Lake Geneva, WI – September 3, 2015 – Wynn at Law, LLC, a Southeastern Wisconsin law firm, announces the expansion of its Wisconsin legal team with a new appointment.
According to Shannon Wynn, Principle of Wynn at Law, LLC, “The law firm is growing, and our clients are asking for additional services. Thus, Wynn at Law, LLC needed to grow in order to meet our clients’ demands. On the heels of opening several new office locations, we have started to build our team. With the expanded team, we will continue to build our expertise and expand our service areas. Our highly skilled legal team allows us to deliver desired results with the attention to service that our clients need and deserve.”
The newest appointment to Wynn at Law, LLC’s legal team is Alyssa S. Wilson. Attorney Wilson was born and raised in Walworth County, graduating from Big Foot High School. She went on to receive her undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2007, and graduated from Drake University Law School in 2011. She is committed to providing legal support to members of her community. Alyssa concentrates her practice primarily in areas of real estate, estate planning, probate, business law, employment law, and workers’ compensation.
“With the new appointment of Attorney Wilson, I’m proud to say that Wynn at Law has begun to build a first-class team of legal talent,” said Attorney Shannon Wynn. “Southeastern Wisconsin residents have our undivided attention. We can now help more members of our local communities due to our growing portfolio of legal services.”
Wynn at Law, LLC focuses on bankruptcy, business litigation, foreclosure, debt repair, real estate law, landlord/tenant law, foreclosure, repossession defense, debt collection, probate, estate planning, and now employment law and workers’ compensation. Wynn at Law, LLC has law offices located in Lake Geneva, Delavan, Salem, and Muskego, Wisconsin. More information regarding the law firm can be found on the website by visiting http://wynnatlaw.com.
About Wynn at Law, LLC
Wynn at Law, LLC is headed by Shannon Wynn, an experienced bankruptcy, debt relief, real estate, and estate planning attorney. Attorney Wynn was born and raised in Walworth County. She graduated Valedictorian from Big Foot Union High School, completed an undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University with honors, and graduated with honors from Marquette University Law School. She currently teaches at Marquette University Law School in addition to running her practice. Attorney Wynn has received the CALI Award for The Law Governing Lawyers, the CALI Award for Drafting the Wisconsin Real Estate Transaction, the AVVO Client’s Choice Award in Bankruptcy, and has received the Super Lawyers Rising Star award on several occasions. She is a member of the Wisconsin Realtors Association, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, Wisconsin Bar Association, American Bar Association, Walworth County Bar Association, Kiwanis Club of Elkhorn, and A Day in Time Board Member.
On September 2, 2015, Hulu announced that it would offer an ad-free level of its popular streaming service. This prompted a lot of my Facebook friends to start talking about cutting their cable service.
According to the company’s press release:
Viewers now have the choice to watch Hulu commercial free for $11.99 per month or with limited commercials for $7.99 per month. Current Hulu subscribers will maintain their existing subscription, but will have the choice to switch to the commercial-free option at any time for an additional $4 per month. For viewers who choose to watch content with limited commercials, Hulu will continue to show fewer commercials than scheduled television.
With so many options out there for getting your favorite shows on demand, is there any reason to keep paying for cable or satellite TV?
For years I’ve watched my clients struggle with cable bills that come to well over $200 each month, draining their wallets for the privilege to do the same things we used to get for free – watch television.
Sure, there are more options now than there were when I was a kid. In spite of that, most people struggle to find something interesting to watch. Many compelling programs continue to come from the major networks, with the rest shown on channels we’re forced to pay for.
I’ve been a proponent of cutting the cord and ditching cable television for a long time, but it was only when we moved that I took the plunge.
It’s been over two years, and I’m pleased to report that I am now saving $80 per month. Here’s how I did it.
Get A Device To Stream Programs
In order to cut the cord and be able to keep getting the content you want, you’re going to need to have a set top device that connects to the Internet. That device will wirelessly access your Internet connection and plug into your television, essentially functioning as a tiny little computer for your TV.
You’ve got lots of options when it comes to devices, and I’ve found that most of them are interchangeable. I opted for the Roku 2 Streaming Media Player, which allows me to add channels to access Amazon Videos, Hulu, Netflix, and a bunch of others. It hooked up to my television easily, and setup amounts to entering in your wifi password.
