2 hours 10 min ago

Plan Payment Problems A common problem that happens in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is the inability to continue to make plan payments. This inability to make the plan payment can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons are job loss, illness, injury, divorce, and other catastrophic events. Just recently, a couple+ Read More
The post When You Can No Longer Afford Your Chapter 13 Plan Payment appeared first on David M. Siegel.

1 day 23 hours ago

Here at Shenwick & Associates, our goal for our consumer bankruptcy clients is to get as many of their debts as possible discharged, while enabling them to maximize the property they can keep in bankruptcy, which is exempted from the debtor’s bankruptcy estate that comes into being when a bankruptcy case is filed.

Bankruptcy law is a federal system, but there’s a complex interplay between state and federal law in practice.  And this relationship between state and federal law also holds true for exemptions from bankruptcy.

Section 522 of the Bankruptcy Code governs exemptions.  Section 522(b)(1) of the Code provides that “an individual debtor may exempt from property of the estate the property listed in either paragraph (2) or, in the alternative, paragraph (3) of this subsection.”  Section 522(b)(2) provides that “property listed in this paragraph is property that is specified under subsection (d) . . .” (which includes the federal exemption scheme, addressed below).  Section 522(b)(3) provides that “ . . . any property that is exempt under Federal law, other than subsection (d) of this section, or State or local law that is applicable on the date of the filing of the petition to the place [where the Debtor was domiciled for the greater part of the 180-day period prior to filing than in any other place].”  Up until 2011, New York State debtors were required to use New York State’s exemptions.  However, now debtors are free to choose either the state or the federal exemptions (but only one or the other-you can’t mix and match exemptions from both systems).
The New York State exemptions are contained in Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) §§ 5205 (personal property exempt from application to the satisfaction of money judgments  and 5206 (real property exempt from application to the satisfaction of money judgments), as well as in Article 10-A (§§ 282-285) of the Debtor and Creditor Law.  Some commonly used New York State exemptions are for a homestead ($165,550 per debtor in the NYC metropolitan area-amounts differ upstate); a car ($4,425); and the cash surrender value of life insurance (fully exempted).  New York exemption amounts were last adjusted on April 1, 2015 and will be readjusted on April 1, 2018.

The federal exemptions in § 522(d) of the Code include exemptions for a homestead ($23,675 per debtor); a car ($3,775); the cash surrender value of life insurance ($12,625) and a “catch all” exemption (interest in any property (including cash) up to $1,250 plus up to $11,850 of any unused homestead exemption).  Federal exemption amounts were last adjusted on April 1, 2016 and will be readjusted on April 1, 2019.

In practice, we usually use New York exemptions, but in cases where the debtor doesn’t own a house or has no equity in their house but has other valuable personal property, we may use the federal exemptions. 

Deciding which exemption system to use is a fact intensive process that requires a carefully analysis of the debtor’s property and its valuation.  For more information about exempting your valuable property from the reach of your creditors, please contact Jim Shenwick.  

1 day 23 hours ago

Filing a Walworth County bankruptcy is a major decision that no one takes lightly. Although we all want to pay all of our bills in full, sometimes, life gets in the way. We may encounter an illness, a divorce, a medical emergency, or another predicament that results in uncontrollable debt. Bankruptcy laws were designed to help us in those types of situations, so we can get back to making ends meet. There are many positive aspects to filing for a Walworth County bankruptcy. We have outlined some of them below.
Positive outcomes to a Walworth County bankruptcy© Anatoly Tiplyashin | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Major Benefits to Filing a Walworth County Bankruptcy
1. Filing a Walworth County bankruptcy can stop repossession of your vehicle and delay the foreclosure of your home. Let’s be frank. If you don’t have your vehicle to get to work, you’ll never pay off your debts. If you can’t get to work, you will lose your job and also be unable to look for a new job. Again, you’ll never be able to pay off your debts. It’s a catch-22 situation. If you are facing a home foreclosure, filing a Walworth County bankruptcy may stall proceedings. This could potentially give you time to catch up on your mortgage, sell your home, or refinance your home.
2. Harassing creditor phone calls will stop. Once you file for a Walworth County bankruptcy, all credit collection attempts must stop. This means no more phone calls and no more letters from creditors attempting to collect on your debts. You can open your mailbox and answer your phone with peace of mind. This eliminates a lot of stress.
3. Once your Walworth County bankruptcy is discharged, all or most of your debts are eliminated. Some of the types of debt eliminated include: medical bills, utility bills, payday loans and credit card debt. Your mind will no longer be burdened by the thoughts of your debt. What a relief! Imagine your debt free future.
4. After the discharge of your Walworth County bankruptcy, you are rewarded with a fresh start. Not many people get the chance to start over financially.
5. Following the discharge of your Walworth County bankruptcy, you have the chance to rebuild your credit rating. You can apply what you learned in credit counseling to help you perfect your credit score.
Contact Our Walworth County Bankruptcy Attorney
A Walworth County bankruptcy can offer you the chance to start over if you are in the midst of a financial crisis. You do not need to be in debt forever. A stress-free, debt-free future is possible. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact our Walworth County bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation. Our Walworth County bankruptcy attorney can be reach by phone at 262-725-0175 or by email via our website’s contact page. Wynn at Law, LLC has bankruptcy law offices in the following locations: Lake Geneva, Delavan, Salem, and Muskego.
Walworth County bankruptcy attorney assessmentFind out if you qualify for bankruptcy.
Click Here to Get a Free Bankruptcy Assessment
from Wynn at Law, LLC

