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Marvin Wolf Talks Bankruptcy Law: Fear and Lending in New Jersey

Marvin Wolf Talks Bankruptcy Law: Fear and Lending in New Jersey

Rochelle Park, NJ—“Bankruptcy law is not something at attorney can just jump into — bankruptcy law is a deceptively complex field that is becoming more complex with time,” Marvin Wolf, a bankruptcy attorney, told laws.com in a recent interview.

For Wolf, entering into this complex profession began in a big law firm.  “I chose bankruptcy law because of a desire to help people.  That law firm did more creditor representation work, whereas I ended up on the debtor side of the practice.  I like that there's never a quiet moment and the law is constantly developing.  There is always a new surprise, and the jurisdictions often treat the same law in different ways, which is unique for something that is characterized as federal law.  There is a constant battle between creditor attorneys and debtor attorneys.  It keeps you on your toes.”

In his years as a bankruptcy attorney, Wolf has seen a number of changes —not all of them beneficial to the consumer.  “In the so-called reforms of 2005, right-wing corporations took charge of Congress,” he says.  “Those reforms were not written by Congress – they were actually written by big business with the goal of making bankruptcy more difficult as a remedy for debtors.  The new law included elimination of some statutory breaks for debtors that were recharacterized as “loopholes”, and added new obstacles such as random audits and the means test.   As a result, cases have become more complicated, and filing for bankruptcy has become a more expensive proposition. Credit card companies had a goal of making bankruptcy unavailable for the average client.  Fortunately, debtor attorneys were able to find new workarounds and tactics to help debtors in need.”

Even some well-intentioned reforms can backfire, according to Wolf.  “One of the “reforms” instituted by BAPCPA (the 2005 Bankruptcy Act) was a mandatory credit counseling class requirement as a prerequisite to filing bankruptcy.  The problem is that the providers of these classes often aren't that well trained, or have an anti-bankruptcy bias.”  He notes that in many of the classes, filers must create a debt management plan with their counselor, and that these plans frequently produce inaccurate and unrealistic budgets.

One of the fastest growing debt segments in the American economy is student loan debt, and Wolf believes that bankruptcy law needs significant reform to help students who are in over their heads.  “It's the next bubble to burst.  I visit Congress every year, as a constituent and as a State Chair of NACBA [National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys], and I feel these loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy.  However, I also think they should close down half the colleges, because there are not enough jobs for all of their graduates to fill.  When a school produces a graduate with a high loan to pay off and no prospects for employment to pay off that loan, and with no means to ever discharge the loan, it creates a form of financial slavery.   This is unfair to the average student and also devastates the finances of parents, who are often co-signers on the loans.”

Students experience numerous problems when trying to do the right thing financially, according to Wolf.  “The recordkeeping for Sallie Mae is horrific.  Colleges exaggerate the importance of a college degree or offer degrees that don’t lead to sufficient meaningful employment when compared with the ultimate debt load.   Large schools treat student loans as a profit center, sometimes pushing loans from Sallie Mae rather than alternatives.”  Wolf believes that in this economy, many students would be better served by going into trades and building skills instead of going to college.  “Choose a job that can’t get outsourced.”

Today, Wolf says consumers are also facing increased problems with unfair debt collection practices.  “Creditors threaten jail sentences, harass employers and relatives, suggest token payments to extend the statute of limitations on old debts, and claim they only use direct wire transfer, which requires a debtor to send all their bank account information—once provided, they sometimes drain the account or cause it to be overdrawn.”

Many of these practices are prohibited by law, Wolf, says, including “scams out there in which creditors harass people after they've filed for bankruptcy.”  After a consumer has filed, creditors are supposed to stop contacting the consumer regarding the debt and must direct any communication toward the attorney.  To avoid fear-based debt collection scams, Wolf recommends keeping a written log of what was said, and saving all communications, so that a bankruptcy attorney can make sure the creditors have stayed within the bounds of the law.

