Categories
Bankruptcy

Where Do I File My Bankruptcy Case

Filing a bankruptcy case is not like filing a divorce case or a lawsuit.  That's because those kinds of cases are often filed in state court.  State court cases are filed in county court houses.  So finding your courthouse is as simple as knowing what county you live in.  Most people know their county and so they have little trouble finding their court for state court legal actions.  Sacramento residents for example can file their legal items in the Sacramento County Court.

Did you know that bankruptcy courts are federal courts?  Federal are not as numerous as state courts.  They are located within districts.  If you have studies election law then you might be familiar with districts.  Districts are drawn based on population and geography.  Some residents though are unfortunately sitting near the outskirts of their district.  This could mean that they have to travel over a hundred miles to visit their local federal judge in some situations.  Needless to say residents that live far away from their federal courts do not have the same access to debt relief.  However, if an attorney represents them in their case, the attorney can attend most of the hearings on their behalf.

So when it comes to filing bankruptcy for Sacramento residents it is quit convenient.  The Eastern District Bankruptcy Court is located in downtown Sacramento at 501 I Street.  Most residents can travel there to pursue their case in a matter of minutes.  The local transit system and Amtrak train also have stops nearby.  How about Californias that dont live in Sacramento?  Maybe they live in a smaller city like Woodland or Vacaville.  For them Sacramento is not much closer than San Francisco.  It turns out that the Easter District includes residents of southern locations like Modesto and Stockton.  It also includes residents all the way to Vallejo.

Filing bankruptcy in the right federal court is the first step to gaining an advantage over your debts.  So make sure to correctly identify your local district court with the help of a Roseville Bankruptcy Attorney.  Getting advice from an advocate in the area can really shorten your preparation and activity time.  

Categories
Debt Relief

Betsy DeVos Faces Legal Action for Freezing Student Debt Relief

Student Loans have long been a rising challenge for college graduates in the Unites States.  The cost of eduction has steadily increased during the last half century.  In fact, higher education tuition is one of the fastest increasing costs for young Americans.  The rise of small private schools was supposed to offer convenient and affordable options for those hungry for an education. Unfortunately, a number of significant online universities have closed their doors recently. The students that were attending these schools were left with two major problems. First, these students were left with large amounts of student loan debt. Second, they were unable to obtain high paying jobs to pay off their student loans.

The United States Government began looking at this problem during Barack Obama's presidency.  The best solution from our representatives at the time was to allow these unfortunate borrowers forgiveness for their student loans.  Normally, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy unless the debtor can prove an undue hardship that would make it nearly impossible to attempt to pay back the student loans.  Most people fall short of meeting this standard and are thus left with the burden of large school loans when they have insufficient income to pay.  So when the government came up with a debt relief solution for students who attended schools that went out of business many were relieved.  Nevertheless, these policies still have yet to be implemented.  Many are growing frustrated with Betsy DeVos because she is in charge of implementing these changes.  Apparently she is contemplating changes to the new policies.  Her modification could ease losses for those that backed these loans.  Doing so would be a major reversal from the prior administration's position.

Students can still obtain relief from other debts like credit cards and pay day loans.  Bankruptcy is a long used remedy for those in over their head.  For students, bankruptcy can make their remaining student loans more affordable once other debts are reduced.  If you are facing student loans with unaffordable payments consider looking into ways to reduce your other debts.  The first step is to start communication with a debt relief attorney in Sacramento, CA.

Categories
Chapter 13

Tax Refunds in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case

Some debtors look forward to tax time because that is the time that they receive large tax refunds from the IRS.  Instead of receiving their fair share of monthly earnings, these taxpayers believe that their savings would be better off in the hands of government.  Meanwhile many of these same workers are struggling to pay their monthly expenses.  In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, tax refunds are factored into determining how much a debtor can afford to pay creditors.  Essentially, tax refunds are considered disposable income unless some further explanation is provided to the chapter 13 trustee.  The problem is that the loss of these hard earned funds can offset the whole point of a reorganization, to give the debtor a fresh start.

