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Somerset Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law Blog

Three key estate planning documents everyone should have

I don't have a very large estate. Do I really need a will?

A prevalent myth is that unless you have a considerable amount of money or assets, you really don't need to have a will. Nothing could be further from the truth. A properly drawn will does many things, among which are:

  • Naming an executor or personal representative to carry out your last wishes, pay your debts, and make sure your estate is administered in an orderly fashion
  • Detailing how your money and assets are to be distributed and to whom.
  • Naming a guardian for minor or special needs children, to insure proper care
  • Appointing a trustee to handle the money or other property left to your minor or special needs children or any other minors to whom you make any bequests.
  • Making specific bequests of personal property of great sentimental or monetary value, such as jewelry, a coin collection, or similar family heirlooms
  • Directing the continued care of your beloved pets
  • Donating to your favorite charities

Bankruptcy can be an option when credit cards become unmanageable

Credit card delinquencies have risen to levels not seen in years. This trend reflects both the rising amount of household debt and the increasing tendency of banks to lend excessive amounts (e.g., through very high spending limits on cards), despite a borrower's apparent inability to repay same.

Delinquencies at JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America and Discover Financial all rose almost 2 percent in each of the last several months. While modest, the steady rise in delinquencies has signaled a change in credit card lending practices and U.S. household debt. 

What do I need to know about refinancing?

The good news for homeowners in New Jersey is that home prices are up 5 percent in the past year. Mortgage interest rates are still reasonable, as well. As of the time of this writing, a 15 year home loan, which is popular for homeowners looking to refinance, is being offered at around a 3.13 percent interest rate (your specific rate may vary and is subject to change). If you are a homeowner, therefore, you may be wondering if refinancing is right for you.

Refinancing a home is a personal decision that should take into account your current finances, expenses and future financial needs. However, it is a good time to refinance. And in some respects, refinancing is easier than it has been before.

Why a good real estate attorney matters in your home purchase

You may have heard people say you don't really need an attorney when buying or selling a home. I guess you really don't need a dentist if you have a toothache, or a plumber if your pipes are leaking. Nevertheless, it's probably a very good idea to have one. While no one can force you to retain an attorney for anything, an experienced real estate lawyer will surely help you avoid potential mistakes, pitfalls and complications, and can provide peace of mind for a relatively small investment, compared to the importance of a smooth purchase or sale of your home.

Getting legal help for one of the most important contracts you will ever sign

Six tips that give you the advantage when selling your home

Ever notice how many different kinds of cereal are in the cereal aisle in your local grocery store? The real estate market is a lot like that, and your home is just one box of cereal in that appealing wall of colorful boxes. If you want to sell your home, how can you rise above the fray, make it stand out, and sell it quickly and for a good price? Here are six tips that can help:

How your credit score affects how much you'll pay for a home

A home is the largest purchase most people will make in their lifetime. And no one would claim that buying a home is an easy process. Negotiations, offers, counteroffers, qualification, down payments, mortgage rates, mortgage terms, and many other items are individual tiles in what turns into a rather complicated mosaic.

You understandably want to acquire the home for the lowest price possible, but negotiating a figure with the seller is only part of what determines how much you'll ultimately pay (i.e., by the time you're through with all of your mortgage payments). A critical factor that significantly affects what you'll eventually pay for the home is your mortgage rate, which is in large part, determined by your credit score.

Six reasons why you should have a good Realtor

When buying or selling a home, it's perfectly normal to want the best deal you can get-right? Many people think that trying to go it alone-without a Realtor-is a great way to save. After all, both the Seller and Buyer feel they can save thousands of dollars by buying/selling a home without Realtor assistance. However, often times, not using the expertise and experience of a Realtor may be the classic case of being penny wise, but pound foolish. In reality, the apparent "savings" are often nullified because the seller or buyer lacks the knowledge and experience to actually negotiate and consummate the best deal for various important reasons.

Here are six reasons why having a good Realtor on your side when buying or selling a home may actually be the better choice:

Can bankruptcy help with my tax debt?

Both Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can offer relief from many types of unsecured and other debt, as well as help to reduce financial pressure from creditors that can reduce the quality of your life in a number of ways. However, bankruptcy's benefits are less certain for taxes than other types of debt. Just about everyone has heard of the saying about death and taxes being the only certain things in life; to a great extent, that saying is true. If you are behind on your taxes, it doesn't mean all hope is necessarily lost, but timing can make a big difference when it comes to how much of your tax debt can be eliminated with a bankruptcy.

In debt? Here's why you shouldn't raid your retirement accounts

Living under a heavy burden of debt can be incredibly stressful. Most people feel strongly about making good on their financial obligations, and will go to great lengths to climb out from under a mountain of debt. While attempting to repay outstanding debts makes sense in many cases, individuals should be mindful of how they approach debt repayment. When faced with large amounts of debt, many people are tempted to turn to their retirement accounts-whether IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 529 or pension--as a means of repaying their financial obligations. However, doing so can be financially devastating, both in the short and long term.

Fortunately, there are more practical ways to address debt problems while also maintaining financial security for the future. Personal bankruptcy is one option, and a choice that can make a world of difference for those who are struggling to repay debts. If you are struggling with financial matters, here are a few reasons why you should consider filing bankruptcy instead of using your retirement funds to repay your debts.

3 reasons to make debt relief part of your New Year's resolution list

Making ends meet is difficult enough. However, there are many people who struggle under an extremely heavy debt load, and getting out from under that financial burden is or should be a top priority. If you or someone you know is in this situation, then perhaps debt relief should be at the top of your New Year's resolutions list. If you are considering debt relief options, the following information may help you make 2017 the year you are finally liberated from an unmanageable debt burden by filing for personal bankruptcy.