In the new economy, Wolf says that staying afloat is not just a matter of doing the basics, such as spending within your means and paying with cash—though those help, too.  “Ask yourself: what happens if I lose my job tomorrow?  What can I do, and where can I do it?”  Wolf suggests having a “financial 'go bag'—ask yourself what skills you have, where you can go, and what you can do with those skills.  Pay attention to the writing on the wall, and even be ready to change careers.  Getting trained and certified for a particular job can be relatively quick and cheap sometimes.  Also, it’s easier to find a job while you still have one.”

When consumers need to file for bankruptcy, Wolf says it's important to be completely honest with their lawyers—and not to find the cheapest attorney on Craigslist.  This could end up costing more in the long run because newer practitioners can make expensive mistakes by filing incorrect petitions.  “Don't be afraid to tell your lawyer the truth or leave anything out.”  He also recommends you consult an attorney earlier in the process.  Wolf likes to recite what he calls Wolf’s Law Number One:  “Your legal rights are like a block of ice: if you sit on them, they melt away.  A case becomes more expensive the longer you wait.  Treat a financial problem as if it’s cancer: the sooner you get to treating it, the better the long-term prognosis.”

 

Marvin Wolf is a bankruptcy and debt relief attorney in Rochelle Park, NJ.

 

Bankruptcy Attorney Appreciates the Subtle Nuances of Bankruptcy Law: Carlos Cuevas

Bankruptcy Attorney Appreciates the Subtle Nuances of Bankruptcy Law: Carlos Cuevas

More on News at LAWS.com

Yonkers, NY—After getting his start at top-ranked Yale Law School, Carlos Cuevas let his strengths decide his career.  A great grade in a bankruptcy law class and new changes to the United States bankruptcy code made his decision easy.  Today, Cuevas works as one of the pre-eminent bankruptcy lawyers in New York.

“I appreciated the subtle nuances of the practice, as well as the rich tradition behind it,” Cuevas told laws.com in a recent interview.  He likens law to medicine, saying that both doctors and attorneys have a general knowledge of their field, but also should have specific expertise in a particular area.

A desire for intellectual stimulation has caused Cuevas to take a number of complex bankruptcy cases.  In fact, he says that he prefers complex bankruptcies to more straightforward situations, because they're “usually more nuanced.”

Changes to the United States bankruptcy code in 2005, including a means test, were expected to have a significant impact on filers, but Cuevas says that very few of his clients were actually impacted by these reforms.  Today, he says that the economic crash in 2008 has created a large need for bankruptcy attorneys, because many people have experienced unemployment or a significant loss of income or equity since the recession began.

Cuevas's clients face new challenges in 2013.  According to him, today's biggest challenge can actually come just from getting bankruptcy cases confirmed and completed at a time when up to two thirds can end in failure.  “Primarily, bankruptcy was used to prevent someone from losing their house, now many people are in trouble because their house was already in foreclosure,” he says, which limits the options consumers have for being able to hold on to their property.

Consumers today who want to avoid bankruptcy, Cuevas says, should “live within your means, invest in education and retirement.”

Even young people who are just getting started can make themselves less likely to file bankruptcy, according to Cuevas.  The answer can be as simple as going to the right school.  “People need to be more realistic about their academic pursuits,” he says, noting that the price of higher education is “out of control.”

“Be sure about what you want before taking on a student loan, and state schools need to be made into a more appealing option.  The lack of funding for state schools has caused a drop in math and science majors,” Cuevas says.  He suggests that reforming the bankruptcy code to allow students to discharge student loans would not be good for bankruptcy law, and that instead the government should work to find a better mechanism for funding higher education.

For new attorneys or law students who are considering a career in bankruptcy law, Cuevas says that there's no substitute for watching experienced practitioners.  “Every lawyer should visit the Supreme Court and sit in for an oral argument,” he says, noting that it's also critical for every new attorney to find a good mentor who can give professional guidance.