It’s Free. It’s Easy.
*The content and material on this web page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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6 days 18 hours ago

State Prosecutors Accuse Student Loan Giant Of Wrongdoing
According to the Huffpost Business Navient Corp., the nation’s largest student loan company, violated state laws that ban unfair or abusive practices by paying call center workers based on how quickly they could get struggling borrowers off the phone, a group of more than two dozen state attorneys general alleged.  For more

man scared anxiousThis practice smacks of the same problems that permeated the mortgage lending practices.  Lenders are rewarded for doing nothing that will really help the borrowers.  I am not asking you to ignore the horrible abuses that a few borrowers suffered on the student loan system.  Borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain a degree that will never provide for the necessary funds to pay their student loans.  Money is not free.  Loans should not be entered into without understanding the long range consequences on the family budget.
Having said that lenders (schools) need to be responsible for their actions.  They give loans to individuals that they know will not be able to repay the debt, unless they hit the lottery.  The schools raise tuition so as to make more loans, which makes it impossible for those students who do not have to take out student loans to get an education.
Contact your Congressman/woman and urge them to pay attention to proposals to change the bankruptcy laws dealing with student loans back to where the laws were twenty, plus years ago.  Everyone with any insight into the lending market knows the next huge financial balloon to burst will be student loans.  Most likely this tsunami will look very similar to the mortgage loan debacle.
The post Naviet Sued for Abusive Student Loan Practices appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

6 days 21 hours ago

Income Whether you are eligible to file under a particular chapter of the bankruptcy code is dependent upon a number of factors. One of the most critical factors is whether or not you qualify based on income. Income is calculated based upon all sources for one part of the bankruptcy petition, yet not necessarily included+ Read More
The post Proof Of Income Is Critical To Filing Bankruptcy appeared first on David M. Siegel.

1 week 1 day ago

After a loved one or close friend dies in Walworth County, you may not know what to do. During this time of grief, it can be extremely difficult to thoroughly address the details of an estate. Clients often ask us what they need to do after the death of a loved one in Walworth County. You will find the following information beneficial when addressing the estate of a deceased loved one.
Loved One Dies Walworth County
Who Inherits When a Loved One Dies With a Will in Walworth County?
If someone dies with a Last Will and Testament, they are said to have died “testate.” The Last Will and Testament describes who inherits the deceased’s assets. Each beneficiary and what item(s) they will inherit are listed in detail. The Last Will and Testament also describes who is named Executor, the person that will handle the deceased’s estate.
Who Inherits When a Loved One Dies Without a Will in Walworth County?
If someone dies without a Last Will and Testament, they are said to have died “intestate.” The State of Wisconsin‘s succession laws govern who inherits from an intestate estate. The deceased’s assets could end up going to a family member that is estranged or to someone they have not spoken to in years. To ensure your assets are dispersed according to your wishes, it is imperative that you create a Last Will and Testament.
Immediate Actions to Take When a Loved One Dies in Walworth County
1. Notify relatives and friends
2. Notify the physician
3. Notify the coroner’s office
4. Follow up with organ donations, if appropriate
5. Arrange for the care of minors, if applicable
6. Arrange for the care of pets, if applicable
7. Protect assets by locking the house, vehicles, business, and placing valuables in a safe place
8. Contact decedent’s attorney to assist with handling the estate
9. Check insurance policies
10. Make funeral arrangements
11. File the appropriate forms with the Walworth County Register in Probate within 30 days of your loved one’s passing
Contact Our Walworth County Estate Planning Attorney
If you need assistance creating a Last Will and Estate, contact our Walworth County estate planning attorney. We will assist you with creating a Last Will and Testament that distributes your assets according to your wishes. Obtain peace of mind regarding your estate by contacting our Walworth County estate planning attorney today. Our Walworth County estate planning attorney can be reached via phone at 262-725-0175 or via email using our website’s contact page. Wynn at Law, LLC has estate planning offices in various locations throughout the Walworth County area, including: Lake Geneva, Delavan, Muskego, and Salem.
Lake Geneva Estate Planning Lawyer
*The content and material on this web page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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1 week 5 days ago