Monthly Earnings Should be Available on an Immediate Basis in Bankruptcy

Taxpayers that are overwithholding can still make adjustments to their withholdings in the middle of the year.  Doing so will make more wages available to a debtor for household expenses and other necessary costs of living.  In turn a debtor's annual tax refunds will be much lower.  And if the amount of the annual refund is less than $1,000-$2,000, most trustees will consider allowing a debtor to keep the funds.  Overall this kind of change makes keeping up with monthly chapter 13 payments and monthly living expenses easier.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Encourages Debtors to Track Spending

In a sort of renaissance style chapter 13 participants need to reexamine their spending habits. Many begin this makeover for the first time in their lives and are glad that they finally do it.  That is because you can't possible meet all of your obligations if you don't know what you are spending your money on.  Once you start checking in on the categories that are costing you the most you can take control of your wealth building ability.  Paying down debt and making sure that you have money available for health care, car and home maintenance, and clothing, can go a long way to keeping you on a steady financial path. Budgeting during bankruptcy is something that an Elk Grove Bankruptcy Attorney can help a debtor prepare for.

Filing Tax Returns on Time in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Since the IRS needs to ensure that you are not falling behind while you are in chapter 13 its a good idea to timely file returns.  Otherwise your debt problem can be compounded by further debt.  The taxing authorities do not have to wait on seeking payment from debtors that incur post petition tax debt.  By reviewing and filing taxes early in the year, a debtor has the opportunity to plan and pay for any extra taxes that are due.

Categories
Student Loans

How to Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy

Student Loans in Bankruptcy

There are several payments that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy such as child support and alimony. Student loans are also among payments that are not typically discharged in a bankruptcy case. That does not mean it is impossible, merely difficult.

In order to have your loan discharged you must prove that the debt imposes a hardship on you and your dependents after filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To prove such a hardship, the person must prove a mental, physical, or medical hardships. If the loan company does not challenge the hardship then your debt will be discharge.

It is important to know that even when your loan is discharged, your co-signers are responsible for the remaining balance and interest.

For those who are having a difficult time discharging their debt, the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney can help you during this time. Residents of the Sacramento area can look to the experience attorneys at Liviakis Law Firm. We can aid you through the entire process, contact us today at 916.459.2364

Categories
Bankruptcy

A Fresh Start Post-Bankruptcy

Rebuilding Credit Post-Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy offers a huge relief for those dealing with massive amounts of debt. While bankruptcy has allowed you to wipe the slate clean, a lower credit is the price that is paid. If your credit was not in good shape before your filing for bankruptcy then it is imperative to rebuild it as soon as possible.
If you are lucky enough to have kept your home post-bankruptcy. Paying your mortgage on time can actually help you increase your credit score.
Paying your bills on time is also important. This shows your lenders that you have learned from previous fiscal mistakes and are making the effort to not fall into your old habits.
Once you are on a better financial track, look into a credit card. While you may not qualify for an unsecured card, credit card companies may be open to giving you a secured card. A secured card works by depositing money with a bank in order to use a credit card. The limit on the card is usually the same amount deposited in the bank. You have to pay back the amount you spend every month but once the card becomes unsecured, you get your deposit back.
Creditors will not see the card as a secured card but as a regular credit card which means it helps you rebuild your credit.
For more information or assistance with your bankruptcy case, residents of Sacramento can look to Liviakis Law Firm. Contact us at 916.459.2364 for your free consultation.

Categories
Chapter 7

Understanding the Role of Bankruptcy Trustees

A bankruptcy trustee is assigned to every chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy case after it is filed. The United States Trustee at the Justice Department is tasked with appointing and supervising bankruptcy trustees. By and large, trustees are lawyers or professionals with extensive experience in bankruptcy. The duties of a bankruptcy trustee vary depending on whether the case is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. This article will focus on the duties of Chapter 7 trustees.

Whether the case is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, the trustee is required to review the debtor’s petition and accompanying documents, conduct the meeting of creditors, administer the bankruptcy estate, and ensure that the debtor is not committing bankruptcy fraud.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as liquidation bankruptcy because the debtor’s non-exempt assets (if any exist) are liquidated to compensate the creditors. The Chapter 7 trustee’s specific job is to administer the estate and distribute any available funds to the creditors that file claims. The Chapter 7 trustee generally gets paid based on the amount of funds that she distributes to creditors. However, if all of the debtor’s assets are exempt, the trustee is paid a small fee taken from the court filing fee.

When a debtor files bankruptcy, she has to complete a petition and accompanying schedules. (Fortunately, these documents are typically completed with the assistance of debtor’s attorney.) The documents are very detailed and represent a complete explanation of the debtor’s financial affairs. In addition to reviewing these documents, the trustee also reviews pay stubs, tax returns, and any other relevant information that she requests. It is the trustee’s responsibility to review these documents and verify the accuracy of the information.

