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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.

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!

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Des Moines, IA 50309-1712

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