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Should you name a guardian to head your child’s trust?

As you make preparations for your child’s future, you may have already designated a person to be a guardian for your child in the event you and your spouse are incapacitated or pass away. You might also be considering setting up a trust for the child and are looking for a person to be an Iowa trustee. Then it hits you: why not name the person that would be your child’s guardian as the trustee? It seems like a logical step, but you should be careful as you consider this choice.

At first glance, naming the guardian to oversee your child’s trust appears to be a wise move. If you trust a person to take care of your child, then you likely would not see a problem handing that person responsibilities over your child's financial inheritance. In some cases, a guardian can make a good trustee. However, in other instances it may be prove to be a problem.

Why asset disclosure is important while filing bankruptcy

If you are preparing to file bankruptcy in an Iowa court, be sure that you have accurately disclosed your financial assets. In the event your bankruptcy judge discovers that you have omitted one or more of your assets, you could face serious trouble. Not only can your bankruptcy case fall apart, but you might end up charged with bankruptcy fraud.

Asset concealment is a serious problem in bankruptcy fraud. In fact, the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute website says that concealing assets is a part of almost 70 percent of all instances of bankruptcy fraud. Hiding assets from bankruptcy consists of neglecting to list financial assets as well as not listing debts that you currently own. Consequently, a creditor whose debt has been hidden cannot have the debt resolved in bankruptcy.

Could an adopted child access adoption records?

Iowa collects birth records, adoption agreements and other related information thoroughly, making it possible for adoptees to search for their birth siblings or parents in some cases. It could benefit you to know what to do if you were to receive a request from your child to help find biological family members — a common inquiry once a child understands the details of your family situation. 

There are some formal techniques you might try before engaging in — or if you become frustrated with — your own independent investigations. Your adult adopted child might also decide to pursue some of these independently. 

Filing bankruptcy before versus after divorce

Iowa residents face many choices when faced with both divorce and bankruptcy, and one of the most significant is usually which action to pursue first. There are benefits of each choice, and the final choice typically depends on the individual circumstances of the couple in question. 

FindLaw has a good introduction to the subject, covering most of the concerns of someone who intends to declare bankruptcy around the same time he or she intends to file for divorce. One interesting point the article makes is that couples with high individual salaries may be eligible for chapter 7 after a divorce, even if their combined income as a couple is too high to qualify for a joint filing. This is because chapter 7 requirements are based on the joint earnings of families and the individual incomes of unmarried people.

Preparing for property division proceedings in an Iowa divorce

Getting divorced doesn't have to mean the end of your joy in life. You may be a bit worried about how your children will fare and whether you'll have enough finances to live a lifestyle comparable to what you enjoyed during marriage. The court will decide your financial situation for the most part, during property division proceedings.

Iowa is among a majority of states that use equitable property laws as opposed to nine states that continue to operate under community property rules. Equitable division may not necessarily be 50/50, but will be fair. The more you understand property division as it may relate to your particular situation, the less stress you'll have when the time comes for the court to issue a decree. You can seek answers for any questions you have by reaching out to someone who is well versed in divorce regulations.

I am just 25. Why should estate planning matter to me?

It can be hard for anyone to think about the end of life when they are still young. After all, we all felt invincible at 25, did we not? The truth is, though, it is never too early for Iowans to start putting their final wishes in writing. 

You may wonder why that is, but Charles Schwab & Co. has laid out some very good reasons, not the least of which is to "make things easier for the people you love." More specifically, writing down your desires leaves your family and friends with the confidence to know they know exactly who gets what. Not having to guess about those decisions can go a long way toward keeping your family members' relationships intact. 

Understanding Iowa’s adoption laws

People wishing to adopt a child in Iowa will be delighted to learn that Iowa has quite liberal adoption laws. Nevertheless, the adoption process is a lengthy one and requires a good deal of investigation to determine if the prospective adoptive parent(s) is or are ready to adequately provide for a child.

As FindLaw explains, in Iowa, virtually any person can adopt virtually any other person, although prospective adoptees over the age of 14 must consent to the adoption. In addition, prospective adoptees must live in the adoptive home for at least 180 days before the adoption becomes final. Under certain circumstances, however, the applicant can obtain a waiver of this residency requirement if such waiver is in the child’s best interests.

What is the bankruptcy means test?

If you are an Iowa resident and you, like many others, are finding it difficult to dig your way out from underneath mounting debt, you may be giving some consideration to filing for bankruptcy in an effort to find relief. You may be familiar with the terms “Chapter 7 bankruptcy” and “Chapter 13 bankruptcy,” but you may not completely understand the two methods, or know which form might be available or a better option for you.

According to Nerdwallet, while the vast majority of modern bankruptcy filings are of the Chapter 7 variety, whether you can ultimately pursue a fresh financial start through this method depends on how you fare on what is known as the bankruptcy means test. Essentially, the means test takes a good, hard look at your finances and your ability to pay back your debts before determining whether a Chapter 7 filing is an option for you.

Who would be the best guardian for a child?

For some Iowa families, the choice of a guardian might seem relatively clear. A godmother, uncle, parent or other trusted individual might seem like the perfect person to take care of your child should you become unable to do so. However, you might not be considering every angle of the issue.

You would be no worse off if, after your analysis of the situation, you end up making the same decision you intended to make when you started. If the investigation process uncovers potential risks in your choice, you could save your child and your proposed caretaker both considerable stress should the unthinkable occur.

Helping a child in need

A desire to make a difference in a child's life is one of the main reasons that families in Iowa decide to adopt or foster. However, some actions may make more of an impact than others, as they benefit both the child and the community as a whole. This is a brief review of the areas of greatest need in the adoption and foster system in the state, along with basic information about how one might help.

There are several types of kids who need extra help. It is also not necessary that one be an expert in childcare to bring a child into a family. Additionally, the courts could consider allowing adoption for many different family types, including single parents.

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