For over 25 years, Carlos Cuevas has represented debtors, secured creditors, unsecured creditors, creditors committees, equity security committees, and trustees in bankruptcy cases.

 

Helping Families get through Bankruptcy: Ted Troutman

Helping Families get through Bankruptcy: Ted Troutman

More on News at LAWS.com

Beaverton, OR—While some bankruptcy attorneys start working in their field due to cold, hard dollars and cents, for Ted Troutman, bankruptcy law mattered on a personal level from the beginning.

“I got started in bankruptcy law after I saw my father lose the family farm to foreclosure,” he told laws.com in a recent interview.  “I wanted to be in a position to help people avoid that prospect, and to be able to save their homes and property.”

Today, Troutman handles all types of bankruptcy cases, but specializes in individual Chapter 11 bankruptcies, which involve individuals declaring bankruptcy while owning a business.  Once a bankruptcy judge approves a reorganization plan, the company is allowed to repay a portion of its debts while having some forgiven.   “I have probably done more individual Chapter 11 cases than any other attorney in Oregon,” he says.  “The vast majority of the cases were confirmed, which enabled the client to save their businesses and assets and pay back a percentage of their debt.”

In today's tough economy, Troutman has advice for people who want to avoid having a bankruptcy show up on their credit report for years to come.  “Live within your means.  If your income goes down, cut your spending,” he says.  In a time when many adults are unemployed or underemployed, this means that it's important for people to create a new and realistic budget when they get a new job that pays less than what their old one did.

“Make a budget and stick with it,” says Troutman.  “Don't spend more money than you take in—if you don't have the cash to make a purchase, then don't make it.”

While the recession initially led to an upswing in personal bankruptcies, Troutman says that attorneys are now seeing a “slowdown in simple Chapter 7 and 13 cases.”  This has created a significant challenge for some bankruptcy attorneys, especially those who have only recently started practicing bankruptcy law.

Reforms to the U.S. bankruptcy code have significantly positively impacted Chapter 11 filings, according to Troutman.  “The reforms were very beneficial as far as individual Chapter 11 cases go, because they did away with the absolute priority rule in individual Chapter 11 cases.  Prior to this rule being changed, it was impossible to cram down a secured debt without the consent of the creditor.”

Today, new issues with student debt have led to some debtors and attorneys advocating for reform.  Troutman says that he'd like to see some reforms to help students, “especially in regard to discharge of private student loans, which often have very egregious repayment terms and high interest rates.”

While to many people, bankruptcy practice may seem like a matter of finances and numbers, Troutman knows better, and considers himself to be client-focused and person-centered.  “In the practice of bankruptcy law, I have had a number of clients let me know that through my representation, their situation and lives have been completely changed for the better,” he says.  Through the practice of bankruptcy law, he has been able to help other families avoid the grief of business closure and foreclosures.

Whether you’re looking for a corporate bankruptcy lawyer or help with navigating personal bankruptcy laws, the professionals at Muir & Troutman are here to help.

Tanya Dwyer, Bankruptcy Attorney Understanding the Bigger Picture

Tanya Dwyer, Bankruptcy Attorney Understanding the Bigger Picture

More on News at LAWS.com

New York, NY—The housing bubble has had major impacts on bankruptcy filings, and no one knows that better than Tanya Dwyer, who has run her own bankruptcy practice in New York City since 2009.

After working at a large company for three years after graduating from law school, Dwyer told laws.com in a recent interview that she didn't really feel like she was practicing law.  “I was focusing on really detailed parts of cases, and I wanted to see the bigger picture of practicing law and really work with people.”

From there, it was a matter of looking around at what was going on in the world and deciding what kind of practice would be best.  At the beginning of 2009, the biggest story on everyone's mind was the financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market bubble.  Dwyer sensed a chance to do the kind of legal work that she'd always wanted to do.

