3 years 8 months ago

  Advantages of Bankruptcy As part of our work with clients considering bankruptcy, we want to make sure you understand all of your options. When you are faced with stress and overwhelming debt, bankruptcy can be one option that can quickly end creditor harassment. When you file for bankruptcy, your creditors must stop calling or […]The post Advantages and Disadvantages of Bankruptcy appeared first on Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys Trezza & Associates.

3 years 10 months ago

bankruptcyFiling for bankruptcy with limited income is possible, but it often depends on personal circumstances.  In such situations, debtors may qualify to file Chapter 7 instead of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  In Chapter 13, you agree to a repayment schedule approved by the court based on your ability to repay.  If your debt obligations qualify for [...]

3 years 10 months ago

bad guy thievesTake three simple steps and your risk of identity theft plummets.
Identity theft can ruin your financial life, so you do what you can to minimize the risks.
You check your credit report, dispute the errors and keep tabs on your day-to-day finances.
You pore over your credit card statements each month to ferret out anything that looks amiss.
Still, the risks remain.
How about we make it even easier?
What’s In Your Wallet?
You carry a lot in your wallet.
You’ve got your driver’s license, credit cards, and medical insurance card.
You may carry your Social Security card with you.
If you lose your wallet, think of the treasure trove of information someone receives.
Your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number are all neatly packaged and delivered into the hands of the identity thief.
With that information, a thief can do pretty much as he or she pleases with your credit identity.
If you remove your Social Security card from your wallet, identity theft becomes more difficult.
If you keep your driver license at home or in your car with your vehicle insurance card, your home address disappears from an identity thief’s view.
Cut down the number of credit and debit cards you carry to pare it down even further.
Shred It To Forget It
Look at your garbage bins and consider the wealth of personal information that’s there for the taking. Credit card statements, bank statements, and more are readily available to anyone who grabs a bag of trash.
Buy an inexpensive shredder at your local office supply store and shred it before tossing out those statements.
Never just throw that stuff away.  You never know who is going through your garbage.
Lock It Up
Now take a walk through your home and think about the documents you’ve got in various nooks and cubbyholes, drawers and such. Credit cards, Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports and more are there for the taking.
One break-in and you’re at risk in a big way.
Buy an inexpensive safe, mount it in a safe place, and tuck away your documents and important papers. Best if the safe is fireproof and waterproof just in case the house is damaged by fire or flood.
Lock It Down
Finally, let’s talk about your computer. If you lose your laptop or someone steals your desktop, you’re up the creek.
Passwords, scanned files and emails are ripe for the picking. Couple that with the photos you’ve got on your computer of your smiling face, and all a thief needs to do is search your hard drive.
Consider encrypting your computer’s hard drive and password-protecting the system. It will keep your data – and your identity – safe from prying eyes.
In the end, there’s nothing you can do to guarantee the safety of your identity. But if you take these three simple steps, you’ll reduce your risk significantly.
Image credit:  Dunechaser
Guard Against Identity Theft With These Three Easy Steps was originally published on Consumer Help Central. If you're seeing this message on another site, it has been stolen and is being used without permission. That's illegal, a violation of copyright, and just plain awful.

3 years 10 months ago

Debt-tmagArticleBringing you the most up-to-date news, tips and blogs throughout the web. Here’s your Bankruptcy Update for July 11, 2013 Debt collectors and credit reporting companies bracing for  intense scrutiny after the government’s watchdog group unveiled broad plans to regulate financial firms  Corporate Insiders Shift From ‘Buy’ to ‘Sell’ as Bankruptcy Nears Court Rejects Bid to Put [...]

3 years 10 months ago

Dealing with Divorce during Chapter 13 BankruptcyWhen considering bankruptcy as an option to get you the financial relief you are seeking, taking the time to consult with a bankruptcy expert can make a big difference in how you proceed in choosing the best solution.  This is the perfect opportunity to gain clarity about the process and whether it is the best [...]

