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Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes: Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: May 10, 2023

Estate planning is an essential process that involves making arrangements for the distribution of assets and wealth after death. Unfortunately, however, estate planning can often be complex, leading to mistakes which could create issues for loved ones in the future. Here we will outline some potential pitfalls you need to watch out for so as to avoid making estate planning errors.

Failing to create an estate plan

One of the most frequent errors people make is failing to create an estate plan. This can lead to confusion and disputes within family units, as assets may not be distributed as planned. To prevent this mistake from recurring, it’s wise to consult an estate planning attorney for assistance in crafting an in-depth estate plan.

Not updating your estate plan

Mistakenly failing to regularly update your estate plan can have serious repercussions. Changes such as marriage, divorce, birth or death in the family can have profound ramifications for it; reviewing it every few years or when significant events take place is recommended for optimal results.

Not considering the tax implications

Estate taxes have the ability to have a profound effect on both you and your beneficiaries, with failing to consider tax ramifications of an estate plan having serious ramifications for both. Therefore, it’s crucial that you seek assistance from an experienced estate planning attorney in creating a plan which minimizes tax liabilities as part of creating a lasting legacy for loved ones.

Not planning for incapacity

However, planning for incapacity should also be prioritized when considering future outcomes. This includes creating documents such as a power of attorney, healthcare proxy and living will. Failing to plan in this way could force family members into making difficult decisions on your behalf without guidance or input from you.

Not communicating your wishes

Finalizing an estate plan without discussing it with loved ones can cause confusion and disagreement after you pass. Therefore, it’s vital to discuss it so everyone understands your wishes and works towards fulfilling them together.

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Debt Relief Options Beyond Bankruptcy: Exploring Alternatives

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: May 10, 2023

Debt can be a substantial strain to carry and it is understandable why some may feel declaring bankruptcy is their only viable solution. Luckily, there are other alternatives available which may provide debt relief without long-term effects of filing for bankruptcy filing – this blog will examine some of these solutions to debt.

Debt Management Plans

Debt management plans (DMPs) offer an appealing alternative to bankruptcy for many people struggling to manage payments, yet do not wish to file for bankruptcy. A DMP works by helping individuals negotiate with creditors to lower interest rates and eliminate certain fees; you then make one monthly payment to a credit counseling agency which then distributes those funds among your creditors – an ideal option if bankruptcy seems like too drastic a solution for you.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement may also assist those looking to reduce their debt load, as this process involves negotiating with creditors in order to settle debts at a discounted price. While debt settlement might seem appealing, be mindful that it could have serious repercussions for your credit score and future financial wellbeing.

Credit Counseling

Credit counseling offers another alternative to bankruptcy. Credit counselors work with individuals to develop budgets and debt repayment plans. They may also provide guidance on managing money more effectively over time while decreasing debt levels.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation involves consolidating multiple debts into one payment. You can do this either through taking out a loan to cover all of your debts or using a balance transfer credit card – both options can make managing debt simpler for you, but when selecting your lender it’s essential that the new monthly payment fits within your budget.

Final Thoughts

Though bankruptcy might appear like the only viable solution to those experiencing debt problems, other strategies may offer relief without long-term ramifications. When exploring your options it’s essential that you consult a reliable financial advisor so they can tailor their advice specifically to your financial circumstances.

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The Importance of Powers of Attorney in Estate Planning

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: April 11, 2023

Estate planning is a complex process that involves making decisions regarding the management and distribution of your assets in case of death or incapacity. One essential element of estate planning is using powers of attorney, which allow you to appoint someone else to make decisions in your place if you become unable to do that yourself.

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants another individual (known as an agent or attorney-in-fact) the power to act on your behalf. The types of powers of attorney may vary:

  1. General Power of Attorney: This grants the agent broad powers to make financial decisions on your behalf, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills, and investing.
  1. Limited Power of Attorney: This grants the agent specific authority to carry out an action, such as selling property.
  1. Durable Power of Attorney: Maintains its effect even if you come to be incapacitated or not able to make decisions for yourself.
  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney: This grants the agent authority to make decisions regarding healthcare on your behalf in case you become incapacitated.

Powers of attorney are an essential element in estate planning, as they give your loved ones the ability to make important decisions for you in case of incapacitation or inability. Without this legal protection, family members may have to go to court in order to be appointed as guardian or conservator – a time-consuming, costly process that’s also emotionally draining.

Another advantage of powers of attorney is that they give you a measure of control over your affairs. By selecting someone trustworthy to act as your agent, you can ensure your wishes are carried out and your finances handled according to plan.