In recent months, Dwyer has been working on cases relating to the issue of standing in New York State Courts.  According to Dwyer, “Most foreclosure cases that we handle in my office, the banks don't have standing.  They've put forth paperwork that makes it seem as if they have standing, but when it comes down to it and we really research the evidence, a lot of them don't.”

What this means is that in some bankruptcy and foreclosure cases, banks can't actually prove that they are the owner of the loan, and therefore can't prove that the client owes money to a particular bank.  Citimortgage, Inc. v Finocchiario (2013 NY Slip Op 3003 (u)) “is the first case that clearly said that homeowners are always able to raise this argument, and that it's not something that needs to be raised in the first thirty to sixty days of the lawsuit.”

Today, Dwyer says that the biggest challenge facing bankruptcy attorneys is “handling foreclosures simultaneously along with bankruptcies.  You really have to strategize and plan it out to make sure that everything goes in the correct order—otherwise your client could lose something substantial, especially if it's a condo or co-op.”  She also says that in 2013, many clients are trying to seek out mortgage modifications, because they suspect that money for these modifications will dry up at the end of the year.

Sometimes, handling these two financial issues in tandem can cause conflicts for clients.  “When I'm talking to my clients, I ask them what they really want,” says Dwyer.  “Do they want to keep the house, or just make life more affordable?  Most people want to keep the house.  We try to get through the foreclosure first.  If the foreclosure doesn't go the way we want, we can use the bankruptcy to clean up everything in the end.  So it doesn't really pay to file for bankruptcy too early—it should really be a last resort for someone who has the potential to be in foreclosure.”

For those trying to avoid financial hardships, Dwyer says it's important to “keep track of what you own, and keep track of what you're spending monthly.  When you do this, you might find that you are paying for something you barely use, and that it's not something worth holding onto.”

If someone has already fallen behind, that's not likely to be enough, according to Dwyer.  “Come in to see me before it becomes a big factor,” she says.  “If you're seeing papers with the name of the court on them, find a lawyer immediately, do not wait.  You lose a lot of rights when you wait that long.”

Tanya P. Dwyer is dedicated to providing quality client service and sound legal advice to clients in the greater New York area.

Always Ready for a Challenge: Brian Zinn

Always Ready for a Challenge: Brian Zinn

Fort Myers, FL—In a state like Florida, the bankruptcy laws don’t always seem to make sense.  When clients come to bankruptcy attorney Brian Zinn’s office for the first time, they often don’t know what they’ll be allowed to keep after the case is finished.

“Here in Florida, the way the laws are written for bankruptcy is that people are allowed to keep their home, but they have to pay a lot of money to keep anything else,” Zinn explained in a recent interview with Laws.com.  “So it is difficult explaining to someone who, for example, has a paid-off car, that they basically have to pay for their car again in order to keep it.”

(More on  News at LAWS.com)

These situations can sometimes lead to dire consequences for filers, according to Zinn: “They ask, doesn’t the court know that I need my car to work, so if they take my car, how am I going to pay my bills, or pay the bankruptcy court?”

People also come in with mistaken ideas about what bankruptcy means.  “There are a lot of superstitions associated with bankruptcy that you have to tell the client is not correct.  One of them is that if a person files bankruptcy, their credit is supposedly ruined for 7 years.”

While many bankruptcy attorneys say that they prefer simpler, more straightforward bankruptcies, Zinn says that more complicated situations are his specialty.  “I love the more complex, challenging cases,” he explains.  “I think I’ve gotten a reputation in my local legal community for handling those types of unusual cases.”

One of the more recent unusual cases Zinn has handled involved an issue that is currently controversial in the United States: gay marriage: “I just filed a bankruptcy petition for a gay married couple.  Florida law does not recognize gay marriage as a valid marriage.  These people had gotten married in Vermont, and then moved here.  Now, the question is: are they allowed to do that?  We filed it—whether the trustee office tries to kick it out, we will have to wait and see.”