These days there are a number of options that are less expensive and just as good. They include:
- Apple TV ($62.10)
- Roku Streaming Stick ($39.99)
- Amazon Fire TV Stick ($34.00)
- Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player ($29.99)
What’s the difference? For the most part, not much – they all give you access to the channels I mentioned. Apple TV allows you to buy TV shows and movies from the iTunes Store, so if you’re deeply involved in that platform then you may want to stick with that device over the others.
Subscribe To Streaming Channels
There are a number of paid streaming options, each of providing slightly different programming options. You’ll need to go through each one carefully to make sure you’re getting the right subscription, but the good news is that none of them require a long-term commitment. Subscribe to one, use it for a month, then drop it if it doesn’t meet your needs.
Some of the more popular streaming channels are:
Netflix (free trial, then $7.99 per month): Netflix gives you access to a lot of movies and television shows, including original programming such as House of Cards, Narcos, and Frankie and Grace. You can also watch Netflix-only episodes of Arrested Development and Wet Hot American Summer if that’s up your alley. Netflix has a great selection of shows for kids, including PBS Kids.
Sling TV (free trial, then plans begin at $20 per month): For years, the thing that kept people hitched to their cable subscriptions was the ability to watch sports. Sling TV blew this one out of the water when it introduced this service, which includes pretty much every variation of ESPN, as well as TBS and TNT.
You also get HGTV, The Food Network, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Disney Junior, and new channels such as CNN and Bloomberg. There’s also AMC and A&E. In other words, pretty much everything you’re going to watch on basic cable.
The only downsides are that you have to watch live (no DVR or on demand options yet), and there are commercial breaks.
Hulu ($7.99 per month with commercials, $11.99 without): Every show on ABC, Fox, NBC, WB, The CW, Lifetime, Comedy Central, FX and Bravo are on Hulu. There are also movies and some old shows to keep you busy when the networks end their seasons). There’s a free level with more limited options, but the price is so low there’s no reason to stick with the free plan.
Amazon Prime ($8.25 per month, which comes to $99 per year): Amazon Prime Videos includes some good stuff, and lots of old movies. Amazon is breaking into original programming to compete with Netflix, so it’s not an awful choice. If you order from Amazon and enjoy the free shipping with Prime then you should sign up. If not, it won’t make much of a difference in your life.
Keep Your Internet Access
You need to have solid Internet access if you’re going to pump video content to your television. Don’t cancel it, and make sure you have decent service.
If you’ve had your service for awhile, call your provider and be sure you’ve got their most recent router.
For those who want to save even more money, consider buying your own router (make sure you talk with your provider to ensure your chosen model is compatible before you buy).
What About Your Home Phone?
Lots of people don’t have a landline phone anymore, which makes the whole, “I need cable service because I’ve got the Triple Play,” argument pointless. If you can’t remember the last time you used your landline then this applies to you as well.
Many of my clients don’t want to lose their local phone number because they’ve had it for years. If you fall into this camp, call your cell phone provider and port the number to a cheap phone you can pick up on eBay for $20 (turns out your old flip phone from 2002 still has some value).
Count The Savings
When I had cable television, I was spending $190 every month for the service, the set top DVR, and the privilege of watching my money go to Time Warner Cable. Now I spend $94.22 – a savings of about $95 a month, or $1,140 a year.
Here’s what I spend each month now that I cut the cord:
- Netflix ($7.99)
- Hulu ($7.99)
- Sling TV ($20.00)
- Amazon Prime ($8.25)
- Internet access ($49.99)
We haven’t used a landline phone for years, so that part wasn’t an issue for us. If you need to port your number to an old flip phone, you can reduce your savings by about $15 each month for an additional line on your account.
All of the streaming services are available on your iPad, Android phone, and iOS device. That means you can watch your favorite shows and movies when you’re traveling, during downtime during your day, and in some cases in the subway (Amazon allows offline access for their television shows and movies).
More convenience at a lower cost. What’s not to love about cutting the cord?
The post How I Save $1,140 A Year On Cable Television Service appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.
By: Steven P. Taylor
Law Office of Steven P. Taylor, P.C.
August 31, 2015
Commonly, in consumer bankruptcy cases, Debtors have attempt resolve their financial issues by raiding their retirement accounts. For those debtors that are younger than 59 ½ years of age, this leads to the 10% additional tax (an “exaction”) of the withdrawn amount as part of their current tax bill in addition to the normal income tax. Bankruptcy may be an appropriate method to deal with tax debt and other times it’s not-and something like the Offer in Compromise program may be a much better option than bankruptcy tax relief.
