1 month 1 day ago

In the case of Susan G. Brown v. Douglas Ellmann [1], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the “Sixth Circuit”) recently affirmed a bankruptcy court’s decision to deny a Chapter 7 debtor’s proposed exemptions for the value of redemption rights she enjoyed under Michigan law related to the sale of a property she surrendered to the bankruptcy estate. [1] Case No. 16-1967 (6th Cir., March 20, 2017). Read More ›
Tags: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 7

1 month 5 days ago

Wynn at Law, LLC is honored to be part of more successful real estate offers than we can count since the 2008 recession. Every one of them had five components in common that made for ‘clean’ bids and negotiations without animosity.
1) Know what you’re buying. This means getting your property inspected and making sure that your offer is based on what the inspector says. Making an offer with the inspections waived is a huge gamble with one of your largest investments… it can be done, but it takes a perfect storm of knowing the property extremely well, a bargain on the market as-is, and a knowledgeable attorney in your corner. A tip: Walk through the house with an inspector before your offer.
2) Know what it’s worth. Real estate ‘comps’ show what similar homes have sold for in the area. A good agent will produce them for you. You can also sleuth for them on your own through public records. You’ll know what the owner paid when. You can also find permits issued for renovations the current owner made so you’ll know the work was locally inspected.
3) Know your seller. Is the bank selling the property? Or is the owner distressed? Or is the family selling on behalf of a decedent? Each selling situation has its own nuances. For example, the bank is less emotionally attached to a number than a long-time owner.
4) Know your own finances. Offer c-a-s-h. This is true whether it is your cash, or a lender’s money. From the bank’s perspective in a foreclosure or distressed property, by placing a cash offer they view you as not subject to financing. Regardless of whether it’s bank-owned or family-owned property, the seller’s been previously dealing with offers that involve financing.
5) Know your real estate attorney. Wynn at Law LLC knows the real estate in southeast Wisconsin, most of the agents and many of the local lenders. As we mentioned in a previous article, the sooner in the home-buying process our firm is involved, the more we can assist in a smooth, legally sound transaction.
The fair comes in August
Remember our article on honesty? If you’re low-balling an offer just for the sake of doing it, think twice. This tactic can burn your bridges with local realty professionals and homeowners alike. ‘Fair’ isn’t really a real estate term. It’s a subjective concept: What’s fair to the seller or the buyer or the bank are not likely to be the same. Wynn at Law LLC sees the best offers as being equitable, rather than fair. From our experience, the only ‘fair’ upon which there is objective agreement is the one at the fairgrounds in August.
*The content and material in this original post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
The post Make an equitable real estate offer with these five tips appeared first on Wynn at Law, LLC.

1 month 6 days ago

This is the bankruptcy case study for Mr. C., who resides in Geneva, Kane County, Illinois. He is in the office to determine whether or not chapter 7 bankruptcy will provide the relief that he is seeking. Let’s look at the facts of this particular case. He is currently the owner of a piece of+ Read More
The post Bankruptcy Case Study For T.C., From Geneva, Illinois. appeared first on David M. Siegel.

1 month 6 days ago

Each California bankruptcy case formally begins with a document known as the “voluntary bankruptcy petition,” regardless of whether the debtor is filing under Chapter 13 (wage earner’s plan, reorganization) or Chapter 7 (straight bankruptcy, liquidation). However, while the bankruptcy petition gets the process started, the debtor will also need some additional forms in order to successfully complete the case and obtain a discharge. Our Roseville bankruptcy attorneys list some of the bankruptcy papers and legal documents a debtor may need to complete their case in California. The exact forms each debtor will file depend on his or her financial circumstances, the type of bankruptcy being declared, and other factors, which is one of the reasons it is so important to be represented by an experienced lawyer.

bankruptcy lawyer california
List of Forms for Debtors Filing Bankruptcy in CA
Not every debtor will need to file all of the following forms in order to receive a bankruptcy discharge. For example, a debtor under Chapter 7 will not be required to file Form B 2300B (Order Confirming Chapter 13 Plan), for obvious reasons. To provide another example, there are many Chapter 7 debtors who choose not to file Form B 103B, which is a voluntary application to have the Chapter 7 filing fee of $335 waived. Likewise, only members of the U.S. Armed Forces need concern themselves with Form B 2020 (Statement of Military Service). Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer or Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will analyze your debts, assets, income, and other factors, such as whether you are filing jointly or individually, in order to determine which forms need to be filed and signed, where, and on what dates.
Debtors should keep in mind that failure to submit the necessary documents with complete, accurate, and up-to-date information could cause detrimental delays, or even result in the dismissal of your case by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. If you are suspected of intentionally submitting incomplete or false information on your bankruptcy papers – for example, intentionally concealing assets or failing to list creditors – you could even be prosecuted for fraud.
With that information in mind, California bankruptcy forms include the following documents:

