Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Judge Denies Fees: What Was The Basis?

In a recent chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, a debtor was attempting to recover his towed and impounded vehicle. The vehicle was impounded due to unpaid parking tickets owed to a village. The tow company towed the vehicle and was unwilling to release the vehicle back to the debtor. The tow company would not provide simple information such as their fax number, their local counsel or even a timeframe as to when the vehicle would be released. In fact, the tow company went so far as to say that they will only release the vehicle when they are paid. Such conduct clearly violates the Bankruptcy Code, the Thompson decision, and the spirit of chapter 13 bankruptcy which gives honest debtors an + Read More

How Bankruptcy Affects Your Credit Score

The thought of losing one’s credit cards is a terrifying idea for some that are struggling with debt.  In fact, such a fear prevents many people from actually filing for bankruptcy.  The big fear is that bankruptcy will haunt them for life and prevent them from obtaining credit in the future.  Everyone dreams of purchasing a home or purchasing a vehicle.  Filing for bankruptcy and getting a fresh start will actually put someone in a greater position to obtain credit in the future.  As I always say to quote the band Genesis, “you’ve got to get in to get out.”  Thus, you must file in order to have a chance going forward.  The short conversation listed below is from the television show Legal + Read More

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Audits Prove Burdensome On Debtors

Numerous Requirements There are numerous requirements that must be met by a debtor in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The debtor must complete a credit counseling session within 180 days of filing the petition. The debtor must complete a two hour personal financial management instruction course sometime after the case is filed but prior to the case being discharged. The debtor must provide the most recent federal tax return. The debtor must provide two months’ worth of pay advices immediately preceding the filing of the chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The debtor must appear at a 341 meeting of creditors and provide any additions or corrections that the panel trustee is requiring. In a select number + Read More

Should I Pay My Car Inside Or Outside Of My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case?

There are many ways to treat a vehicle when filing chapter 13 bankruptcy. Not one answer fits every case. In fact, the answer is going to vary depending upon whether or not the debtor is current on the vehicle, whether the vehicle was purchased within the last two and half years, and whether or not the debtor needs to restructure that debt in essence. Let's examine the first scenario. If the debtor has a vehicle purchased within the last two and half years and he is current on that vehicle, then I would recommend that he continue to pay for that vehicle outside of the chapter 13. By doing so, he will avoid the interest rate that the trustee charges as an administrative expense on his + Read More

Recovering Your Vehicle From The Pound With Chapter 13

Vehicle Impounded In Record Numbers During the last 10 days, I have seen a huge uptick in the number of Chicago residents who have had their vehicles impounded. This most certainly has to do with the city of Chicago and its effort to bring in revenue from parking ticket debt. When clients don't pay their parking tickets, they find themselves on the boot list. Once they are booted and unable to remove the boot within 24 or 48 hours, the vehicle gets impounded by the city of Chicago. I have noticed a groundswell of clients who are hiring my law firm for chapter 13 to recover their auto from the pound without paying the city anything up front. Why Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Chapter 13 is a very + Read More

The Right Time To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Seasonal Worker I recently met with a gentleman who was employed by the union as a contractor. He had long stretches of unemployment and other stretches of high employment. He wanted to hear from me as to when was the right time to file chapter 7 bankruptcy. His situation is somewhat unique. He will work for stretches of time ranging from 2 to 6 months where his income is very high. He then has long periods of time when he has no income at all. It is during those months where he receives unemployment insurance benefits. At the time we met, he was in between jobs but expected to start imminently another stretch run which would last 2 to 3 months. It is clear that the right time to file + Read More

Protecting Property In A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

The following snippet is from the Legal Action television show which airs on Comcast Cable in the suburban Chicago market.  Attorney David Siegel talks about the types and amounts of property that can be kept while filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.  Interviewer:  When I do Chapter 7, fresh start, is there any property that I can keep? David Siegel: Yes.  You can keep a lot of property in a Chapter 7, which is why it’s a good idea to disclose everything to your attorney.  For example, real estate; an individual can protect up to $15,000 worth of equity in real estate.  If it’s a joint case, husband and wife, they can protect up to $30,000 worth of equity.  They can protect all of + Read More

Current Bankruptcy Clients Contacted By Fraudulent Creditor

Please be aware that in recent weeks several current bankruptcy clients from multiple law firms in the Chicago area have been victimized or attempted to be victimized by a fraud scheme. This is how the fraudulent effort plays out in essence. There are two specific individuals that play a part in this scheme. The first is a person who alleges to be a bankruptcy attorney from the law firm that the debtor hired and the other party alleges to be a creditor who must be paid. This all takes place in the evening after the law firms have closed and where verification becomes problematic. The fraud scheme starts with the criminal obtaining bankruptcy case information from the public access + Read More

What’s The Meeting Of Creditors Under Section 341 Of The Bankruptcy Code?

David Siegel:   Of course, the creditors have an opportunity to show up at this meeting, and witness it, ask a few questions, possibly tell the trustee about something that they may know about the debtor.  For example, if there’s property in Wisconsin that was not disclosed or an old Corvette that miraculously didn’t make the schedules.  It’s an opportunity for the trustee as well as creditors to examine the debtor under oath.  Creditors can also set up their own meetings.  That’s called a 2004 examination. In some cases the trustee does not have enough time to let the creditor ask questions forever, and the trustee will say bring your own motion, have a 2004 exam, you can examine the debtor + Read More

Top Three Most Often Heard Bankruptcy Questions

While there are thousands upon thousands of questions pertaining to bankruptcy that I field every year, it seems that I hear three specific questions most often. I want to take the time to share the answer to those questions today. The three questions are: 1) How much is it to file? 2) Will I be able to keep my home and car? 3) How soon can I get credit again? How much does it cost to file? The answer to this question is it depends. It depends upon the attorney you hire, the complexity and nature of your case, the type of creditors that you have, the experience level of your attorney and the overall practice set-up for that bankruptcy law firm. For this reason, the only number + Read More