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3 years 10 months ago

In Utah, the annual income tax refund is the most liquidated (taken) asset by bankruptcy trustees.  Why?  Because it is easy pickin's.  Often, the only way to avoid losing the tax refund money to the bankruptcy trustee is to make sure you receive it and spend it (appropriately) prior to filing the bankruptcy.  However, many I meet with are happy to be able to contribute something toward their debts, and/or don't want to delay their bankruptcy filing, so they choose to surrender either part or all of the refund money.  But, losing the money isn't the only consequence of having the trustee go after the refund.  Very often, a chapter 7 case will end up being a "no-asset" case if the trustee can't or won't go after the tax refund.  This means the case normally closes at the time the discharge is granted, meaning the case is completed in about 3 months.  However, if the trustee goes after the tax refund, the case becomes an "asset" case, and this means the trustee will spend months and months collecting the funds, distributing funds to creditors, and filing reports with the bankruptcy court.  It is not uncommon for an asset case to last at least 1 year.  Though the bankruptcy filer is not normally involved in any of the trustee's liquidation operation, the case does remain open which can cause problems in certain financial endeavors, like getting a loan.  Be sure to consider all of these implications when discussing the timing of your bankruptcy filing with a qualified attorney.Adam Brown is a bankruptcy attorney for Dexter & Dexter, a debt relief agency helping people file for bankruptcy.


3 years 10 months ago

It is certainly possible, and sometimes advisable, to file bankruptcy without one's spouse.  Many couples in this scenario want to know how the non-filing spouse will be affected by the bankruptcy, particularly as it pertains to the tax refund, which in Utah ends up being the most commonly liquidated asset in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Normally, the bankruptcy trustee will consider the tax refund to be a joint asset, being owned equally by each spouse.  Sometimes a trustee will prorate the refund based on W2 forms, meaning the higher earning spouse may have a larger ownership share of the tax refund.  So in most cases, if you file bankruptcy without your spouse, your spouse will be able to preserve a portion (usually half) of the tax refund.Adam Brown is a bankruptcy attorney for Dexter & Dexter, a debt relief agency helping people file for bankruptcy.


3 years 10 months ago

It is not uncommon for someone to ask me if they can file a chapter 7 bankruptcy despite having filed a chapter 13 previously.  There are a few scenarios where this is applicable:

  1. Chapter 13 was Dismissed.  A lot of chapter 13 cases get dismissed--the most common reason being the inability to make the monthly payment.  If a chapter 13 case gets dismissed before completing the 3-5 years of monthly payments, then no discharge is granted and the debts remain.  Some choose to begin the chapter 13 process again, but most choose to file a new chapter 7 case.  The fact that you recently filed a chapter 13 case has absolutely no bearing on your ability to file a new chapter 7 case.  The rules governing when and how often you file bankruptcy are centered around the discharge.  If you never received a discharge, then most likely you can file as soon as possible after the dismissal of the previous case.
  2. Chapter 13 was Completed.  If you completed a chapter 13 case, which means you made monthly payments for 3 to 5 years or until 100% of the debts were paid off, then you can file a new chapter 7, but only after a certain amount of time has elapsed since the filing of the previous case.  Again, the time is measured from the "filing" date, not the "discharge" date.  If the plan paid off less than 70% of the unsecured debt, then you'll need to wait 6 years to file a new chapter 7 case.  If you wanted to file a new chapter 13 case, the wait would only be 4 years.  If you paid off more than 70% of the unsecured debt, then you won't have to wait the 6 years to file a new chapter 7 case.

Put simply, you can likely file a chapter 7 bankruptcy immediately if your chapter 13 was dismissed, and you'll likely need to wait 6 years if you received a chapter 13 discharge. Adam Brown is a bankruptcy attorney for Dexter & Dexter, a debt relief agency helping people file for bankruptcy.


