FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Click any item in the list below to review relevant questions and answers:
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning simply put is putting your affairs in order so as to maximize the benefits that your assets can provide to you during your life and to those you desire to benefit from it after your death.
What Does A Proper Estate Plan include?
A proper estate plan to provide for the needs of your family may include:
An adequate Will or Trust; A written agreement concerning the status of your assets;
A directive to your physician or a Durable Power of Attorney;
Final instructions of your preference.
When Should An Estate Plan Be Reviewed?
If you already have an estate plan, it should not be considered permanent. Conditions, as well as your desires, may change. Estate plans should be reviewed at least every two-three years but, additionally, any important change in your life demands immediate review.
What Benefits Does A Trust Offer?
Trusts offer a number of important benefits:
Capital Gain Tax Savings;
Retention of privacy of family assets and finances;
Avoidance of conservatorship;
What is a will?
A will is a written instrument that controals the disposition of an individuals’s probate property at death.
What is a living will?
A living will is a document in which you describe the kinds of medical treatment you would agree to or not agree to if you were unable to make or communicate those choices yourself.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal relationship under which one individual provides for the transfer of property to another who holds and manages the trust property for the beneficiaries.
What kinds of trusts are there?
Special Needs Trusts
Trusts as part of an estate plan
What is probate?
When a person dies, all property that does not pass directly to others such as life insurance beneficiaries, is subject to a legal proceeding called probate under the state law.
What happens in probate?
The probate process involves three basic functions. First the court will determine if the decedent left a valid will. Second, the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. Third, the court will supervise the administration of the decedent’s estate.
Will I have to give up all my assets?
No. The Bankruptcy Code provides that a debtor filing for bankruptcy can keep certain assets for a "fresh start" by exempting property from the bankruptcy estate. The vast majority of bankruptcy cases are "no asset" cases, in which the debtors have claimed an exemption in everything they own; there are then no assets from which to pay creditors.
Do I have to list all my debts?
Yes, you must list all of your debts on your bankruptcy schedules, even debts that are non-dischargeable or secured.
Will I lose my house even if I'm current?
A bankruptcy does not relieve the property of the liability for voluntary liens, like mortgages or deeds of trust, nor for tax liens. So, the lender retains the right to foreclose if you don't pay.
Can I keep my car?
Yes. What you must do to keep the car through a Chapter 7 varies depending on whether there is non exempt equity in the car.
Can I discharge my student loans?
Student loans are no longer dischargeable in any chapter of bankruptcy unless you can prove that repaying the loan creates an undue hardship on you or your family. Prior law allowed their discharge once they had been in pay status for 7 years. The law changed in the fall of 1998.
Will I lose my retirement savings?
No, most forms of retirement savings are unaffected by a bankruptcy filing.
What is foreclosure defense?
Foreclosure defense involves working with the lender and the homeowner to save the home.
What are some options for avoiding foreclosure?
There are three options to avoid foreclosure
Forbearance – you temporarily reduce mortgage payments until your finances improve. This is usually a short term solution.
Loan Reinstatement – The homeowner arranges to make up missed payments.
Loan Modification – The loan is rewritten making the terms of the loan fit your financial situation
Do I need legal advice when making an offer on a house, signing a purchase & sale, or when signing closing documents?
Yes, it is essential to obtain legal services whenever you are involved in signing documents that can impact your future or financial situation.
Where do I get a mortgage?
Banks have traditionally lent money for mortgages. However, today there are many options available. Ryan Law has many contacts with several lenders in order to provide the widest range of options for our clients.
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You should consult your individual tax or legal professional regarding
your individual circumstances.