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How do I include an adopted child in my estate plan?

Your legally adopted children in Iowa would probably enjoy most of the same protections under the state's inheritance laws as would your biological children. However, there could be some concerns you may want to address during or immediately following the adoption process.

In fact, some of these points may become helpful following the birth of a child. Some families are not completely served by the default rules of inheritance in Iowa, so you may want to consider the unique elements of your own case.

Probate involves a number of tasks that can take time to complete

You may consider yourself someone who handles stressful situations well. As a result, you may not have hesitated before you agreed to act as the executor of your loved one's estate. In fact, you possibly felt honored that he or she trusted you with such an important task.

Of course, even though you have a zeal for handling important matters, you still need to understand that probate proceedings are complex, and that you will have many tasks to carry out in order to close the estate while also handling your own job and personal life. Certainly, you want to obtain as much information about the process ahead of you as possible.

How can you encourage attachment from a young child?

When you are adjusting to welcoming a new child into your home in Iowa after completing the process of adoption, you are now tasked with the tender process of forming a relationship with your new child. Helping your new family member to feel welcomed, validated, loved and important will require that you behave in such a way that he or she will learn to trust you. Once accomplished, healthy attachments will begin to form and your child will come to learn that you are committed to providing love and care for the foreseeable future. 

Developing an attachment with someone you have never met will undoubtedly present its own challenges. Small children who are still highly impressionable and still learning about relationships may show hesitation in accepting your care. According to childwelfare.gov, if your child was previously exposed to environments where neglect, abuse and persistent tension were present, he or she may require a significant length of time in a stable and loving home environment before an attachment to you will begin to form. 

A trust meant for your pets

When the wealthy fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld left quite the fortune for his cat, many people were a little more than surprised. Some even called it ridiculous.

While the situation surrounding Lagerfeld's cat may be extreme, it is not uncommon. In fact, setting up a plan for pets can be a valuable way for Iowa families to make sure pets receive the care they need.

How soon after bankruptcy can you apply for a mortgage?

You likely understand that if you choose to seek bankruptcy protection in Des Moines, that decision will likely take a heavy toll on your credit profile. This may be a consequence that you are willing to accept if bankruptcy appears to be your best option at avoiding having to sink further and further into debt due to creditor actions. Yet once your bankruptcy case has been discharged and you begin the process of re-establishing yourself financially, you will inevitably begin to inquire as to your ability to engage in significant financial transactions again (such as taking out a home loan). The question then becomes how long after bankruptcy must you wait before applying for a mortgage? 

According to LendingTree.com, the time required to wait before applying for a loan through traditional lending programs is as follows: 

  • Conventional: 4 years for Chapter 7, 2-4 years for Chapter 13
  • FHA: 2 years for Chapter 7, 1 year for Chapter 13
  • VA: 2 years for Chapter 7, 1 year for Chapter 13
  • USDA: 3 years for Chapter 7, 1 year for Chapter 13

Does your will account for digital assets?

As smartphones have increased the amount of time we spend online, our virtual assets and personas have become as important as the real thing — if not more. Just think about it. The bills we pay, the things we purchase and the places we socialize are all on the web.

So, when updating your estate plan, you’d better make sure to consider these digital components of your life too!

What should I know about undue influence?

A last will and testament should be composed without any negative influence on the testor. Unfortunately, some Iowa residents can become caught in the snare of an abusive manipulator who will use undue influence to make the vulnerable party craft a will that will benefit the manipulator. Wills made under undue influence may be thrown out by a court, so if you suspect a relative may be a victim of undue influence, here are some things to look out for so you can protect your relative’s inheritance from a malicious party.

According to the American Bar Association, part of the challenge of recognizing undue influence is that it often occurs out of sight. Undue influence can involve an abuser isolating an older individual from the support of others to create dependence on the abuser. A malicious party may use a number of tactics, such as deception, fraud, duress, or any form of pressure that will cause the vulnerable party to provide the abuser with assets, property or an eventual inheritance.

Media company asks for loan amidst bankruptcy proceedings

Depending on the type of bankruptcy that a company files for, they may be given a few different options for how they can continue to operate throughout the proceedings. For many Iowa companies, filing for bankruptcy is a solution to abolish pressing debts and hopefully reach an agreement with creditors where operations can continue if contingencies are met in a timely manner. 

One example of a bankrupt company seeking to continue its operations is the Reading Eagle Company in Reading, Pennsylvania. After the paperwork was filed in which the company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the organization issued a request for a $1.5 million loan to allow it to continue supporting operations even though bankruptcy proceedings were underway. The company they asked to loan the money is one that they are currently indebted to for $17 million. 

Can I pass on my intellectual property after I die?

Intellectual property (IP) is an important way Iowa authors, business owners, artists and inventors generate their income. In fact, IP may even provide a living for relatives of an intellectual property owner, which is why if you own a copyright, a patent or any IP, you should include it in your estate plan. You can choose who you want to receive your intellectual property rights so that your heirs can profit from the IP.

Per FindLaw, like your other property and assets, you can pass on your rights to your intellectual property to another person through a will. You can do this whether you created your IP, if you had purchased them from another party, or if the IP was gifted to you. This avoids the problem of dying intestate, in which case a judge might award the rights to somebody whom you do not want to receive them.

Bringing your credit score back up after bankruptcy

Hundreds of thousands of people each year use the process of bankruptcy to give themselves a fresh start. This is a fresh start out from under the heel of debt collectors, threatening letters and insurmountable debt. Bankruptcy is a lifesaver for many people, but it does come with a downside: your credit score takes a hit.

After your bankruptcy is final you will have a dark spot on your credit history for the next 10 years. All is not lost, though. You can start rebuilding your credit almost immediately. In that way, once the spot is finally lifted from your history, you will hit the ground running with a prim and healthy credit score. These are a few ways to get started right away.

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