Because debt in the United States is constantly changing, the field of bankruptcy law is, as well, with several reforms taking effect between the overhaul of the bankruptcy code in the 1980s and the most recent BAPCPA law in 2005.  Zinn thinks that this is one of the reasons that bankruptcy law can be such an interesting profession for an attorney.

“Bankruptcy law is one of the few areas of law where things are constantly changing.  It’s not like real estate law, where the most recent case is a hundred years old,” he says.

Zinn, a solo practitioner, says that his new practice is something he should have done long ago: “I was always afraid to do it.  Now I see it as one of the best things I could have done.”

In addition to being an interesting profession, Zinn also sees bankruptcy law as a rewarding one.  “When I first started doing bankruptcy, I was taken aback by the thanks that I got from almost every client,” he says.  “You feel like you’re the person who is getting rid of their debt.  For a person, a major part of their life has just gotten better.  That made me feel really good and kept me in the field.”

 

Wyoming Bankruptcy

Wyoming Bankruptcy

 

Wyoming Bankruptcy Law

 

Wyoming bankruptcy follows laws that reflect federal law and compare closely to other states with strict laws concerning exemptions.  Because of the state’s low unemployment rate, 7.0%, and lack of exemptions under Chapter 7, many people will either choose to file for Chapter 13 or be told by a judge that it’s their only option.  The WY bankruptcy laws are strict, but the laws are in place to help a person who has either been irresponsible with their finances or been the victim of unfortunate economic conditions.

 

Wyoming Bankruptcy : Personal and Corporate

 

If a family or individual decides to file for Wyoming bankruptcy, they generally file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  If a corporation is facing economic hardship, it can opt to file for Chapter 11.  There are other types of bankruptcy, but these chapters are the most common.

 

WY Bankruptcy : Chapter 7

 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy has become harder and harder to obtain in the last couple of years under federal and state law.  However, the initiative still works best for families or individuals with large amounts of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical, personal loans, etc) and low to no means of income.

 

In order to qualify for Chapter 7, a person must pass a means test.  In order to pass, the person’s household income must fall below Wyoming’s state average of $53,757, and a judge must conclude that the person cannot afford monthly payments in order to pay back some of the debt.  After qualifying for Chapter 7, a person may be entitled to some or all of the exemptions below:

 

• $10,000 homestead

• $2,400 for vehicle

• Up to $3,000 in personal property

• Pensions

• $2,000 for tools of trade

 

WY Bankruptcy : Chapter 11

 

If a corporation is facing economic instability, an owner may choose to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  The measure gives the corporation a “grace period” in order to reorganize its finances, employees, and other essential logistics in order to increase profit and reduce the overall owed debt.

 

WY Bankruptcy : Chapter 13

 

A family may either choose to file for Chapter 13 or be forced to file this type of bankruptcy.  The most beneficial aspect of Chapter 13 allows a family or individual to keep their property and assets during a period of three to five years.  During this time period, they make monthly payments in order to reduce their overall owed debt by as much as 25% or even more in some cases.  This type of bankruptcy is also called “reorganization” because it allows a person or family to organize their finances and living expenses in order to reduce debt.

 

Taxes

 

If a person files under Chapter 7, a creditor may collect their federal and state tax returns as assets.  These funds are normally protected under Chapter 13.

 

Filing for Wyoming Bankruptcy

 

Like most other states, the state of Wyoming makes a person attend a credit counseling course six months before even filing for Wyoming bankruptcy.  Additionally, the same individual must attend a debtor education courses before reaching a final settlement with a creditor.