  • Means Testing Forms

    • Form B 122A-1 – Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income
    • Form B 122A-2 – Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation
    • Form B 122B – Chapter 11 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income
    • Form B 122C-1 – Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period
    • Form B 122C-2 – Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income

It is unusual for individual debtors to file under Chapter 11, which is more commonly used by corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other business entities. However, regardless of whether you are a business owner or simply an individual whose financial circumstances happen to be suited to Chapter 11, our Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorneys can help you through the process.

  • Bankruptcy Forms for Individual Debtors

    • Form B 106Dec – Declaration About an Individual Debtor’s Schedules
    • Form B 106Sum – Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities
    • Form B 106A/B – Schedule A/B: Property
    • Form B 106C – Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt
    • Form B 106D – Schedule D: Creditors Who Hold Claims Secured by Property
    • Form B 106 E/F – Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims
    • Form B 106G – Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
    • Form B 106H – Schedule H: Your Codebtors
    • Form B 106I – Schedule I: Your Income
    • Form B 106J – Schedule J: Your Expenses
    • Form B 107 – Your Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
    • Form B 121 – Your Statement About Your Social Security Numbers
  • Additional Forms for Chapter 7 Debtors

    • Form B 108 – Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7
    • Form B 318 – Discharge of Debtor in a Chapter 7 Case
  • Additional Forms for Chapter 13 Debtors

    • Form B 2830 – Chapter 13 Debtor’s Certifications Regarding Domestic Support Obligations
    • Form B 3180W – Chapter 13 Order of Discharge (or Form B 3180WH, which is used for Chapter 13 hardship discharges)

Where Can I Get Bankruptcy Forms for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
All of the bankruptcy forms listed above are available on the internet and can be individually downloaded from the official website of the United States Courts. Alternately, debtors in the Roseville, Sacramento, or Folsom area can download bankruptcy forms by following three steps:

  1. Visit the website for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California at caeb (dot) uscourts (dot) gov.
  2. Scroll down to the section on “Court Information” and click the “Filing and Fee Information” link.
  3. Click on the link to “Forms Package” and wait for the documents to download.

folsom bankruptcy attorney
Contact Our CA Bankruptcy Lawyers for a Free Consultation
The Bankruptcy Group assists individual debtors, married couples, and business owners file for bankruptcy in the Sacramento area. If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy in California, our Folsom Chapter 7 lawyers, Sacramento Chapter 7 lawyers, or Folsom Chapter 13 attorneys can help. For a free and confidential legal consultation about personal bankruptcy or business bankruptcy in California, contact our law offices at (800) 920-5351 today.
The post What Forms Do I Need to File for Bankruptcy in California? appeared first on The Bankruptcy Group, P.C..

