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

When Your First Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Fails, Don’t Give Up

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is complicated. They are difficult cases from the standpoint of debtors, creditors, bankruptcy attorneys and at times the bench. For this reason, things don't always proceed smoothly the first time through the process. Like anything else, there is a learning curve to doing things. For debtors, the learning curve can be drastic. For example, the debtor needs to commence making timely payments to the chapter 13 trustee as well as to certain creditors in certain cases. Debtors have found this to be difficult in that they were struggling to make payments to creditors prior to filing. In a chapter 13, we are asking the debtor to all of a sudden be perfect. In some cases, + Read More

A Fourth Option To Deal With Your Car In Bankruptcy

While it is typically true that there are generally three options available to debtors in a chapter 7 bankruptcy with regard to their autos, there may in fact be a fourth option. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case the debtor has the ability to reaffirm, redeem or surrender and auto. A fourth option which seems to be making a comeback is the good old retain and pay or ride-through option. Let's examine these options. Reaffirmation of Auto The most common option for a debtor is to reaffirm the debt on a vehicle. This option allows the debtor to retain the vehicle through the bankruptcy and be obligated for the outstanding balance after the bankruptcy. Provided the debtor is current on his or her + Read More

Bankruptcy & The Automatic Stay

In this excerpt from Legal Action, Attorney David M. Siegel talks about the creation of the automatic stay in bankruptcy.  Some debts are eliminated whereas others are not.  It all depends upon the type of debt and the type of bankruptcy. Interviewer: What happens if I’ve got a garnishment or a threat of garnishment or maybe a creditor is suing me and I have to go to court in two weeks for the small claims case or whatever for the credit card.  What is filing a Chapter 7 going to do for me initially?  David Siegel: Chapter 7, once a case is filed, there’s something called an automatic stay which is created.  It basically states that the case is filed, there’s a case number, there’s a + Read More

David Siegel Talks On Legal Action Television Show

In this excerpt from the Legal Action television show, Attorney David Siegel talks about the types of debts that can be eliminated in a Chapter 7 case.  He also covers the fact that student loans are not typically eliminated in bankruptcy. What type of debts can be eliminated through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? A: David Siegel - Any kind of credit card, medical bill, personal loan, past due utility, auto repossession deficiency, money that was lent to you by a family member or a friend or a payday loan store.  Those are the typical debts that get eliminated in the Chapter 7 without much of a problem.  A problem could come in a case where someone runs up their credit cards in anticipation of + Read More

Completing All Of The Pre-Filing Bankruptcy Requirements

This excerpt from the Legal Action television show highlights the fact that there are pre-filing requirements that must be satisfied prior to filing for bankruptcy.   Long gone are the days where a person could simply fill out some papers from an office supply store, head down to the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and obtain relief from creditors.  In fact, the law has become so complex that many attorneys have decided to not practice in the bankruptcy arena anymore.  However, there are still plenty of dedicated professionals that have made helping people get out of debt their life’s work.   When you come across such an attorney, you will see the passion his eyes.  The passage below is + Read More