Bankruptcy

529 Plans and Oklahoma Estate Planning

One of the most commonly discussed issues when it comes to planning for college is how families will pay tuition. The U.S. News & World Report has found that the average annual tuition and fees at colleges from 2020 to 2021 was $21,184 for out-of-state public colleges and $35,087 for private colleges. Due to these substantial costs, it is understandable that some people decide to make paying for college part of their estate plans. Some people decide to pay for college by contributing to 529 plans. These plans often prove financially advantageous because money contributed to them grows tax-free, provided these assets are used for qualified education expenses. Limits exist, however, to the amount that can be set aside for each beneficiary. To better prepare you for utilizing a 529 plan as part of your estate planning strategy, the following reviews some crucial details about these plans. 529 Plans Can Reduce Your Taxable Estate Contributions to 529 plans are viewed as completed gifts from a donor to a beneficiary. Many times, the donor also holds the account and manages funds for the beneficiary. Later, when the account owner passes away, the account is often not included in the deceased individual’s [...]

2021-02-26T15:47:13+00:00Tags: , , , |

How to Anticipate Tax Changes with a Potential Administration Change

In a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Philip DeMuth commented that Americans currently live in an ideal age of taxes due to President Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts. Unfortunately, however, the tax advantages offered through various regulations passed by the current administration are scheduled to end on December 31, 2025.    Potential Changes to Estate Planning Laws   It is a good idea to review each estate planning during such uncertain times to make certain that assets are not placed at risk of unnecessary taxation. Some of the potential changes that could occur include:   Increasing the maximum estate tax rate from 40% to 77% Placing substantial limits on estate planning techniques like Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts and Defect Grantor Trusts Reducing estate and gift taxes as well as generation-skipping transfer tax to $3,500,000 from $11,580,000 Restricting the $15,000 annual gift exclusion afforded to unlimited donees to only two donees a year    Even though it can be difficult to predict what regulations might be passed into law, due to both the significant federal deficit and current political government, at least some of these regulations are likely to come to pass.   Estate Planning Techniques During [...]

2020-08-19T03:02:17+00:00Tags: , , , |

Tips for Family Business Succession Planning

Statistics compiled by Forbes reveal that approximately 80 to 90% of businesses in the United States are either owned or controlled by families.  Other data reveals that only one third of these businesses survive into the second generation of a family and that only 10% of businesses make it to the third generation.  One of the reasons why businesses are not successfully passed between generations is lack of adequate estate planning. It is important to remember that there is simply no universal estate plan that works for every business, which is why options like online estate planning often does not work.  Instead, it is critical to carefully consider the various ways to pass ownership of a business between family members. Obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer who can help guide you in creating the right business succession plan. The following will review some helpful tips that you should remember when creating a strong succession plan for a family-owned business.  Consider Changing the Business Structure If a business is structured as a sole proprietorship or a partnership, it is important to remember that these entities are viewed as comparable to personal assets of the owner and cannot be [...]

What Should You Bring to a Bankruptcy Consultation?

After scheduling an initial bankruptcy consultation, it is important to adequately prepare for the meeting, which includes gathering all of the appropriate documents. Without bringing the necessary paperwork, it is much more difficult for an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to assess your situation. The following will outline each of the documents that you should remember to bring to a meeting with a lawyer about your bankruptcy filing. Identification One of the most important pieces of information to bring to a bankruptcy consultation is identification. It is also important to confirm your social security number, so bring your Social Security card with you. Details About Income To file for bankruptcy, a person must provide proof of their average monthly income for the six months before they entered the bankruptcy process. This means that a person should make sure to bring income records to bankruptcy consultations. Some of the documents you should plan to bring to establish your income include details about alimony, bonuses, child support, commissions, dividends, income, interest, pension income, rental income, social security, retirement income, tips, and unemployment income. Income Tax Returns It is critical to make sure to bring the past two years of income tax returns to a [...]

2019-05-04T17:38:47+00:00Tags: |

Advice on Recovering From Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can be an uncomfortable and overwhelming experience. While bankruptcy has the potential to let a person rebuild his or her credit score, bankruptcy can also cause a number of challenges including difficulty in securing credit. The following will review some strategies people can use to bounce back more quickly after filing for bankruptcy. Create a Budget If you are not familiar with living on a budget, it can be difficult to begin doing so. The first step in being able to successfully manage money, however, is to create a plan to do so. A budget should cover all of the necessities that you need to pay each month including mortgage or rental and insurance costs.   Use Cash to Pay for Things Carrying around a small amount of cash can help make sure that you stay on budget and avoid buying more than you can afford. While using cash might be a good temporary way to avoid excessive spending, some people discover that this is a particularly effective way to reduce sending and make it a permanent habit. Pay Bills on Time Late payments suggest to lenders that you are not responsible in handling you money. In [...]