3 years 10 months ago

Unless you are uber-rich, you may only be an illness away from bankruptcy. As early as 2009, CNN reported that 62 percent of all United States personal bankruptcies could be traced to medical bills. Even more shocking, many of those forced into bankruptcy by medical bills are middle class people with health insurance.
What is going on? Will the Affordable Care Act fix this lunacy?
Prior to 2013, many health insurance policies had lifetime limits. If an insured had a serious costly illness, they could easily reach the medical insurance policy limit, leaving that person without insurance.
Even the elderly do not escape when covered with Medicare Part A and B. There are copays associated with Part B, and limits on days of skilled nursing care, rehabilitation care and more. Those copays can quickly add up for someone on a fixed income, choosing to pay rent or pay a medical bill is not uncommon and these folks are especially vulnerable to forced bankruptcy stemming from medical bills.
Although health care costs were largely related to these bankruptcy filings, poor health caused bankruptcy indirectly by causing lost income due to medical leave from work or perhaps taking a mortgage out to pay medical bills, and being unable to pay it back later.
The Huffington Post recently ran a story by Richard Eskow in which he argued that while the Affordable Care Act has its good points; it still does little to help folks with the high cost of care. A family of four can now expect to pay nearly $10,000 for health care – this includes costs for the family share of insurance premiums, copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses. This is the highest cost of any Western country in the world. If medical expenses are pushing you towards bankruptcy, contact an experienced bankruptcy debt attorney.
The CNN story did express some doubt that the number of bankruptcies did not accurately define the problem that American families have with medical costs. While medical bills may have pushed many into bankruptcy, more families most likely continue to limp along – the threat of bankruptcy only one more illness or unpaid day off from work away.
Peter Cunningham, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan policy research organization in Washington, D.C. says that his organization estimates that issues related to medical bills unduly stress around 20 percent of American families.
Today, bankruptcy does not carry the same stigma it did only a few years ago. If you find that your medical bills combined with your other obligations make it difficult or impossible to pay all you owe you should contact an experienced bankruptcy and debt attorney for help.