4 years 1 week ago

This is the case of Daniel Davis who hails from Chicago, Illinois who is interested in Chapter 7 fresh start.  Mr. Davis does not own any real estate.  He is currently renting from someone in Chicago and he is on a month to month lease.  He owns outright a 1994 Toyota Corolla which is worth […]The post Recommending Chapter 7 Bankruptcy For Daniel Davis Of Chicago, Illinois appeared first on National Bankruptcy Forum.


4 years 6 months ago

This is the case of David Singer from Zion, Illinois which is located in Lake County, Illinois.  Mr. Singer has never filed a bankruptcy before.  He is not a homeowner.  He is living with family and friends.  He owns no vehicle.  He owns very little in the way of personal property.  He has a checking account and a savings account at Chase totaling $1000.  He has minor household goods worth approximately $400 and minor clothing worth approximately $200.  He is single with no dependent children and he is currently unemployed.
He is receiving unemployment income of approximately $740 per month.  His monthly expenses exceed $740 per month that he is bringing in.  So Mr. Singer is definitely in a position to get a fresh start.
Let’s look at Mr. Singer’s debts.  He has credit card bills, approximately $14,000 worth.  He has medical bills of only $2000 and he’s got past-due utilities of approximately $800.  Since he is unemployed and unable to make ends meet, Chapter 7 would be a strong recommendation for Mr. Singer.  Chapter 7 would eliminate the credit card debt, the medical bills and the personal loans and the past-due utility bills.  He would be able to save for his future and he would be able to get a fresh start within approximately 110 days from filing until discharge.
 
 


4 years 6 months ago

This is the case of Elizabeth Sanford who comes from Berwyn, Illinois which is located in Cook County, Illinois.  Elizabeth Sanford has never filed for bankruptcy before, either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  She owns no real estate.  She is currently renting and she is in a yearly lease which expires in March.  She owns a 2007 Mercury Montego which she wishes to surrender.  The finance company is Capital One.  It’s got 150,000 miles on the vehicle and she owes $13,000 on it.  Even though she is current, she wants to surrender and get out of that debt.  She also has a Pontiac through Regional Acceptance and that vehicle she wants to keep because there is a co-debtor and she does not want to see the creditor go after the co-debtor.
She has a checking and savings account at Chase with approximately $60 in both.  She has a security deposit of $900 per month.  She has household goods at $400 per month and normal clothing at $500 per month.  Other than that, she owns no other personal property, no stocks, no bonds, no retirement; no tax refunds expected, no animals.  She is currently single, she has no dependents.  She has been working the past two years as a collection manager earning approximately $55,000 per year.  It works out to approximately $2800 per month plus commission.  In terms of expenses, they total about $2300 per month which includes $900 for rent, $150 for cell phone $150 for laundry, $200 for transportation, $125 for auto insurance and $398 for auto payments.
In the last three years, she has made anywhere from $13,000-$50,000.  She did receive unemployment a couple years back.  She had to close a checking account last year and she has got a couple other addresses in the last four years, one in Chicago, one in DeKalb, Illinois.  She does not owe for student loans but she does have tax debt, federal tax debt owed from 2002 to the present totaling $15,000.
So what I am seeing here is a potential Chapter 13 where over the course of 3 to 5 years, this individual can pay back either all or more likely a portion of the debt that is owed to the creditors.  So a Chapter 13 is my strong recommendation for Ms. Sanford from Berwyn, Illinois.
 
 
 


