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Chapter 7: Health problems responsible for a lot of people's debt

A lot of people think that a lack of self-control is behind the debt crisis in this country. Yes, there are some individuals who need to learn to budget, but budgeting alone is not going to solve the real reason most people find themselves in a bad way financially. According to a recent report, health problems are responsible for a lot of consumer debt. Illinois residents who find this is true for them may be able to utilize Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings to better their situations.

Roughly two out of every three bankruptcies are said to stem from medical problems. When a person becomes sick, really sick, it is not just medical bills that are a concern. Some individuals find that they are unable to work temporarily or permanently. This results in a loss of income which makes it impossible for them to meet their financial obligations, such as mortgages, credit card debts, auto loans and other financial obligations. It also may increase their personal and medical expenses due to the loss of employer-provided insurance.

Credit card debt is a romantic turn-off

Numerous Illinois residents have debt. In today's economy, it can seem nearly impossible to avoid, but avoiding debt can benefit a person in a number of ways, and not just financially. According to a recent report, credit card debt is a big romantic turn-off. Yes, being in debt may prevent a person from entering into a healthy and lasting relationship.

It has been reported that 38 percent of adults will refuse to date a person who has a bad credit score or a significant amount of debt. A whopping 72 percent of adults would reconsider staying in a relationship with someone who has a large sum of unsettled debt. Credit card debt, in particular, is said to be a relationship deal-breaker.

Can I only file Chapter 7 bankruptcy once in my lifetime?

When in need of debt relief, it is normal and important to ask questions about your options and what those options could mean for your future. You may not want to take certain actions now if doing so could negatively affect you down the line. For example, some Illinois residents believe that they can only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy once in their lifetime, so it is not something they want to be quick to rush into. The truth is, it is possible to file this type of bankruptcy more than once, so if you need it now, do not be afraid to consider it.

The hope when filing bankruptcy is that you will not need to do anything like it again. The hope is that one time will be enough to improve your financial situation. Unfortunately, you never know when financial problems will strike. You may file for bankruptcy once, get your monetary issues resolved and then years down the line experience a medical event, job loss or a number of other life events that will totally disrupt any progress you have made in terms of getting your financial state in order.

5 signs you have too much debt

For most Americans, debt is part of everyday life. After all, simply existing can be expensive. If you have acquired a significant amount of debt, though, you may spend an equal amount of time worrying about repaying it. 

On average, families in the United States have more than $6,000 worth of revolving credit card debt, reports Nerd Wallet. That amounts to nearly $421 billion in total credit card debt across the country. While having some debt is not inherently bad, too much of it can be downright crippling. If any of the following apply to you, you may want to explore your legal options

Debt: This age group has more of it than any other

Money, money, money -- it is something everyone needs and some find they have in short supply. Illinois residents who lack funds to meet their financial obligations generally end up going into debt just to pay to live. According to a recent article, one particular age group struggles with debt more than any other age group. Who would that be?

Those who belong to Generation X are said to have more debt than baby boomers or millennials, and it is not just debt in general; rather, it is nonmortgage debt. Gen Xers -- those between the ages of 36 to 51 -- have, on average, $30,334 in debt outside of what they may owe on their homes. That is a significant chunk of change.

Figuring out a Chapter 13 repayment plan

Illinois residents who are deemed to have sufficient income so as to prevent them from pursuing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to resolve their debt issues may have another option. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for individuals who have money to pay back their creditors to some degree but need a little help doing so. How can one's repayment schedule be calculated if a Chapter 13 filing seems appropriate?

The repayment calculation is not as simple and straightforward as one would think. Dividing the amount one owes by the number of months typically in a bankruptcy repayment period -- 36 or 60 months -- would seem like the right way to figure this out, but it is not. There is a lot more involved. It is necessary to look at not only debt amounts but what type of debt is involved. It is also necessary to calculate one 's disposable income -- how much an individual has left at the end of the month after paying for qualifying expenses -- and look at the value of any nonexempt assets.

Illinois estate planning: Things to know about POAs

When it comes to planning for one's future, there are a lot of legal documents out there that some people think are unnecessary or that they simply do not understand. A power of attorney is a great document for Illinois residents to consider when going through the estate planning process. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about what a POA can do and how it works. Hopefully, some of those misconceptions can be cleared up in this week's column.

The first thing that will be discussed is where to get a power of attorney. It is possible to go online and find a basic POA form. That seems like a good idea, but in reality it may be insufficient for one's needs. A basic form may not cover state legal requirements, it will not be detailed to fit one's situation and may be deemed invalid if it is questioned in court.

Signs you should file bankruptcy over paying your credit cards

Credit card debt can range from a temporary nuisance to a severe problem that needs a quick resolution. If the issue is serious enough, you may want to declare bankruptcy. However, your debt may be manageable if you can pay it off in the near future.

There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to pursuing bankruptcy. Here are some questions to ponder as you determine whether bankruptcy is the right choice for your situation.

Chapter 13 and other options to stop creditor harassment

When faced with significant debt and a lack of funds to do anything about it, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is harassment from creditors on top of an already stressful situation. It happens all the time, though. Illinois residents who find themselves dealing with creditor harassment can do something about it. A Chapter 13 filing, for example, is one way to stop calls and letters from creditors. For those who feel bankruptcy may not be the right fit, there are other legal avenues that can be explored.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act sets ground rules for creditors. They are only allowed to contact people at certain times of day, and they cannot use threats or foul language when talking to debtors -- among other things. When a creditor violates the FDCPA, legal actions may be taken to hold them accountable for their actions.

Will I lose all my assets if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

You are in debt and you need relief fast. Your income is limited and you have assets but they do not have a lot of monetary value. While they may not be worth much, you still want to know if you will lose your assets if you pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Guess what? Thanks to exemptions offered in Illinois, you may be able to keep your property.

Generally, when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets are sold to pay off your creditors and then any remaining qualifying debt is discharged. Now, depending on the asset and any state exemptions, some assets may not be worth selling because creditors will get practically nothing out of it. In such cases, the bankruptcy trustee may choose to abandon the property -- meaning you get to keep it.

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Lisle, IL 60532

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Fax: 888-691-8337
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