Bankruptcy Might Save Your Life

life ringFiling for bankruptcy might save your life. A new study finds that bankruptcy filers make more money and live longer than those who were denied such protection. http://for.tn/1u6bd1z

Bankruptcy Fee Increases

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The Judicial Conference of the United States has approved several bankruptcy fee increases starting on June 1, 2014. The new  fees will be:

Chapter 7:  $335 (up from $ 306)

Chapter 9: $1,717 (up from $1,213)

Chapter 11: $1,717 (up from $1,213)

Chapter 12:  $275 (up from $246)

Chapter 13:  $310 (up from $281)

Chapter 15: $1,717 (up from $1,213)

The last increase in filing fees was on November 1, 2011.

See Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule

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Medical Bills Cause Money Woes Bankruptcy Stops

ambulanceA trifecta of life changing events – illness, job loss or divorce – often starts an avalanche of financial problems that results in bankruptcy.

Most of us are one serious illness or injury away from medical bills we can’t afford to pay, even when we are lucky enough to have good health insurance.

Bankruptcy Stops Garnishments

When you can’t pay your medical bills, you may be sued.  Once the creditor wins the lawsuit and gets a judgment against you, 25% of your pay and 100% of your bank balance can be seized in Kansas. Bankruptcy is a way to stop the garnishments.

Last Resort

“People do not go into bankruptcy lightly:  They go into bankruptcy after they have exhausted all other options,” says my Bankruptcy Law Network blogging colleague Kevin Gipson. “This often means they have maxed out their credit cards, borrowed money from friends and loved ones, and even worse, gutted their retirement plans to pay their debts.”

You Are Not Alone

Kevin Gipson has written a five-part series on considering bankruptcy to get rid of your medical bills:

Considering bankruptcy to get rid of your medical bills?  You are not alone. In Part One, “we learned that many Americans, whether or not they had health insurance, had experienced problems paying their medical bills.”  In Part Two,  “we saw the cost of health care is a major factor for many Americans when having to make day to day decisions regarding how to allocate what are frequently limited funds.”

In Part Three, “we discussed how the chronically ill, disabled and handicapped often have a tougher time paying their medical bills than their healthier counterparts.  Often a bankruptcy can be used as a way to get rid of these bills and also can be a way to free up money to make health, vision, dental and disability insurance affordable.”

In Part Four of this series we saw how low income to moderate income individuals had a much more difficult time affording health care and medical insurance. Part Five discusses options for negotiating the medical bills and applying for assistance with the providers and filing bankruptcy to get rid of the medical bills.

 

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Does My Name Have to Be in the Newspaper When I File Bankruptcy?

It is nobody’s business you say. IT IS EMBARRASSING! Why does my name have to go in the newspaper when I file bankruptcy?

Some Kansas newspapers publish the names of people who file bankruptcy in their print and internet editions. Bankruptcy court filings are public records and you cannot stop the newspapers from getting the information or publishing it.

You might be able to prevent your name from appearing in the newspaper by carefully choosing where you file your bankruptcy case, but you might not be successful. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas has three divisions in Topeka, Kansas City and Wichita. Any Kansas case can be filed in any division the debtor chooses where to file.

The Kansas City Star does not publish your name unless you are known well enough to merit a news story. The Topeka Capital-Journal used to publish a list of all bankruptcy cases filed in the Topeka division, but stopped that practice several years ago. The Wichita Eagle-Beacon publishes a list of debtors who file in the Wichita division. The Hutchinson News publishes a list. The Lawrence Journal-World publishes lists of Douglas county residents who file bankruptcy in Kansas. Other papers, business journals and legal news publish bankruptcy cases.

Editorial policies change and there is no guarantee you will be able to stay out of the newspapers. Seek the advice of your bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you can successfully keep your name out of the paper.

Revised and reprinted from my post in my national blog Bankruptcy Law Network.

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What Do I Bring to My 341 Meeting of Creditors?

The bankruptcy trustee is required to confirm your identity and Social Security number.  Bring a government issued photo ID card and proof of your Social Security number with you to your 341 meeting of creditors.

Examples of acceptable photo IDs include driver’s license, state issued photo ID, U.S. passport or legal resident alien card.

You must show the trustee the original Social Security card or one of the following documents with your full nine-digit Social Security number listed on it: letter from the Social Security Administration, W-2 or 1099 form, or a pay stub. A tax return is NOT acceptable.

