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How does guardianship work and why is it sometimes necessary?

Your parents raised you to adulthood and may have given you sound advice and financial help after you went out into the world. Like many other Iowa residents with aging parents, you may find it difficult to see your loved ones age and become less independent. You may even worry about them being victimized in financial scams or unable to take care of their daily needs.

The law allows adult children or other responsible people to care for the financial, physical and medical needs of elderly or disabled people who are no longer able to care for themselves, as FindLaw explains. Perhaps your parents are suffering from age-related cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or maybe your parent was suddenly incapacitated after a stroke or a car accident. Being appointed as a guardian gives you the ability to manage their finances and other important aspects of their lives. If you are appointed a guardianship, you may be responsible for such tasks as setting up doctors’ appointments, paying their bills, buying food and clothing and ensuring your loved ones’ hygiene needs are met.

Finalizing your child's adoption is a critical step

Waiting, waiting, waiting is what you did most during the process to adopt your child. Nevertheless, the waiting is not what you will remember. Your most vivid memory will be the first time you saw your child and the day you brought your new son or daughter home. All the waiting, anxiety and frustration faded away in the moments you spent holding, studying and talking to your child.

However, as connected as you may feel or hope to feel with the child who is now part of your family, you still have some legal steps to complete. In fact, your adopted child is not legally yours until you take these last two steps.

How to recover after filing bankruptcy

For people who file bankruptcy in Iowa, the future can be a bit scary. While there is some comfort in not having to face large amounts of debt, there are a lot of hurdles to cross. While it may seem overwhelming, it is possible to build back credit and prepare for a financially stable future, but it does take planning, strategy and discipline. 

According to Forbes, it is possible to recover quite quickly from bankruptcy and that the majority of people who file bankruptcy are able to build up a credit score of at least 640 within two years. One of the first things to do after filing is to analyze the reason for the bankruptcy. For some, unexpected medical bills or a job loss were the culprit. For others, poor spending habits may be the reason. If this is the case, it is imperative to make a budget and plan to stay within your means to avoid more financial trouble.

Why is estate planning so important?

If you have yet to set up a Louisiana estate plan, your main reason probably is because you think you do not need one. After all, you are not a particularly wealthy person, and only wealthy people need estate plans. Right? Wrong.

FindLaw explains that virtually every family needs a good estate plan. Why? Because if you fail to at least execute a Last Will and Testament, the State of Louisiana will determine who receives your assets when you die regardless of whether or not those distributions are the one you would have made yourself.

How does a charitable trust give back?

If you are like many Iowa residents, the idea of giving back to your community holds great appeal to you. Whether your church, your library, your school or some other favorite charity, you do what you can to support its efforts. But what if you could do even more?

Fidelty.com explains that establishing a charitable trust can make it possible for you to give back while giving to yourself at the same time. How? Because when you set up a charitable trust, you designate two beneficiaries: a charitable one and a noncharitable one. Furthermore, you can designate yourself as the noncharitable beneficiary as well as the trustee.

I’m a new parent; do I need an estate plan?

So you just became a new Iowa parent. Congratulations! Undoubtedly estate planning is the last thing on your mind right now, but before you get too caught up in all the many things that being a good parent entails, stop and consider for a moment that estate planning is one of the most loving and protective things you can do for your new child.

If you and your spouse are young parents without an estate plan, now is the time to start one. If you already have wills and other estate planning documents in place, now is the time to review and probably update them to reflect your recent blessed event.

What to know about a healthcare proxy

While no one wants to think of their end of years, it is an important part of estate planning for Iowa residents. People must consider how they want their care to be, such as whether they want a natural progression of death or if they want the medical team to use life-saving devices. A healthcare proxy is a legal document that names an agent to make sure a patient receives the care he or she wants in cases in which there is an inability to make these decisions.

According to Forbes, one reason to name a healthcare agent is to prevent arguments among family members about care. Another is to ensure the patient has control over his or her own medical care. Some of the reasons a health proxy may come into play include:

  • Major accident that results in serious injuries 
  • Terminal illness
  • Coma
  • Dementia

The bankruptcy automatic stay isn't foolproof

One of the primary goals of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is stopping harassment from your creditors. Once you file, an automatic stay goes into effect that prevents them from continuing any collection efforts until the conclusion of your case. This gives you the freedom to work out your financial issues without any interference and stress from creditors or collection agencies.

The above description represents the best-case scenario. Yes, the automatic stay does prevent certain actions, but it does not prevent others. Understanding what it can and cannot do will help you better understand what you face as you file for bankruptcy protection.

Which type of bankruptcy is best for you?

Iowa residents like you who are feeling pinned down by your debts have options for freeing yourself from this burden. Bankruptcy is one way to do that. Janssen Law, PLC, will discuss two popular bankruptcy options today so that you can determine which may be the better fit for your unique situation.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called a "wage earner's plan". It allows you to keep all of your assets, but in exchange, you must still pay off your debts. However, you will instead work out a repayment plan that you can realistically follow. This plan is tailored specifically to your income, assets, and ability to set aside money to pay off the debt. This will take longer than Chapter 7 bankruptcy but is best if you have assets you don't want liquidated. Generally speaking, you will have 3 to 5 years to complete the repayment.

2 forms of bankruptcy in Iowa

For individuals in Iowa, there are basically two popular forms of bankruptcy. These are both important ways for debtors to release their obligations, but they serve very different purposes.

The choice of which type usually depends on many factors, but one of the most important is income. A person's income level would likely determine how successful a repayment plan would be. Please continue reading for more details on this subject.

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