There's only so much preparation you can do in life. Often, your finances are most impacted by how you react to unexpected changes in life.
Dealing with the fallout of bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is not an option to take lightly. Declaring bankruptcy carries significant financial and legal ramifications, placing all of your assets at stake. It’s important to make a detailed account of all of your assets and debts before filing for bankruptcy. Showing creditors that you’re serious about shoring up your financial problems can lead to favorable settlements for you. With changing bankruptcy laws, a trusted attorney is a valuable resource.
Bankruptcy doesn’t absolve you of your financial responsibilities, so you’ll be required to follow a payment plan with creditors after you file. You’ll likely need to scrutinize your spending habits and lifestyle if you’re considering or going through bankruptcy.
Managing finances after your spouse's death.
Losing a spouse creates one of life’s most heart-wrenching and stressful situations. In these difficult times, it’s important to keep your financial situation in good shape. That may not be easy if your spouse handled the finances, but now is the time to understand the complete picture of assets and debts.
It’s best to alert creditors and the reporting agencies of your spouse's death so they’re updated immediately about your situation. This can open the door to discussions with creditors about any accounts you held jointly with your spouse, such as credit cards, personal loans for which you’ll be responsible in the future.
Going forward, make sure you keep current on all your payment obligations while identifying your assets, where they are and how to access and protect them. Then develop a financial plan that enables you to live comfortably.
If divorce disrupts your life.
You never expected your marriage to dissolve. With emotions running high, there are important financial decisions to be made at this time that require clear thinking and long-term vision.
One of the most common mistakes divorcing couples make is failing to separate their joint credit accounts. A divorce decree has nothing to do with a person’s legal and contractual obligation to creditors. If accounts with your name on them no longer get paid, your credit score is at stake.
Removing your name from a joint account should be one of the first things you do. That can be easy or complicated, depending on the situation and the creditor with whom you’re doing business.
Removing your name from a credit card account likely will be easier if there’s not a huge outstanding balance. For automobile loans, however, a lender may not agree to take a person’s name off the account if the lender doesn’t trust the ex-partner to stay current with payments. Mortgages are more complicated. A re-finance, which can have huge financial repercussions, likely needs to occur to remove your name from the lender’s records.
Whatever the situation, we're here to help you react to these unexpected events.