More Americans Are Passing Away with Debt Than Ever

A recent study of 220 million consumers in Experian’s File One database, indicated that up to 73% of consumers are passing away with debt in high numbers. For those individuals who do not have a home loan, the average debt was $12,875. However, consumers with a mortgage carried approximately $61,554 in debt.
You may assume that debts are no longer your issue if you pass away, but that’s not true if there are assets inside your estate that may cover a portion or all of these debts. If you have communicated to your loved ones that you intend to give them particular assets, but those are seized and sold as part of your estate plan, you may wish to discuss your options for changing your estate plan with an experienced lawyer.
thumb_alternateThe types of debts most common included credit card balances, mortgage debt, auto loans, personal loans and student loans. Debt belongs to the deceased individual when he or she passes away. That means that creditors can pursue asset sold in the estate as part of their payment.
If there aren’t enough assets to satisfy debts, then creditors may lose out on all or some of their payments. But in the event that there are assets in the estate to pay out creditors, then your beneficiaries may actually receive nothing. This is why it may be important to discuss other opportunities such as a life insurance policy or advanced planning strategies with your knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

Private bar increasingly coming to aid of military

More and more attention is, at last, being paid to the needs of military families, and that includes the area of legal help.
A recent article on the website of the Chicago-based Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law discussed not only the increase in assistance to veterans and their family members, but also the types of legal problems they can sometimes encounter.
“Improving the focus on military family issues is welcome, as the burdens placed on the men and women of our armed forces have increased throughout the past decade, where active-duty service members have become accustomed to frequent and lengthy deployments overseas,” the article states. “This trend has imposed great challenges on our military families, which may not end upon the service member’s discharge into our already-sizable veteran population. These include, unfortunately, a full range of legal issues, many of which are unique to those currently and formerly serving in the armed forces. As these legal needs have grown, they have been met with many local, state, and national initiatives enabling attorneys to step forward to deliver much-needed legal help to active-duty service members and veterans.”
Along with a greater focus on the needs of those serving their country, there has been a decrease, the article notes, in the “we take care of our own” mentality when it comes to legal concerns, paving the way for more private attorneys to become involved in the process.
“There is much that a private bar attorney can to do aid our current and former service members,” the website states.
The types of legal issues service members and their families can face include:

  • Landlord/tenant matters, including deposit recovery problems
  • Family law issues, especially child custody disputes arising around overseas deployment
  • Credit and lending problems, which can include payday loans, auto sales contracts, and interest rate reductions
  • Employment issues, particularly for National Guard members and Reservists needing to enforce reemployment rights
  • Guardianship needs, or estate matters on behalf of families of deceased service members
  • Securing vitally needed benefits for veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs