Archives for 2015

Filing Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Is Just The Start

Major Events It takes a lot for some people to take action. It takes a major event sometimes before someone will pick up the phone and seek help. Sometimes it's in the form of a lawsuit served by a Sheriff to the front door. Other times, it's a notice from the Secretary of State that the driver’s license is about to be suspended. Other times, it's a notice from the city of Chicago stating that the vehicle is going to be booted, towed, and impounded if debts are not paid. Whatever the motivation behind the filing is, meeting with your attorney and getting your case filed is really just the start. Meeting The Bankruptcy Trustee You must make it to your 341 meeting of creditors. You would be + Read More

Has Your Overspending At Christmas Come Back To Bite You?

There is no bigger shopping season than the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. The Main Street marketing firms are getting you to purchase as early as Thanksgiving, all the way through Christmas and even after Christmas until the first of the year. Many Americans make those purchases on credit. Usually the first credit card statement after Christmas is a little bit of a sticker shock but manageable by making minimum payments. When the February statement comes, and another minimum payment is required, there is very little movement with regard to the outstanding balance due. This inability to see the numbers move to the downward can cause one to panic. There are options + Read More

Bankruptcy Talking Points Memo

Setting Up The Bankruptcy File Correctly To conduct a successful bankruptcy case, you have to have your file set up correctly from the outset. I'm talking about having every detail covered so that you don't fall into any of the open man holes and potholes that lie ahead of you. Of course there is the simple stuff like having the debtor's name, address, telephone number and email address properly set up in the file. You also need to make sure you have the right Chapter indicated, the right jurisdiction and the right color coordinating that goes with that particular file. Just as important and probably even more critical are the particular nuances that must be itemized for + Read More

Are You Still Worried About Filing Bankruptcy?

Are you still one of the many people who have this notion that filing for bankruptcy will bring the end of the world for you? Do you consider it a total failure? Are you afraid that friends, family and co-workers will find out about your filing? Are you worried about being able to buy a house in the future? Are you worried about being able to finance a vehicle? Are you thinking that your credit score is more important than your current financial situation? Are you just plain scared to make a move? These and other questions are ones that I hear dozens of times a day in my practice as a bankruptcy lawyer. And I love getting the opportunity to refute some of the misconceptions that are floating + Read More

Bankruptcy Filings Continue To Drop

The total number of bankruptcy filings dropped 14% from January to January of the prior year. In fact, the year over year filing totals have been declining for over four years, specifically for 50 consecutive months. You would think that by four years of decreased filings that things in the United States would be great. However, this is obviously not the case. The unemployment rate still remains relatively high. The amount of take-home pay that a family receives per year has dropped by approximately $2000 in the last six years. The housing market has lifted itself off of its bottom however the gains are very moderate at best. The only anomaly is the stock market which seems to be doing well + Read More

It’s Difficult To Borrow Your Way Out Of Debt

About 10 to 20 years ago, I would see the same typical creditors in a bankruptcy case. I would likely see credit card debt, outstanding medical bills, parking tickets, tax debt, and an occasional unsecured, personal loan. These are the majority of creditors that made up bankruptcy cases 10 to 20 years ago. My how things have changed. Yes, all of the above listed creditors still exist and still dominate the bankruptcy schedules. However, there is a new crop of creditors who have arrived on the scene and in full force. The examples in the paragraph above are basically extensions of credit. The new crop of creditors are extensions of credit but not to buy something. They are extensions of + Read More

The Bankruptcy Payment Plan

Most people thinking about filing for bankruptcy are understandably concerned about paying for the service. They wonder how in the world they going to pay the attorney’s fees and the court costs in an effort to get out of debt. After all, they have very little available per month after they are paying all of their necessary bills. The good news is that most attorneys will offer some form of payment plan and provide a debtor with an opportunity to get some relief. Let me explain the traditional format. The traditional format is where a client makes payments over time to a bankruptcy attorney who then files the case officially with the bankruptcy clerk once those fees are paid in full. + Read More

Income Tax Refund At Risk When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are basically telling creditors that you have no significant assets from which to pay them. To prove this, on your bankruptcy petition you must list all of your property of every nature. You are then allowed to protect or exempt a specific amount of property depending upon which state you live in. Each state has a different dollar amount that can be protected. In the state of Illinois, the amount that you can protect is much less than most other states. Tax Refund Is Personal Property Now you might not think that your income tax refund is personal property. But I guarantee you that your chapter 7 trustee will view it as personal property. For this + Read More

Do You Really Need A Bankruptcy Discharge Under Chapter 13?

I recently had a client who was reorganizing student loan debt over a five-year period. He was willing to pay back 10% of the student loans knowing full well that the other 90% would be due and owing plus interest after his bankruptcy case was over. He did have some minor credit card debt and minor medical bills that were also going to be paying back 10%. When it turns out, at the end of his bankruptcy, he receives a letter from his trustee indicating that he needs to take a two hour financial management class in order to obtain a discharge. He then contacts my office to determine whether or not he should take the class or not. The answer may surprise you.  Solution: Chapter 13 + Read More

When Is It Smart To File Bankruptcy Preemptively?

Most people do not wish to file for bankruptcy. They know there's a psychological aspect. They know there's a monetary fee. They know that there is a process. In fact, most clients wind up filing for bankruptcy after some catastrophic event triggers the necessity to file. Wouldn't it be wise if on certain occasions people filed bankruptcy preemptively before such a catastrophic event. Let me give you a few examples of where this would be wise. Bankruptcy & Outstanding Tickets 1) If you have tickets with the city of Chicago and you know that you are approaching the number required to make the boot list, then filing bankruptcy preemptively would be wise. By doing so, you can avoid the + Read More