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How bankruptcy can help resolve vehicle debt issues

Failing to make a car payment on time could result in an individual's vehicle being repossessed. However, lenders in Virginia and throughout the country don't want to see that happen. Usually, it is more expensive to repossess a car as opposed to working out a new payment plan. They will generally work with those who reach out to them in a timely manner. Car owners can also look to refinance their vehicles in an effort to create favorable payment terms.

For some, simply refinancing or modifying a car loan isn't going to solve their problem. Instead, they will need to look into filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Doing so could have a variety of benefits such as the ability to seek a cramdown. A cramdown results in a borrower owing only the fair market value of the car. Any portion of the loan that is more than this amount is converted to unsecured debt.

How parents may conceal some trust information from children

Virginia and many other states have adopted a version of the Uniform Trust Code. This law establishes certain obligations toward trust beneficiaries, requiring that they get the necessary information about the trust to protect themselves. However, for various reasons, some parents do not want their children to know very much about their trusts. Depending on what kind of information the parents want to conceal or how they want the trust administered, the solution might be to establish the trust in another state. Trusts that conceal a significant amount of information from the beneficiary are called "silent trusts".

Parents may not want their children to grow up knowing there is a trust waiting for them. They may want to create a trust that does not require the trustee to keep the beneficiary informed. They might want information to go to a third party instead of to the beneficiary.

Medical debt continues to soar

Statistics show that the U.S. spends more on health care per capita than any other country. However, not all of this is government spending. Many Virginia residents carry a heavy burden of medical bills. This has resulted in an ever increasing inability to pay for out-of-pocket costs associated with expensive medical necessities.

An insidious consequence underlies the cost of medical care -- those who don't have insurance or whose copayments and deductibles are too high may simply forego necessary treatment. Financial experts report that those who do seek the care they need are very likely to end up with debt as a result. Perhaps the only good news associated with this situation is that medical debt is no longer regarded the same as other types of debt, specifically credit card debt. This provides the consumer with some options.

Bankruptcy debt: Dischargeable or non-dischargeable?

Most people would rather not go through bankruptcy; however, after creditors make life miserable, the day may come when bankruptcy sounds like a good option.

Many people file for bankruptcy. For example, credit card debt and medical bills can add up quickly until they are impossible to pay back. Debt discharge applies to those who register for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies.  

Planning one's estate for the future

Seeing as the new year has begun, most people living in Virginia have started to carry out their New Year's resolutions and take more responsibility for their lives. One of the best ways to step up and be more responsible is to plan for the inevitable and prepare one's estate before it's too late.

As dreary as it may be, everyone has to plan for their own death in order to spare their loved ones unnecessary grief. The first thing that should be done is writing a last will and testament, a document that details what should be done with someone's assets after their passing. The document also details what should happen to the deceased's children if they are still minors. Without a last will and testament, the state will end up dictating what happens to both the children and the assets, which may not turn out well for everyone.

Household credit card debt increased in 2018

Households in Virginia and throughout the country carried an average credit card balance of $8,284 in the third quarter of 2018. That was a 2 percent increase from the third quarter of 2017, according to a study from WalletHub. As debt levels increase, it may become more difficult for households to repay them. Increasing interest rates may also make it harder to repay those balances.

Current credit card debt levels are approaching those last seen during the Great Recession, and the amount could be exceeded in 2019. At that point, credit card debt balances may be at an unsustainable level. According to WalletHub, current levels are only $177 away from that point based on current income figures. In total, Americans owe $974.2 billion in credit card debt, which is up 3 percent from 2017. The increase comes in spite of the fact that $40.8 billion in debt was paid off in the first quarter of 2018.

When estate plans need updating

There are a few common errors people make with their estate planning. One is leaving certain critical documents, such as a will, out of the plan. Others have to do with failing to update the plan. People in Virginia should review their estate plan roughly every three years, but there are also certain events or situations that should trigger a review.

People may need to update an estate plan after moving to another state since state laws can differ. It may also be necessary to take steps to update residency in another state. There could be changes in the family because of births, deaths and divorces that lead to an estate plan update. A change in a person's assets might also result in the need to update the plan.

Protecting your inheritance without losing Medicaid benefits

Your disability does not keep you from many important day-to-day tasks. However, it does make life expensive and difficult when it comes to your medical needs. A family member wants to leave an inheritance to you, but your medical needs will drain those assets. Meanwhile, the income will cause you to become ineligible for the government benefits you count on.

Is there anything you can do to protect your inheritance and retain the assistance you need?

Credit card debt in America passes $1.04 trillion

The amount consumers in Virginia and around the country owe to banks and credit card companies is expected to surpass $4 trillion by the end of 2018. This figure, which reflects revolving and installment debt but does not include mortgage balances, has risen by $1 trillion in just the last five years. Experts voiced few concerns over growing consumer debt levels when interest rates were close to historic lows, but a recent wave of rate hikes with the promise of more increases to come have prompted them to start issuing grim warnings about credit bubbles and unsustainable borrowing.

The Federal Reserve says that interest rates must be increased to rein in a surging economy and prevent inflation from taking root, but consumer advocates worry that credit card rates are already too high. According to the consumer information website LendingTree.com, American consumers spend more than $10 billion each month on credit card interest and fees and pay annual percentage rates that average between 16 and 17 percent.

Stan Lee's estate may not have such a happy ending

Fans of Spider-Man in Virginia are among the many superhero enthusiasts around the world who have been mourning the recent death of Stan Lee. Unfortunately, the last few years of the life of the former head of Marvel Comics were a tangled web of accusations coupled with numerous changes involving relationships with attorneys and business managers. During this time, Lee also lost his wife, was accused of sexually harassing home aides and nurses, and made accusations about thousands of dollars being stolen from his condo.

It's not clear how much estate planning Lee had done prior to his death although similar issues have affected late celebrities such as Aretha Franklin and Prince, both of whom did not have wills. There were also rumors of cognitive decline associated with Lee during his final years along with allegations of elder abuse he made against his own daughter before taking back his statement.

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