If you are missing either of these documents, please ask your attorney prior to your 341 meeting of creditors for assistance in obtaining them.

How Do  I Get a Replacement Social Security Card?

Your Online Social Security Statement

Locating Your Local Social Security Office

Social Security Administration Office in Topeka


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Bankruptcy Filing Fees Going Up

Starting November 1, 2011, the fee to file a bankruptcy case increases by $7.

The new filing fees are

  • chapter 7 $306
  • chapter 13 $281
  • chapter 11 $1046

 

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Bankruptcy Court Costs Going Up

Miscellaneous fees in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts increase again on November 1, 2011.  The filing fee to initiate a bankruptcy case is not changing.

Debtors will have to pay $30 to amend schedule d, e, f, g, or h, up from $26.  Creditors will have to pay $176 to file a motion to lift the automatic stay, up from $150.

Other fee increases:

  • Certification $11 from $9
  • Exemplication $21 from $18
  • Record Search $30 from $26
  • Document Filing / Indexing $46 from $39
  • Title 11 Administrative Fee $46 from $39
  • Record Retrieval $53 from $45
  • Returned Check $53 from $45
  • Notice of Appeal $293 from $250

Statutory authority for the bankruptcy court fees is 28 U.S.C. 1930.

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Also published in Bankruptcy Law Network.

Famous Shed Debt, Move On Successfully – You Can, Too

You have plenty of good company if you are feeling alone or depressed because of debt problems.  Here is a list of some of the famous people who have filed for bankruptcy or had financial problems.  Note that many of these people had great success and fame AFTER they shed their debts.

Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas‘s mother files chapter 13 bankruptcy. Wrestler Rulon Gardner, winner of the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics, filed bankruptcy after being defrauded by a business partner.

US Olympic swimming champion Ryan Lochte’s parents home is in foreclosure.

Jose Canseco, 1988 American Baseball League MVP

NFL player Warren Sapp filed bankruptcy.  His collection of 240 pairs of Air Jordan shoes are being auctioned by his bankruptcy trustee.

 

Donald Trump, financier; Michael Jackson, singer; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer; Kim Basinger, actress; Mike Tyson, boxer; Mark Twain, humorist; Burt Reynolds, actor;

Thomas Jefferson, patriot and president; Gary Coleman, child actor; MC Hammer, rap singer; Willie Nelson, country singer; Lorraine Bracco, “The Soprano’s” actress; Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber; PT Barnum, circus promoter; L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”; Mathew Brady, Civil War photographer;

Oscar Wilde, playwright; Jerry Lee Lewis, rock singer; Rembrandt, painter; Henry Heinz, ketchup magnate; Milton Hershey, chocolate magnate; Henry Ford, auto magnate; Johnny Unitas, football player; Wayne Newton, entertainer; Mickey Rooney, actor; Debbie Reynolds, actress;

John Connally, former Texas governor ; Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse; Mick Fleetwood, rock singer; Merle Haggard, country singer; Ulysses S. Grant, president and Civil War general ; Dorothy Hamill, figure skater; Larry King, talk show host; Bowie Kuhn, former baseball commissioner; Stan Lee, comic book creator of “Spider Man”.

Other famous debtors in bankruptcy or having financial problems:

Lorrie Morgan, country singer; Robert Stephan, former Kansas Attorney General; Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., largest U.S. bankruptcy; Tribune Company, owner of Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Tribune & other newspapers, and Chicago Cubs; Enron; Interstate Bakeries Corp., maker of Wonderbread and  Hostess Twinkies; KB Toys; General Motors; Ford; Chrysler; Linens ‘N Things;

Ed McMahon, Tonight Show host; Michael Vick, NFL football player; Dreir, LLC, law firm; Dave Ramsey, author of Total Money Makeover, radio/TV personality; Poloroid Corp.; numerous mortgage lenders; Archway Cookies; Circuit City, electronics retail stores;

Parent Co., the owner of  etoys.com; Bill Blass, Ltd., fashion manufacturer; Recycled Paper Greetings, Inc., 3rd largest U.S. greeting card maker; Flying J travel plazas; LyondellBasell Industries, chemical maker; Goody’s Family Clothing Inc., retail clothing chain; Waterford Wedgwood PLC, china and crystal; Creative Memories, scrapbooking; Gottschalks department stores; Merisant Worldwide Inc., Equal artificial sweetener maker;

Nortel Networks, Canadian telephone company; Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper; Hartmarx Corp., clothier to U.S. President Barack Obama; Brighter Minds Media World of Goo computer puzzle publisher; Spectrum Brands, Inc., makers of  Rayovac batteries, Remington shavers;

S&K Famous Brands men’s clothing; Crescent Oil Company, Inc., Independence, KS, oil supplier; Muzak Holdings, LLC, maker of elevator music; Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., St. Joseph, MO, box manufacturer; My Rich Uncle, student loan lender; and Charter Communications, cable and internet.