2 years 2 months ago

Written by: Robert DeMarco
United States Bankruptcy Laws – The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”) (Pub.L. 109–8, 119 Stat. 23, enacted April 20, 2005) was actually first drafted in 1997 and was passed by the 109th United States Congress on April 14, 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush on April 20, 2005..  The House of Representatives approved a version titled the “Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999″ and the Senate approved a slightly different version in 2000.  After reconciliation, Congress passed the “Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2000″, but President Clinton, vetoed the bill by waiting for the “lame-duck Congress” to adjourn without signing it.  The bankruptcy bill was subsequently re-introduced in each successive Congress, but was continuously shelved due to significant opposition and threats of a filibuster.  Things changed in 2004 as the Republicans took control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The revised bankruptcy bill was introduced by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and was supported by President George W. Bush. The bill passed by large margins:  302-126 in the House; and 74-25 in the Senate.  The Bill was later signed by President Bush.
BAPCPA made several significant changes to the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. Some of the more significant change BAPCPA made to the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 are as follows:
Means Testing:  BAPCPA implemented a process of means testing in an effort to limit access to the bankruptcy process.  The means testing focuses primarily upon a variety of budget issues such as income, household expenses, car payments, house payments and the like.  However, the means test is not based entirely upon reality.  The means test allows for the prospective debtor to make use of certain actual expenses (i.e. mortgage payments), but otherwise requires the use of standardized expenses (i.e. vehicle maintenance).  Depending upon the results of the means test there could arise a presumption of abuse which must be rebutted if the bankruptcy is to proceed.
Automatic Stay:  The automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 were modified significantly by BAPCPA.  There is now a presumption that repeat filings constitute bad faith and require the party seeking to impose the stay (usually the debtor) to rebut the presumption by clear and convincing evidence.  BAPCPA also limited the applicability of the automatic stay in eviction proceedings.
Credit Counseling:  BAPCPA also requires that all individual debtors (chapter 7, 11, or 13) complete a credit counseling course as a condition precedent to filing bankruptcy.  Further, chapter 7 and 13 debtors must, as a condition to obtaining a discharge, complete an instructional course concerning personal financial management.  11 U.S.C. §§ 727(a)(11); 1328(g)(1).
Discharge:  BAPCPA also provided more protections to creditors because it expanded the exceptions to discharge. The presumption of fraud in the use of credit cards was expanded.  BAPCPA amended § 523(a)(8) to broaden the types of educational (“student”) loans that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy absent proof of “undue hardship.” The nature of the lender is no longer relevant.  Thus, even loans from “for-profit” or “non-governmental” entities are not dischargeable.
Moreover, the Chapter 13 “super-discharge” that was available under the 1978 Bankruptcy Code is greatly reduced under BAPCPA.  As such, BAPCPA no excepts from discharge in a chapter 13 most tax obligations and debts stemming from fraud and false statements; unscheduled debt; obligations stemming from defalcation by a fiduciary; domestic support obligations; student loans; damage claims stemming from drunk driving injuries; criminal restitution and fines; and damages rewarded for willful or malicious personal actions causing personal injury or death.
Exemptions:  BAPCPA made significant changes to the exemption provisions that existed in the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978.  One purpose in doing so was to prevent prospective debtors from forum shopping.  Exemptions define the amount of property a debtor may protect from levy and garnishment.  Typically, every state has exemption laws that define the amount of property that can be protected from creditor collection action within the state, and as one can imagine each state’s exemption laws differ. Further, there is, depending on the state, a federal exemption statute that that might be used in bankruptcy cases.
Under BAPCPA, a debtor who has moved from one state to another within two years of filing (730 days) the bankruptcy case must use the exemption laws from the place of the debtor’s domicile for the majority of the 180 day time period preceding the two years (730 days) before the filing [11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)]. If the new residency requirement would render the debtor ineligible for any exemption, then the debtor can choose the federal exemptions.
BAPCPA also, implemented a “cap” on homestead exemptions.  Where the prospective debtor, within 1215 days (about 3 years and 4 months) preceding the bankruptcy case added value to the homestead  in excess of $125,000 that value cannot be exempted. The only exception is if the value was transferred from another homestead within the same state or if the homestead is the principal residence of a family farmer [11 U.S.C. § 522(p)].  This “cap” would apply in situations where a debtor has purchased a new homestead in a different state, or where the debtor has increased the value to his/her homestead (presumably through improvements or paying down the mortgage).
Thus is the terse and convoluted history of American Bankruptcy Law. While it might not be the most glamorous of tales to tell, it was critical to the development of trade and commerce in the western world. “The power of establishing uniform laws of bankruptcy is so intimately connected with the regulation of commerce, and will prevent so many frauds, where the parties or their property may lie, or be removed into different states, that the expediency of it seems not likely to be drawn in question.” Madison, James, The Federalist No. 42, The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered (Tuesday, January 22, 1788).
DATED:  July 11, 2013
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3 years 10 months ago

debt collector calls make people angrySay the wrong thing to a debt collector and you’ll make things worse.
I’m in a unique situation when it comes to knowing about how debt collectors operate. By virtue of what I do for a living, I hear at least a dozen stories of debt collection procedures each week, seen through the eyes of people who need my help.
It’s not often pretty, but more often than not I find myself wincing when someone tells me about the conversation.
There’s debt collection harassment to be sure. And my clients are experiencing financial hardships the likes of which most people can’t fathom.
But if people would only keep their rights in mind when the debt collectors call, things would be so much better.
Time And Place Of Debt Collection Calls
A debt collector can’t call you:

  1. at work if they know you’re not allowed to take non-work calls;
  2. once you let them know in writing that you not longer want them to call you;
  3. if you’re represented by a lawyer and they know how to reach that lawyer;
  4. at inconvenient times; or
  5. repeatedly (the original phone bombing).