 

It’s always in your best interest to hire an attorney if considering Wyoming bankruptcy.  A lawyer can help you submit the right documents and fees at the right time, and they can sometimes help reduce backed taxes to the IRS in some cases.  Nonetheless, they will help you reach the best possible settlement with your creditor.  You will be required to submit the following documents under Wyoming and federal law:

 

• Petition

• Attorney certificate

• Proof of income

• Proof of net monthly income

• Anticipated changes in income

• Educational individual retirement account

• Tax returns from most recent to as far back as four years

Bankruptcy Attorney Gets Real on Reform, Loans

Bankruptcy Attorney Gets Real on Reform, Loans

More on News at LAWS.com

New York, NY—Attorney Stephen B. Kass knows better than almost anybody how the economic slump of 2008 to present has affected New Yorkers.  As someone fascinated by bankruptcy law and helping people get back on their financial feet ever since his time in law school classes at Hofstra, Kass is an innovative advocate for people who need to declare bankruptcy under any chapter of United States bankruptcy code.

As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, Steven appreciates both straightforward and complex bankruptcy cases.  Straightforward cases, he says, allow him to help more clients more quickly.  Complex bankruptcies, on the other hand, are more interesting and allow Kass to use more creative strategies to make sure that his client is brought back from the financial brink.  

Kass says that in recent years, he's seen the “worst slow down in Chapter 11 filings” of any time in the past, which has led to bankruptcy attorneys getting less business from individuals and businesses alike.  The reason that Chapter 11 filings have slowed so much, according to Kass, is the credit crunch: without available credit from banks, businesses and individuals haven't had the opportunity to get in debt over their heads.

Bankruptcy reforms have also changed how Americans can file for bankruptcy.  In 2005, Congress passed a law requiring bankruptcy filers to pass a means test showing that their income was not above preset maximums in order to file for Chapter 7.  Kass believes that this means test reform sometimes produces results that punishes people who need to file bankruptcy with moderate income and who were conservative while rewarding people with high incomes who have been irresponsible.

Another bankruptcy reform that may be on the table in the near future in Congress is student loan discharging.  Currently, student loans, both public and private, are almost impossible to discharge in bankruptcy unless the borrower has become permanently disabled.  Kass says he is of two minds about allowing student loan discharges.  On the one hand, he says that this could be very helpful to some clients, but on the other, he worries that educational institutions and other lenders may be less willing to allow students to borrow money if bankruptcy laws surrounding student loans are changed to allow discharge.

When Kass began work in bankruptcy law, he initially took very small cases.  He says that new bankruptcy attorneys today “think filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an easy task,” but warns: “that isn't always the case.”  There can potentially be a great deal of risk to clients from an improper Chapter 7 filing, so Kass emphasizes the need for due diligence, especially from new and inexperienced bankruptcy attorneys.  In order to avoid creating problems for clients, Kass recommends that newly minted bankruptcy attorneys mentor under a more experienced lawyer, who can help them avoid common pitfalls and provide better client service.

Kass also has advice for Americans who are looking to reduce their risk of needing his services, or the services of any bankruptcy attorney.  Use caution in real estate investments—even your investment in your own home.  If you do make investments, he advises asking yourself: what if I'm wrong?  Will I still be able to survive financially even if it turns out I've made a mistake?  If not, you may want to reconsider and choose different investments.  

Kass also recommends a conservative approach to personal finances, including setting a budget and sticking to it.  With contemporary technologies that allow people to keep track of their personal spending, Kass believes nearly everybody should be able to successfully manage their own budgets and live within their means.

Stephen B. Kass is a tax and bankruptcy attorney in New York City. He works with people seeking debt relief through bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy Attorney Stresses the Importance of Common Sense

Bankruptcy Attorney Stresses the Importance of Common Sense

More on News at LAWS.com

Burbank, CA—For Mark Markus, who has been practicing bankruptcy law since 1991, bankruptcy cases inspire empathy.  “It’s really just a matter of helping out people who are very much like myself,” he told laws.com in a recent interview.  “Everyone has trouble with their finances once in a while.”

While some people may look down on bankruptcy filers, according to Markus, those filing for bankruptcy are just like anybody else.  “There seems to be a belief, in general, that people filing bankruptcy are dishonest.  I have not had that experience at all,” he says.  “Most people feel terrible about having to file bankruptcy, to the point where they’re almost immobilized by it.  Most of them take very seriously the requirements and understand what it is they’re doing.”

