Services offered by us.


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Consumer/Personal Bankruptcy
- If you are a consumer (non-business) debtor you must qualify to file a Ch. 7 bankruptcy based on median income for your State according to U.S. Dept. of Labor standards (see link?)
 
- Once you file your case an Automatic Stay is put in place to stop all collection activity, and other actions that violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, (i.e., wage garnishments, foreclosure sales.)
 
- Unsecured bills (credit card, medical bills, etc.) are wiped out upon completion/discharge of the bankruptcy.
 
- Certain bills/debts not wiped out.  These bills include certain taxes, family support obligations, debts that are excluded from bankruptcy discharge under the Bankruptcy Code.
 
- Consumers are required to complete a pre-filing consumer credit counseling class prior to filing a case, and a financial management class prior to the discharge (close) of your case.  Failure to complete these two courses will lead to your case failing.
 
-You must attend a mandatory meeting of creditors (341 meeting) after your case has been filed, usually 30 days after you have filed your case.
 
- Individual & joint debtors are given either state or Federal exemptions to protect assets of the debtor(s) (your property), i.e. furniture, clothes, one or two vehicle(s), and certain other assets that are considered necessities of everyday life.
 
- All property that you own - real or personal - must be disclosed on your bankruptcy petition.  Failure to disclose your property will lead to your case being dismissed, and possible criminal prosecution.
 
- Property that is considered non-exempt may be required to be turned over to the Ch. 7 Trustee in your case.  This property may be sold to pay some of the money owed to your creditors. 
 
- Certain property (cars, houses) can be kept if the payments are kept current.  Cars may need to be reaffirmed if you intend to keep the car after the bankruptcy case is filed.


Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Corporate Business Bankruptcy

- A Ch. 11 bankruptcy is a court administered debt reorganization plan for corporations, mid-size to large businesses, and some individuals that have large amounts of debts.  This bankruptcy allows these debtors to restructure their outstanding obligations, (unsecured debt, taxes, leases, and secured debts) into a court ordered restructured repayment plan.

- This type of bankruptcy is used by debtors that have a need to restructure their business obligations.  Major corporations such as United Airlines, General Motors, and MCI/WorldCom have used this bankruptcy to resolve complex debt obligations that they have faced.

- This bankruptcy is useful for certain high value individuals that have large mortgage debt or other obligations such as taxes, balloon notes, or creditors seeking execution on their property to buy time to allow a restructured plan of payments over time, or an orderly liquidation of their  assets. 

- The cost to file a Ch. 11 is very high due to the substantial time and preparation the attorney must put into the case prior to filing the case, and within the first three months after the case has been filed. 


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
 

Consumer and Small Business Bankruptcy
- A Ch. 13 bankruptcy is a bankruptcy court administered debt reorganization plan for consumers and  small-business debtors.  This bankruptcy allows these debtors to restructure their outstanding obligations, (credit cards, taxes, home loans, etc.) into a monthly payment plan for a three to five year period.

- Once you file your case an Automatic Stay is put in place to stop all collection activity, and other actions that violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, (i.e., wage garnishments, foreclosure sales.)

- The length of your bankruptcy case depends on your financial status prior to filing.  A test has been established that will determine whether your bankruptcy will last for three years or five years, or a period of time between those time frames.

- Some of the benefits of filing the Ch. 13 are that you can consolidate certain missed or delinquent debt payments, (car loans, home loans, state & federal taxes) that can be cured (brought current) over the three to five year time frame. 

- Chapter 13 debtors are required to complete a pre-filing consumer credit counseling class prior to filing their case, and a financial management class prior to the discharge (close) of their case.  Failure to complete these two courses will lead to their case failing (dismissal.)

- Debtors must provide certain documents to the Ch. 13 Trustee's office just after their case is filed.  Additionally, debtors must attend a mandatory meeting of creditors (341 meeting) after their case has been filed, usually 30 days from the date of filing. 

- Individual & joint debtors are given either state or federal exemptions to protect assets of the debtor(s) (your property), i.e. furniture, clothes, one or two vehicle(s), and certain other assets that are considered "necessities of everyday life".

- All property that you own - real or personal - must be disclosed on your bankruptcy petition.  Failure to disclose your property will lead to your case being dismissed, and possible criminal prosecution.

- Certain property (cars, houses) can be kept if the payments are kept current.  Additionally, it may be possible to eliminate (strip) certain liens such as 2nd mortgage loans on real estate if certain conditions are met.  Also car loans may qualify to be restructured if certain conditions are met.


Personal Injury

What do I do if I get into an accident, or I am injured by another party?


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If you have been injured in an accident, seek immediate professional medical attention.  Notify the attending physician of the circumstances of your injury.

· If you are involved in an auto accident, you should notify the appropriate law enforcement agency, and you should notify your auto insurance company

· If you are injured on public or private property, notify the owner or management of the situation, incident or un-safe condition.  Ask them to make a written report documenting the injury or event.

· If there are people who have witnessed the accident, obtain their name(s), address(es), and phone number(s), if possible.  If you have a camera (cell phone, digital, etc.) take pictures of the injuries to you or your passengers, and the damage done to the vehicles involved.

- In the immediate two to four weeks after the accident/injury keep a daily written diary documenting the ailments you are suffering, as well as any other complications or problems that are caused by your injuries.


Consumer laws you should know!

 

A number of federal and state laws have been passed that protect consumers from over zealous activities by financial institutions.

Debt Collection Laws
These include protections against unfair debt collections activities such as telephone calls that are harassing, or threatening. Collections calls at your job that interfere in your work, and other similar actions may violate federal and state law.

With the proliferation of consumer collections actions many collectors are not following the various laws that govern debt collections.  It may be possible to prevail against these collectors when they bring suit in state court to collect these debts.  You may have rights that can be used in your defense.  These rights can be analyzed by contacting my office, or a reputable local consumer law attorney in your area.

Credit Reporting Errors/Identity Theft 

It is good practice to review your credit report on an annual or semi-annual basis. If you have recently reviewed your credit report and there are mistakes or incorrect entries as to your financial status, they must be corrected by the credit reporting bureau. The continued release of incorrect information that damages a consumer's credit history is a violation of federal law.  In most credit reports there is an area that explains how to notify the credit report provider of the error on your report, so that it can be corrected.

Truth in Lending
When consumers enter into finance contracts there must be clear language that lists how the loan is structured. This includes a listing of how interest is charged and the total amount of the loan, that includes how the interest that is being charged. Many individuals and companies are involved in illegal activities that target unknowing consumers. Be aware of what your rights are, and how to enforce them.