Tricky Legal Situations That Keep Coming Up Thanks To COVID-19

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When it comes to COVID-19, many of us think of the obvious — people out of work, businesses temporarily or permanently closed, wearing masks, and staying six feet apart. Earning significantly less and taking precautions not to get the virus is just the beginning. There are several other legal implications of the global pandemic and some surprising ones at that.

Here are some of the trickiest legal situations that have been increasingly common in recent months.

The Cost Of Doing Business: Financial Fallout, Aid, and Bankruptcy

Due to closures and partial re-openings, many businesses were and/or remain eligible to receive aid to keep their companies afloat. Small business loans, the COVID-19 RELIEF for Small Businesses Act of 2020, and emergency or disaster relief funds are just a few of the options available to business owners all across the country. These options are not infallible, however. For months, there was such a high demand for this aid, there was a backlog for a good deal of the businesses trying to get it. For some, it is too little, too late — or simply not enough.

Unfortunately, that means businesses are filing for bankruptcy at record-breaking rates. “This year, 424 companies have gone bankrupt through August 9, surpassing the number of filings during any period since 2010,” Business Insider writes. How do you know if bankruptcy is the right option for you as a small business owner or entrepreneur?

Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one possible option to give business owners the ability to make significantly lower payments and get back on their feet. Chapter 7 provides relief is closing is inevitable.

Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer if you have any further questions! Many bankruptcy lawyers offer a free consultation, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and educate yourself without breaking the bank.

The Complications Of Estate Planning

Will writing and estate planning are never straightforward — and these things can be infinitely complicated by tragedy or hardships like the global pandemic. Right now, there are people all over the U.S. who may be evicted from their apartments, or unable to make their next mortgage payment. That makes the particulars of estate planning and will writing especially pressing.

If you own a home, the coronavirus can put things into perspective. Who will inherit your land, your assets, and/or your debts if you die? Now is the time to work out the answer to these questions, not when it is too late. A lawyer can help, whether you need help with a basic understanding of will writing or need help with the particulars. If you do not currently own a home and a recently deceased relative left you ownership of his or her estate, it may be a matter of having an affordable place to live — or not. Taxes on inherited land is convoluted and tricky. Plus, it varies by state. Talk to a lawyer to parse out the specifics of your inheritance.

A Growing Divorce Rate

Unfortunately, bankruptcy lawyers are not the only ones that are especially busy right now and will continue to be especially busy after the pandemic. Divorce lawyers are also experiencing a surprising influx of new clients. Thanks to quarantine, closures, working from home, and unemployment, married couples are spending more time together than ever before — and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

“Job losses, caring for at-risk elderly parents, arguments over what’s safe, and disagreements over school reopening are all taking a toll,” The Wall Street Journal writes.

With any luck, your marriage will make it through. If it doesn’t, you are not alone. Seek appropriate legal counsel about negotiating the division of assets and making difficult decisions, like determining child custody arrangements.

We are in unprecedented times. In a typical year, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. In years preceding COVID-19, it was not uncommon for millions of people and businesses to file for bankruptcy. There is certainly no shame in filing for bankruptcy or dealing with sticky legal situations now. Do not go it alone. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer, attorney, or divorce lawyer for any legal help you may need.

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