The actual costs to file bankruptcy in Riverside County or anywhere for that matter is $299 for a chapter 7 and $274 for a chapter 13. There are also two classes that are now required by the bankruptcy code and some providers charge up to $50 dollars but I have found two that are reasonable and that you can do for $5 and $15 for the second class. I charge people $30 for an individual and 50 for a joint couple to pull their credit reports which then downloads all creditors into my software. Essentially then for me there are $350 dollars in fees that go out of my pocket to file a case on behalf of my clients. Most bankruptcy attorneys start the fees at $1500 for a chapter 7 and that is just for attorney fees so many are $1850 or more in order to file. I try to start around $1200 for a basic case but if its really simple and not a lot of assets to protect, financing on cars, saving a house from foreclosure etc then I’ve been known to charge $1000 dollars. A typical case for me is 12-15 hours of work and then I have my own cost of running a business so I’m about as reasonable as they come for a qualified bankruptcy attorney. I do all the work myself occasionally using virtual paralegals for data entry and gathering of documents when I get too busy, but I pride myself on having a personal relationship with my clients throughout the whole process. I see the type of work that the bankruptcy mills churn out and they charge as much as I do and there clients only meet there attorney for 30 minutes and then show up at the hearing. Bankruptcy work needs someone that you feel comfortable with and that answers the right questions and best protects you to help you move forward with your fresh start. I vary my prices on a sliding scale and understand what people are going through in this economy and what a personal decision this is so please call my office to find out what chapter to file or if bankruptcy is right for you.
As a Palm Springs and Riverside County Bankruptcy attorney I have been getting more and more calls from Weltman, Weinberg & Reis and other firms which claim they have a purchase money security interest in my clients items that we have listed to discharge on schedule F. Typically they are Best buy cards, K jewelers or other Dept. store cards where when you buy things they claim that their security is what you buy and therefore is not unsecured credit card debt. Usually I ignore them and they go away and if they don’t file a proof of claim or an objection to discharge then the items are my clients. They will typically give me an offer to knock down the price to 40% of what they owe and ask us to sign a reaffirmation agreement but many of these creditor attorneys are so busy and getting sloppy when I ask what my client bought that they are claiming a security interest in the creditors don’t even know so how can we return things that they don’t know what they are. Therefore I ignore them and so far they have yet to file an objection to discharge. One creditor was able to figure out that my client bought a fridge at Best buy and they claimed an interest in the fridge where as if this was a chase visa or bank of america card its unsecured debt and therefore no security, but being a best buy card they claimed it was their fridge or we could pay $200. It would cost a lot to get a truck out to my clients house to pick up a fridge and then they have to sell the fridge and according to my clients it was a crappy fridge and they didn’t care if they came and picked it up. Needless to say my clients got there discharge and the fridge is there. Don’t be intimidated and reaffirm debts that you can probably ignore and get discharged. Its consistently worked for me.
Foreclosures currently represent 45% of all existing sales in California while nationally the number is at 28%. There are 3 years of inventory for foreclosed homes that will clog the market and keep the housing market from jumping back. As a bankruptcy attorney in Palm Springs and Palm Desert I have seen the banks continually postpone foreclosures as they do not want to release more homes into an already depressed and saturated housing market. I have had multiple cases that I was about to file and consistently the banks postpone the foreclosure month after month. Its good for my clients who are living Mortgage free for months but will probably create a slower recovery so I am torn on this issue. Bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure on the brink of a trustee sale and keep the home from being foreclosed on for at least an additional 3 months and I have seen it take 6 months after filing a bankruptcy (chapter 7) for a foreclosure to start again. This is for people with no intentions of keeping there home but who need to save money and buy time in their current homes. Chapter 13’s are for people who just need time to get caught up on arrears but want to save their homes. Chapter 7 you can keep your home but if you have arrears you’ll have to get caught up quick or the bank can move forward with general foreclosure guidelines.
Foreclosed homes really drag the market down and can help with Comps if you want to strip an upside down mortgage. When junior liens no longer have value because current maket value on homes is below what the first is owed, we can strip those liens in a chapter 13 and treat them as unsecured debt and have them discharged. Foreclosed homes and so called REO’s are usually sold for 35% below market value where as short sales are sold around 10% below current market value. All these conditions lead me to believe that Bankruptcy will continue to be a way out and relief for home owners. Talk to a riverside county bankruptcy attorney in regards to options that you have in saving your home or buying time to live in your home so to save money and move forward with your fresh start.
If you are in receipt of a letter from the sheriff’s office or have received a letter of intent for a wage garnishment from your employer or HR person, then the clock is ticking and bankruptcy is likely the best option. Wage garnishments have the ability to collect 25% of your wages. There have been very few bankruptcy cases that I have ever seen where the trustee payments are as high as the amount that my clients lose in wage garnishments. Sometimes if your income is below the median income then a chapter 7 can stop the garnishment and you’ll pay nothing back to your creditors. If you are in a high income bracket then you’ll possibly have to do a chapter 13 and pay back whatever your disposable monthly income is to creditors. We take all your reasonable and allowable expenses and see what is left over. Even or people that are making 100,000 dollars or more a year I typically get a plan payment of less than 1000 dollars a month where as with that kind of income a wage garnishment would be taking out 2000 dollars or more. Bankruptcy also offers a lot of other benefits such as the ability to strip liens, cram down financed cars to the current market value. So don’t let a wage garnishment stop you in your tracks, bankruptcy can be a fluid way to reorganize and it will come with some serious benefits and get your financial life back on track and improve your credit score quicker then letting the judgments continue to come in.
