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Baton Rouge Business & Commercial Real Estate Blog

Even a rock-solid estate plan isn't set in stone

If you think back over the past five years, you can probably list numerous changes that have taken place in your family.

Perhaps a son or daughter got married or divorced. Maybe you and your spouse moved to another state or decided to purchase a vacation home. Even if you and your loved ones carried on without a major alteration, you must agree that the national climate has changed, especially laws regarding taxes.

"I've got a secret!" When your employees break your confidence.

As your small business grows, you may be proud of the level of trust you have earned with your clients and customers. Not only does each interaction provide you with an opportunity to prove that trust, but it may allow you to build your reputation as a reliable business owner whose product or service is second to none.

Succession: Would you be happy with letting Louisiana decide?

Owning your own home provides you with several benefits and challenges throughout the time you own it. As you take care of your landscaping, maybe renovate the kitchen or otherwise make it your own, you may want to stop to think what will happen to it after your death.

The reality is that most people here in Louisiana are just like those around the rest of the country - they don't have estate plans in place to handle the distribution of all of their assets, including their homes. Dying without at least a will means that state law dictates where your assets go.

Divorce or bankruptcy: Which comes first?

You probably already know that getting a divorce could significantly impact your finances. If you and your spouse already struggle to make ends meet, you may consider filing for bankruptcy. The problem of knowing when to file bankruptcy and when to file for divorce may plague you.

The only conclusive answer is not to file both at the same time. Thereafter, the choice depends on several factors. In many cases, it could depend on whether you and your spouse qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Economic means matter when determining bankruptcy eligibility

Have you ever heard of the means test? It is a form used in Louisiana and elsewhere to determine Chapter 7 bankruptcy eligibility. Before you can file for this type of debt relief, you have to take this test in order to show that you truly lack the means to meet your debt obligations.

Some common questions about the bankruptcy means test include:

A regular income does not mean you cannot benefit from bankruptcy

Many people associate bankruptcy with low-income levels and other similar financial struggles. In reality, the need for bankruptcy may have very little to do with a person’s income and more to do with the type and amount of debt that he or she has. Even people with substantial incomes may find it difficult to keep up with payments and effectively manage their debt.

Contrary to what some people think they know about bankruptcy, you can actually file for bankruptcy if you earn a regular income. Chapter 13 offers protection for Louisiana individuals who need to effectively deal with unmanageable debt and claim a stronger financial future free from creditor harassment.

Think you do not really need a will? Think again.

Having a will is an essential step for everyone, regardless of the size of the estate or income level. Having a solid estate plan in place is about more than ensuring you have control over what happens to your stuff after your death, it is about providing security and peace of mind to your loved ones. If you do not have a will, you would be wise to take the necessary steps to get a plan into place.

Chapter 7 is not always the only bankruptcy option

Many people in Louisiana and across the U.S. are struggling to keep their heads above water financially. In such circumstances, there's often need for immediate debt relief to avoid complete financial disaster.

When people think of debt relief, they often also automatically think of Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it seems to be the term related to the topic with which many people are familiar.

Are Social Security benefits safe from creditors?

Many people rely on federal benefits. Whether you're retired, disabled or a military veteran, these benefits play a big part in your financial picture. Unfortunately, they may not be enough. If you've gotten into debt because of unexpected expenses, you might be worried that debt collectors will be able to take your benefits away as a form of payment.

Can they do that? The answer to this question is no...and yes. Let's take a look at how it works and how you can protect yourself. 

Is medical debt dischargeable through bankruptcy?

An illness or injury can have a drastic impact on your life - physically, emotionally, and financially.

It is common for individuals dealing with a serious illness or injury to struggle with medical bills. The cost of surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, medication, and other expenses can be overwhelming - even with good health insurance.

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