Bankruptcy-It Could Happen to Anyone

Divided We Fail

Medical Bills Bankruptcy Americans

How Can I Afford to File Bankruptcy?

How can I afford to file bankruptcy?

If I can’t pay my bills, how can I afford to pay my bankruptcy attorney?

If I can’t pay my bills, how can I afford to pay my bankruptcy attorney? Part Two

Representing yourself

How much does bankruptcy cost?

Cost of filing bankruptcy

I Feel So Guilty Filing Bankruptcy

People seeking debt relief often feel guilty about filing for bankruptcy.  We are raised to pay our debts and conditioned to feel bad when we can’t.  In fact,  people will go to extreme measures, such as depleting the retirement account, to avoid bankruptcy.

When you can’t pay your bills because your credit card lenders have raised interest to 30%, it is time to stop feeling guilty.  Stop feeling bad about bills you can’t afford to pay.

It may not be your fault.  It may be that someone in your family has gotten sick or injured and you are facing huge medical expenses.  It may be that you have lost your job on main street because of greedy acts on Wall Street.  It may be that your marriage ended.  Most Americans are one injury, illness, job loss or divorce away from bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a legal way to resolve your debts.   It is for honest debtors who play by the rules.  Get the fresh start you deserve and get on with your life in peace.  Call today to see if bankruptcy is the right solution for your financial problems.

Bankruptcy-It Could Happen to Anyone

Why Did They Stop Sending My Mortgage Statements After Bankruptcy?

Most home mortgage lenders who send monthly statements to their borrowers will stop sending statements once a bankruptcy is filed.   They will stop withdrawing automatic payments form your bank account.  They claim sending the statements and withdrawing your funds might be seen as a violation of the bankruptcy automatic stay on collection and they don’t want to run afoul of the bankruptcy law.

Some Courts such as the Kansas bankruptcy courts have local rules allowing mortgage statements to be sent to debtors who want to retain their properties and continue paying the mortgage payments.

If you have filed bankruptcy and wish to keep your real estate that has been pledged as collateral for a loan, you must pay your mortgage payments.  Not getting a statement does not get you off the hook – you don’t get a free house.  YOU MUST PAY YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS TO KEEP YOUR PROPERTY OUT OF FORECLOSURE. [Read more…]

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Topeka Bankruptcy Case

A Topeka, Kansas, consumer bankruptcy case is pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. It involves the Topeka chapter 13 trustee objecting to Stephanie Lanning’s bankruptcy plan.

Lanning had taken a buyout and left her job at Payless Shoesource.  She was working at Joann’s Fabrics for less money when her bankruptcy was filed.

When Lanning took the bankruptcy means test, the Payless buyout caused her income average to be higher than her current income and higher than the median for a single person in Kansas.  She would have been required to make a bankruptcy payment she could not afford to make with her lower income. [Read more…]

What Is Required to Confirm My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan?

11 U.S.C. § 1325. Confirmation of plan

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the court shall confirm a plan if—

(1) The plan complies with the provisions of this chapter and with the other applicable provisions of this title;
(2) any fee, charge, or amount required under chapter 123 of title 28, or by the plan, to be paid before confirmation, has been paid;
(3) the plan has been proposed in good faith and not by any means forbidden by law;
(4) the value, as of the effective date of the plan, of property to be distributed under the plan on account of each allowed unsecured claim is not less than the amount that would be paid on such claim if the estate of the debtor were liquidated under chapter 7 of this title on such date;
(5) with respect to each allowed secured claim provided for by the plan— [Read more…]

Means Test Allowances

U.S. Trustee on means testing

national expense_standards for means test

Kansas housing charts for means test

Who Are Creditors in Bankruptcy?

Creditor: The person or organization to whom the debtor owes money or has some other form of legal obligation.

What is a Contingent Debt?

Contingent: Used to describe debts that are not fixed in right at the time, but are dependent on some other event happening to fix the liability.

What Is Consumer Debt in Bankruptcy?