Peanut Corp. of America, salmonella in peanut butter; Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., Atlantic City casinos; Forward Foods LLC, Detour bars maker; Saab, Swedish auto maker; Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., publisher of Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newspapers; Ritz Camera Centers Inc.; Blockbuster, video rentals; Changing Worlds Technology, Inc., Carthage, MO, biofuels plant; Mark Shale men’s clothier; Six Flags amusement parks.

MC Hammer musician; Extended Stay Hotels, LLC; Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum; Eddie Bauer; Crabtree and Evelyn, Ltd., soap and toiletry retailer; Michael Jackson‘s parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson;

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How to Get Your Credit Reports

You are entitled to a free credit file disclosure (credit report) once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  We recommend you monitor your credit by pulling one of the three reports every four months.

You may request your free credit reports online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You will be asked questions to authenticate your identity such as creditor names, loan payment amounts, employers and addresses. Please work through the screens, then view and print out all three credit reports. You’ll need lots of paper and ink.

Other Internet sites advertising “free” credit reports are not free. If you have to give a credit card number or sign up for a monthly credit monitoring service, you are on the wrong website.

If you cannot obtain your free credit reports online, you may request your report by phone or request your report through the mail. Free credit reports requested by phone or mail will be processed within 15 days of receiving your request.

To request your credit report by phone, call 1-877-322-8228. You will go through a simple verification process over the phone. Your reports will be mailed to you within 15 days.

To request you credit report by mail, download the request form, print and complete the form, mail the completed form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

When you file bankruptcy through our firm, you should bring any credit reports you have with you to your appointment with our attorneys. With your written permission, we will run your credit reports through our vendor, which downloads the data from Experian and Transunion to our software.  The charge for the download is $26 for one person or $45 for a married couple.

Free credit reports do not contain your credit scores.  You can estimate your credit score for free, instantly and anonymously, by using a web tool, Credit Score Compass, on the credit.com website.

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We are a Debt Relief Agency

We are a debt relief agency at Bankruptcy Law Office.  That means we help people file for relief under the bankruptcy code.  Congress changed in law in 2005 and required that we call ourselves a debt relief agency to make sure you know that we are bankruptcy attorneys.

Congress also requires that we give you a lot of notices and disclosures. In our opinion, these notices are designed to scare and intimidate good people who have suffered misfortune and need debt relief.

These notices, in our view, are based on the false assumption that all or most people who consider bankruptcy relief are dishonest. Please rest assured–so long as you are honest and meet the requirements set out under the law, it is very likely you are entitled to debt relief. We can guide you through all the requirements of filing for bankruptcy, so long as you provide us accurate and complete information.

BAPCPA REQUIRED NOTICE NO. 1
(§§527(a) (1), 342(b) (2) and 527(a) (2) of the Bankruptcy Code)

Types of Bankruptcy
The Bankruptcy Code is divided into chapters. The chapters that usually apply to consumers are Chapter 7, where most or all of your debt is wiped out, and Chapter 13, which involves a repayment plan. In most cases, once you file your case, the “Automatic Stay” immediately goes into effect. The Automatic Stay means that a bankruptcy filing automatically stops, or stays, and brings to a halt most lawsuits, repossessions, foreclosures, evictions, garnishments, attachments, utility shut-offs, and debt collection harassment. Generally, most creditors cannot take any further action against you or your property without permission from the Bankruptcy Court.

Chapter 7. Chapter 7 is designed for debtors who are having financial difficulties and are not able to re-pay their debts.

If your current monthly income is above the State Median Income you will be required to perform a Means Test to determine if you are eligible for this type of bankruptcy relief.

If you do not meet the requirements of the Means Test then you may be precluded from filing a Chapter 7 and have the option of converting to Chapter 13 or filing a Chapter 13.

