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Middlesex County Estate Planning and Bankruptcy Legal Blog

Certain mistakes could derail your estate planning efforts

Estate planning is a smart step for just about everyone, regardless of the size of the estate and one's income level. Making plans for the future is not easy, and it can be difficult to make choices regarding important legal, financial and medical issues that may not affect you for years to come. Despite these things, it's a good idea to have a plan in place.

It may surprise you to learn that there are mistakes that could derail your entire estate planning efforts. It's in your interests to ensure that you have a strong estate plan and that you avoid issues that could cause problems down the road. Even a small, common misstep during the planning process could cause issues for you, your beneficiaries and your loved ones in the future.

Is fear of credit repercussions holding you back from bankruptcy?

You may have been toying with the idea of filing for bankruptcy for some time. You may think that you can no longer go on living with the burden of debt you currently face, but for some reason, you still have not been able to move forward with filing a bankruptcy petition. You, like many other New Jersey residents, may hesitate due to the effects the process can have on your credit.

Certainly, filing for bankruptcy can have impacts that last a considerable amount of time, but it is also important to remember that the effects will not last permanently and that you can take steps to rebuild your credit soon after you successfully complete your case.

Job loss can quickly cause financial problems

You lost your job. No matter if the dismissal was sudden or slightly expected due to issues with the company, you undoubtedly still felt a great deal of disappointment when your employer let you go. Even if the layoff had nothing to do with your job performance, you may still feel as if you somehow failed.

These feelings are certainly understandable, as losing a job can be a major shakeup in anyone's life. Now, you may begin to feel worried about your financial affairs and how you will meet your daily needs without the income you once earned. Possibly, taking somewhat small steps to address your financial affairs may help, but it is also important to remember that more significant options are available.

When was the last time you took a look at your estate plan?

If you have to think too hard to answer this question, it's probably time for a review. It's a good idea to take out your estate plan once in a while to make sure it still reflects your current goals and wishes.

Outside of a general review, your estate-planning documents need to keep up with the changes in your life. Certain events should automatically trigger you to take a look at your plan.

Is a short sale or foreclosure in your future?

When you bought your house, the mortgage payments were manageable. You may have had a smooth-running budget that allowed you to cover all your bills and even set something aside for home improvements in the future. However, as happens with many homeowners in New Jersey and elsewhere, something set you back. It may have been one major event like a job loss or a series of small expenses that quickly got out of control. Now you are behind on your mortgage.

It doesn't take much to fall behind on a large payment like your mortgage. Before you know it, you are thousands of dollars delinquent, and the mortgage lender is offering you the choice to try a short sale or get ready for foreclosure. Do you know which is best for you?

Even if you don't think so, you have reasons for estate planning

It is common for people to avoid thinking about their eventual demises. Many New Jersey residents may think that it is morbid to consider such events, and as a result, they avoid the topic completely. However, if you avoid it for too long, you may miss out on making important end-of-life decisions through estate planning.

Of course, in addition to avoiding thoughts of death, you may be among the numerous people who simply think that you do not need an estate plan. You may not consider yourself particularly wealthy, or you may not have children that you need to make certain arrangements for in the event of your passing. Even so, you can still benefit from creating an estate plan.

Time may be of the essence when dealing with credit card debt

You may feel that swiping your credit card is the easiest payment option under a variety of circumstances. Whether you are making the most of a rewards program or simply cannot stand to carry cash, this alternative payment option can come with its benefits, but there could be a catch.

Whether it begins with a month where you forget to make a payment or if a change in financial circumstances leaves you struggling to keep up, falling behind on a credit account can be disastrous. As your troubles continue to mount, you could be wondering just what will happen to your account.

Identifying a goal may help start the estate planning process

Estate planning is a great way to get your affairs in order and to provide information for serious events before those events take place. Each New Jersey resident's estate plan will differ, and you should tailor your plan to your specific needs and goals. In fact, deciding the goals you want to achieve with your plan could help you get started.

Because many estate planning tools exist, you can address a considerable number of aspects relating to your life within your plan. Of course, if you do not have much information on estate planning and the available tools, you may not know what type of goals you should consider.

Holiday spending often leads to bankruptcy

If you're among many New Jersey residents who celebrate one or more holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year's, you may also be among those who purchase gifts for friends and family or who spend money traveling, dining out, hosting parties or on other festivities. That's all well and good if you have the cash to foot the bill; however, in many cases, people use their credit cards, thinking they'll pay it off at the end of the month and then they don't.

Leaving a balance on your credit card when a pay cycle ends typically prompts increased interest charges. If you go through several cycles without paying your entire debt, you stand to lose a lot of money in interest alone, not to mention you will still have outstanding debt on your card -- or cards. You may want to avoid several things during the holidays if you hope to avoid serious financial problems. It's also good to know where to seek support if a problem does arise.

Making plans to care for your special needs loved ones

For New Jersey families caring for loved ones with special needs, the future can be a complex and daunting prospect. Through certain estate planning tools, you can make sure your family has the right plans in place to provide for specific members of your family after your passing. One way to do this is by creating a special needs trust. 

A special needs trust is a specific type of estate planning tool that will allow you to set aside and preserve certain assets for the benefit of a loved one who cannot care for himself or herself. While you cannot predict what will happen down the road, this step can allow you to have a measure of security regarding the care of your loved one. If you do not have plans in place, you would be wise to take quick action to do so.

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