In the bankruptcy world, whether the Internal Revenue Service has assessed a “tax” or “tax penalty” has different implications. The priority scheme treats income taxes and tax penalty claims differently. Income taxes that a debtor owes to the government are entitled to eighth priority distribution under § 507 of the Bankruptcy Code which are not dischargeable. In contrast, tax penalties that do not compensate for the government’s actual pecuniary loss are subordinated to general unsecured claims and are dischargeable.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the exaction not entitled to priority status under §507(a)(8), but will not be dischargeable under §523(a)(7). In Re Mournier, 232 B.R. 186 (Bankr. S.D. Cal. 1998). In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (§523(a)(7) does not apply) there is Tenth Circuit opinion, In Re Cassidy 983 F.2d 161 (10th Cir. 1992), where the Court rejected contentions that the 10% amount was entitled to §507(a)(8) priority status either as income tax or a penalty in compensation for actual pecuniary loss. See also In Re Cespedes, 393 B.R. 403 (Bankr. E.D.N.C. 2008).
Recently, the Court, Bradford v. United States Department of Treasury – IRS, 14-11805, a case from the United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Georgia, Albany Division, looked at the dischargeability of this 10% exaction again. In this Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the Internal Revenue Service asserted a priority status for the 10% due to early withdrawal of the Debtors from a retirement account under 11 U.S.C. §507(a)(8), either as an income tax (§507(a)(8)(A) or, alternatively as a penalty compensating the government for actual pecuniary loss (§507(a)(8)(G)). The Debtors contended that the 10% exaction was a penalty and that the penalty was not in compensation for actual pecuniary loss and thus not entitled to priority. The parties agreed that if the 10% penalty did not fit into a subcategory of §507(a)(8), it was not entitled to priority treatment under the Debtors’ plan. The Court, in a 36 page opinion, found that the classification by Congress of the 10% exaction as a “tax” was not determinative based upon Supreme Court precedent. The Court, following a functional analysis, found the 10% exaction was a penalty for purposes of §507(a). Furthermore, the Court found that the penalty was not to compensate the government for actual pecuniary loss and not entitled to priority status.
TALK TO A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
The interaction between bankruptcy and tax laws can be extremely complicated. In some cases, simply waiting to file your bankruptcy can turn a priority tax debt into a nonpriority obligation. For these reasons, if you want to file for bankruptcy to eliminate or reorganize your tax debts, consider talking to a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney in your area first to learn about your options.
Filed under: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Taxes Tagged: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, tax discharge
Divorce causes stress and amplified emotions for all family members. Once you realize you must also reconcile marital debt, you can double the stress for you and your spouse. Filing a Kenosha bankruptcy before divorcing, preferably jointly, can be a great solution to marital debt problems. We’ve put together a list of seven reasons why filing a Kenosha bankruptcy before divorcing may be the perfect option for you and your spouse.
1. Filing bankruptcy jointly before a divorce to save money. When you file a joint Kenosha bankruptcy, debts can be cleared under one bankruptcy case, thus saving a lot of money on court and attorney fees. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 Kenosha bankruptcy, you both can eliminate unwanted debts, such as your credit card and medical debt. A bankruptcy may also decrease your divorce costs as well; you will avoid arguing over debt and simplify your divorce filing.
2. Bankruptcy may wipe out your responsibility to pay any debt as part of the divorce agreement. If you have an uncooperative spouse who refuses to file bankruptcy jointly, go it alone. Remember, do not agree to any conditions of your divorce that would require you to pay any part of any joint debt. Your Kenosha bankruptcy discharge freed you from those financial obligations. On a side note, you cannot file bankruptcy on debts you agreed to pay during your divorce. In order to be free of any marital debt, you must file bankruptcy first.
3. Reduce Stress. If you and your spouse qualify for a Chapter 7 Kenosha bankruptcy, you both can eliminate unsecured debt. This means no fighting over who pays what. Your Kenosha bankruptcy will be discharged in approximately 90 days. It can be fast and stress free with an experienced Kenosha bankruptcy attorney.
4. Increase Exemption Amounts. If you file jointly for bankruptcy before a divorce, you may be able to increase your exemption amounts and qualify for a Chapter 7 Kenosha bankruptcy. The State of Wisconsin allows you to double exemption amounts when you file jointly which means you are able to keep most if not all of the property you own.
