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Start estate planning early to protect yourself and your assets

As a person in your there 20's, you may be starting to think about life in the future. What will you do to protect your family as it grows? How will you guarantee a comfortable life well into retirement?

Estate planning can be complex, but it's a great way to work through the questions you have. It's advisable to work with an attorney and tax advisor as you begin estate planning since it will help you maximize the protective properties of the estate.

Should you be scared to seek bankruptcy?

A personal bankruptcy is not something to be scared of. It's a simple process and one that can get you back on your feet when you are in over your head with debt.

Bankruptcies do have some negatives, like affecting your credit and hurting your ability to get financing or credit in the following years, but that doesn't mean that they can't be beneficial. If you've already missed payments, the chances are that your credit is already suffering the side effects of an income that does not match your financial responsibilities.

Are you ready to admit your debt is out of control?

If you feel overwhelmed by your debts, you are not alone. Most of America carries a considerable debt burden, and many find the weight of it to be stressful. However, knowing that you belong to such a large group of financially stressed people may not bring you comfort.

Carrying significant debt may not be such a burden if you also earn enough money to pay your bills each month. If you are finding that your paycheck is covering fewer and fewer of your obligations, you may be considering your options for getting out of debt.

Trust options when estate planning for a blended family

Many people in Iowa have been married more than one time. This may be due to the death of a spouse or to a divorce. When even one person in a new marriage brings a child into the relationship with them from a previous marriage, the decisions they must address when it comes to making an estate plan can become more complicated than for people in a first marriage. 

As explained by Forbes, a standard thought process for many people is that when they die, their assets will go to their surviving spouse and then eventually to their children when the spouse later dies. In the case of a family where the surviving spouse is not the parent of the children, this should not be an automatic assumption. Without a clearly outlined and legally documented estate plan, there is nothing mandating the distribution of assets to the decedent's children at any point in time.

Important aspects of international adoptions

When Iowa residents consider adopting a child, they may want to adopt internationally. Before starting this process, though, there are many things people should understand so they know whether this kind of adoption is right for them.

When people first consider international adoption, they may think they can adopt a child from any country. According to Adoption.org, not every country allows international adoptions. Those that do sometimes have strict requirements that people have to meet. Some countries, for example, may want parents to live in the country and foster a child before proceeding with the adoption. Other countries may want people to be married and in good health. When people decide they want to adopt internationally, it is a good idea for them to research different countries and their adoption policies.

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.

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