1 month 1 week ago

The sign above Soft Touch Car Wash on Broadway in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan declares, “Open 24 hours,” but last month the bustling carwash suddenly closed. It was the same at the four other carwashes owned by the same family in New York City and the surrounding area: the phone lines disconnected, the hoses and wash mops idle and dry.
The operators of the small chain, José and Andrés Vázquez, agreed to pay $1.65 million to 18 employees to settle a federal lawsuit over stolen wages, a significant victory in the battles against wage theft in the city’s low-paying industries.
But the suddenly shuttered carwashes illustrate a persistent problem confronting many low-wage workers not just in New York but across the country: Winning in court is no guarantee that they will ever see much, if any, compensation.
The workers who toiled at the Vázquez carwashes battled for nearly six years before receiving the money they were due, their efforts hampered by the owners having filed for bankruptcy — a well-worn tactic used to avoid paying exploited workers, according to labor advocates. The owners could not be reached for comment.
Now, some New York State lawmakers are renewing a push for legislation that would put in place a type of insurance against this tactic, which crops up in industries from nail salons to restaurants. The measure would essentially enable employees who accuse an employer of wage theft to have a lien placed on the employer’s assets while the outcome is being determined.
“We are improving the lot of low-paid service workers; however, we haven’t attacked this fundamental problem of them giving their work, giving their time, and not getting compensated for it,” said Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan. “And it’s just not something we can tolerate anymore.”
In a setback for workers and their advocates, the measure was dropped from the budget agreement that state lawmakers reached. But a bill with the same measure, introduced this year by Ms. Rosenthal, is poised for a vote this spring in the Assembly.
Selling off houses and businesses — sometimes for a nominal sum, and frequently to a relative — and declaring bankruptcy is a move that experts say business owners often use to avoid paying back wages, overtime or damages, usually as a result of a court order. Under Ms. Rosenthal’s proposal, businesses would not be permitted to sell their assets while a wage dispute was underway.
“We know their tricks,” she said, referring to unscrupulous business owners. “This is an attempt to jump in front of their tricks.”
A 2015 report written by several worker advocacy organizations calculated that between 2003 and 2013, the New York State Department of Labor was unable to collect over $101 million that employers owed workers.
“It’s not surprising that people who are willing to cheat their workers are willing to transfer their assets to prevent their workers from getting what they are rightfully owed,” said Richard Blum, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society who works in the employment law division.
Small-business groups have opposed Ms. Rosenthal’s measure, saying it is an unnecessary and unfair burden on employers.
“It’s based on an accusation, not on proof,” said Denise M. Richardson, the executive director of the General Contractors Association. “An employee who feels aggrieved should not be able to tie up a business’s finances absent any proof that in fact they have been subject to wage theft.”
But workers say they need more powerful tools to battle employers who mistreat them.“Right now, it is very easy for these sweatshop bosses to steal workers’ wages,” said Jin Ming Cao, who has yet to see any of the over $100,000 a judge ordered his former employer, a restaurant in Manhattan, to pay him in 2010, part of $1.5 million settlement involving a group of workers. “Even when they’re found out by a court, they just change names, it’s so easy.”
Laws allowing liens against business owners involved in wage disputes exist in half a dozen states — Alaska, Idaho, New Hampshire, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin — but only Wisconsin permits liens solely based on an allegation of wage theft, according to the National Employment Law Project. In the other states, a lien is allowed only after wage theft has been proved as a result of a lawsuit or an agency investigation, for example.
In New York, rules are already in place to protect workers in a few select industries where wage theft has been a widespread problem. In 2015, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo imposed a requirement that nail salons carry wage bonds, a type of liability insurance designed to prevent the nonpayment of workers.
Nail salon owners have campaigned against the requirement, arguing that the price of carrying such insurance is too burdensome for small businesses like theirs. The cost varies depending on the coverage; carrying a $25,000 bond, for example, would cost an employer between $550 and $700 a year, according to providers.
Last week, lawmakers in West Virginia voted to remove, on similar grounds, a wage bond requirement that had long been in place for construction and mining industries.On a sidewalk outside Manhattan Valley, an Indian restaurant on the Upper West Side, about 100 workers gathered recently to pass out fliers and chant that the proposed state measure, commonly known as Sweat — securing wages earned against theft — needed to become law.
When the restaurant was known as Indus Valley, a group of 10 workers sued and were awarded $700,000 in back wages by a federal judge in 2014. They still have not been paid. The owners have told the court that they sold the restaurant and that Manhattan Valley is a new restaurant with different owners. Workers and advocates claim that is a ruse to avoid payment and that the same owners still run the restaurant.
One of the workers is Efren Caballero De Jesus, 43. He delivered curries, bottled raita sauce and cleaned the kitchen at Indus Valley, often seven days a week, 10 or more hours a day, earning as little as $400 per week, for four years. “I felt degraded,” Mr. De Jesus said.
He was elated when a judge apportioned him over $180,000 of the award in 2015, but three years later, he wonders if he will ever receive anything from the two brothers who owned the restaurant, Phuman and Lakhvir Singh.
“I thought if we got the decision, we were going to collect the money,” Mr. De Jesus said. “I feel very angry.’’
Ahmed Hussain, a server answering the phone at Manhattan Valley on Thursday, said the Singh brothers no longer owned the restaurant. The Singhs could not be reached. Copyright 2017 The New York Times Company.  All rights reserved.

1 month 1 week ago

For over 11 years, the Legal Action television show has been airing on a weekly basis throughout the suburbs of Chicago on Comcast. Providing exceptional legal advice in the area of bankruptcy is a valuable tool for many people who are either considering bankruptcy or who have already made that decision to file. The information+ Read More
The post 11 Years Running appeared first on David M. Siegel.