5. Don’t Get Stuck with Your Spouse’s Share of Debt. If your spouse decides to file bankruptcy alone before or during the divorce proceedings, it can put a huge damper on things, especially for you. If his or her bankruptcy is discharged, you may be held responsible for all joint debts incurred during the marriage. This can lead to collection efforts, lawsuits, and a hindered credit score.
6. Save Your Marriage. According to several studies, the number one reason couples get divorced is financial trouble. Financial stress directly affects your marriage and can tear it down. Filing for bankruptcy prior to filing for a divorce may inadvertently save your marriage. It’s possible that all your marital issues will be resolved once your money issues disappear.
7. Save time. If any spouse files bankruptcy during the divorce proceeding, the divorce will be paused until the bankruptcy case is closed. This will drag out your divorce proceeding. It could make a very stressful and emotionally painful process longer and more expensive than usual. The best option is to file amicably and jointly together for a Kenosha bankruptcy before a divorce, if possible.
At Wynn at Law, we understand that divorce and bankruptcy are both stressful subjects for you. There are hard decisions for anyone to make. It helps to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable Kenosha bankruptcy attorney who can bring you peace of mind during this trying time. You have big changes impacting your life. We are here to help.
We offer free bankruptcy consultations. If you are planning to file a divorce, feel free to schedule a free initial consultation with our Kenosha bankruptcy attorney. Find out what your options are and if Wynn at Law is the right fit for you. You can reach our skilled Kenosha bankruptcy attorney by phone at 262-725-0175 or by email via our bankruptcy website’s contact page. We have bankruptcy offices conveniently located in Lake Geneva, Delavan, Salem, and Kenosha. We have a 100% bankruptcy discharge success rate. Call us today.
Find out if you qualify for bankruptcy.
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*The content and material on this web page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Debt comes with a silent partner – stress. Unless you’re careful, that stress can build to life threatening levels.
We’re told from an early age that we need to get out into the world and make something of ourselves. The subtext is, “go out and make a lot of money so you can buy a big house and a nice car!”
The message is reinforced by commercial messages encouraging us to buy a home, get a new car, and go on fancy vacations.
As if that weren’t enough, our celebrity-obsessed culture encourages us to model our lives on Kim and Kanye, Beyonce and Jay Z, and the rest of the mega-wealthy jetsetters that flood our Facebook streams.
But for most of us, the only way to pay for the car, the home and the vacation is to take on debt. This, on top of the debt we take on to go to college.
That debt creates stress, which breaks us down physically and mentally.
We don’t sleep as restfully. We eat too much or not enough. Our relationships suffer.
We’re at a higher risk of major health issues, including death.
The Debt-Stress Connection
According to a 2007 survey by the American Psychological Association, 73% of respondents said that money and debt were a significant source of stress in their lives. Those who report high levels of debt stress suffer from a range of stress-related illnesses including ulcers, migraines, back pain, anxiety, depression, and heart attacks.
A review by Finnish researchers last year of 33-peer reviewed studies concluded, “indebtedness has serious effects on health.”
That’s why it’s important to spend the time taking care of yourself when you’re working through your debt issues.
Sleepless and Stressed
A story from the Canadian Broadcasting Company examining how debt impacts your stress levels introduces us to Tanya Zerr, a 38 year old who struggled with credit card debt when her husband lost his job. If you’re in debt, you probably know her story because it fits with your own.
According to Zerr:
“I would cry,” Zerr said. “The thing is, it is not something you really talk about. I couldn’t call my friends and say, ‘Oh my goodness, I am so worried about this’.… You keep a lot of that in.”
“It was sleepless nights, a nervous feeling all the time because you’re just worried, Am I going to get that letter, that eviction letter saying we’re going to cancel your mortgage? It’s kind of living in fear, because you just don’t know what is going to be taken away from you.”
Zerr said stress caused her to eat more and put on weight, while her husband wouldn’t eat and lost weight.
Increased Risk of Suicide
It’s one thing to be a tired and grumpy or pack on a few pounds because of your debt problems. It’s something else entirely to lose your life to debt.
Stories out of India, Australia and beyond show the link between overwhelming debt and suicide. The same story plays out time and time again right here in the United States.
53 year-old Carlene Balderrama of Massachusetts killed herself with one of her husband’s hunting rifles just 90 minutes before her home was auctioned off at a foreclosure sale. Her suicide note said she was overwhelmed by her bill problems and wanted her family to use her insurance money to pay off the debt and keep the house.