  Booted, Repossessed, Impounded Other than death, divorce and job loss, there is nothing worse than heading out to your car only to find out that it has been either booted, repossessed or impounded. If you find yourself in such a situation, you still have options to retrieve your car. The remedy is chapter 13+ Read More
The post Car Impounded? You Still Have Good Options appeared first on David M. Siegel.

1 week 5 days ago

Alice Gets After Bankruptcy Car Loan at 4.76% Alice came to see me in March 2015. She’d just gotten back to work after being out for over a year.  Her financial situation was so bad, she’d been living in a women’s crisis center, at very low rent We filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Even working […]The post Alice Gets After Bankruptcy Car Loan at 4.76% by Robert Weed appeared first on Robert Weed.

1 week 6 days ago

Diane - ovalFebruary of 2016 Diane was named Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Month by the Volunteer Lawyers Program. The Volunteer Lawyers Program is a joint project of Community Legal Services Inc. and the Maricopa County Bar Association. This program consists of lawyers who volunteer their time to provide legal assistance to low-income Maricopa County residents.
Questions from Peggi Cornelius, VLP Programs Coordinator:
1) What motivates you to do community service?
Those around me – both I my fellow volunteers and those who we are lucky enough to help. I am motivated by the energy of people like Pat Gerrich and Kevin Ruegg and cannot help but be affected by their enthusiastic commitment to our community. I am motivated to give more when I see the relief in the eyes of someone who knows their pay check will no longer be garnished or their sleep interrupted by obnoxious collection calls. It really is true that the more you give the more you receive.
2) How did you learn of the VLP and participate for the first time?
I really do not remember. Most likely it would have been a referral from Kevin S. Ruegg, Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. From that time she and Pat Gerrich (Community Legal Services) never let me out of their sight.
3) Describe pro bono work you’ve undertaken with VLP; Bar associations, courts, law schools, and/or other community service work?
Throughout my entire legal career I have volunteered at many of the State Bar programs, Bankruptcy Court programs, VLP call-outs, Disabled Vet groups (my husband is a disabled vet), law school programs or other projects that are designed to really help people, not just be a press opportunity. In 2005 we established the Self-Help Center at the Bankruptcy Court. Today the Center has a fabulous permanent staff (Tami Johnson and Cynthia McElroy), the commitment by all the bankruptcy judges and, at the core of its success, 70+ volunteer attorneys. The result has been to help thousands of individuals who could not afford an attorney or were abandoned by their own attorney. In 2014 I established a Bankruptcy Clinic at the Arizona Summit Law School. The Center offers free legal advice dealing with bankruptcy and debt related issues. The students are wonderful and learn how to manage a great deal of paperwork, plus the reward of helping someone in need.
4) Among pro bono clients you’ve advised or represented, what people, circumstances, outcomes, etc., stand out in your mind?
A young mother of three children (all under the age of 10 and all disabled) was abandoned by her husband, the only bread winner. She was left with all the bills, no income and no ability to find work because of her responsibility to care for her children. She was referred to me by a friend. We talked about options, including bankruptcy. In reviewing her assets she disclosed a savings account with almost $500. The exemption allowance was $150 so I explained how she would lose the extra money if a creditor swept her account or she filed for bankruptcy. My heart stopped as she broke into tears. She explained that it had taken her almost 3 years to save the money and she overwhelmed by the prospect of losing it. Suddenly her eyes lit up and she asked “can I use the money to buy a new bed”? I realized that she had listed only one bed (remember this is a family of four). She explained that she had not slept in a bed since her husband left almost three years earlier. The children took turns sleeping on the floor or in the bed. After I stopped crying I asked my husband to borrow the neighbor’s truck and help her buy a bed.
That event stands out in my heart and soul as an example of why all volunteers do what they do.
5) What has been most gratifying?
Helping people start their lives over after financial disaster. Many people are overwhelmed by changes in life: divorce, death, illness or unemployment. They lose the ability to stand back and visualize their future because they are buried in the minutia of their day-to-day existence. My goal is to give them the tools they need to make good decisions for their future. Hopefully, they share these same tools with their children and others.
I also love mentoring young lawyers, or those new to the bankruptcy practice. If I can show them the value of volunteering then my reach grows through them (something like a large tree spreading its branches to offer shade to those who need it).
6) What has been most challenging? What keeps you coming back?
