Articles Posted in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Petition preparers are cheap but don’t add value to your case.

Be wary of all the advertisments for $200 dollar bankruptcies. While a petition preparer can offer typing services and help put your assets and debts in the right places, and maybe help determine your six months of income necessary to do the means test. They cannot offer legal advise or help you with exemptions. Read this article before turning to a low cost petition preparer. As an attorney I see bankruptcy cases every day and see how the trustee’s look at issues and understand how to protect all your assets and make sure that everything is included so that you get your discharge and not your case dismissed.

Failure to mention a potential asset such as an unresolved personal injury case or employment law case can make it where its subject to the trustee and property of the estate instead of exempt and yours to enjoy and protect.

35864_408842683362_630578362_4201547_7208102_n.jpgFormer Chips star Larry Wilcox file for Bankruptcy amid criminal charges brought by the SEC. This story was particularly interesting to me as Larry Wilcox was a bit of a hero to me as a kid and over the last 5 years I have been told that I look just like him. He has 1.5 million dollars in debt and owes an enormous amount in back taxes. This case will be interesting to follow as he has also been charged with being a part of an organized company that sold fake stock certificates. Its hard to believe that someone who played the clean role of Chips actor is involved in a criminal enterprise.

Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision but if things are starting to get better for you economically but you are still mired in debt then there is no time like the present to get bankruptcy advice from a riverside county bankruptcy attorney. The type of bankruptcy you qualify for depends on your last six months of income and once things start getting better if getting out of previous debt is still a priority, its likely you’ll be in a five year plan and subject to a restricted budget. Chapter 13 offers many benefits but its nice to be able to make the decision to choose between a chapter 7 or chapter 13 and by waiting until your income goes back up, it might be a choice you won’t have.

I was just reminded the other day by a client that had his Wells Fargo account frozen upon his filing the need to close out Wachovia or Wells Fargo accounts before you file. While it doesn’t affect your ability to keep your money typically, it can be a real pain and put you in a predicament if bills are due and you don’t have incoming money. Wells Fargo for some reason feels like they need to act a trustee for your bank accounts upon the filing of a bankruptcy. Credit unions can do this as well, and I have heard of Union Bank doing the same thing. It ties your money up until the trustee signs off that they were exempt funds. This can take a few days to up to 3 weeks so if you are filing and you have an active account with Wells Fargo take your money out and put them in a different bank account. I typically let my clients know that if you owe money to a bank that you have money in such as credit union credit card and credit union bank account they can set off the funds you owe them with the funds in your account. I always look for accounts owed and bank accounts with the same institution. The client I forgot to warn about as we did the petition really quickly to stop a wage garnishment only owed money to AMEX and I forgot that Wells in notorious for freezing accounts. Fortunately the money is exempt and he’s paid in two days(new money that comes in is not frozen). We will have to have the trustee sign off that the money is exempt and he’ll have it back within a week or so, but heed this warning that Wells Fargo will freeze your account upon the filing of a chapter 7 petition.

1277800997h0y8zD.jpgPersonal bankruptcy rose 9% in July according to the Wall Street Journal. That is a anumber of close to 138,000 in one month leading me to believe that 2010 will be the highest number of filings in five years. 2009 saw 1.4 million people file and we are already at 900,000 for 2010. For people who have had the credit rating reduced and are having a hard time finding a credit source, bankruptcy becomes one of the only ways to get out of a financial mess. The 2005 bankruptcy changes have had little impact in terms of reducing the number of filings. The main purpose was to force people into chapter 13 but creating the means test and the % of chapter 13’s have not drasstically changed and many people still qualify for chapter 7 relief.

California has almost jumped 30% in the nmber of filings as opposed to a year ago. With Riverside County having 15% unemployment I don’t see the trend stopping any time soon. One out of every 125 households has filed for bankruptcy protection in the last year. It is beoming apparantly obvious that bankruptcy has lost some of the stigma that was traditionally associated with it. My opinion is that it inevitably becomes a stimulous to the economy since consumers get to spend again instead of putting all there money into interest fees that have skyrocketed even while banks are borrowing money at less than 1%. 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending and sometimes being able to walk away from deficiency judgments and potential wage garnishments is better than contributing to bank profits when the banks are failing to put that money back into our communities. If you are paying to much in interest rates or are facing foreclosure or other financial problems, talk to a California Bankruptcy attorney who practices in all the federal districts.

1237684002Bp1Hme.jpg Everyday I have clients that wonder whether they should continue to make payments on a home that has lost so much value. I think you need to consider whether you are in an interest only loan and the payments will reset to something that is not affordable. The other consideration I take into account are what the prices for a rental would be and if its similar then potentially staying in your home is a better bet depending on how far behind on your mortgage or upside down you are and therefore the length of time it will take to build equity. As a bankruptcy attorney I believe it is imperative to go over all options with a client and let them make a informed decision.

Hunt and Henriques seems very trigger happy to sue but not so diligent in taking care of their lawsuits. If you have been sued by Hunt and Henriques or recently received a summons, there are several options available. You can file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can try to negotiate with them before they get a judgment and most likely can get 70% settlement on what you owe. You can fight the lawsuit and hope they don’t follow the local court rules which isn’t as unlikely as you’d imagine. This is a major debt collector structured as a law firm, but one that is hard to get a hold of and one that doesn’t necessarily show up with the right documents to court.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy if you qualify will wipe out the debt completely. A chapter 13 will allow you to pay pennies on the dollar or if you have a lot of assets or money at least stretch your payments over 3-5 years depending on your income level. Hunt and Henriques is the biggest collector for Citi and if you spend any time trying to get a hold of them you will see why I believe optimism should prevail in the fact that you’ve been sued by a debt collector who doesn’t follow through with all their cases.

533138_law_and_order.jpgI am now a local Bankruptcy Attorney for Riverside County.

I have been filing cases here for over three years but have recently decided to move my family to be able to service more bankruptcy clients. The riverside bankruptcy court is the busiest bankruptcy court in the country. In 2009 there were close to 120,000 cases filed here. The second largest was in Florida with 60,000 cases. Most of my business has come from this area for quite some time, but I also handled cases in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Modesto, Sacramento. I will still take cases in the Northern and Eastern District and either fly there for the 341 hearing or pay a special appearance to do so.

My new focus will be serving the people of Riverside County and will occasionally drive to San Diego or L.A. for cases that I take on there. I have an a great relationship with many of the trustees in Riverside and have already built trust in the cases that I have been filing in Riverside court for 3 years.

Bankruptcy can be very predictable if I have all the facts and I have never had a client who did not get a discharge or have their case go in the direction that I predicted.

It’s best to talk to a bankruptcy attorney before allowing your situation to get worse. There are a lot of things we can do to protect your assets and prepare for a case and I can advise you on pitfalls not to take and make sure you keep things that are exempt currently in that position. It troubles me to see people who have cashed out retirement funds and other exempt items and ended up filing for bankruptcy anyways.
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