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Medical bills cause older people to file for bankruptcy

Individuals in South Carolina who are seeking a fresh financial start may obtain it by filing for bankruptcy. However, in exchange for not having to pay off a medical, credit card or other type of debt, an individual may see his or her credit score drop significantly. It may be many years before a person is able to recover from the negative credit consequences that bankruptcy may bring.

A bankruptcy can stay on a debtor's credit report for up to 10 years. Currently, about 12% of those who file for bankruptcy are aged 65 or older, which was only 2% in 1991. For the most part, older Americans are turning to bankruptcy to help eliminate medical bills. In some cases, these individuals can't pay those bills because they don't work or have already exhausted their savings.

Have you considered mediation as a divorce option?

Ending a marriage and splitting up the family unit is a highly emotional experience. Just thinking about going through a painful proceeding in divorce court is mind-numbing.

You may consider mediation as an alternative to traditional divorce. This is a process that comes with less stress and provides couples with much more control over the outcome.

Comparison of debt settlement and bankruptcy

Many people in South Carolina struggling to pay off debts truly desire to pay their bills and avoid bankruptcy. They might consider accepting a debt settlement deal with a credit card company or other creditor as an alternative to bankruptcy. Although settling a debt for a partial amount might present a reasonable solution in some cases, debtors should approach this route with caution.

The amount of a debt forgiven by a creditor within a debt settlement deal actually becomes taxable income to the debtor. As a result, the settlement of a debt might actually produce a large tax bill for a person at the end of the year. In contrast, debts discharged within a bankruptcy do not represent taxable income.

Contesting a will involves identifying all interested parties

The creation of a last will and testament does not always prevent disputes from arising after someone passes away in South Carolina. A variety of reasons, such as a concern that someone took advantage of an elderly person, could prompt a person to contest a will. Probate courts oversee the validation and execution of wills, and a will contest petition requires the identification and notification of all interested parties.

Interested parties could encompass a larger group of people than the petitioner might initially realize. The people named within the actual will document form a group of directly interested parties. In addition to the people listed within the will, the probate court might deem some or all family members of the decedent as interested parties regardless of their presence or absence within the will.

Requirements for bankruptcy

The idea of bankruptcy may cause you some stress and concern. You may not know where to begin, or you may even fear getting started.

Despite often getting a bad name, bankruptcy offers a way to start afresh and rebuild your credit. With a Chapter 7, you will not have to repay unsecured debts, such as medical and credit card bills. Chapter 13 involves a repayment plan for a portion of the debt and allows you to maintain many assets. To enjoy these benefits, you have to meet certain conditions.

Prenuptial agreements have lost their taboo among millennials

In past generations, South Carolina residents were more likely to enter into marriage with concrete assets, like homes and property. It would seem that millennials are less interested in concrete assets and more interested in investing in the stock market. This shift in financial focus as well as a change in certain beliefs pertaining to marriage and divorce may be contributing factors to what one study showed as a 62% increase in clients asking their lawyers for prenuptial agreements. It seems that this increase is driven by millennials.

Millennials grew up in a world that seemed less financially stable than the one their parents grew up in. Many millennials first stepped into the job market toward the end of the 2000s during the strongest part of the economic downturn. They felt firsthand how tumultuous the economy could be, and this has led many to look for ways to protect themselves financially from any future economic upheaval.

Study finds link between lack of health insurance and bankruptcy

People in South Carolina may be more likely to eventually file for bankruptcy if they have a gap in health insurance coverage. A study by the American Bankruptcy Institute found that a two-year coverage gap doubled the likelihood of a bankruptcy filing.

The study identified a low income, health issues and divorce as factors in a break in health insurance. A person might lose insurance under a spouse's coverage during a divorce. People might also have limited employment opportunities due to a health issue and thus also have limited access to health insurance. According to the researchers, while a link between medical bills and bankruptcy has been established, it is not clear what constitutes medical debt or how many cases are actually filed as a result.

Research show women file for divorce much more often than men

It might come as a surprise to couples in South Carolina that women file for divorce in rates much higher than men. In some studies, the rate of women filing for divorce is 80 percent while in others, it is slightly lower, at 69 percent. With the divorce rate at around 50%, it might be important to consider the different reasons why women might choose to file for divorce.

While there are clear reasons that often come up when a couple decides to end their marriage, such as escaping abuse, hurt over cheating or problems with substance and alcohol dependence, there are additional reasons that might lead to a wife filing for divorce. One of these reasons is the marriage not living up expectations. The reality of living together, dealing with the routine of work, home and kids, might lead to a woman feeling like the marriage has lost what made the relationship special. This is similar to another reason, which is the loss of romance once a couple marries. The little things that might be construed as romance, such as a man bringing flowers to his significant other are often lost after marriage as people settle into their new normal.

SECURE Act may change estate planning for IRAs, 401(k)s

The estate plans of some South Carolina residents may be affected by a rule that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and which is likely the pass the Senate unanimously. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act will require most beneficiaries to withdraw the entire amount of an IRA within 10 years of the owner's death. The previous rule offered significant tax savings to beneficiaries by allowing them to take distributions over a much longer period of time.

There are a few exceptions that will fall outside of the 10-year rule. This includes spouses, chronically ill or disabled beneficiaries, and beneficiaries whose age is within 10 years of the owner. Minor children are also exempt until they reach the age of 18, at which point the 10-year rule also kicks in.

How divorce can affect people over 50

For some people in South Carolina, divorce can cause both emotional and financial stress. Studies show that this stress can be even more acute for adults who are older than 50, and divorce is on the rise among this age group.

Several studies on how divorce affects people have been conducted by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University. Divorce among older people is sometimes referred to as "gray divorce," and according to one study, it can cause higher rates of depression than the death of a spouse. Another study found that for women, a gray divorce meant a 45% drop in the standard of living. For men, the drop was 21%.

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