1 month 2 weeks ago

Going Out of Business
The writing is on the wall and your company must close. Despite throwing everything you had into making the business successful, it’s not working. The funding is depleted. You have drained all your personal resources, emptied the retirement nest egg, mortgaged the home and you are out of cash. You have talked to all the right people–the bankers, the accountants, other business owners–but no one can provide the miracle cure. Payroll is due again, and your not sure where the cash will come from. It’s time to cut your losses. It’s time to close the doors, and you know it.
Somehow you miscalculated the market and you committed yourself to large fixed expenses–rent, equipment purchases, marketing campaigns–that cannot be cut quickly enough. The business is generating cash, but not profits. If you could start all over you would do it differently, but it is too late for that. It’s time to close the doors and start over, but how do you do that?
There is a right way and a wrong way to close a business.
Some owners get nervous and greedy when closing a business. They know the bottom is going to fall out so they stop paying bills, sell off or transfer equipment and stuff money in their own pockets before it all blows up. Maybe they start a new firm and transfer all the assets of the old firm to a new company in the dark of night. This would be the wrong way to close.  Like the cheating spouse who packs his bags and drains the marital bank account before his wife comes home from work leaving a note that says “sorry, I found someone else who makes me feel alive again,” you can imagine the bitter litigation that will ensue.
There is a better way to close a business, a way that leaves your dignity and honor in place.  A way that allows you a fresh start while leaving creditors unhappy but understanding and accepting of the situation.