2019-04-23T18:24:29+00:00Tags: |

Common Mistakes Made During the Bankruptcy Process

The bankruptcy process can forever change your life. While many people are capable of realizing positive change through bankruptcy, by making mistakes during the process, some people can end up facing obstacles that last for years. The following will review some common mistakes to avoid when filing for bankruptcy. Not Honestly Disclosing Your Assets Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a means test, which requires you to disclose all of your assets and income because this amount determines your ability to pay off creditors. If you do not honestly disclose your assets, there is a good chance that your case will be dismissed. In some situations, you might even be prohibited from ever filing for bankruptcy again. Giving Assets to Family Members You are prohibited from giving away any of your assets to friends or relatives with the understanding that they will give the assets back to you at a later date, after your bankruptcy filing is complete. There is a risk that if you attempt to hide assets in such a way, you could end up losing them. Accruing Credit Card Debt Before Filing for Bankruptcy If a creditor determines that you purposefully accrued additional credit card debt in anticipation of [...]

2019-04-08T20:28:46+00:00Tags: |

Home Mortgages and Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy no longer creates obstacles for a future home buyer. Instead, many mortgage lenders have relaxed requirements so that even individuals who file for bankruptcy are able to obtain a home more quickly than ever before. The following will discuss some available mortgage loans and how they are affected by the bankruptcy process. Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Loans FHA loans are federally-insured loans and are attractive to many because they allow a buyer to put down only 3.5% of the home’s purchase price. The credit score limits for these loans are also much more generous than other types of conventional loans. In many cases following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person will be required to wait two years to obtain this type of loan. If a person opens a new credit account after filing for bankruptcy, he or she will often be required to make payments on time to establish a good credit history. Other individuals decide to speed up the qualification process by not opening any credit accounts following bankruptcy. Instead, if a person is able to demonstrate that filing for bankruptcy was beyond his or her control, it is possible to reduce the waiting period to [...]

2019-03-23T18:22:51+00:00Tags: , , , |

Student Loan Scams and Bankruptcy

It is common for students to pay for their education through loans. During the process of attempting to find a loan provider that will lower a student’s monthly loan payments, many students encounter companies offering fraudulent deals. If you have student loan debt, it is critical to be aware of various common refinancing scams. While bankruptcy courts have traditionally not allowed students to discharge student loans through bankruptcy, the landscape has changed significantly over the last few years. If your student loans have led you to pursue bankruptcy, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Advance Fee Scams Advance fee scams involve companies who claim that they can help you receive the best interest rate and loan terms in exchange for a small fee, which can range from 1% to 5% of your total loan. These offers exist in stark contrast to other types of student loans, which do not require upfront fees. The only type of acceptable fee that comes with student loans is a default fee for federal loans or a disbursement/origination fee associated with private loans. A company that offers to help with your student loan debt should never require an upfront free [...]

2019-03-08T20:09:24+00:00Tags: , |

How Bankruptcy can Affect Children

Many people place the interests of their children above their own. As such, it is common to have concerns about how the bankruptcy process will affect your children. Some relevant questions include whether children will lose property, what happens to a child’s bank account, and whether college loans can still be obtained for the child. While it might be surprising to learn, the bankruptcy process can affect your children in a number of ways. The following will review some of the most common ways in which bankruptcy is known to affect children. How Bankruptcy Affects the Child’s Property While items that were given as gifts to a child are still viewed as household property, property that a child purchased will not be classified this way. The risk of losing property arises in Chapter 7 when individuals navigating bankruptcy are allowed to only keep exempt property. In many cases, however, property belonging to a child is often not of interest to bankruptcy trustees unless the items are exceptionally valuable. Child Bank Accounts and Bankruptcy Money that is held in a child’s bank accounts is not considered property for a bankruptcy estate. Neither a bankruptcy trustee nor creditors are able to obtain [...]

2019-02-28T19:02:02+00:00Tags: , |

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Divorce is almost always an emotionally challenging process. Many people discover that every aspect of their lives are impacted by divorce more than they ever would have anticipated. If you and your former spouse have decided that divorce is your best option, it is likely that your finances will be affected, and sometimes, bankruptcy becomes a necessity for one or both spouses. Navigating bankruptcy can complicate the divorce process, however. The following will review some important things to consider if you have facing both bankruptcy and divorce. Do Not Simultaneously File for Divorce and Bankruptcy It is often best to not proceed through divorce and bankruptcy at the same time. After filing for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” is placed on a person’s account, which prevents creditor harassment and freezes a person’s assets and property. If the two overlap, an automatic stay will be placed on a person’s assets and will make it impossible for the divorce court to divide assets. While it is often best to not file for both bankruptcy and divorce at the same time, a person should carefully choose which process to navigate first. If a marriage ends and the former spouses are still friendly with one [...]

2019-02-02T17:22:50+00:00Tags: , |