Under Chapter 7 a Trustee takes possession of all your property. You may claim certain property as exempt under Kansas law. You can only exempt the value of property that is not subject to the liens of your creditors. The Trustee then liquidates the non-exempt property and uses the proceeds to pay off your creditors according to priorities of the Bankruptcy Code.

The purpose of filing a Chapter 7 is to obtain a discharge of most of your existing debts.

If, however, you are found to have committed certain kinds of improper conduct described in the Bankruptcy Code, your discharge may be denied by the Court, and the purpose for which you filed the bankruptcy petition will be defeated. The filing fees charged by the court for a Chapter 7 total $274.00.

Even if you receive a discharge, there are some debts that are not discharged under the law. Therefore, you may still be responsible for such debts as certain taxes and student loans, alimony and support payments, criminal restitution, and debts for death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs.

Under certain circumstances you may be able to keep property that you have purchased subject to a valid security interest. Some of these options include what is called redemption and the reaffirmation of an existing pre-bankruptcy debt.

Chapter 13. Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with a regular and stable source of income who are temporarily unable to pay their debts but who desire to use their best efforts and good faith to pay them in installments over a period of time subject to the protections afforded by the Chapter 13 rules. You are only eligible for Chapter 13 if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. The filing fees charged by the court total $189.00 for a Chapter 13. Under Chapter 13 you must file a plan with the Court to repay your creditors all or part of the money that you owe them, using your future earnings or by the disposition and/or abandonment of certain collateral such as land and motor vehicles. You are protected from your creditors in most case upon the filing of your case but your plan must be approved by the Court before it can take effect.

Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is designed primarily for business reorganization, but is also available to consumer debtors. Its provisions are quite complex. In the majority of cases, Chapter 11 is unnecessary and too expensive for consumer debtors. The court filing fee is $1039.00.

Chapter 12. Chapter 12 lets family farmers repay their debts over a period of time and is similar to a Chapter 13. The filing fee is $239.00.

Credit Counseling. Reputable credit counselors can advise you on managing your money and your debts. They may also be able to develop a plan to repay your debts.  Unfortunately, many credit counselors are not reputable and charge high fees and contributions that will cause you to fall deeper into debt and damage your credit rating.

Furthermore, many misrepresent their non-profit status and/or their affiliations with religious or charitable organizations, and are little more than collection agents for credit card companies. Under the changes to the Bankruptcy Code that took effect in 2005, you are required to take two short credit counseling courses, one before you file bankruptcy, and one after you have filed. We will refer you to a credit counselor that has been approved by the United States Trustee for these courses.

Honesty is required. A person who knowingly and fraudulently conceals assets or makes a false oath or statement under penalty of perjury in connection with a case under the bankruptcy code shall be subject to fine, imprisonment, or both and all information supplied by a debtor in connection with a case under this title is subject to examination by the Attorney General.

1. All information that you are required to provide with a bankruptcy petition and thereafter during a bankruptcy case is required to be complete, accurate and truthful.

2. All assets and all liabilities are required to be completely and accurately disclosed in the documents filed to commence the case, and the replacement value of each asset must be stated in those documents where requested after reasonable inquiry to establish such value.

3. Current monthly income, the amounts specified in section 707(b) (2) and, in a case under chapter 13 of this title, disposable income (determined in accordance with section 707(b) (2)), are required to be stated after reasonable inquiry; and4. Information that an assisted person provides during their case may be audited pursuant to this title, and that failure to provide such information may result in dismissal of the case under this title or other sanction, including a criminal sanction.

BAPCPA REQUIRED NOTICE NO. 2  (§ 527(b) of the Bankruptcy Code)

INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES
If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you can represent yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney. THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. Ask to see the contract before you hire anyone.

The following information helps you understand what must be done in a routine bankruptcy case to help you evaluate how much service you need. Although bankruptcy can be complex, many cases are routine. An attorney can help guide you through this intricate process, making it easier and less stressful for you.

Before filing a bankruptcy case, either you or your attorney should analyze your eligibility for different forms of debt relief available under the Bankruptcy Code and which form of relief is most likely to be beneficial for you. Be sure you understand the relief you can obtain and its limitations. To file a bankruptcy case, documents called a Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, as well as in some cases a Statement of Intention need to be prepared correctly and filed with the bankruptcy court.

You will have to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court. Once your case starts, you will have to attend the required first meeting of creditors where you will be questioned by a court official called a “trustee” and, much more rarely, by creditors.