When creating a power of attorney, it is essential to select an agent you trust who is responsible and reliable, as well as willing to act in your best interests. Additionally, selecting an alternate agent may be wise in case the first choice becomes unavailable or unwilling to serve.

It is also essential to periodically review and update your powers of attorney. Life circumstances can change over time, and without an up-to-date estate plan in place, it could potentially fail. By conducting regular reviews of your estate plan, you can guarantee that all of your wishes are carried out and affairs are managed according to what you wish.

In conclusion, powers of attorney are an integral part of estate planning. They provide a way for someone to make critical decisions in the event you become incapacitated or are unable to make them for yourself, giving you some control over your affairs.

By carefully selecting an agent and periodically reviewing and updating your powers of attorney documents, you can guarantee that your wishes are carried out and managed accordingly. For assistance creating or revising your powers of attorney documents, reach out to The O’Brien Law Firm today; our knowledgeable attorneys can offer guidance and support in crafting an effective estate plan tailored specifically towards your needs and objectives.

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How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: April 11, 2023

Bankruptcy can have a lasting effect on your credit score and future borrowing options. But with time, effort, and careful planning, it’s possible to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. Here are some strategies for doing so.

  1. Get a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card requires a security deposit, which becomes the card’s credit limit. These cards tend to be easier to acquire after bankruptcy and can help you start rebuilding your credit. Remember to use the card responsibly: this means making small purchases and then paying off the balance in full every month.

  1. Be Punctual with Bill Payments

Scheduling automatic payments or reminders is one of the most essential steps you can take to rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy. Late payments have a major negative effect on your score, so make sure to never miss one.

  1. Monitor Your Credit Report

It is essential to regularly review your credit report for errors or inaccuracies that could be harming your score. Each year, you are entitled to one free report from each major reporting agency; review it thoroughly and dispute any mistakes or inaccuracies you find.

  1. Maintain Your Credit Utilization Low

Credit utilization refers to the amount of credit used compared to what is available, so keeping it low is key when rebuilding after bankruptcy. Aim to keep your utilization percentage below 30% when building after bankruptcy.

  1. Consider a Credit Builder Loan

A credit builder loan is an option designed to assist those with poor credit in rebuilding their credit scores. With this type of loan, the lender deposits the money into a savings account, and you make payments towards it every month. Upon repayment, you receive all funds in your savings account plus any interest earned during the duration of the loan.

  1. Have Patience

Rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy takes time and patience. It may take years to fully recover and rebuild your score again, so be patient and persistent in your efforts to improve it.

If you need help rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy or have questions about bankruptcy law, reach out to The O’Brien Law Firm today. Our knowledgeable attorneys can offer guidance and support through every step of the complex legal process so that you can get back on track financially.

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Estate Planning for Small Business Owners

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: March 20, 2023

Small business owners face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. Unlike individuals who work for a company or have a regular job, small business owners must consider how their death or incapacity will affect their business. Proper estate planning can help ensure that a small business owner’s wishes are carried out and that their business is able to continue operating in their absence.

Planning Considerations for Small Business Owners

Business Succession Planning

Small business owners must plan for what will happen to their business in the event of their death or incapacity. This can include naming a successor to take over the company, setting up a buy-sell agreement, or creating a trust to hold the business assets.

Asset Protection

Small business owners must protect their personal assets from any liabilities associated with their business. This can include creating a separate legal entity for the business, such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), and ensuring that the business is adequately insured.

Tax Planning

Small business owners must consider the tax implications of their estate plans. This can include minimising estate taxes, avoiding probate, and ensuring that the business is structured in a tax-efficient manner.

Retirement Planning

Small business owners must plan for their retirement and ensure that their businesses will be able to provide for them during their retirement years. This can include setting up a retirement plan for the business and ensuring that the company is generating enough income to support its retirement needs.

Succession Planning

Small business owners must plan for the long-term future of their business. This can include grooming a successor to take over the company, ensuring that the firm has a solid management team in place, and creating a strategic plan for the future of the business.

Estate Administration

Small business owners must ensure their estate plan is properly administered after death. This can include naming an executor or trustee to oversee the distribution of assets, ensuring that beneficiaries receive their inheritances in a timely manner, and minimising the risk of disputes among heirs.

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“From my initial consultation throughout the entire process, Mr. O'Brien and his staff handled my legal matters with the utmost professionalism and care. I am especially grateful for Crystal who patiently answered all my questions and put my mind to ease over and over. Thank you O'Brien Law Firm, LLC!”
– C.H.
“Thank you so much for the advice. I knew I chose the right attorney!”
– C.H.

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