One of the ways that the trustee verifies financial information is through the Meeting of Creditors. About one month after the filing of the bankruptcy petition, the debtor must appear in court to be questioned under oath. The bankruptcy trustee’s task is to conduct the hearing and ask questions about the information contained in the bankruptcy documents. This meeting (commonly known as a “341 meeting” because of the section of the code that is comes from) also acts as an opportunity for creditors to show up and ask the debtor questions. It is somewhat rare for creditors to show up unless there is some reason to contest the facts in the petition and schedules.

One of the most substantial responsibilities of the Chapter 7 trustee is to sell the debtor’s non-exempt assets. A Chapter 7 debtor is allowed to keep assets up to a certain value as determined by the laws of each individual state. These assets are considered exempt and are protected from the bankruptcy. If the debtor has assets that are not exempt, the trustee will determine the non-exempt value and liquidate them in such a way that gives the maximum return to the creditors that filed a claim. If there are no assets to distribute, the trustee will file a notice of no distribution and the case will soon conclude.

The trustee also has a few other duties including avoiding preferential transfers or certain types of security interests. If a debtor gives assets to a family member just before filing bankruptcy, the trustee may be able to avoid this transfer in order to get the money to give to creditors. On the flip side, the trustee can avoid a lien or security interest if a creditor did not create it properly.

Understanding the role of the bankruptcy trustee is vital for a debtor who wants to swiftly and smoothly complete the bankruptcy process. This serves as yet another reason that it is essential to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Categories
Debt Relief

Negotiating with Debt Collectors

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), it is illegal for creditors to utilize threatening, offensive, and intimidating behavior against a debtor. If you have been feeling unsettled by the tactics taken by a debt collector, you have a right to make a formal complaint.

For the most part, talking to debt collectors is never pleasant but they are reasonable. If you are ready to pay off your debt but need to negotiate the terms, we have some tips that will help you.

How to Negotiate with Debt Collectors

For many, debt is not a state that they chose. It can stem from the loss of a job and be unable to find a new one or hospital bills brought on by an accident. Once you are ready to pay off a debt, you must know that you have options.

Talk about garnished wages tends to come up when facing debt. The truth is that they would need to take you to court and file a judgement against you. Instead of letting the collectors set the terms, take control of the situation yourself.

Debt collectors will either try to ask for the full amount, a chunk of it, or ask for a monthly payment. You must figure out what works for you financially. If you are still unemployed, you may have to ask for an extension of payment. You may be able to negotiate your monthly payments as well. You never want to pay more than you can honestly afford least you find yourself in the same predicament.

Some debt collectors may be willing to settle for one lump sum that is less than what you originally owe. For the most part, they want their money as soon as possible and are willing to take less for it all in one go.

Debt Settlement in Sacramento

Some individuals are not comfortable dealing with debt collectors one-on-one. That is where the attorneys at Liviakis Law Firm step in. Our attorneys are experts at negotiating with collectors so that you can get the best deal and can rebuild the financial aspects of your life.

For more information about our services, please contact our office at 916.459.2364.

Categories
Chapter 13

Selling Your Home While in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Can I Sell My Home While in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

There are many questions that those in Chapter 13 have and one of those is, “Can I sell my home while in bankruptcy?”
The answer is yes.

When in Chapter 13, individuals are able to pay back part of their debt and that means you are also able to keep your home because your attorneys have set-up a payment plan. Many times, homeowners decide to sell their home and if that is the route you choose then there are specific steps you have to take.

How to Sell Your Home in Chapter 13

Inform Your Attorney

No matter where you are in the process of your bankruptcy, you must inform all of those involved in the process. Your attorney is the first person you should contact since there will be a lot of paperwork involved.

Your attorney will need to contact your bankruptcy trustee and put all of the documents together. The real estate agent and potential buyer will also need to be informed that you are in Chapter 13. Often times your attorney will have to create a contract that states the sale relies on the approval of the trustee.

Do Not Wait to Sell

It is suggested that you give your attorney plenty of time to negotiate the sale with your trustee. On average, it takes anywhere from 30 to 50 days for your trustee to approve the plan. As soon as you decide you want to sell your home, talk to your attorney to get the ball rolling.
Getting Your Trustees Approval

One key piece of paperwork that will speed along your trustee's approval is the Motion to Sell. This piece of paperwork consists of the sale price of the home, its value, the appraisal, and the plans of fund distribution. If the document is agreeable to your trustee then they will push the sale of your home forward.