Markus says that bankruptcy law is always interesting to him as an attorney, because cases tend to involve so many different aspects of the law.  “Even the simplest case has a lot of different academic and practical implications,” he says.  “There’s no boring case, and some can get incredibly complex.  It keeps you alert and interested.  While some parts can be routine, it’s always kept my interest alive.”

Recent bankruptcy reforms have kept lawyers and clients on their toes, according to Markus.  “The law made it a lot more time consuming for the attorney, and added more requirements for the client.  It has made somewhat fewer people eligible than before, but not a substantial amount.  It requires a lot more analysis by the attorney, and that analysis changes every month.”

That, in turn, he says, has made it harder for lawyers: “It’s a substantial amount more time put in on a case by the attorney and we can’t charge that much more than we were.  It has become unnecessarily less profitable.”

While those reforms make life more difficult, Markus also believes that other types of reforms are needed.  For instance, he believes that student loans should be something that can be discharged in a bankruptcy filing.  “People have absolutely no means for dealing with student loan debt outside of bankruptcy,” he says.  “There are some income based repayment plans that work okay, but they’re basically involuntary servitude, people trying to come up with a payment plan that they can pay for the rest of their life.  It’s not the most productive way to spend the rest of your life.”

According to Markus, the laws regarding student debt would be better if they were rolled back to their pre-1998 state, allowing filers to discharge student loans in bankruptcy if the loans had been in repayable status for a number of years.  In fact, he’d like to see it go one step further still: “Student loan debt is just out of control.  I would like there to be no time limit at all or a different balancing of interests test that isn‘t as harsh as the current “undue hardship“ requirement.”

For those struggling with their finances, Markus says that a healthy dose of common sense is needed.  “The biggest problem I see with some of my clients is a lack of organization.  Most of it is common sense, but that doesn’t make it any less important or easier.  They crunch numbers and realize they would never be able to pay this debt off.”  Markus suggests seeing an accountant or Certified Financial Planner to examine your entire financial picture to identify where the problems are. “Accountants aren’t just for tax returns, they’re there for advice as well.”

 

Mark Markus is a bankruptcy attorney and lawyer serving Los Angeles, California.

New York Bankruptcy

New York Bankruptcy

 

New York Bankruptcy Law

 

New York bankruptcy has similar laws regarding bankruptcy to other states, but New York’s laws can be strict in determining what kind of bankruptcy an individual can file.  Although the provisions can be strict, bankruptcies laws in the state of New York aren’t meant to restrict a person or corporation from filing NY bankruptcy.  Instead, the laws are there to help a person through a tough economic period and give them a chance to improve their credit in the future.  

 

In the state of New York, a person must attend a credit counseling course six months before they can file for New York bankruptcy.  Also, the person must show evidence that they have take a debtor education course before reaching a settlement with creditors.  

 

New York Bankruptcy : Personal and Corporate

 

Individuals, families, and corporations can file for NY bankruptcy.  A family will often choose to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 depending on their circumstances, and in most cases, a judge will determine what type of NY bankruptcy they can apply for.  Corporations and businesses usually apply for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to try and save their business and stock value.  

 

NY Bankruptcy Chapter 7

 

In recent years, it has become harder and harder to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York.  Chapter 7 usually protects a person with low income from having to pay for unsecured debt like credit card bills.  However, in an effort to stop people from simply running up their debt and defaulting on it later, the state of New York now mandates a person qualify under the following two conditions:

 

• their annual income must fall below the state average of $45,931

• it must be proven that a person cannot afford to pay 25% of their unsecured debt after paying for food, rent, and other necessary living expenses

 

If a person qualifies for the conditions above, they can usually file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  They may be entitled to the following exemptions too:

 

• $50,000 of homestead

• Up to 90% of wages

• Vehicle worth up to $2,400

• Various forms of personal property

 

NY Bankruptcy Chapter 11

 

If a company needs time to reorganize their expenses and make necessary changes to increase profit, they can file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  No personal assets are affected by Chapter 11, but the company’s stock may be greatly influenced by such an action.