If you choose to file a chapter 7 case, you may be asked by a creditor to reaffirm a debt. You may want help deciding whether to do so. A creditor is not permitted to coerce you into reaffirming your debts. It may not be in your best interest to reaffirm a debt.

If you choose to file a chapter 13 case in which you repay your creditors what you can afford over 3 to 5 years, you may also want help with preparing your chapter 13 plan and with the confirmation hearing on your plan which, if held, will be before a bankruptcy judge.

If you select another type of relief under the Bankruptcy Code other than chapter 7 or chapter 13, you will want to find out what should be done from someone familiar with that type of relief. However, please be advised that in most cases, you will only be concerned with chapter 7 and chapter 13.

Your bankruptcy case may also involve litigation. You are generally permitted to represent yourself in litigation in bankruptcy court, but only attorneys, not bankruptcy petition preparers, can give you legal advice.

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What Causes an Emergency Bankruptcy?

I wanted to write something about what makes those who procrastinate file bankruptcy. First of all, procrastination and bankruptcy often go hand in hand. The unknown is scary and making a move during a period of insecurity is hard. Bankruptcy often feels optional at the beginning. Full Article…
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Credit Counseling Before Bankruptcy

Everyone who files a bankruptcy must get a credit counseling certificate before the bankruptcy can be filed. There are almost no exceptions.

You do not have to pay your bills in a debt repayment plan through a credit counselor.  In fact, the credit counselors say 1 to 3% of people who do the pre-bankruptcy counseling can afford to pay their bills.  This requirement was put into the law to deter you from filing bankruptcy.

All you have to do is “attend” a one-time briefing to discuss your finances and get information about your bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options, then you are given a certificate. You can do this in person, over the telephone, by mail or over the Internet.  We will assist you in getting this briefing.  If you have not already done this step, please wait and discuss with us how best to accomplish this.

Here are approved credit counselors we recommend:

Consumer Financial Education Foundation of America (CFEFA) by Internet and telephone, $35 (paid through our office prior to case filing)

Hummingbird Credit Counseling and Education on the Internet, $49 (paid through our office prior to case filing)

Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., in person in Topeka, Lawrence and Manhattan, $45, (paid to HCCI at time of counseling) 1195 SW Buchanan, Suite 101, Topeka, KS 66604-1183, 785-234-0217.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Inc., in person or telephone, $50 for individual, $75 per couple, Salina, Wichita, Hays, Hutchinson, Garden City, (paid to CCCS at time of counseling)

A FREE internet service for getting your certificate of credit counseling for bankruptcy.  This service is internet only and goes not guarantee delivery of your certificate. The web site says the process takes up the five days after you enter your information.  Do not use this service if you need to file your bankruptcy case right away, but if you are not in a hurry, free is free. You will be responsible for getting your certificate over the internet and bringing it to us. Some people have reported to us being charged $5.00.

 

AFTER bankruptcy financial education course

Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy

 

Debt Settlement Scams

You are an honest person. You are desperate to find a way to pay your bills, but your paycheck just doesn’t stretch far enough.  You are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

You see commercials on TV and the Internet promising to solve your financial problems. Your guts tell you the “solution” is too good to be true, but you go against your instincts.

You were right! It is too good to be true!

Most of the debt settlement companies you see on TV or the Internet are illegal. Only a Kansas attorney or a credit services organization approved by the Office of the Kansas State Bank Commissioner can legally perform debt management services for a Kansas consumer. About 30 companies are approved. Most are not.

It is illegal for an unlicensed company to charge you a fee to take your money, hold it in escrow, not pay your creditors, then, once the debts are unpaid and delinquent for months, offer your creditors a partial lump sum settlement of the debt. These are debt settlement scams!

I posted about the Kansas consumer protection law on the Credit Law Network and the Bankruptcy Law Network.

Don’t despair. If you are paying an illegal debt settlement company, you might be able to get your money back. We can help you stop the automatic withdrawal from your bank account. We can demand a refund for you.

Legitimate Debt Management Plans

If you able able to pay your bills back through a debt management plan, contact Kansas consumer credit counseling services. Don’t send your hard earned money to out of state strangers you find on TV and Internet!

Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., in Topeka, Lawrence and Manhattan

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Inc., in Salina and Wichita

These two agencies can help you analyze your realistic ability to pay and can give you a frank assessment of your likelihood of success. They might be able to get creditors to voluntarily reduce interest, stop late fees and reduce monthly payments, but they probably won’t be able to get creditors to take less than you owe. Creditors cannot be forced to participate in a plan. Some creditors refuse. If you are lucky enough to have creditors who will cooperative, and you can pay your debts back at a`monthly rate you can afford, and you will have the bills paid off in a reasonable period of time, then you should consider a debt management plan through a Kansas credit counselor.