62-year-old Emilio Saladriagas of New Jersey was so overwhelmed by his bills that he walked into his local Rent-A-Center, poured lighter fluid all over his body and set himself on fire. Thankfully Saladriagas survived the suicide attempt.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
When you’re struggling to get a handle on your debt problems, it’s important to remember your own physical and mental needs.
Without enough sleep it’s difficult to make important financial decisions. Your nerves are on edge, so communicating with your loved ones becomes tougher as well.
If you don’t eat properly then you don’t give your body and mind the fuel it needs to operate properly.
Burning the midnight oil to get on top of things is fine for the short run, but over time it deprives you of much needed down time.
And if you find yourself with nobody to talk to, reach out to someone you trust. Don’t have to be a therapist or doctor – consider a member of the clergy or even a friend. A shoulder to lean on makes the stress more bearable, and can help you see things more clearly.
Whatever you do, please be sure to take care of yourself. Anything less is not only unhealthy, but also dangerous.
The post Beware Debt’s Silent Partner appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its monthly consumer complaints snapshot. The report spotlights credit reporting complaints. According to the report, the majority of the credit reporting complaints were about problems with incorrect information on the reports. As of August 1, 2015 the Bureau has handled over 677,000 complaints across all products.
“Whether a consumer is trying to get a mortgage, apply for a student loan, or buy a car, credit reports are fundamentally important in allowing people to access their financial goals,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “As we see a rise in the number of consumers complaining about this issue, the Bureau will continue to work to ensure that credit reports are fair, accurate, and readily available to all consumers.”
Credit reporting affects the lives of most Americans. Consumer reporting companies collect information and provide reports on consumers that are used to decide whether consumers are eligible for credit. Credit reports and scores can determine everything from consumer eligibility for credit to the rates consumers pay for credit. Since 2012, the CFPB has supervised the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies which account for nearly 95 percent of the credit reporting market’s annual receipts and which maintain files on more than 200 million consumers. The Bureau has handled approximately 105,000 credit reporting complaints since it began accepting them in October 2012. Some of the findings in the snapshot include:
• Sharp increase in credit reporting complaints: The CFPB saw a 56 percent increase in the number of credit reporting complaints submitted by consumers between June 2015— 4,289 complaints—and July 2015 —6,969 complaints. In analyzing the period of May through July 2015, complaints increased by 45 percent compared to the prior year.
• Consumers complain about incorrect information on credit reports: The majority of credit reporting complaints—77 percent—submitted to the Bureau involve incorrect information on reports. Consumers frequently complain of debts already paid or debts not yet due showing up on their report, negatively affecting their credit scores.
• Consumers complain about trouble accessing reports: Consumers consistently report issues related to accessing their credit reports as a result of rigorous online identity authentication questions. If unable to access the reports over the Internet, consumers have to send copies of sensitive, identifying documents through the mail, which consumers feel is time-consuming and potentially unsecure.
• High-volume complaint companies: Out of all credit reporting complaints submitted to the Bureau between March and May 2015, 97 percent of them involved the three nationwide credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.
Company-level complaint data in the report uses a three-month rolling average of complaints sent by the Bureau to companies for response. This data lags other complaint data in this report by two months to reflect the 60 days companies have to respond to complaints, confirming a commercial relationship with the consumer.
Because of the significance of credit reports, consumer reporting companies have been a major focus for the CFPB. The Bureau has published tips and guidance for how consumers can get and keep a good credit score, which can be found National Complaint Overview
As of August 1, 2015 the CFPB has handled 677,200 complaints nationally. Some of the findings from the statistics being published in this month’s snapshot report include:
• Complaint volume: For July 2015, the most-complained-about financial product or service was debt collection, representing about 31 percent of complaints submitted. Of the 26,704 complaints handled in July, approximately 8,224 of them were about debt collection. The second most-complained-about consumer product was credit reporting, accounting for approximately 6,696 complaints. The third most-complained-about financial product or service was mortgages, accounting for approximately 4,498 complaints.
• Product trends: In a year-to-year comparison, consumer loan complaints, which include pawn loans, title loans, and installment loans, showed the greatest percentage increase—61 percent—from the same time last year. They went from approximately 718 complaints to 1,154 complaints on average per month over a three-month time period. Bank account or services complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease over the same time period, going from a monthly average of 1,976 complaints in 2014 to 1,895 complaints in 2015, a 4 percent decrease.