  • Will you Start a New Business? First, you must decide whether you will continue the business under a new company in the future or if you will work for someone else as an employee. Closing a business is simpler when you plan to work as an employee in another business. In fact, taking a break from being an owner may help distill the lessons of a business failure. But if you will start a new business immediately with all the painfully acquired knowledge of how not to start a business–a wisdom and knowledge you should not undervalue–then you need to consider many things.
  • Incorporating a New Business:  If you will start a new business, it is important that you start with a clean slate.  You should not start a new business using the old corporation and existing company bank accounts. That company is probably “toxic” with liens, judgments, debts, and other baggage. The first step in starting the business over again is to incorporate a new entity with a new taxpayer identification number and with new bank accounts opened at a new bank. New business goes in the new company and old business stays in the old company. Hire an experienced business attorney if possible to organize the new company.
  • Bank Liens, SBA Loans & UCC Statements:  Chances are your old company has a bank loan that may be a Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loan that is secured to all of the equipment, receivables, cash and assets of the old company. You cannot simply transfer assets subject to a bank lien (typically secured by a Security Agreement and perfected by a publicly filed UCC Financing Statement) to the new company without violating the bank’s security agreement. Violating a security agreement is a serious matter. The banks consider this fraud and it is a basis to deny a discharge of the your debts in bankruptcy. Banks can go after assets transferred to the new company improperly. Transferring assets from the old company to the new company is dangerous and should not be done without hiring a competent (i.e., “expensive”) corporate attorney. Generally, it is best to avoid transferring assets at all.
  • Chose a Closing Date:  You need to decide on a date you will close the business.  Maybe you need to finish one last work order. Maybe you feel obligated to deliver a product to a customer or to collect a big receivable first. But you do need to pick a day that you will close the doors and turn over the key to the landlord.
  • Talk to Your Banker:  Your banker is smart. They probably already know the business is struggling and they are watching your account closely. When you decide to close a business start by making an appointment to see your banker. Tell them of your decision to close. Give them a plan of action. There are accounts to collect, equipment to sell, and taxes to be paid. What you are tying to avoid here is an abrupt bank seizure of your assets and freezing of the company bank account. The most qualified person to sell the business equipment is you. Your banker knows that. Since the banker has a lien on all business equipment, they must authorize the sale of the assets. Tell the banker your plan of liquidation. In most cases, the banker is relieved if you can liquidate the assets and turn over the proceeds to the bank.  But why should you go through that effort?  What is the benefit to you? Why not just walk away from the business and let the banker liquidate? That, my friend, is why you need to chat with the banker. This is negotiable. Cut a deal with the banker to keep some of the sales proceeds so you can pay yourself and feed your family for the next month or two. The alternative is to do nothing and let the banker sell the property at an auction. Banks know they get very little at auctions. So, if you know how to liquidate the assets by selling to a competitor or customer, etc., suggest a plan of action to the banker and make the banker sign off on the plan.  You need something in writing from the banker to keep some of the sales proceeds.  If they will not commit to a plan in writing, then sell nothing and let them clean up the mess.
  • Talk to the landlord:  Chances are you are in the middle of a 5-year business lease agreement. Maybe you can no longer pay the full rent. When you know you are closing the doors, call the landlord. Be honest and explain that you are closing the business. If you need time to move the equipment out of the premises, negotiate a date you will have the property removed. Perhaps the landlord would agree to accept a lower rent while you liquidate the business. In fact, don’t ask the landlord for lower rent, just tell them you will pay half the normal rent for the next two months while you wrap up business. It is better to pay something than nothing. Most landlords will grudgingly accept lower rent if you communicate what is happening and give them an exact date you will turn over the keys.  Landlords know it takes many months to lease a property. They have bills to pay too. By giving them advance notice they can advertise the space for lease and benefit from your partial rent payments in the meantime.
  • Pay the Accountant:  When deciding what creditors to pay with the limited cash you have, always pay the accountant first to get the final tax returns filed. Maybe you stopped filing quarterly payroll tax returns because you didn’t want to receive a bill from the IRS.  Bad decision. Get those tax returns filed now. Pay the accountant in advance to complete the year-end tax returns. Importantly, when you do close the business you must check a box on the final quarterly payroll and sales tax returns to say that “this is the final return for this business.” Checking that box tells the IRS that the business is closed and no further returns are required. If you don’t check that box the IRS assumes you are still in business and will file returns for you based on the last return filed.
  • Collect the Receivables:  Once you announce that the company is closing and word spreads that the doors have closed, some customers will stop sending payment. If a big receivable is owed you may want to time the closing after the account is collected. If a bank lien is present, you should negotiate with the bank about how much of the receivables you must turn over to the bank and how much you may keep. The bank would prefer that you do the collection work and will normally agree to some type of split of the receivables.
  • Who Owns the Business Website and Telephone Number?  This is an especially important detail if you plan to continue the business in a new corporation. Did you register the website and phone under your personal name? If so, you may personally own the website and telephone number that may be used in the new company. If the company owns these rights it may be subject to the bank’s lien. Proceed with caution when transferring these to a new company.
  • Talk to the Employees:  This conversation strikes fear in business owners because the moment you tell employees that your business is closing they start to look for new jobs. Another concern is that employees talk, and I mean they talk a lot. Employees who blab about the company closing cause hurricane force rumors to spread throughout your community and competitors and customers pick up on that fast.  So, should you tell employees what is coming their way now or should you wait for that last week and make a surprise announcement? It really depends. Most employees already have a visceral notion that the business is closing, so why not be open about it and talk through the transition? That will make it easier to let nonessential employees go now and it gives employees a head start in looking for new employment. Some will leave sooner than you like, but most will stay to the last day and appreciate every work hour you can give.
  • Don’t Cheat Your Employees:  If you can’t afford to pay employees for their wages, let them go now.  Don’t keep them working only to announce that you don’t have enough cash to pay their wages now but that you will try to pay them later.  They say that Hell hath no furry like a women scorned, and cheated employees are not far behind.  If you scam them they will poke back with sharp objects.
  • What to Tell Creditors: When you can’t pay invoices on time, the phone will ring. What do you tell creditors? If bankruptcy is going to be filed, that is usually the best thing to say. When creditors hear that you are filing bankruptcy they usually stop calling and wait for the court notice.
  • Get Organized:  If filing bankruptcy is in your future, your bankruptcy attorney will need a complete list of the debts showing the name and address of each creditor, the amount owed to each creditor, tax returns for the past 2 years, bank statements for 6 months, and a Profit and Loss Statement for the past 6 months.

When you know a business must be closed, don’t go it alone.  Get expert advice now from experienced counsel.  Set an appointment to chat with an attorney who knows how to land a Boeing 747 on a two lane highway.  Click here to schedule a consultation.
Image courtesy of Flickr and timetrax23.

1 month 2 weeks ago

I’m So Afraid To File Bankruptcy There is a very common concern or fear among those that are in debt with regard to filing for bankruptcy relief. They fear what they don’t know. They don’t know whether they are going to ever get credit again. They fear whether the entire world is going to find+ Read More
The post In Fear Of Filing For Bankruptcy? appeared first on David M. Siegel.

Don’t Be Fooled by These 6 Lies Told by Student Loan Servicers

1 hour 21 min ago

Don’t Be Fooled by These 6 Lies Told by Student Loan Servicers

4 hours 22 min ago