The fire in Grenfell Tower in London shocked the world in June. A building set right in the middle of a flourishing metropolis burned up before people’s eyes, leaving at least 80 dead. The tragedy is horrible on a number of levels, but perhaps the worst is this: it could happen again.
Grenfell Tower used what was, in fact, an illegal form of insulation that was highly flammable. A small fire in one apartment led to the whole building blazing up. Unfortunately, these circumstances could happen in many places and not just Britain.
To start with, many countries don’t even outlaw the type of insulation that caused the fire. Luckily, that is not the case in America, but that doesn’t mean that construction companies are not still cutting corners. That tactic can be found all over the world. The insulation, after all, was used primarily because it was cheap.
The best way to ensure the safety of everyone in buildings like Grenfell Tower is to have regular, rigorous checks to make sure the whole building is in compliance. More money should be invested in training up a league of experts who can scour buildings across every city to check not just for insulation but for alarms, cleared exits, and safe stairs. Remember, the next tragic fire is likely to look somewhat different from Grenfell. It could be the ventilation next time.
The next step is to make stricter regulations for construction companies. Now, this is certain to raise costs, but in the high-cost world of metropolitan construction, a little extra money on extra safety is well spent. There may even be potential government cost-sharing programs to develop in order to ease the burden for the first few years while construction companies get used to new regulations. Not only should we expect better than Grenfell, we should expect better than what we have now with apartment buildings. Unless there is an impetus to develop safer living standards, construction companies are sure to get sloppier and sloppier to save money. More regulations would reverse this trend.
The final important step is to raise the punishments for those who don’t comply with regulations. New or old, if a construction company doesn’t comply with one of the regulations, the punishment has to be severe. Fines should be heavy, not a tap on the wrist. If mistakes were intentional and put people at risk, there should be certain jail time for those responsible. A company willing to risk the death of others to save a dollar does not deserve to be in business.
It is an unfortunate fact that fires in apartments and office buildings are fairly common. In order to make sure those fires are localized and the disaster is contained, more has to be done on every front by local and federal governments. The ability is there to make safe buildings, and we must stop just assuming people are making the most of that ability. Those who lived in Grenfell assumed that, and they paid for it in the end.
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If you are considering filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few important questions you may ask yourself. Do I qualify for chapter 7 relief? How would this filing affect my home or other personal property? Is filing chapter 7 going to affect my credit, now or in the future?
A debtor that files Chapter 7 may be an individual, partnership, corporation or other business entity. However, it is important to check with a bankruptcy attorney, as a Chapter 7 discharge is available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations. A chapter 7 filing for a business is designed to liquidate company assets and pay its obligations.
The purpose of filing for a Chapter 7 would be to give an individual a fresh start, as the debtor would have no liability for most debts, once they are discharged. However, there are some debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7. Certain taxes, debts for alimony and child support and student loan debt, among others, may not be able to be discharged in Chapter 7.
An important note is that any filing under Chapter 7 may result in some property loss. Yet, the debtor may be able to file a schedule in Chapter 7 that would exempt some personal property. A bankruptcy attorney in your state can assist in helping the debtor to retain important property and to receive a discharge that covers most of the debtor’s allowed debts.
In a chapter 7 filing, the debtor will need to provide a listing of creditors, personal property and a listing of all monthly expenses. Additionally, the debtor releases all creditor’s names and addresses to his/her attorney. Then the bankruptcy court would give notice of the bankruptcy filing to these creditors. Typically, there is an ‘automatic stay’ that stops most collection action against the debtor or the debtor’s property. Under this automatic stay, creditors typically cannot initiate or continue a lawsuit, garnish wages, or make phone calls that request payment to the creditor.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can affect your credit, and can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, not filing when is necessary, may cause negative marks as well on your credit report, due to late or missed payments to your creditors. In Chapter 7, you will also lose your credit cards, but you can get new lines of credit within one to three years of filing for bankruptcy, but sometimes with a higher interest rate. So, it is important to decide what is best for your situation.
However, if you file now for Chapter 7, and you have a certain amount of disposable income, the bankruptcy court can convert your case to a Chapter 13, where you pay back debts over several years. This action may improve your financial situation as you are paying off some debts and converting could be more favorable to your credit. Check with a bankruptcy attorney in your area for more details on filing for Chapter 7.
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Divorce is never a topic that is fun to discuss, and yet so many people face this difficult arrangement and must learn to manage it. There are many considerations to take into account at the time of a divorce and perhaps one of the most stressful is finances. You must take your assets and finances and determine how to split them, as well as how to fully support yourself after the divorce is final. This is a difficult topic at any point in time, but when you are also facing the emotional impact of a divorce you should not have to spend any additional energy researching how to protect your finances. For this reason, the San Antonio Express-News created an article detailing some of the best steps to take to secure your finances during a divorce.
Justin Miller is a wealth strategist at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and he offers several important pieces of advice about how to ensure that you control your finances after a divorce. His first piece of advice is to start detailing your financial plan early in the divorce process. Next, he recommends that you update your pension or 401(k) plan, if your spouse is the beneficiary of the plan. This protects your pension and ensures that your money does not still go to your former-spouse in the event of your death. The next most important decision to make is to determine how you will manage a jointly-owned house. If you or your spouse is planning to sell the house after your divorce, Miller recommends that you work together and sell the house before the divorce is final. This allows you to make more money off of the sale because a smaller percentage of the profits are taxable, due to capital gains exclusion, when you and your spouse are still considered co-owners. According to Miller, These are the two most important ways to protect your finances after a divorce.
Managing finances even under the best of circumstances is difficult, and the worry and struggle are only increased when you are also facing a divorce. Miller offers sound financial advice to follow the first steps during your divorce proceeding. However, these alone do not cover the number of different financial questions and problems you may face. If you and your spouse have children, you must determine how to handle expenses related to their care and well-being. Additionally, other jointly-owned property may be difficult to split or sell, and you must choose how to best protect your interest in them. These are just a few of the remaining questions and concerns you may have about your finances.
Fortunately, if you are struggling with how to proceed, whether financially or with the divorce process itself, an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and make the right decisions. A San Antonio lawyer, such as Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P, can help you protect yourself and your assets after a divorce, which will allow you to move forward with your life
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