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As per Foreclosure.com, the nation's largest provider of data of homes in financial distress, reports that 31,043 Illinois homes are currently in pre-foreclosure status as 23,486 household are already actively involved in the process. In addition, 34,975 bankruptcies have also been recorded during the first quarter of 2015.

With each number representative of an individual or family engrossed in various levels of financial distress, no doubt stress levels may be running high with the need for consulting with an experienced Illinois foreclosure or bankruptcy attorney on the rise.

If you are one of the 23,486 Illinois residents in pre-foreclosure status, the need for an experienced attorney is key as questions about rectifying your situation require qualified answers.

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Purchasing your first home can be exhilarating, a bit frightening and, at times, overwhelming. Buying a home is often rated as the most important financial decision of your adult life, and being fiscally responsible should be your number one priority.

Often, first time home buyers will fall in love with a house that may put them at risk for financial troubles, including foreclosure down the proverbial road. To avoid the pitfalls of trying to get out from under upside down mortgages, or when the collateral that secured the loan is now lower in value than the balance owed to the lender, takes careful planning. By calculating your income, assets, liabilities and possible property taxes and insurance, you will avoid possible financial distress or even personal bankruptcy in the event of a life change or disability. Consider having a financial cushion on hand to cover any unexpected financial disturbances before signing on the dotted line.

Before beginning your search for the perfect home, the following strategies will provide you with a better estimation of where your finances can take you.

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As Chapter 20 bankruptcy rulings are rounding the circuit court system and gaining momentum, there is one instance where the application of lien stripping second or third property liens may be hitting a snag.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit concluded that if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed within four years of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the Chapter 13 would wipe out second and third junior mortgages as unsecured debt, eliminating the requirements of repayment via a Chapter 20 bankruptcy ruling.

This is welcomed news to those facing financial hardship and possible foreclosure of their homes due to upside down mortgages. Who is entitled to take advantage of this new bankruptcy option poses another issue, especially for married couples seeking financial relief.

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You have reached your breaking point. You are in over your head and have decided that filing for bankruptcy may be your only recourse. It has come down to the wire. You can no longer successfully handle your growing debt and need relief.

Your best option is to contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area but until your scheduled consultation, the following information may provide you a headstart.

If you reside in the state of Illinois, under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), you will need to pass a Means Test to determine income eligibility if you are seeking any type of bankruptcy relief. It is in your best interest to discuss all options with a qualified Illinois bankruptcy attorney.

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Stressing over mounting debt and other financial issues could actually cause your intelligence level to drop. According to a combined study done by several top universities, worrying over money can reduce your IQ score by up to 13 points.

The study team was made up of researchers from Harvard, Princeton and the University of Warwick, located in Britain. They concluded that when people are spending so much time stressing about money, it uses up a good portion of what they refer to as “mental bandwidth” and that leaves little time to focus on anything else.

Researchers used two different groups for their study. The first group was shoppers at a New Jersey mall, made up of both low and middle class. The group was given a series of tests which measured impulse control and IQ. In order to trigger the stress process of the brain, before the testing, researchers had discussions with half of the group about how they would handle it if their vehicle broke down and the cost of the repairs were $1,500. That group performed much poorer on the tests than the other half of the group.

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