Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

Being an adult is rough. As an adolescent we would hesitate to do things, worried about what our peers would think, and often, being an adult is no different. Being an adult doesn’t mean you no longer have emotions or that you don’t worry about others judging you. However, being an adult DOES mean that you need to go ahead and make the hard decisions that DO come with consequences, BUT do turn out better for you in the long run.

Bankruptcy has a weird stigma and connotation like people think their name will appear on some “website of shame” or something. The truth is, unless you’re a celebrity, you probably won’t hit any tabloids.

Most of bankruptcy is between you and your lawyer. As with any other attorney/client relationship, the attorney/client privilege of confidentiality applies.

When your case is filed with the bankruptcy court, your case will be sent to your creditors for obvious reason. Additionally, any family or friends that you owe money to will be notified as well since you are required to list ALL debts. Therefore, now your lawyer knows and the people you owe money. No one else. It is true that your filing of bankruptcy is public record but no one would ever know unless for some reason they purposely sought it out.

The only time you will be out in public discussing your bankruptcy is at your “Meeting of Creditors”.  This meeting is a short meeting between you and your bankruptcy trustee. Creditors are welcome to attend however, they usually don’t.  These meetings are generally held in a conference room and last about five minutes or so.  So, rest assured that this is a short meeting with STRANGERS that you’ll probably never see again. So, once again unless you’re a celeb and get caught by TMZ, the process is relatively short and painless.

No one will know you filed for bankruptcy unless you tell them. Besides all this, if you’re facing serious financial problems and TRULY WANT to begin to do what RIGHT with your money, you shouldn’t feel any shame in creating a fresh start with a clean slate for yourself. Hold your chin up and begin on the path of financial responsibility.  You got this.

See Also:

Bankruptcy Basics

Should I File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Myths

 

Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?

Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?

Bankruptcy is all about helping an individual(s) resolve debt and learn better financial management. Getting a fresh start is not just about leaving the past behind but it also requires someone to protect the assets they still have. You can maximize the benefits of this by NOT borrowing, selling or getting rid of these assets before you file for bankruptcy.

Before I File for Bankruptcy, Can I Sell Some of My Assets?

All too often, bankruptcy attorneys meet clients who have taken desperate measures in order to stay afloat with mountains of debt. They operate under the belief that they will lose their assets after filing bankruptcy. However, the truth is, that it can be harder to recover from bankruptcy if you don’t have the basics, such as a home, car, retirement accounts, unemployment benefits, tools of your trade and so on.

Bankruptcy Protection and Your Assets

A lot of times bankruptcy will provide protection for your assets. Straight bankruptcy (Chapter 7 filing) will protect “exempt” assets which means people filing for this type of bankruptcy will be able to keep much of what they own. Assets that have a higher value than what is exempt by law can be kept by “an adjustment of debts” under Chapter 13 bankruptcy for items that are nonexempt. To develop a plan to protect these assets, obtain an experienced attorney.

Bankruptcy Can’t Bring Back What Has Already Been Lost

Although bankruptcy can provide protection for what you currently own, it cannot bring back what you may have already lost before you filed for bankruptcy. Things that have been spent, sold or borrowed against to avoid financial disaster could have been saved if bankruptcy was filed beforehand.

Most people facing bankruptcy don’t realize the consequences of borrowing, selling and spending or that their assets may be protected under law. An experienced attorney can help place you in the perfect position for filing bankruptcy.

SEE ALSO:

Should I File Bankruptcy?

What Can I Keep After Bankruptcy?

Ready to schedule a consultation?  425-452-9797 Or Contact Us Here

 

Who Says Life’s Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act

Who Says Life's Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act

Who Says Life’s Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act

Okay. Okay. So, life’s not fair. It’s true. However, when things come around like the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act, life seems to seem a little fairer, a little brighter. This act or law helps bring homeowners back from the brink of foreclosure by forcing lenders to enter into face to face negotiations. There are two things to remember about the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act:

1) You MUST have representation to advocate for you. You cannot make use of the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act without good representation. Why? Because you must have someone ( your attorney/representation) make a referral on your behalf so that Washington State commerce stops the foreclosure long enough for you to enter into negotiations with the bank’s lawyers. The reason you can’t do it yourself without an attorney is because they want you to be prepared. This is an adversarial process. The attorneys on the other side are not there to help you, therefore it’s imperative to have someone there who is.