But if your creditors won’t agree to a debt management plan or the plan leaves you insufficient money to pay your necessities such as your housing, food, health care and transportation, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. You can expect these Kansas agencies to be be honest with you, even when they have to give you the bad news that a debt management plan won’t work for you. Both agencies are approved by the U.S. Trustee to issue bankruptcy certificates.

 

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341 Meeting: What Will They Ask Me?

Questions the Trustee is required to ask you at your bankruptcy hearing called a 341(a) meeting of creditors:

1. State your name and current address for the record.

2. Please provide your picture ID and Social Security number card for review.

3. Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents and is the signature your own? Did you read the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents before you signed them?

4. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?

Watch a short video of a typical 341 hearing.

5. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?

6. Have you previously filed bankruptcy? (provide trustee with case number and the discharge information to determine discharge eligibility in this case)

7. What is the address of your current employer?

8. Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?

9. Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom? Please provide the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record. Are you current on your post-petition domestic support obligations?

10. Have you filed all required tax returns for the past four years?

SAMPLE QUESTIONS THE TRUSTEE MAY ASK YOU

1. Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate? If owned: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What are the mortgages encumbering it? What do you estimate the present value ofthe property to be? Is that the whole value or your share? How did you arrive at that value? If renting: Have you ever owned the property in which you live and/or is its owner in any way related to you?

2. Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last one year period (or such longer period as applicable under state law)? If yes: What did you transfer? To whom was it transferred? What did you receive in exchange? What did you do with the funds?

3. Does anyone hold property belonging to you? If yes: Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?

4. Do you have a claim against anyone or any business? If there are large medical debts, are the medical bills from injury? Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit? What is the status of each case and who is representing you?

5. Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death? If yes: PIease explain the detaiI s. If you become a beneficiary of any one’s estate within six months of the date your bankruptcy petition was filed, the trustee must be advised within ten days through your counsel of the nature and extent of the property you will receive. FRBP 1007(h)

6. Does anyone owe you money? If yes: Is the money collectible? Why haven’t you collected it? Who owes the money and where are they?

7. Have you made any large payments, over $600, to anyone in the past year?

8. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed? Do you have copies ofthe federal income tax returns? At the time of the filing of your petition, were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government ? If yes: Inquire as to amounts.

9. Do you have a bank account, either checking or savings? If yes: In what banks and what were the balances as of the date you filed your petition?

10. When you filed your petition, did you have:

a. any cash on hand?
b. any U.S. savings bonds?
c. any other stocks or bonds?
d. any certificates of deposit?
e. a safe deposit box in your name or in anyone else’s name?

11. Do you own an automobile? If yes: What is the year, make, and value? Do you owe any money on it? Is it insured?

12. Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies? If yes: State the name ofthe company, face amount of the policy, cash surrender value, if any, and the beneficiaries.

13. Do you have any winning lottery tickets?

14. Do you anticipate that you might realize any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a divorce or separation proceeding?

15. Have you been engaged in any business during the last six years? If yes: Where and when? What happened to the assets of the business?

Source: Executive Office of U.S. Trustee, Handbook for Standing Trustees.

Read more: http://bankruptcykansas.info/will-they-ask-me/#ixzz1MRyssLCT


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What To Bring Your Bankruptcy Attorney

Please print out this list of documents to compile. Bring these documents to your attorney at the Topeka Bankruptcy Law Office. Always bring us copies and keep the originals for yourself.

Your Appointment:  Date: ____________ Time: ________

With Attorney:  __________ Mark Neis __________ Jill Michaux

Documents You Need to Bring to Your Attorney Meeting

Please bring these documents to our office when you come to meet with us. Do your best to find these papers. It is very important that you bring these items with you. We know it is difficult to come up with all these documents, but, unfortunately, we cannot file your case without this information. If you are missing documents, please call us at 785-354-1471 to see if there is a work around.

_____ Certificate of Credit Counseling and worksheets if you have already done this. If you have not done this, please wait and discuss this step with us.  We will assist you. Credit counseling must be done before the bankruptcy case is filed.