Content Of Debt Collection Calls
A debt collector can’t:

  1. lie to you;
  2. threaten you with jail (unless that’s legal);
  3. threaten you with a lawsuit (unless they actually sue people for past due debts);
  4. call you names, threaten to harm your reputation, or use profane language;
  5. threaten to tell other people about your debt problems;
  6. make any false statements – including that they’re going to take your money or property; or
  7. misrepresent anything about the debt – including the amount due or the name of the creditor.

Are these the only things they can’t do? No, but you get the picture – they can’t lie, cheat or threaten you. Period.
What To Say And Do When A Debt Collector Calls
The key to a successful conversation with a debt collector is in remaining calm and rational. If you spin out of control, it’s not going to work.
With that in mind, here’s what to do:

  1. write down the date and time of the call;
  2. write down the name and phone number of the person who is calling you;
  3. write down the name of the debt collection agency and the agency’s reference number;
  4. write down the name of the original creditor to which you owe the money;
  5. ask if the debt has been transferred or sold and, if so, the name of that entity as well as their reference number if it differs from the account number;
  6. confirm and write down the amount claimed to be due.

From there, tell the debt collector that you will be requesting information from them with respect to the debt so that you are able to match it up with your records. Ask for a fax number to send your request, and be sure to write it down.
You should then send a letter to the debt collector specifically demanding that they cease all communications with you, and send it by fax. Keep the letter as well as a copy of the fax transmission sheet showing the date and time of delivery. This gives you the ability to control the means of collection rather than being on the defensive.
If there’s any doubt whatsoever as to the validity of the debt or the amount claimed, request validation and verification of the debt as well.
The Ball’s In Your Court
Now you’ve got all the information about the debt, and you demanded that the debt collector stop calling you.
That doesn’t mean you’re out of debt, though. It simply means you’ve got enough to go on, you’ve turned off the heat of collection calls, and you’re in control.
You can now set on creating a plan of attack to get rid of the bill problems. Investigate your options and act accordingly.
Image credit:  andy_tyler
When Debt Collectors Call, Know Your Rights was originally published on Consumer Help Central. If you're seeing this message on another site, it has been stolen and is being used without permission. That's illegal, a violation of copyright, and just plain awful.

3 years 4 months ago

Here is what to expect when you first meet a chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney:     

I, like most Fresno attorneys, do not charge for the first consultation.  If you contacted an attorney that wants to charge right away, try someone else first.  Remember, your chief goal is to determine whether you should file bankruptcy.  It's also important to feel comfortable with the attorney.  Trust your instincts.  There are a lot of attorneys that file Chapter 7 bankruptcies in Central California. 

The first meeting can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.  The attorney's goal should be to explain the bankruptcy process and determine whether bankruptcy is the best solution.  

This first meeting will broadly the bankruptcy process.  You should have all your questions answered.  The attorney should have a broad understanding your personal finances.  These topics include your assets, income, and expenses.  At the end, you should feel more comfortable deciding whether you want to file bankruptcy.  You should be quoted a price to file bankruptcy.  I typically charge between $1200 and $1500 per bankruptcy.  The Eastern District of California Bankruptcy Court charges $306.  There are two online bankruptcy classes that cost as low as $35. 

It is helpful to bring copies of the following documents: 

1.  Driver License

2.  Social Security Card 
3.  Last two years of filed tax returns 
4. Last six months income stubs.  (Pay stubs, unemployment, disability, etc.)  5.  Lawsuits, garnishments, foreclosures, abstract of judgments or tax liens.
6. Retirement statements (Your most recent 401k, PERS, STRS, and/or pension statements
7. Title certificates to all cars, trailers, Boats, etc.  8. Most recent invoice statements to vehicles and real property

9. Life insurance policies.

10. Credit report from (the free report)

11. If you are required to pay child support or alimony, than provide Marriage Agreement and court order.

12.  License of professionals, e.g. sales agent, truck driver, attorney.   

Ken Jorgensen, California