2) It often takes more than just one meeting. The Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act actually only provides for one three hour mediation session, but it usually takes two or three of these sessions. In these sessions your attorney presents a package to your bank’s lawyers and lets them know how much you make for a living and what you can afford. They then negotiate back and forth until an agreement is made.

Get help. Get current. Get a better interest rate. Get a secure future with Advantage Legal Group and the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act.

SEE ALSO:

Washington Fairness Foreclosure Act

Bankruptcy Myths

Should I File Bankruptcy?

Why Should I Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Bankruptcy and Divorce

 

Ready to schedule a consultation?  425-452-9797 Or Contact Us Here

Taxes and Student Loans in Bankruptcy

Taxes and Student Loans in Bankruptcy

Taxes and Student Loans in Bankruptcy

There are certain kinds of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a great way to reduce or eliminate many debts.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help discharge credit card debts, medical debts and many other types of unsecured debt.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to reduce or eliminate credit card debts or other unsecured debts, thereby enabling you to focus your debt repayment efforts on tax liabilities and student loans.

Taxes and Student Loans – Dealing With Non-dischargeable Debts in Bankruptcy

Some debts are difficult or impossible to discharge through bankruptcy.  Debts that are difficult or impossible to discharge include:

  • Student loans
  • Child support arrears
  • Certain types of taxes owed to the government

Not all unsecured debts can be eliminated in bankruptcy.  While exceptions to discharge cover debts range from child support to back taxes, rules differ depending on factors like the nature of the debt, the age of the debt, or your ability to present a hardship case.

Non-dischargeable debts come in many forms.  Some are by definition non-dischargeable, while others are subject to discharge unless the creditor files a specific objection.  Examples of non-dischargeable debts include the following:

  • Lawsuit damages related to drunk driving, willful or malicious conduct, or fraud
  • Child support or alimony
  • Taxes that are less than three years old or for which no return has been filed
  • Most student loan obligations
  • Certain credit card debts incurred under circumstances indicating an intent to defraud the issuer

Certain types of state and federal taxes, as well as student loans, fall into the category of debts that are generally not dischargeable.  However, some types of tax obligations can be discharged.  Talking to a lawyer can help you to determine which type you have.

There are also debt relief services available to people suffering from an unmanageable tax debt or student loan debt.  For example, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to pay back other debts over a longer period of time and therefore increase your ability to handle your current tax or student loan debt load.

Many old tax debts can be discharged in bankruptcy

Many people will tell you that tax obligations are non-dischargeable debts.  This is only true of taxes that have been assessed and payable for less than three years.

If you owe taxes for which you’ve filed the returns more than three years ago, or that have been in collection for at least that long, you can discharge them in bankruptcy like other unsecured claims unless enforceable tax liens are in place against property with enough value to meet them.

Student Loan obligations in bankruptcy

It used to be that a hardship argument could convince a bankruptcy court to excuse you from repayment of student loans.

Today, recent amendments to the Bankruptcy Code have made it more difficult to prove hardship as a basis of discharge.  In order to prove hardship, it is now necessary to demonstrate that your education has little or no value in helping you generate income for reasons beyond your control.  It is also important to note that if you have been excused from your student loans there are many jobs that you will be unable to apply for because you have been excused from repayment of student loans.

Find Out if You Qualify

 

Bankruptcy Requirements

Bankruptcy RequirementsBankruptcy Requirements

Some of history’s most successful business owners including a past president have gone through bankruptcy. Henry Ford, Walt Disney, even Abraham Lincoln all went through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can actually be good for society, allowing people to make mistakes and recover from them and move on. Without bankruptcy, we wouldn’t have the Ford Motor Company (Ford’s second try) or Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have gone into politics ( he first had a failed general store). Let’s demystify bankruptcy today by laying down the facts:

In order to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, there are seven basic requirements:

  • – Client’s annual income must be below the median
  • – $52,384.00 for an individual with no dependents
  • -$65,802.00 for couple with no dependants ( for each dependant add about $9,000 to $10,000)
  • – Filed prior bankruptcy in the last 8 years?
  • -Equity in the home?
  • -Amount of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, auto deficiencies, and mortgage deficiencies)

Once a client qualifies for bankruptcy they usually ask if they’re going to lose anything/everything and the answer is usually no. Most clients don’t lose anything they own. However, everybody’s situation is different and it depends on your own individual circumstances. Following are a list of exemptions:

-Homestead   $125,000   (up to) State

-Federal:

-Wildcard       $12,725 Ind   $25,450 JT

-Household   $12,250 Ind   $24,500 JT

-Jewelry         $1,550   Ind   $31,00   JT

-Tools Trade   $2,300 Ind   $4,600 JT

-Auto               $3,675 Ind     $7,350 JT

at Garage Sale VALUES!

