Archives for April 2014

Getting Out Of Debt Just Got A Little Tougher

New Filing Fees Starting June 1, 2014, bankruptcy filing fees are going to increase. The filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy case is increasing to $335.00. The filing fee for a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is increasing to $310. 00. So if you're already struggling to pay your debts and are seeking bankruptcy protection, you're going to have to save up some money just for the filing fee. I haven't even mentioned the attorneys’ fees that are required on top of that. See Fee Schedule Increase Notice.  Fees Should Decrease It's ironic that in this new age of electronic filing, fees would actually increase. It would make more sense that fees would actually remain the same or go down based on + Read More

Do I Need A Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer If I Live In Cook County?

You are not required to use a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer if you live in cook County and wish to file for bankruptcy relief. Much more important than where the attorney is located, is what type of qualifications does the attorney have to handle your case. You might find a bankruptcy attorney within six blocks of where you live. You may later realize that the person is not the right attorney to handle your particular matter. Bankruptcy law has become quite complex since the law was amended in 2005. For that reason, the location of the bankruptcy attorney is not nearly as important as the qualifications of the bankruptcy attorney.  Cook County Is Larger Than Chicago As you probably know, Cook + Read More

How Much Equity Is Too Much For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Most clients who call seeking chapter 7 bankruptcy relief do not have significant equity in their real estate. In fact, most clients who call today have no equity in their real estate. Since the real estate market plummeted several years ago, most clients are in a situation where they owe more on the property than what it's worth. For this reason, chapter 7 is readily available since there is no equity in the real estate property. Equity Exists However, there are some people that do have equity in real estate and it does become an issue as to whether or not they will be able to complete a chapter 7 bankruptcy case without giving up any interest in the property. In the state of Illinois, + Read More

Secured Creditors In Bankruptcy

There are secured creditors that must be treated a certain way in a bankruptcy case.  The transcription below touches the surface on what a secured creditor is and what types of decisions have to be made with regard to those secured creditors. Jesse Barrientes: You said there were secured and unsecured creditors.  So then unsecured creditor would be like the gas company or utility company or a credit card bill, right?  And then what are secured creditors? David Siegel: Well, a secured creditor is someone who is secured by property.  And what I mean by that, if you don’t make a mortgage payment, you can be foreclosed upon.  If you don’t make an auto payment, your vehicle can be + Read More

Eligibility For A Bankruptcy Discharge

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge There are certain eligibility requirements in reference to getting a discharge under the bankruptcy code. Let's begin with the most common form of bankruptcy which is a chapter 7 fresh start. Chapter 7 is when someone, an individual typically, has very little in the way of personal assets but has a ton of debt. This person is seeking a fresh start under chapter 7 of the United States bankruptcy code. A person can receive a discharge under chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight years. This basically means that once you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are not eligible for that relief again for eight years. Timing Here's where the math changes. If you are + Read More

Filing Bankruptcy: The Initial Consultation

The most important thing about filing bankruptcy is the initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. It is not the price. It is not the location of the office. It is not the number of cases that the attorney has filed over the year. It is not whether that attorney is advertising on television. It is not whether that attorney has a Facebook page. The most important item is the knowledge, experience, and the ability to spot issues at the initial consultation stage.  The In-Take Questionnaire Most bankruptcy attorneys utilize an in-take questionnaire. This is a document the clients fill out which lists all kinds of information including their name, address, employment, assets, + Read More

Is Filing Bankruptcy A Form Of Failure?

Not A Failure Filing bankruptcy does not have to be looked upon as a failure. Bankruptcy can be looked upon as an opportunity to get a fresh start or to reorganize debt under existing federal bankruptcy laws. I don't believe anyone sets out to file for bankruptcy. However, certain events happen in life that leads to that result. For example, if you are someone who did not have health insurance and then had a catastrophic illness or injury, without bankruptcy you would likely never be able to get out of that debt. Perhaps you are someone who lost a job through no fault of your own and simply was not able to find adequate replacement work within a reasonable period of time. During the + Read More

How Often Can You File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

There are specific time restrictions on when you can file certain bankruptcy cases.  For Chapter 7, you can only receive a discharge of certain debts every eight years.  There are also complex rules for filing Chapter 13 subsequently to a Chapter 7.  In the video below, we talk about Chapter 7 in particular and how you should not have to file repetitive cases. Jesse Barrientes: But after you file a Chapter 7, when can I file a Chapter 7 again? David Siegel:  You can only file a Chapter 7 and receive a discharge every eight years. Jesse Barrientes: So if I get my discharge, they’re good for eight years.  So I’m not going to be able to discharge everything until eight years and a + Read More

Is My Life Insurance Policy Protected IF I File Bankruptcy?

Protecting Life Insurance When filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are allowed to protect a certain amount of personal property. One of those items of personal property is life insurance. Life insurance is treated two different ways when filing bankruptcy. The first involves term life insurance. Term life insurance provides for a death benefit. What this means is that the policy has no cash value while you are living, however, upon your death, a beneficiary will receive a death benefit. Because there is no cash value while you are alive, this is technically not an asset that can be administered by the chapter 7 trustee. Let's contrast this with whole life insurance. Whole life insurance + Read More

Bankruptcy Filing & Your Utility Services Such As ComEd

Chicago clients are concerned about utility bills and how a bankruptcy filing affects their services. They are happy to know that they can get service to continue to or have it turned back on if it was disconnected. The video below talks about ComEd in particular, but it applies to gas service and telephone service as well. Jesse Barrientes: So what happens then if I owe Com Ed a chunk of cash and so now with automatic stay, they are prohibited from collecting the past due amount. Are they going to unplug me? Are they going to turn off my services? David Siegel: They’re not going to turn off your services but what they are going to do is they are going to wipe out the debt from + Read More