Consumer Debt:  Debts incurred by an individual for personal, family or household purposes. Taxes are not consumer debts; neither are business loans. The means test only applies to those with primarily consumer debt.

My Income Is Above Median, How Long Will My Chapter 13 Plan Run?

B22C CONTROLS, OR IF DEBTOR USES I AND J, MUST HAVE A FIVE YEAR PLAN
In re Beckerle, Case No.06-20572
April 2007, Judge Berger

ACP is a time frame of either 3 or 5 years and not a multiplier. B22C is a starting place in determining projected disposable income to be received in the 5-year period. A negative number on B22C indicates the plan is not feasible. Debtor can’t have it both ways. If the debtor relies upon I and J to prove feasibility, then the debtor must commit to a 5-year program.

Digest by:  Jan Hamilton, Trustee

What is the Automatic Stay?

Automatic stay: The injunction issued automatically upon the filing of a bankruptcy case which prohibits collection actions against the debtor, the debtor’s property or the property of the estate. See Relief from Stay on terminating the injunction.

My Wife Didn't File Bankruptcy, Can I Deduct Her Car Payment on My Means Test?

NON DEBTOR EXPENSES NOT ALLOWED ON B22C
In re Shahan, Case No. 06-11638
April 2007, Judge Nugent

Above median debtor filed 13; wife did not. Trustee objected to confirmation on basis of various B22C deductions. Debtor was allowed to take a marital deduction on Line 19 from his paycheck, which represented mandatory withholdings from her paycheck and, as such, was not dedicated to household expenses. Debtor sought to deduct future payments on secured debts for wife’s debts on Line 47. Since these were not debtor’s expenses, they were not allowed. Additionally, debtor sought to deduct $415.00 on line 59. This includes wife’s monthly recreational expenses, loan repayment to family, tax prep fees and $200.00 per month to help an adult daughter. These are to be actual expenses. None of these qualified, except for the tax preparation expenses as analyzed by the Court.

Digest By:  Jan Hamilton, Trustee

What are Assets in Bankruptcy?

Assets.  Assets are every form of property that the debtor owns. They include such intangible things as business goodwill; the right to sue someone; or stock options. The debtor must disclose all of his assets in the bankruptcy schedules; exemptions remove the exempt assets from property of the estate.

My Car Is Paid For, Can I Deduct Ownership Expense on Means Test?

OWNERSHIP EXPENSE NOT ALLOWED IF VEHICLE PAID FOR
In re Howell, Case No. 06-11652
April 2007, Judge Nugent

Trustee objected to 13 confirmation under 1325(b)(1)(B) on basis that debtors projected disposable income was too low because they were deducted an ownership expense on Line 28 of B22C even though vehicle was fully paid for and even though they had claimed a standard vehicle operating allowance on Line 27. Objection Sustained, even though 707(b) (2) (A) (ii) (I) and B22C do not offer specific guidance.  Judge Nugent rejected the other view on the basis that an expense is not “applicable” if it is not actually incurred.

Digest by:  Jan Hamilton, Trustee

Topeka Bankruptcy Attorneys Named 2009 Super Lawyers

photo-mark-neis-6697-web-150x150

Mark Neis

Our attorneys at the Bankruptcy Law Office, Mark Neis and Jill Michaux, have been chosen for inclusion on the 2009 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers list.  Only five per cent of Missouri and Kansas attorneys are chosen each year.

Jill Michaux

Jill Michaux

The Super Lawyers selection process includes a statewide survey of lawyers, peer nominations based on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, a blue ribbon panel review by practice area, independent research to identify outstanding lawyers, and a discipline check of candidates.

Mark and Jill were two of four Kansas lawyers selected as 2009 Super Lawyers in the consumer bankruptcy law category.  They are two of three Topeka lawyers selected as 2009 Super Lawyers in the bankruptcy and creditors rights law category.

Mark and Jill are the only consumer bankruptcy law specialists in Topeka and two of 10 in Kansas.  They are board certified by the American Board of Certification in consumer bankruptcy law.