Do you have an estate plan?
The other day I was at a party in my neighborhood when the topic of estate planning came up. This often happens when people find out that I am an estate planning lawyer. The person I was talking to asked me a question that I hear a lot: don’t you have to have millions of dollars in the bank before you need an estate plan? The answer is no. Estate planning is important for everyone.
A properly drafted estate plan provides instructions for taking care of you and your loved ones during your lifetime and distributing your assets upon death. no matter how much money you have. It allows you to distribute your assets to whomever you want, when you want, and how you want, with a minimum of fees, taxes, and court involvement.
It also names one or more people of your choosing to serve as Guardian of your minor children, and sets forth instructions for how your children are to be raised, if something were to happen to you.
A simple estate plan often consists of one or more of the following:
An estate plan will give you the peace of mind that your affairs will be in order no matter what life has in store for you and your loved ones. It is always better to put plans in place in a methodical and careful way--with expert legal advice, rather than to act hastily in reaction to a crisis.
Purchasing a home is one of the most important transactions in your lifetime. There is often lots of emotion involved. And lots of complexity too, as you confront unfamiliar procedures, terminology and customs. All along the way, you need to understand your rights and obligations as a home buyer.
You need to understand the transaction from initial offer to final closing (and sometimes even after the closing). Here are some of the issues that that you should be aware of when purchasing a home.
The benefits of owning a home are great, but it is important to get off on the right foot. You need to make sure that you have all the bases covered so that you can enjoy your new home for years to come.
WILLS REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS
* Do not take care of you during *Take care of you during your life
* Must go through probate * Are probate free
* Are easy for disgruntled heirs * Are difficult to attack
* May not control all property * Create one receptacle for all your
* Cause your affairs to stop at * Offer continuity in your affairs
* Are only effective at death * Are effective immediately and
distribute property after your death
* Have no adverse lifetime income * Have no adverse lifetime income
tax consequences tax consequences
*Are public * Offer privacy
*Are not viable interstate * Are good in every state
When does it make sense to file bankruptcy?
The other day a potential client called to discuss whether filing for bankruptcy would make sense for him. Let’s call him Frank. It’s usually not an easy question to answer. It requires a thorough analysis of a person’s financial situation, and knowledge about the impact and ramifications of a bankruptcy filing. Frank had lost his job and depleted his savings while looking for a new job. He had also begun to dip into his retirement account. Frank was concerned that by filing bankruptcy he would never be able to purchase a house or get a credit card. He owned no other assets at the time.
What did I recommend? I told Frank that the fundamental underpinning of the bankruptcy law is to give a fresh start to honest debtors who have fallen on hard times, often through no fault of their own, but as a result of illness, job loss or the like. Bankruptcy allowed Frank to discharge his credit card debts while retaining his car and the balance of his retirement account and possessions. The bankruptcy law prevented creditors from collection activities such as harassing phone calls, lawsuits, and possible wage garnishments.
Although a bankruptcy would stay on Frank’s credit history for several years, he would have the immediate opportunity to begin rebuilding his life. After thinking through his options, Frank decided to go ahead with the bankruptcy. Shortly after this, he was able to find a new job and began to rebuild his life.
Here are key questions that you—together with a knowledgeable professional--should answer when considering bankruptcy.
--How much debt do you have and how likely are you to be able to pay these off within a reasonable amount of time?
--Are bills, letters from creditors and/or collection agencies, and the threat of a lawsuit, foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishment, etc. affecting you ability to move forward with your life?
--Would a clean slate allow you to begin to put your financial life back in order?
No one wants to file bankruptcy, and it should never be done without careful consideration of other alternatives. But sometimes the fresh start afforded by a bankruptcy is the path which makes the most sense.
Contact Today by calling (617) 658-1919
Warren J. Hurwitz
Attorney at Law
*The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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