Articles Tagged with Bankruptcy Law

Frank Coxwell explains bankruptcy chapters & how to recover from bankruptcy.

To listen to the program, click here

Money_TalksI joined the Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) show – Money Talks – on June 18, 2013 to discuss the topic of bankruptcy, what the different chapters have to offer consumers, and how to recover from filing bankruptcy.  We covered a lot of really good information and were able to take a lot of calls from listeners with great questions.  If you are contemplating bankruptcy or even just interested in what it has to offer, I highly recommend you click above and listen to our discussion.

QuestionNo. Although a bankruptcy case is a public record, it is not that easy to find. Bankruptcy information is not published in any Mississippi newspaper that I am aware of. Yes, one of your nosey neighbors could go to the bankruptcy court and ask but that is a lot of effort and most people will not go that far. The bankruptcy court does not contact your employer and neither will your lawyer.

Now there are several situations where you may need your job, friends, or family to be contacted.

  • If you owe money to your employer, your friends, or family members, then they may be one of your creditors and they will be notified of the bankruptcy.
  • If you have a garnishment, then your employer will need to be notified so we can stop the garnishment.
  • If you file chapter 13 the monthly payments to the court will be deducted from your pay check so your employer will be notified to withhold the payment and send in to the Trustee accordingly.

There are very strict laws that prohibit discriminating against someone for filing bankruptcy. An employer cannot fire or demote you because of the bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy court deals harshly with those who discriminate against someone just because they filed bankruptcy.

Yes and No. In most cases as long as you are up to date on your house payments you can keep your home. If you are not current, the bankruptcy filing protects the home from foreclosure and this could give you the time you need to get caught up, if you were only a couple of months behind.

If you arehouse significantly behind on your house payments, then a chapter 13 is the only way to go if you want to save your home. The most important thing is to file the bankruptcy as soon as possible so they don’t foreclose on your home. Both a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing stops foreclosure.  The mortgage company would have to then get permission from the bankruptcy court to start the foreclosure process up again.  It’s important to meet with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to lay out a proper strategy for dealing with your debts in a way that protects the property you wish to keep.

 

VehiclesYes and No.  In most cases as long as you are up to date on your vehicle payments you can “reaffirm” the debt and keep your vehicle. The finance company has to agree to allow you to keep the vehicle and they will always agree if you are current.

If you are not current, the bankruptcy filing protects the vehicle from being repossessed and this could give you the time you need to get caught up. Most finance companies do not want the vehicle back, so if you are a behind they will give you a chance to catch up or they can redo your payments. The most important thing is to file the bankruptcy as soon as possible so they don’t repossess the vehicle. They hardly ever negotiate before you file the bankruptcy because they don’t believe you will actually file. After you file and they are faced with getting no money and maybe having to take the vehicle back, they can be more lenient and easier to deal with.

 

rental propertyThinking about walking away from your rental property? You are not alone. Over 11 million people are upside down on the house they live in. The same conditions affect your investment property. To make things worse, when tenants can’t pay their rent, you must still come up with the monthly note. Being a landlord is hard work when times are good. Tenants who can’t pay or empty rental homes will jeopardize your own home and financial security.  Filing bankruptcy allows you to give the property back to the mortgage company without having to pay for the property.

Of course you can. Just like you can set your own broken leg, deliver your own baby and rebuild the engine in your own car. You can do these things, but do you really want to? Do you have time? Do you have the proper tools, information and knowledge to get it done right?

Bankruptcy laws are complicated and full of traps. Mistakes and errors can cost you your property and your discharge.  Misrepresentation and dishonesty can land you in jail. Let me tell you about preparing and filing a bankruptcy case.

Attorney’s all use software to prepare and print the 50 plus pages that make up a bankruptcy filing just like your tax guy uses a tax program and just like your doctor uses a program to keep up with your visits and medical records. Bankruptcy lawyers put your information into a program that prints the forms and files the papers with the court. This seems simple enough. But once the papers are filed the U.S. Trustee, the case trustee and the court clerks all start going over your papers to see how they can kick you out, deny your discharge or disqualify you from the benefits of bankruptcy.  Do you know how to defend your position? Provide responses to any filed objections?

Here are some things to consider before you file bankruptcy so you don’t make a mistake that could get you in trouble or cost you a discharge.

1. Talk to a bankruptcy attorney sooner rather than later.  Find out right now how bankruptcy can benefit you.  Most people who file should have been in to see a bankruptcy lawyer six months to a year before they made the appointment. Instead they struggled and fought to survive, draining all their savings and retirement, doing everything they could to keep from getting information that could have led to their financial recovery and a new life.

2. Don’t use your credit cards. Some credit card charges may have to be paid if they are made right before you file.

The end of the year is a time when we start thinking about how the past year has gone, what went wrong, what went right, and what changes we need to make to ensure things are better in the new year.  When you are looking at your financial situation, it’s good to pull a credit report to double check what’s being reported to ensure it is accurate information.  As a part of the Federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, every US resident is eligible to receive one FREE credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies.

To learn more about this visit the FACT Act Central Site located at annualcreditreport.com.  Any other site offering you a free credit report is a scam or a selling tool to get you hooked into monthly fees.  Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting agencies for your free reports. They are only providing them through the following three methods:

  1. Order online at annualcreditreport.com

At least twice a month I receive calls from homeowners who are in the middle of the modification process with their mortgage company and they get notice of a foreclosure.  Over and over they had been told the modification was still being reviewed.  In some cases they were told they’d been approved.  But all of a sudden they find their home is being advertised in the newspaper and a sale date is set at the courthouse. Mortgage companies review loans for modification and try to foreclosure at the same time.  This is known as “dual tracking”.  They don’t stop the foreclosure process when a mortgage is considered for a modification.  If you are in the modification process with your mortgage company you can never assume that it will be approved or they won’t foreclose.  The foreclosure process in Mississippi is quick, so you can’t trust anything they tell you over the phone.  If you become aware your home is in foreclosure, contact our office immediately.  We can stop the foreclosure sale through filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you can still follow-up with a modification, if needed.  You never want to be in a position of trying to get your home back after the foreclosure.  Better to be safe than sorry and stop the foreclosure before it happens.

Bankruptcy Courts use “replacement value” when determining the value of your assets. Replacement value is defined in the Bankruptcy Code as the price that a retail merchant would charge for property of the same kind, considering the age and condition of the property at the time its value is determined.

This is not the cost to replace the item with a new one or what you could sell the item for; it is the cost that a retailer would sell the used item for in the condition it’s in now.

In cases such as used clothing, furniture, computers, TV, etc. it would be the value of the items if you had a yard sale or placed them on eBay.

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