 

NY Bankruptcy Chapter 13

 

If a family has a steady income or can be proven in a court to be able to pay off 25% of their unsecured debt, they can often file for Chapter 13.  The main advantage in this type of bankruptcy is that a family can usually keep their house over the next three to five years of repayment.  

 

Taxes

 

Tax returns are considered assets if you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and they will probably be collected by creditors.  If you file for Chapter 13, you will often receive your tax returns to pay your debt or use for living expenses.  You cannot wave backed taxes to the IRS or other collection agency. 

 

Filing for New York Bankruptcy

 

There are many complexities involved in filing New York bankruptcy, and it is often a good idea to hire a lawyer.  A lawyer will be able to help you with every step along the way and work their best to get you the lowest settlement possible.  If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can file for New York bankruptcy through a filing service.  

New Mexico Bankruptcy

New Mexico Bankruptcy

 

New Mexico Bankruptcy Law

 

The state of New Mexico has bankruptcy laws and procedures that closely reflect the laws of most other states.  The state’s policies around NM bankruptcy aren’t as intense and severe as other states, but the state still has fairly strict policies around NM bankruptcy.  However, regardless of the strict policies, New Mexico bankruptcy laws are enforced to help an individual or corporation through a tough economic situation.  Even though a person’s credit may be significantly downgraded throughout and after a bankruptcy, the procedure can often help their credit in the long run.  

 

Like most states, the state of New Mexico requires a person or family to attend a credit counseling course six months before filing for New Mexico bankruptcy.  The person must also provide proof of attending a debtor education course before a settlement is agreed upon.  

 

New Mexico Bankruptcy : Personal and Corporate

 

Individuals, families, and corporations can file for New Mexico bankruptcy.  A family or individual with significant debt (although there is no limit) will often file NM bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or 13.  If a corporation or business is facing economic trouble and needs time to get their finances in order, the company may choose to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  

 

NM Bankruptcy Chapter 7

 

Before a person or family can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they must pass a “means” test.  The person’s wages must fall under the average income in New Mexico, which is $37,246.  Within recent years, Chapter 7 has been harder to obtain because even if a person’s wages fall under the state average, a judge may decide that a person needs to file for a Chapter 13 because they can make payments. 

 

If a person or family is allowed to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they may be entitled to the following exemptions:

 

• Homestead of $60,000 or more if two people own the home

• 75% of wages

• A vehicle worth up to $4,000

• A limit on personal property like jewelry and tools for trade

• Pensions

• All furniture and clothing in some cases

 

NM Bankruptcy Chapter 11

 

If a company is facing economic troubles, they may be able to file a Chapter 11.  This type of bankruptcy gives a company time to reorganize their finances, employees, and logistics in order increase profit or reduce debt.  The owner of the company is often oversees the reorganization in “good faith,” and will report back to a creditor in a certain amount of time.  

 

NM Bankruptcy Chapter 13

 

If a family or person has steady and, in some cases, significant income, they may choose or may be forced to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  The person or family will make structured payments in order to decrease their debt over the next three to five years.  The main advantage in filing for Chapter 13 is that a person can often keep their house—even if it’s facing foreclosure.  

 

Taxes

 

Tax returns may classify as an asset if a person files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Creditors may choose to take tax returns in order to repay debt, but taxes aren’t usually forced to be handed over under a Chapter 13.  Other backed taxes owed to the IRS or other collection agency won’t be eliminated after a NM bankruptcy either.  

 

Filing a New Mexico Bankruptcy

 

You should greatly consider hiring a lawyer if thinking about filing for New Mexico bankruptcy.  You can choose to file through the state’s filing service if you want to save money, but a lawyer can help in every aspect of the New Mexico bankruptcy process.  There are many steps in between filing certain documents and fees and reaching a settlement.