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Family's insurance claim denied over serious damage from squirrel

Families and individuals here in Texas have insurance policies for many things in their lives, including their cars, businesses and their homes. Though they hope they never have to use insurance, it is comforting to know that it is available in the case of an emergency. However, there are times when an insurance claim is denied, which can be a source of financial strain and stress for policyholders. One out-of-state family may be going through just such a situation after they returned home from their holiday vacation to discover that their home was significantly damaged by a squirrel.

The family says that their home security alarm went off while they were out of town for the winter holidays. When a friend went to investigate, there was no sign of burglary, so the family chalked it up to some kind of malfunction. However, when they arrived home, they found that a squirrel had caused significant damage to the house. It nested in their couch, left droppings all over the place and even left the faucet on. There was also damage to wood all around the home that looked as though it would be expensive to repair. 

Divorce can be good for finances

As the end of the year approaches, many people in Texas and around the country will be looking toward their future and making changes. Some people may decide to file for divorce after the holidays are officially over. Many law firms report that they see an increase of people filing for divorce in the month of January, with some saying filings can rise as much as 30%. Though many people typically associate divorce with a decrease in income, especially for women, researchers say that isn't always the case.

According to an expert at the U.S. Census Bureau, when states have laws that make divorce easier to access, that can help both people in the long run, but particularly women. Having the ability to file for a "no fault divorce" increases the likelihood that both spouses will work outside the home on a full-time basis. Having a solid career can help women take care of themselves.

Protect the assets you want to leave for your kids after divorce

Ending your marriage through divorce can impact many other parts of your life, including your finances and your relationship with your children. Your estate plan exists at that the awkward intersection of your financial future, your personal relationships and your legal obligations to others.

Married couples often create joint estate plants or last wills, which might mean you have to consider estate planning after you file for divorce anyway. Parents with minor children often need to adjust their last will to reflect their new marital status and the impact it will have on the succession of guardianship for their children in the event of their death. Leaving a legacy behind for your children is another important consideration after your divorce.

Insurance claims: Man fights to have his roof fixed

Having insurance is one of life's necessities, whether the policy covers a person's home, car or medical expenses. People trust that if they make their regular payments that when they need to make a claim it will be paid. Unfortunately, many legitimate insurance claims are denied by insurance companies. Texas families sometimes find out the hard way that their insurance company is in the business of making money and not helping people. This is what one man from out of state alleges after his insurance provider twice refused his claim to cover the cost of repairing his home's roof.

The man says that last year, his roof sustained damage due to a hail storm. He claims that a representative for his insurance came to inspect the damage and claimed that there wasn't any. The man asked a roofing contractor for another opinion who told him that his roof was indeed damaged. The man then paid an engineer to do another inspection, at the encouragement of his insurance company. That engineer confirmed the damage once again.

What new real estate investors need to know

Many people in Texas are curious about real estate as an investment strategy. On the surface, it seems like a sure-fire way to increase one's income and net worth. However, it is not the sort of financial decision that should be made lightly, as it is not right for every person. Experts say there are several questions that a person should consider before making the decision to invest in real estate.

Initially, does the individual want to be an active or passive investor. The first requires a great deal of time and experience, but may be the right choice for someone who enjoys that type of hard work. Others may want to leave those choices to someone else and invest passively. One way to answer that question is to determine what it is about a particular property that makes it an appealing investment. It may be a good idea to determine what would make the transaction a successful investment and what specifically is wanted out of the property.

Fake will case shows importance of estate planning

Most people here in Texas don't enjoy thinking about the end of their lives, but it is an important subject to consider. Some assume that if they are young, they don't need to worry about writing a will or estate planning, but that is untrue. Those who don't have a comprehensive estate plan may not have their assets and property distributed in accordance with their wishes, and their children may not be cared for by people of their choosing. In some cases, people may even attempt to make a fraudulent claim on a person's estate. One such case went on for several years after four people attempted to submit a fake will to claim a large inheritance that didn't belong to them.

Several years ago, a man who suffered injuries in the famous Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion received a multi-million dollar settlement. He met a woman who worked as a real estate agent, who helped him purchase multiple properties. Eventually, the man joined the business of the real estate agent's husband and even began dating their daughter. The man ended up dying in a car accident and leaving behind an underage son from a previous relationship. His brother and son both searched for a will, but never found one.

Various issues could hinder closing on real estate

Homebuying is not an easy process. It often starts out as exciting, but many first-time homebuyers come to realize that finding the right home is more difficult than anticipated. The real estate industry is certainly complicated, and a number of issues could arise that could hinder closing after parties find the right home.

Texas homebuyers may want to remember that the sale of a home is not a done deal until the keys are in hand. Even if individuals want to believe that a home is perfect, they need to do their research to make sure there are no hidden issues. For instance, some homes could have problems with the title, such as a lien against the property. If issues with the title are found, those issues could bring the closing process to a halt.

Seeing the positives of an unexpected divorce

If you were feeling relatively content in your marriage, you were likely caught off guard by your spouse's decision to file for divorce. Learning that your spouse no longer wants to continue in the relationship can affect every aspect of your life, and for a time you may find it difficult to concentrate at work or be an engaged parent. You may even be feeling depressed, in which case you should seek professional guidance.

If you are struggling to emotionally deal with the difficult aspects of divorce, you may want to step back to reflect on the bigger picture. It's easy to focus on the short-term negatives, but by thinking about the ways that divorce may benefit your life, you may be able to move forward more positively. The following are some of the possible advantages of divorce.

How is estate planning affected by getting remarried?

Many people decide to get remarried after they experience divorce or the passing of their spouse. In some instances, they may want their new spouse to be the beneficiary of their estate, but for people who have children with their first spouse, they may want their children to receive some or all of the estate. Families here in Texas who want to ensure that their kids are not inadvertently left out of their will may want to heed this expert advice for estate planning after remarriage.

First, just having an estate plan that includes a will is an important step. A person who passes away without one risks having the state make decisions regarding how the estate should be divided. That can take considerable time and may not line up with what the estate owner intended.

A will is a vital part of estate planning

Many people think that a will is only for someone with a great deal of assets. The truth is that making a thorough estate plan that includes a will is a good idea for anyone and everyone. Even for those who recognize how important a will can be, they may procrastinate or avoid creating one. Experts caution against this practice and stress that proper estate planning is necessary to ensure that a person's estate is handled in the manner that he or she wishes. Fortunately, experts also have guidance for those here in Texas and elsewhere who may be struggling with the process.

One expert recommends that people think about who their will might positively affect. If people have children or other loved ones they want to be sure are cared for in the event of their deaths, a will is a way to reduce costs and detail precisely what care needs to be provided. Thinking about a will in a positive light may also be more inspirational for a person who feels guilty for not completing one.

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