_____ Bills and statements from ALL creditors, including your living expenses, whether or not you want to pay them or discharge in the bankruptcy. We must know about all creditors including your friends and relatives and your friendly creditors.

_____ Pay stubs from all employers and proof of any other income for the last seven (7) months.

_____ Bank statements for all accounts for past seven (7) months.

_____ Federal and state tax returns for last four (2) years (2013, 2014).

(Do not spend any tax refunds without our assistance.)

We must have a copy of 2013 and 2014 federal and state returns with all attachments. We can accept transcripts from IRS and State of Kansas if you have filed your returns but don’t have copies.  You may get free transcripts from the IRS. Taxpayer Assistance at Docking State Office Building in Topeka will provide printouts for state returns. If you have not filed tax returns for 2002 through 2014, you will need the original returns with W2s or 1099s, or proof that you are not required to file federal or state income tax returns. Both IRS and State of Kansas will check your history for unfiled returns. Your bankruptcy case will be dismissed if returns are not filed.

_____ Deeds, promissory notes, mortgages, purchase papers, property tax statements, or contracts on any real estate you own or are buying with approximate payoff amount.

_____ Registrations or titles for all vehicles and proof of insurance showing coverage and lender as loss payee.

_____ Notes, retail installment contracts from banks, credit unions, finance companies or other lenders including pay day loans and car title loans. Also, any security agreements, purchase papers, leases or other documents listing your property as collateral for the purchase of cars, furniture, mobile homes, other personal property, rent to own or cash loans.

______ Liens on any property

______ Divorce decrees, property settlement agreements, child support orders or other domestic lawsuit documents, prenuptual and postnuptual agreements, and the current name and address of the other person in those lawsuits and agreements, amount due if you owe.

______ Statements for life insurance policies that have a cash value and annuities. You do not need to bring term life policies.

______ Judgments or court orders entered against you or in your favor. Garnishment papers.

______ Executory contracts, leases, contracts for sale or deed and lease-purchase contracts or rent-to-own agreements.

______ Statement for your IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k) or 403(b) plan, profit sharing plan, KPERS, tax sheltered annuity or other retirement plan.  Promissory note for any loans against your retirement plan.

______ Your government issued photo ID

______ Proof of your Social Security number (SS card, W2, 1099, pay stub, health card)

______ Credit reports you already have.

______ $10-50 for individuals and $10-100 for couples if you are doing your credit counseling. We recommend www.debtorcc.com, which charges $9.95 for single or couple.

______ $25 for individuals and $50 for couples for credit reports we run. We run credit reports even if you have already done so.

______ Trusts you own or are the beneficiary of.

______ If you have lived outside the State of Kansas in the past five years, please bring a list of dates and places you resided for the past five years.

______ Business records. Call us to discuss what documents will be needed for your business. At a minimum, we will need business tax returns, bank statements, asset lists and values, creditor lists, monthly income and expense figures for the previous seven months and the current tax year, stock, and ownership documents.

______ Prior bankruptcy case information, date filed, case number, type of case, whether discharge granted, any papers you have.

______ Documentation of any property in your name that belongs to someone else or any property that belongs to you in the name of someone else.

______ Documentation for any property you have sold, transferred, given away,  pledged or put in someone else’s name in the past 10 years.

Neis & Michaux, P.A.
Bankruptcy Law Office
534 S. Kansas Ave., Ste. 825
Topeka, KS 66603
785-354-1471

785-354-1170 fax
lawyers@neismichaux.com

 

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How to Contact the Topeka Bankruptcy Law Office

Stop being stressed out by bills you can’t pay! Get the fresh start only the federal bankruptcy laws can give you. Contact us at the Topeka Bankruptcy Law Office today!

Mark Neis and Jill Michaux, Topeka’s only consumer bankruptcy law specialists.  You expect board certification in your doctor, expect it in your lawyer, too.

Bankruptcy Law Office Location

Neis & Michaux, P.A., Bankruptcy Law Office

825 Bank of America Tower, 534 S Kansas Ave Ste 825

Topeka KS 66603-3446

785-354-1471 telephone –  785-354-1170 facsimile

mark.neis@neismichaux.com - jill.michaux@neismichaux.com

our website: www.bankruptcykansas.info

bankruptcy blog: www.bankruptcylawnetwork.com

personal finance blog: www.moneyhealthcentral.com

 

View street view of Bank of America Tower Map to Our Location

Call Mark and Jill today.  We understand your bill problems.  785-354-1471

 

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