The most challenging – dealing with attorneys who fight just because “it is fun” or they are under the misconception that a “good” lawyer is supposed to make everything difficult. These argumentative attorneys cost the entire system in time, money and energy. Their take pride in harming others rather than settling the matter.
What keeps me coming back – working with other attorneys who have the same commitment to professionalism and making the world a better place for us all. I know this sounds sappy, but it is really how I feel.
7) What would you say to a colleague who expressed interest, but was reticent to join VLP?
A law degree is a privilege, not a right. With that license comes the responsibility for every attorney to help make their community better.
Personal history:
1) Where were you born? Raised? If different than Arizona, how did you come to reside here?
Born in Tucson moved to Phoenix while in grade school
2) Describe your family of origin – people, environment, etc.
My family includes hard working farmers, ranchers and small town people. When I was young my parents operated a mechanical engineering firm in our front room. Mom was the bookkeeper and Dad the mechanical engineer. They moved their business out of the house after the employees outnumbered the five family members. Dinners were spent discussing business issues so, as children, we were immersed into the business world. My parents encouraged early entrepreneur experiences: making and selling Barbie doll clothes or acrylic grapes, plus the traditional lemonade stand and babysitting.
3) Where & what field of studies – undergrad? Grad?
Undergrad – two majors: physio-psychology and criminal justice.
4) Did you have other jobs/profession before becoming a lawyer?
At 19 I took on the most important job – being a mother. To earn extra income I started a seamstress business out of my home. At 21 my career in or around the law started with a receptionist job at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Prior to law school I spent fifteen years with firms of various sizes working as a receptionist, bookkeeper, paralegal; even with a short stint as the janitor in order to earn extra money for law school.
5) When/how did you know you wanted to be a lawyer? What or who influenced you to go to law school?
I always wondered how things worked: vehicles, record players, the human body and the law. I don’t like the heat, so working on vehicles was out. Record players still confound me. The human body was an option, but I wanted more control over my time. Last on the list was the law. This goal was set in stone when, just before graduation from ASU, I attended a presentation in the Great Hall of the ASU School of Law.  There were a few speakers who failed to gain my interest, but then a very imposing man was introduced with a long list of what he had done during his legal career.  Upon taking the podium the speaker asked if we were impressed with his resume’. Overwhelmed by the list of jobs and responsibilities we all muttered “yes”. He laughed and said “the real truth – I get bored easily and need to try something different every few years. The law allows me that opportunity.” My eyes widen with the knowledge that I could make a life in the law while navigating my own course. I really wish I remembered this wonderful man’s name because he really was that “ah ha” moment.
6) Describe your family and/or personal life now.
My immediate family is in Phoenix, including my parents. Between my husband and I we have four girls, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. In 1991 I moved my busy creditor bankruptcy practice to my home, where it still operates today. The family was too large and needed adult supervision. In 2000 my husband joined me and took over the front office responsibilities, including the bookkeeping. As the children left our home morphed from a three bedroom and garage into a one bedroom and 3 offices. Our children were involved in the office and learned the value of good business skills. What 8 year old do you know who has a resume’?
Flora Frye- age 757) Who do you think would be most proud of the work you are doing through VLP?
My grandmother – Flora Frye. Grandmother was not a traditional woman. She worked a man’s job – farming. She was in the military in the 1940s. After retiring from farming she moved to Yuma and established the first Displaced Homemaker program. She haunted the offices of politicians and was a well-known face at the legislature. When I was just entering law school she invited me to attend the opening ceremonies at the State Legislature. The House Chair welcomed her, then turned to me and said “when Flora Frye asks for something you just give it to her because she will keep coming back until you do”. Until that day I was completely unaware how involved she was in politics or the community volunteer world. A few years later she received the Channel 12 award “12 Who Care” (I have her award on my desk). A year after that she was honored by the Governor for her contributions to vulnerable women and children. She graduated from NAU with her doctorate in education when she was 89.

The post Diane L. Drain Named Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Month appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

2 weeks 16 hours ago

Bankruptcy is all about the debtor’s assets, specifically how many and who gets them. The reason that many bankruptcy cases are contentious is that the parties often disagree about the amount of assets available for distribution to creditors, as well as how the assets should be divvied up. Read More ›
Tags: Chapter 13, Eastern District of Michigan