• State information: Hawaii, Maine, Georgia, and North Carolina experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year; with Hawaii up 37 percent, Maine up 36 percent, and both Georgia and North Carolina up by 33 percent. South Dakota, New Mexico, and Alaska experienced the greatest complaint volume decrease from the same time last year, with South Dakota down 31 percent, New Mexico down 16 percent, and Arkansas down 11 percent.
• Most-complained-about companies: The top three companies that received the most complaints from March through May 2015 were Equifax, Experian, and Bank of America. Of the five most-complained-about companies, three of them — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion— are credit reporting companies.
In June 2012, the CFPB launched its Consumer Complaint Database, which is the nation’s largest public collection of consumer financial complaints. When consumers submit a complaint they have the option to share publicly their explanation of what happened. For more individual-level complaint data and to read consumers’ experiences, go to the Consumer Complaint Database
To submit a complaint, consumers can:
• Go online at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
• Call the toll-free phone number at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-CFPB (2372)
• Fax the CFPB at 1-855-237-2392
• Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244
Additionally, through “Ask CFPB,” consumers can get clear, unbiased answers to their questions at consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb or by calling 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).
For some people, filing for bankruptcy comes only when the money is gone and they’ve got no ability to repay their debts.
But for one entrepreneur and his wife, filing their Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition was a way to keep things going and ensure that everyone got paid.
Craig Walker and his wife, Susan, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Colorado, estimating their assets at between $100 million and $500 million and liabilities at between $10 million and $50 million.
The Walkers are officers, directors, shareholders or members of several companies, including Integrated Cable Systems Inc. of Longmont and Walker Component Group of Denver, which supplies cables and components used by Vestas Wind Systems’ wind turbines, as well as ranches, two malls, and the banks of Custer Bancorp and First Southwest Bank Corp.
By all accounts, things are in fantastic shape.
This doesn’t sound as if the couple needs to file for bankruptcy, does it? With plenty of money at their disposal and business interests that keep them financially fit, the last thing you’d expect would be a trip to the bankruptcy court.
In fact, according to a report in the Denver Business Journal, the couple said in a federal court filing that they want a federal judge to oversee “an orderly and fair” voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy process that will ensure all their creditors, and not just one, are paid in full. Craig Walker’s lawyer said that Walker’s businesses, “should not be impacted by the Chapter 11 filing. The whole point of a Chapter 11 is to continue the operation of the entities.”
So why file for bankruptcy?
The answer is simple. One of Walker’s largest creditors, Wells Fargo & Co., has a court judgment for an unpaid $11 million loan. Walker cosigned the loan, and Wells Fargo is now trying to get him to pay the unpaid balance of $23 million, in spite of the fact that the bank has allegedly already collected $21 million on the judgment.
That’s right – Wells Fargo got a judgment for an unpaid business loan and is now trying to collect more than twice the loan amount from Walker, in spite of the fact that it’s already received $21 million.
Without the oversight of the bankruptcy court, Walker said in a court filing, “the debtors and their creditors (both secured and unsecured) were being subjected to an unorganized and unaccountable private liquidation that preferred only one creditor, Wells Fargo, and was destroying the value of debtors’ assets.”
In other words, filing for bankruptcy was the only way for the Walkers to keep things fair and orderly.
And in allowing the bankruptcy court to oversee things, they have the time and ability to watch over their business interests.
Though this case involves far more money than you’ve probably got at stake, it’s interesting to remember that using the bankruptcy system is often a smart way to keep your debt repayment plans orderly and fair to everyone – including you and your family.
The post Why This Successful Business Owner Filed For Bankruptcy appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.
Here at Shenwick & Associates, many of our bankruptcy clients (especially younger ones) have outstanding student loans. Although the Bankruptcy Code doesn't contain an express prohibition against discharging student loans in bankruptcy, the bar to doing so is very high. Most (but not all, as we'll discuss below) appellate courts, follow the standard laid out in Brunner v. New York State Higher Education Services Corp. The debtor must show that: (1) he or she cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a minimal standard of living for the debtor and dependents if forced to pay off the student loan; (2) that additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loan; and (3) that he or she has made good faith efforts to repay the loans.
Unfortunately for debtors in New York, Connecticut and Vermont (whose federal courts are under the jurisdiction of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals), the Brunner test remains good law and will do so until either the Second Circuit or the Supreme Court overrules Brunner or Congress amends the Bankruptcy Code. However, in the 28 years since Brunner, the standard has increasingly come under attack. An article in The New York Times last month discussed some of the debtors who have fought to get their loans discharged in bankruptcy and the judges who have dissented from Brunner.