4 years 6 months ago

This is the case of John Zales who comes to me from Brookfield, Illinois which is located in Cook County.  John is interested in a Chapter 7 fresh start bankruptcy.  He has never filed for bankruptcy before.  He does not own any real estate.  He is currently renting from a landlord in Hodgkin’s, Illinois.  It is a month to month lease.
In terms of vehicles, he has a 1997 Chevy Blazer which is paid for and it’s worth approximately $1500.  He also has a 1969 Chevy Camaro which is estimated at approximately $10,000.  He does have a promissory note from the landlord on that vehicle at $8000, so very little equity what you pay off the promissory note.
In terms of personal property, he’s got a checking and savings account at Bank of America with $200-$400 in the account, minor household goods of $400, three guitars totaling $1500 and normal clothing of $800.  He does have an annuity which is worth approximately $100,000 but he cannot take it out until retirement.  He also has a union pension, same deal.  He is divorced, he’s living by himself and he is currently a laborer and a foreman and he makes approximately $18,000 per year.  He is receiving unemployment right now because his work is seasonal.
In terms of expenses, it’s $800 per month for rent, $25 for water and trash, $120 for cellular phone, $75 for cable TV, $400 for food, $75 for clothing, $300 for gas and transportation, $100 for recreation and auto insurance on the two vehicles is $160 per month.  He is also on a payment plan with the IRS totaling $200 per month.  When you look at the income minus the expenses, there is no money available to repay creditors so in this case, I would recommend a Chapter 7 fresh start bankruptcy and eliminate the $4300 owed to American Express, the $16,000 owed to Discover and the $21,000 owed to Citibank.  So Mr. Zales, Chapter 7 is my strong recommendation for you.
 


4 years 3 months ago

One spouse can file for bankruptcy without the other joining in the process, or even consenting to it. There are many instances where a couple would only want only one spouse to file. If one spouse has all the debt, but all of the assets are in the name of the other spouse, only the... Read More »


1 month 2 weeks ago

One spouse can file for bankruptcy without the other joining in the process, or even consenting to it. There are many instances where a couple would only want only one spouse to file. If one spouse has all the debt, but all of the assets are in the name of the other spouse, only the debt-ridden spouse would file. This would result in the couple keeping all of the assets while getting rid of the unmanageable debt—what is known today as a “win-win” situation.
In the situation where only one spouse files for bankruptcy the income of the non-filing spouse must be included in the budget and the Means Test portions of the filed bankruptcy petition. This is true in both a Chapter 7 filing and a Chapter 13 filing. Sometimes this “additional income” can affect the debtor’s eligibility for Chapter 7 relief, but frequently the income attributable to the non-filing spouse can be effectively negated on the Means Test by use of the Marital Adjustment allowed on line 17 of the Means Test.
If a couple has joint debt but only one spouse files for bankruptcy, the non-filing spouse remains fully liable for all of the joint debt. We frequently hear clients tell us that “my spouse is the primary debtor on the loan, I only co-signed”. This distinction might mean something to you, but in the eyes of the creditor and the law, you are each fully liable. If only one spouse files for bankruptcy in a situation where joint debt is involved, the “family unit” (ie., debtor and non-filing spouse) is still on the hook for all of the joint debt.
The assets individually owned by the non-filing spouse do not have to be listed in the debtor’s petition and, absent any fraudulent transfers involving said assets, are not administered by the Chapter 7 Trustee. However, if assets are jointly owned and only one spouse files, the filing spouse’s interest in the joint asset (usually one-half) is part of the bankruptcy estate and can be administered (ie., liquidated) by the Chapter 7 Trustee in certain circumstances.


4 years 6 months ago

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often used to save a person's home from foreclosure. Under chapter 13, you are allowed to stop the mortgage foreclosure case and catch your mortgage up-to-date. The chapter 13 plan usually involves paying off the mortgage arrearage over a 3 to 5 year period in addition to making your regular ongoing monthly mortgage payments.

If your home has decreased in value, sometimes you are able to wipe out or "avoid" your second mortgage. For example, if you owe $300,000 on your first mortgage and $100,000 on your second mortgage and your home has gone down in value to $299,000, there is no equity or value to "secure" the second mortgage. Under these circumstances, the chapter 13 plan (and related section 506 motion) may provide to wipe out or avoid the second mortgage lien. The $100,000 debt owed on the second mortgage will be wholly unsecured and usually only receive a small dividend like the credit cards receive -- typically around five cents on the dollar.

A certified copy of the order avoiding the second mortgage may be recorded in the county public records to document that the second mortgage is void.Jordan E. Bublick, Miami and Palm Beach, Florida, Attorney at Law, Practice Limited to Bankruptcy Law, Member of the Florida Bar since 1983


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