Sale of the Home

Once your home is sold then you will need to give your attorney a copy of the statement of sale. They will then forward the statement to the trustees. You will then need to make payments set during the selling phase.

Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer

One great reason to sell your home during bankruptcy is that it can help you pay off the rest of your debt. Sacramento residents in need of an attorney to help them navigate the sale of their home can look to Liviakis Law Firm, where we specialize in bankruptcy law.

Categories
Bankruptcy

How Bankruptcy Can Help With Medical Debt

Most people think that credit card debt and student loans are the most problematic type of debt today. However, the booming increases in medical debt can be just as much of a problem for the average consumer. In fact, studies have recently shown that an estimated 1 in 5 American adults may be contacted by a debt collection agency about medical debt in a given year. Many of these debts, if unpaid, get sent to collection agencies. These agencies then have many tools at their disposal to get the consumer to pay. What’s worse is that there are rampant billing errors in the medical industry that can cause consumers to overpay.

Fortunately, bankruptcy can be the solution that can help consumers eliminate that medical debt.

In bankruptcy, different types of debts are treated differently based on priority because some debts are more “important” than others. A secured debt is when a creditor has a lien on the debtor’s property and can repossess or foreclose on it if the consumer fails to make the loan payments. The most common types of this are mortgages and car loans. Medical debt is typically not a secured debt.

Unsecured debts are those debts that are not secured by a piece of property. There are priority and nonpriority unsecured debts. Priority debts are usually not dischargeable and will get paid before most other debts in a bankruptcy. The most common examples of these priority debts are taxes and domestic support obligations. The group of debts known as nonpriority general unsecured debts do not get special treatment and are the last group of debts to get paid in bankruptcy.

So, medical debt is most commonly treated as a debt in that last group of debts. Because it is likely to be general unsecured debt, the medical debts will not receive priority and will get paid last. Even if a portion of the medical debt is paid through the bankruptcy, any deficiency left at the end will be discharged, or wiped out.

Because medical debt is in the category of general unsecured debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the easiest and best solution for dealing with large amounts of medical debt. Of course, the consumer still needs to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the consumer’s income bust be low enough to pass a disposable means test. However, even if they do not qualify for Chapter 7, Chapter 13 can still provide a great deal of relief depending on the total debt situation of the consumer.

It’s a fact of life these days that medical costs are high. Plus, bills are confusing and often inflated. So, rather than paying for exorbitant medical bills and enduring years of punishing interest, call a reputable bankruptcy attorney in your area to discuss options today. Every day that goes by without filing bankruptcy is more interest accruing.

Categories
Bankruptcy

Rebuilding Your Credit after Filing for Bankruptcy

How to Recover Your Finances after Filing for Bankruptcy

When you file for bankruptcy, it will be listed on your credit score for up to ten years. Your credit score will remain low until you start to rebuild your credit.
Rebuilding your credit score after filing takes time and diligence. Taking out credit is the best and easiest way to do so. After filing for bankruptcy, it may seem impossible to get a line of credit ever again. There are easy and safe ways to apply for credit but we must stress that payments should always made every month and on-time.

Pay Off Existing Debt

The most important thing to do before you begin your rebuild your credit is paying off existing bills. Set-up automatic bill payments and pay your rent on time as rent payments are also tracked by creditors.

Setting up a realistic budget for yourself is the best step you can take to ensure you do not fall victim to debt once again.

Secure Card          

A secured card is the best option for those who are not approved for an unsecured card. The difference between the two is that a secured card requires a cash deposit beforehand. The cash will serve as a credit line for the account. Your payment history will be given to credit reporting agencies by the credit card issuers. Over time, your credit will improve if you make payments on time and keep your balances low.

Retail Card

Department stores that offer credit cards tend to have more lacked credit requirements. Even with bankruptcy, you may still qualify for a credit card. They also have a higher interest rate, so be sure to make your payment every month.

Debt Consolidation in Sacramento

Many let their shame of filing for bankruptcy as a reason to not move forward. It is vital to let that go in order to not only rebuild your credit and your lives. For assistance with your bankruptcy needs, look to Liviakis Law Firm. We will help you navigate your bankruptcy and aid you in rebuilding your debt. For a free consultation, contact our office at (916)459-2364.

Remember to come back to our blog page for more information about how to navigate your bankruptcy.