The article focused on two cases from 2013, Krieger v. Educational Credit Management Corp. (In re Krieger) (7th Cir.) and Roth v. Educational Credit Management Corp.(In re Roth) (B.A.P. 9th Cir.). In In re Krieger, the debtor lived in a rural area of Illinois and cared for her elderly mother while unsuccessfully searching for paralegal work for a decade. Despite the slim likelihood the debtor would be able to repay any of her $25,000 student debt, the loan holder argued that she should enroll in an income-based repayment program. In an opinion written by the influential Judge Frank Easterbrook (who was Chief Judge at the time) discharging the debtor's student loan debts, Judge Easterbrook claimed that the Brunner standard was threatening to supersede the "undue hardship" provision of Bankruptcy Code § 523(a)(8)and convert it into a "certainty of hopelessness."
That same month, a similar decision was issued in In re Roth. In this case, the 64 year old debtor had acquired $33,000 of student loan debt (which ballooned to $95,000 in default) acquired years earlier, citing a variety of physical and mental ailments. She successfully discharged her medical debt in bankruptcy, but had to commence an adversary proceeding to prove "undue hardship," copying statutes at a local law library and watching episodes of "Law and Order." The Bankruptcy Appellate Panelheld that "failure to negotiate or accept an alternate payment plan is not dispositive" of a finding of good faith. And in a concurring opinion, Judge Pappas pointed out that both § 523(a)(8) and student loan borrowing have changed since 1987, calling Brunner "a relic of times long gone."
Until Brunner is legislatively or judicially overruled, consider some of these student loan debt strategies, and contact Jim Shenwick for an analysis of your student loan and other debts.
Today’s Delavan real estate buyers are savvier than ever. This is mainly because Millennials are now of home buying age and they are the most internet friendly generation that home buyers have ever encountered. Millennials have grown up with access to infinite information at their fingertips via the internet. They search and review everything online before taking the next steps in the purchasing decision process. They love videos, photographs, and social sharing. Zillow has stated that Millennials will overtake baby boomers as the generation purchasing the largest number of homes this year. This makes their preferences more important than ever.
How can you market your home to Generation Y? Below you will find 4 tips to assist you with selling your home to Millennials.
4 Tips to Sell Your Home in 2015 from our Delavan Real Estate Lawyer
1. Excellent Photographs are Crucial. Gone are the days of a drive-by being the first time a buyer sees your home. Today’s home buyers will see your home for the first time on the internet. If they don’t like what they see online, they will keep searching on the internet until they find a home photograph they do like. Most buyers look at photographs before even reading your home description. If you don’t have outstanding photographs, you are doing it wrong. Here’s what you don’t need: dark photos, no photos, only one photo of the front exterior of your house, photos of messes and clutter, photos with toilet seats up, photos with pets included, and the list goes on. Your real estate agent’s first priority when marketing your home should be excellent photographs that include the home’s exterior (front and back), interior (all rooms), good lighting, no clutter, day and evening photographs (if necessary), and any special features. Many times you will find real estate listings bragging about the great view from the home with not a single photograph of the “great view” mentioned. If you can’t impress buyers online, you’ll never get them in your front door.
2. Conduct Pre-Sale Inspections. Conducting pre-sale inspections will take care of a few issues. First, if you discover any issues with your home during any type of inspection, you can correct the problem or price the home accordingly. Second, you seem upfront and honest to buyers. You have nothing to hide. Third, you are saving buyers time and money on inspections. This speeds up an offer and closing time. Last, you will eliminate the back and forth hassle with buyers regarding price reductions or credits due to faulty equipment, systems, or structure.
3. Choose A Technologically Advanced Real Estate Agent. Millennials are using their smart phones to perform most of their home buying searches. Your real estate agent must have a mobile-friendly website where Millennials can view your home. Apps are their preferred method to check home listings. They also want their questions answered right now. They are the Google generation and are used to receiving information when the need it, immediately. If they stop on your listing and have a question, how quickly can your real estate agent respond? Does your real estate agent’s website have a chat feature? Are they active in social media? Do they have a mobile website? Does the real estate company have an app?
4. Give Buyers Something. Millennials are used to getting freebies. If they ask for an early closing date, let them have it. If they want a home warranty, and you can do it, give it to them. If they ask for credits, supply them. If they want the patio furniture, let them have it. Small gestures go a long way.
