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Our Legal Blog

When the Only Two Things that are Certain in Life Finally Come Together: A Decedent’s Final Tax Return

The first time a wage earner makes enough money to trigger the income tax filing requirement usually results in a fairly simple return. In contrast, a taxpayer’s final return filed after his or her death is quite complicated. When a taxpayer dies, a legal entity called an estate is automatically created to make sure that all of the decedent’s income is accounted for. A decedent’s surviving spouse or personal representative should promptly notify all payers of income about the death and, in turn, they should stop using the decedent’s social security number. Instead, the estate […]

Financial Power of Attorney Dos and Don’ts

No one enjoys the idea of losing their independence and having to rely on someone else. However, when used properly, a power of attorney can ensure that a trusted person is handling your financial affairs when you’re not mentally or physically capable of doing so yourself. Powers of attorney are highly customizable and can be drafted to address individual situations. Initially an inexpensive way for someone without a lot of money to do some estate planning, a power of attorney has evolved into a fairly standard document. If you’ve been entrusted by someone else to act […]

Life Insurance & Divorce

At its best, divorce is a difficult process. At its worst . . . well, we’ve all heard the horror stories. While the term is a legal one for dissolving a marriage, its emotional aspects are usually harder to work through than its legal ones. Spouses who are divorcing tend to focus on immediate concerns such as who will stay in the marital home, who will have primary custody of the kids and who will pay the credit card bill. It’s easy to overlook long-term financial plans, but doing so can leave you in a […]

Start-Up Funding Tips

It takes a lot of inner strength and smarts to start a business. It also takes money, most often by taking out a loan or raising investor capital. While your enthusiasm is building for that great idea of yours and you’re bursting to share it, there are a few things that should be in place before you start to seek funding. You must have a business plan that gives a summary of what your business is and how it will make money. Your plan should include market research showing the viability of your idea, financial […]

Even Municipalities Have Money Troubles

At first glance, the most populous city in Michigan and a tiny home rule-class city in Northern Kentucky wouldn’t seem to have much in common. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that financial emergencies resulted in both municipalities’ seeking the protection of Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In December of 2013, Detroit, Michigan, was declared bankrupt due to its $18.5 billion debt and the impracticality of negotiating with its thousands of creditors. One year later, the city successfully exited the bankruptcy and embarked on a plan to cut $7 billion in debt as well as reinvest […]

Pros and Cons of Prepaid Funerals

Remember when it was time to buy a new car and you spent time poring over models, colors, dealers, options, prices, incentives and safety ratings? Investing in a new vehicle is a big deal, and any large purchase, whether for a product or a service, should involve comparison shopping. Although not a fun purchase like a car or a big-screen TV, paying for your funeral in advance can bring peace of mind – to you and your loved ones. The truth of the matter is, in death, as in life, someone has to pay for […]

September is College Savings Month

Along with leaves changing color and cooler temperatures, autumn sees the return of school. While it’s easy to get caught up in the immediate necessity of buying new supplies and clothes, it’s also a great time to consider your kid’s educational future – and how you’re going to pay for it. In a nationwide effort to raise awareness about saving for higher education, September has been designated as College Savings Month. The most important thing you can do is make a plan. Navigating the maze of college scholarships, financial aid and student loans isn’t easy, […]

6 Common Estate Planning Issues

Most people labor under the assumption that life will follow a “normal” path, stretching from school to retirement with a chapter for marriage and kids. But real life is full of choices and twists of fate. There are no guarantees except death and taxes. Consider what would happen to your loved ones if you died suddenly and unexpectedly. On the other hand, what would happen if you lived to an old age? Making estate planning decisions from your death bed comes with its own set of challenges. Putting a plan in place now and having […]

Where There’s a Will, There’s No Intestate Succession

If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. According to a survey released last year by Rocket Lawyer, 64 percent of Americans have not taken the time to draft one. Further, the survey revealed that just about half of married Americans with children had no will, while more than 80 percent of single Americans with children did not have one. And the reasons likely sound familiar: 57 percent said they “just haven’t gotten around to making one.” 22 percent felt that making a will wasn’t urgent. 17 percent didn’t think they needed a will. […]

7 Things All Debtors Should Do

No one likes to owe money. Not being able to pay the bills can leave people feeling frustrated, embarrassed, depressed and hopeless even though many money troubles are due to forces beyond their control, such as losing a job or getting very ill. You may be contacted by a debt collector once your debts are seriously past-due. A debt collector may be a collection agency, a lawyer who collects debts as part of their business or a company that buys delinquent debts and then tries to collect them. As you deal with the situation and […]