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Bankruptcy Doesn't Need To Be Stressful
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Grayslake Real Estate And Bankruptcy Law Blog

How to find relief when debt becomes a burden

Sometimes individuals have a problem with debt because of out-of-control spending habits, but sometimes debt overwhelms homeowners and others unexpectedly. A shift in the housing market, a job loss, an accident or an extended illness that causes medical bills to pile up — all of these situations can happen without warning, leaving Illinois families struggling under the weight of debt they cannot repay.

The Federal Trade Commission offers consumers suggestions for dealing with overwhelming debt. First, talking with those owed may help. Being honest about life situations that have made repayment difficult may be the first step in getting the debt to a manageable payment plan. If a modified repayment plan is not possible, the FTC says it may be a good idea to consider a "debt relief service."

What are the main legal issues residential realtors face?

You remodeled the home office, hung out the shingle and built an online presence with a basic website. On Saturday afternoons, you are now out and about in Illinois suburbia keeping a watch for prime residential properties. As you begin your career in residential real estate, remember to think through the legal issues that go along with being a realtor. 

The National Association of Realtors outlines the main "legislative and regulatory issues that affect real estate." One concern that has been in the news a lot in recent days is data breaches, which have affected some of the largest global organizations in business today. They are also of concern to you, a local realtor who collects a significant amount of personal information from potential clients. Knowing the laws that govern collection of such data will be important to your success.

Common problems for residential sellers in Illinois

Selling your house can be more complicated than it looks. There are some common roadblocks that often arise during the process and can derail the sale if not handled properly.

While Illinois law does not require an attorney's involvement in a residential sale, working with a qualified lawyer might help you avoid many of these issues. Handling these matters properly right away could save you the headaches and expense of potential litigation at a later point.

Never give up: There is a life after bankruptcy

Some people can't fathom a life after bankruptcy. The way bankruptcy is portrayed, you would think that the filing is the end of a person's world, and that they will spend the rest of their life trying to overcome an insurmountable obstacle. It is as if the bankruptcy becomes a permanent fixture in their life, one that can never truly be fixed.

But this portrayal is completely wrong. A bankruptcy can be a very beneficial move for people that are in debt and struggling to get out of it. And while there may be some difficult times in the short-term after a bankruptcy filing, the point of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing is to get you back on track for the long-term. Your future is worth it.

5 steps to curing your financial stress

Let’s start with a scenario. Bob has had a tough year with a divorce, a job lay-off and medical bills from his daughters’ unexpected surgery. To add insult to his injury, Bob’s ex-wife took his hunting dog. In one year, he has lost his wife, job and dog. Yes, Bob has had a county music kind of year.

However, things are beginning to look up. After nearly six months of pounding the pavement and the Internet, Bob has landed a new position with an ad agency in Chicago. However, a half year with a severely limited income has taken its toll. Creditors are calling and collection notices arrive frequently. Bob is seriously behind on his mortgage payments and is starting to wonder if he’ll ever get out of the hole he’s found himself in. Bob is feeling the effects of his financial stress.

How will filing for bankruptcy affect my job?

Bankruptcy is typically a consideration for people who are overwhelmed by debt and seeking a way to discharge or restructure it. If you are in this situation, the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your source of income and potentially worsen your financial situation. Many people wonder, though, whether filing for bankruptcy will have any effect on their job or future career prospects.

According to the United States Bankruptcy Court, there are more than 5,000 filings in a given year in Illinois alone. Needless to say, there would be many jobs on the line if bankruptcy directly affected a person’s employment. Still, there are a few things you should know about how it could affect your job.

What happens to my pension or 401(k) after I file for bankruptcy?

Perhaps you have worked hard for many years. You have accrued a nice sum in your pension or 401(k) account that should see you through retirement, which is still a few years off. So, it is natural to worry about what happens to these funds if you file for bankruptcy.

Do you lose everything? Do you risk a retirement plagued with mounting medical bills and housing insecurity? The answer is no because Illinois law allows you to keep 100 percent of your retirement accounts.

Signs That You Should Consider Bankruptcy

Question: I have never been someone who spends a lot of money. Luxury items are just not on my list. About three years ago, I got a new job that seemed very promising and stable. Finally, we had enough cash to get some new items around the house that we had needed.

We used credit cards, knowing that we could make the payments. Suddenly, from nowhere, there were layoffs and I have been without a job for over a year. Now we are struggling to pay not just the credit card bills, but basic necessities. When do you go from strapped to filing for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy: can you keep your house?

Declaring bankruptcy sounds scary, and many people worry that they will lose everything if they do. However, bankruptcy was designed to help you. The government wants to pull you out of financial trouble and help you make a fresh start. Therefore, they allow you to keep a number of items that are considered necessities. At the same time, extravagant items may be taken away or simplified. So what does that mean for your current house?

 

Could a tax refund also mean bankruptcy?

The first three and a half months of the year are big for the tax industry, but could it also be big for bankruptcy too? Tax refunds are often used by people as a way to catch up on bills, but for those too far behind, it could provide the resources to pay the legal fees associated with bankruptcy.

Marriage and financial stability often go hand-in-hand. The divorce rate spikes from January to March, so it may be no surprise then to learn that the rate of bankruptcy filings rises at the end of tax season. Like a marriage, finances can reach a breaking point too. But, like a divorce, bankruptcy can be a fresh start for people in debt.

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