If you’re being garnished, sued or if you’re just drowning in debt, or maybe you just want a fresh start for the new year or you’re facing retirement….whatever your reason it’s time to start looking out for yourself and clearing out debt so that you can begin saving. Call Advantage Legal today and get your free consultation.

SEE ALSO:

Bankruptcy 101

What is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

 

Bankruptcy Fees are Increasing

Bankruptcy Fees are Goin’ UP!

As of June 1st, 2014 the Bankruptcy Court will be increasing its fees for filing and general services. Periodically the filing fees in the U.S. federal and state courts do increase and that’s why we’re seeing this happen. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, now may be a good time to get going on filing that petition in order to avoid the fee increase. It may not be a huge increase, but it’s still an increase and if you’re at the point of considering bankruptcy you obviously have a desire to start being smart with every penny you’ve got!

More: –Should I File Bankruptcy?Bankruptcy Fees are Increasing

There are several bankruptcy fees that will increase on June 1st under amendments to the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule that were approved in March by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Changes include:

– The adversary filing fee in bankruptcy proceedings will increase from $293 to $350, a $57 increase. This new fee is equivalent to civil filing fees in federal district courts.

-Currently, administrative fees are $46 in all cases. They will now the fee will be $75 for cases filed under Chapters 7, 12, and 13, and $550 for cases filed under Chapters 9, 11, and 15.

More: –What Can I Keep After Bankruptcy?

-Separate administrative fees have also been approved for when married couples divide a bankruptcy filing into two cases (see also: Can One Spouse File for Bankruptcy? ) This approval was done by the Judicial Conference due to the fact that divorce or separation often occurs while a case is being adjudicated.

To learn more about the bankruptcy process or the different types of bankruptcy, or anything bankruptcy related for that matter, check out our blog or these specific articles:

Bankruptcy Basics

Bankruptcy Myths

Bankruptcy Process and What to Expect in Court

 

Bankruptcy Filings are Dropping Across the Nation

Bankruptcy Filings are Dropping Across the Nation

Bankruptcies, both of personal and business nature, continued to steadily drop throughout 2013 across the nation. This is both shocking and interesting as bankruptcies were actually predicted to rise by at least 8% in 2013. Business bankruptcies in particular, actually dropped 24%. This is the lowest they’ve been since 2006 and this trend is expected to continue through this new year of 2014.Bankruptcy Filings are Dropping Across the Nation

2012 filings showed double digit reductions in many states across the nation. Arizona alone reported a 19% decrease. Hawaii saw an 18% decrease. This trend does seem to be domestic which is pretty interesting. As our state’s bankruptcy filings fall, those of places such as Belgium saw a 9.4% increase and The Republic of Cyprus  almost entirely filed for bankruptcy as a whole in March of 2013 before they asked for help and therefore managed to stay financially afloat.

Obviously most people try to avoid bankruptcy as it has a negative stigma and can be costly. This fact coupled with the increased availability of consumer credit markets means the option for people to borrow rather than file for bankruptcy becomes more favorable and will consequently continue the downward trend in filing for bankruptcy.

However, filing for bankruptcy is still the best option for some. It helps discharge debts, whether medical or credit and helps people focus on the unforgivable debts which can include such things as taxes or possibly child support. It’s this aspect of bankruptcy that offers many businesses and individuals peace of mind.

Should you choose to file for bankruptcy in 2014, Advantage Legal Group is here to help. For more information on bankruptcy, check out these blogs:

What to Do After Filing For Personal Bankruptcy

Will Bankruptcy Mean I Have to Give Up My House?

Preventing Bankruptcies

Mortgage Modification – Mortgage Mediation

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith and I’m an attorney servicing the Western Washington area.  We do bankruptcies, short sales, mortgage mediations and mortgage modifications.

If you’re trying to do a mortgage modification on a home that is not your primary residence, your best bet is to go through the mortgage modification program, as opposed to the mortgage mediation program.  The mortgage modification program generally aims for payment of about 31% of your gross income and is done usually under the HAMP program.  Although, there are standard modifications available through your lender, which could go up as high as 42% of your gross income.

For more information on this, go to my website AdvantageLegalGroup.com.  Again, AdvantageLegalGroup.com. And I look forward to meeting you.