Above all, when it comes to selling your home to any generation, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Ask yourself these questions: Are these the photographs I would want to see when viewing my home online? Do these photographs of my home make me want to schedule a showing? Do these photographs represent my home in a top-quality manner? As a buyer, what completed inspections would help convince me to purchase a home? When viewing my home for sale on a smart phone, is the listing description, photographs, and contact information legible? How easily is my listing accessed online? How many websites is my home listed on and which ones? How quickly is my real estate agent updating my listing? How quickly is my real estate agent answering questions from potential buyers? (Ask a question online and see how long the response time is.) Is there anything I can include with my home that will help entice an offer, such as included furniture, hot tub, boat, etc.?
Contact Our Delavan Real Estate Lawyer
Are you a seller who needs assistance with your Delavan real estate transaction? Contact our Delavan real estate lawyer. Wynn at Law can assist you with all your legal real estate needs. Schedule an appointment by contacting our Delavan real estate lawyer by phone at 262-725-0175 or by email via our website’s contact page. Wynn at Law has offices located in Lake Geneva, Muskego, Salem, and Delavan, Wisconsin.
*The content and material on this web page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Sometimes the most important question about discharging student loans in bankruptcy can be as small as whether you received the check. That’s what Tarra Christoff found when she filed for bankruptcy in Northern California.
In 2002, Tarra Christoff applied to Center for Transformative Learning at Meridian University, a private university in California, with the goal of becoming a psychologist. As part of her financial aid package, the school offered Christoff $6,000 in financial aid to pay a portion of her first year tuition. For the second year, Meridian offered her $5,000 in financial aid. For both years, she signed a promissory note agreeing to repay the funds with interest.
Christoff made a few payments after she left Meridian, then fell behind. Ultimately, the matter was submitted to arbitration and Tarra was ordered to repay the unpaid balance due plus interest.
Had this been Christoff’s only debt then there’s a good chance she would have made payment arrangements to handle the loans. Unfortunately, the debts to Meridian were a tiny portion of what ultimately came to well over $200,000 in debt. Finally, she made the decision in 2013 to file for bankruptcy.
To wipe out student loans in bankruptcy, Christoff would ordinarily have filed an adversary proceeding – a lawsuit against the student loan creditor in bankruptcy court seeking a discharge of the debt. But that didn’t happen here because her lawyer recognized one thing the university did not.
The student loan wasn’t one of the kinds that couldn’t be wiped out under the bankruptcy laws.
Meridian, seeing that there might be a problem later on, decided to look to the bankruptcy court for a determination that the loan wasn’t going to be wiped out in bankruptcy.
The judge, after looking at the loan as well as the bankruptcy law, held that the loan would be discharged once Christoff got to the end of her bankruptcy case.
Meridian appealed the decision, and the appellate court agreed with the bankruptcy judge.
Once she received her discharge in bankruptcy, the student loan would be wiped out in spite of the fact that Christoff hadn’t made any showing of undue hardship.
Why made this loan so special?
Under the bankruptcy laws, a private student loan can’t be discharged unless there’s a showing that repaying that loan would cause an undue hardship. But that provision of of the law doesn’t apply when a borrower doesn’t receive any funds, but only agrees with the school to pay the tuition at a later date.
The question isn’t one of whether a loan was made, according to the bankruptcy court. Rather, the borrower must receive actual funds.
The logic applies only for private student loans – the portion of the bankruptcy law that governs federal student loans doesn’t hinge on receipt of actual funds.
The decision seems to reflect the growing sense on the part of bankruptcy court judges to try to find ways to help student loan borrowers. The courts have become increasingly frustrated with a bankruptcy system that forces people to prove that their situation is nearly hopeless before allowing the discharge of student loan debt. To combat the unfairness of the law, some judges have started actively looking for way around the problem.
In order to allow them to keep chipping away at the rules, however, bankruptcy lawyers and student loan borrowers need to keep carefully looking at their debts. Review the paperwork, including the actual check issued by the lender, to make sure everything complies with federal and state laws.
Get a student loan lawyer involved, as Christoff did; thankfully, her attorney is a fellow graduate of The Student Loan Law Workshop and has a deeper understanding of these issues than might otherwise be the case.
If you’ve got a strong enough argument in your favor, bring it to your bankruptcy court and be prepared to fight hard for every penny of relief. You may not win the case, but at least you’ll be able to say that you tried.
And as we all know, you can’t win unless you try.
Click here for a copy of the court opinion.
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