More and more of my Bankruptcy clients are being sued by The Law offices of Patenaude and Felix. They are based in San Diego and have many California lawyers who sue on credit card debt. If you have been served a summons or are being sued or looking at a default judgment from this law firm then we should look at bankruptcy as a potential option or possibly trying to settle the debt if you can come up with a lump sum payment. Default judgments will allow them to collect 25% of your net income through a wage garnishment and for most people even who make a lot of money a chapter 13 plan will be much less on a monthly basis then the loss of 25% of your wages. If you are below the median income you can do a chapter 7 bankruptcy and most likely keep all your assets. Call my office to find a solution to your legal problems with Patenaude and Felix.
Have you been served or sued by Legal recovery offices on behalf of a Portfolio Recovery account. I have been noticing more and more clients with old debts that are getting law suits by this firm in San Diego. There is still time to settle the suit and hopefully for pennies on the dollar since that is what they bought it for. California has a 4 year statute of limitations on written contracts and it seems like this firm likes to sue people right before that runs which usually means they bought the account for very cheap. I have been successful in negotiating good settlements with them and if they don’t want to settle we can always file chapter 7 bankruptcy and either extinguish it or pay it back over time for less than what is owed at 0% interest. Now is the not the time to wait if you have been sued by this firm. Call my office to discuss options.
HELOC’s or Home Equity Lines of Credit were pretty popular during the boom years and I’d put a good bet are a thing of the past for near distant future. Riverside County has lost 8 years of value in homes. I’ve seen many homes that are worth 50% of what is owed on a 1st mortgage. Homes that are underwater to the point that you owe more to the first then the home is worth are eligible for lien strips in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This has been enticing enough for some clients that I have that even though their unsecured credit is minimal and typically would not fit a profile that had bankruptcy in their future, have led them to seek bankruptcy relief as a form of restructuring their mortgage. The amount of loan modifications that are being denied and peoples desire to get out of bad housing deals make bring them to the steps of the bankruptcy court. If you are in this position call a riverside bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.
Chapter 13 bankruptcies are twice the usual amount on a monthly basis in Riverside County. I filed 3 Chapter 13’s last month and was amazed at how slow the trustee’s were to responding to issues in my cases. When I inquired I was told that filings are around 1000 for the month of December as opposed to the typical 500 that their office reviews. I don’t know if higher income people are needing to file or more people are being enticed with the potential for discharging 2nd mortgages and HELOC loans. I know 2 of the cases that I filed the clients qualified for Chapter 7 but chose to do a 13 because of a 50k dollar HELOC loan that we could discharge through the bankruptcy with the making of minimal payments over 3 years. The chapter 13 trustees while busy are still extremely persistent in examining the cases that I have sent over. They even went to the point of calculating my clients commute mileage when I put in an expense of 650 dollars for transportation costs. They thought that 550 was more reasonable based on their commutes. I hadn’t even calculated commutes and took my clients at face value and don’t know costs for oil changes etc which all get wrapped up in that expense. Even with the magnifying looking eye of the Chapter 13 office for many people it is the best way to go if your house is really upside down and you want to keep it. Either paying back arrearages or getting rid of 2nd homes makes Chapter 13 a better advantage to a 7 for some clients
Desert Hot Springs is only the second city in the United States to seek Bankruptcy protection. They didn’t pay on a lawsuit that called for them to pay 3 million dollars and decided to file bankruptcy. They were able to come out their bankruptcy by buying bonds and have restored to great financial shape. In 2001 the city had to file because a major part of the debt , approximately $6 million owed to developers and their attorneys who won a Fair Housing Act suit against the city. The city had 8 million in debts it could not pay.
If you live in desert hot springs the median income is around 25,000 dollars and below the states median income which allows people to qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy in which you can protect at least 23,000 dollars in assets through the wild card exemption and up to 100,000 if you use the homestead exemption. Bankruptcy is not the end as the city of desert hot springs saw but a new beginning. The city is now within its budget and got a fresh start through the bankruptcy code.
Mann Bracken LLC , Professional Recovery Services Inc, Receivable Management Inc, Capital Management, Frederick J Hanna and Associates PC, Zwicker and Associates, Hemar and Rousso, are some of the debt collectors that I have had to deal with the most in terms of law suits or law debt collection activities. Zwicker and Fredrick J. Hanna, Mann Bracken are so big that they would rather pursue collection activities and work on settlements, then go to trial quickly. If coming up with a reasonable percentage is something that you can do then settling some of these accounts can be worth your while. If your debts are overwhelming then you really need to look into the bankruptcy laws and realize that most if not all of your assets can be protected.