do so for yourself. These are things that may be needed after an accident.

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