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    Bankruptcy:

  • Can I stop my creditors from harassing me?Can I stop my creditors from harassing me?

    People choose to file bankruptcy for a number of different reasons.  We have found, that no matter what the underlying reason may be, a lot of our clients have to deal with some of the same issues.  One of the more annoying and troublesome issues facing many of our clients are collections efforts.  Collections efforts can be made by mail, email, or even telephone.  Even more problematic is that many creditors sell "bad debts", or accounts with unpaid balances, to other companies who really dial up the collections efforts.  It might seem like that is just something you have to deal with.  However, that may not be the case. 

    First and foremost, give us a call or come in and talk to us.  We can’t help if we don’t know there is a problem.  As soon as you decide to retain us to file your bankruptcy you can start letting your creditors know that you are represented.  If you give them our contact information we would be happy to inform them that you are preparing to file for bankruptcy.  Now, they don’t have to stop calling you at this point, but many creditors do.  They know they won’t be able to collect so they move on to the next person. 

    If you do keep getting letters or phone calls we may still be able to help.  You should record the times your creditor calls you, who you speak with, and what they say.  If it is the original creditor, for example your car lender or mortgage holder, there are not quite as many options.  However, these entities still should not engage in any offensive language or rise to the level of harassment. 

    Where we have even more remedies available is when your account is held by a debt collection agency.  The Federal Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) offers you a number of different protections.  It is imperative that you keep any written correspondence and that you make a record of any telephone correspondence.  These entities cannot call you after nine in the evening.  They cannot harass you or threaten you.  If they are calling you at work, or somewhere you are not permitted to receive calls, tell them that.  They are then not permitted to keep calling you there.

    We are seeing an increase in aggressive and illegal collections practices. Some lenders have threatened to have people arrested and even provided fraudulent arrest warrants.  We can turn these complaints over to the Bankruptcy Court and even the Attorney General.  We may also be able to sue on your behalf and collect damages.  If this is happening to you please let us know; we want to help!

    If you have questions about this, or any other matters, please contact your St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today!

  • How does my income impact my bankruptcy?How does my income impact my bankruptcy?

    We meet a lot of people with a host of varying circumstances. We all know that the economy has been terrible for several years. We meet a lot of people that are unemployed or underemployed. We also meet a lot of people that have been laid off and can only find work at a fraction of what they were previously earning. Sometimes it is illness or increasing family size that causes a financial strain. Most of our clients never expected to be considering bankruptcy. We understand, and we are here to help.

    When you come in we will go over some personal information with you. We will ask about your employment, your family size, your education, what types of property you own, and how much money you make. We know these are personal questions, but we need to ask them and we need you to answer as honestly as possible to help you through this as smoothly as possible. We ask about your income because we are assessing what type of bankruptcy will best fit your needs. To file a chapter 7, also commonly referred to as a "straight bankruptcy" you must meet certain income guidelines. Basically, there is an income cap that is dependent upon your family size. Now, don’t fret, your "family" doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual has to be your spouse or child. We have a number of clients that support nieces or nephews or even parents. If that is something that concerns you we would be happy to discuss that with you in detail.

    Getting back to the income, there is what is called a Means Test. Basically, the bankruptcy petition looks at your current income for your present and future ability to pay, but also looks at your income for the last six months to determine eligibility for a Chapter 7. Now, like we discussed, there are some situations where in the last six months an individual may have had the ability to pay debts, however, that may not be the case moving forward. There are also situations where an individual may need or want to file a Chapter 13, however, the past six months make it look like he or she has more money to repay than he or she will moving forward.

    Don’t worry just yet. We may still be able to help. In many cases we can file the petition as include some additional information to show the change of circumstances. This is commonly referred to as a Lanning argument. We know that clients have been advised by others, or found on the internet, that they should to wait to file when there is change of circumstances. We want you to know that this may not always be necessary. If you have questions about this, or any other questions, please call your St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today!

  • Can I Keep My Tax Refund When I File for Bankrutpcy?Can I Keep My Tax Refund When I File for Bankrutpcy?

    When we meet our clients for bankruptcy consultations we go through a lot of information. However, we find that many of our clients want to know what kinds of information to bring with them to consultations to make it more efficient. During this time of year especially we get a lot of questions about tax returns. It is important to understand that every case is different. This is meant only to be used for general information purposes, and if you have questions about this or your case you must contact us today to go over your specific circumstances.

    That being said, when an individual files for bankruptcy he has to declare all of his debts or liabilities and all of his assets on the petition filed with the court. A tax refund, even one that is not yet received, is an asset that must be disclosed. We know that a lot of our clients depend on tax refunds for important purchases, car repairs, and other household items. That is why we encourage you to tWhen we meet our clients for bankruptcy consultations we go through a lot of information. However, we find that many of our clients want to know what kinds of information to bring with them to consultations to make it more efficient. During this time of year especially we get a lot of questions about tax returns. It is important to understand that every case is different. This is meant only to be used for general information purposes, and if you have questions about this or your case you must contact us today to go over your specific circumstances.

    That being said, when an individual files for bankruptcy he has to declare all of his debts or liabilities and all of his assets on the petition filed with the court. A tax refund, even one that is not yet received, is an asset that must be disclosed. We know that a lot of our clients depend on tax refunds for important purchases, car repairs, and other household items. That is why we encourage you to talk to us. You can attempt to rid yourself of assets prior to filing for bankruptcy. But you are able to make some legitimate purchases and or repairs. It may be in your best interest to wait until after you have received and used your refund money to file for bankruptcy.

    If that will not work, there may be other ways to protect the money from needing to be turned over to the trustee as a part of the bankruptcy estate. There are certain exemptions that may be used to protect certain amounts of assets, including liquid assets. Those exemptions vary by state, and we practice in Missouri and Illinois, so we’ll have to go over those with you individually.

    It is also important to understand where there are some cases where it would be in a debtor’s best interest to file bankruptcy before receiving the tax refund. For example, in Illinois certain types of tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit (EIC) are exempt from the bankruptcy estate and the debtor is entitled to keep any money from the EIC, regardless of amount. A bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of Illinois recently ruled that where a debtor received her refund just hours before she filed that the debtor could not keep the money from the Earned Income Credit because once she has the money in her hand it was simply liquid assets, not an Earned Income Credit. In this case it would have been much better for the debtor to file her bankruptcy before receiving her tax refund. This is a very technical interpretation, but this case may set an interesting precedent for future cases.

    If you have questions about this, or any other bankruptcy questions, please call a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today to talk to us. You can not attempt to rid yourself of assets prior to filing for bankruptcy. But you may be able to make some legitimate purchases and or repairs. It may be in your best interest to wait until after you have received and used your refund money to file for bankruptcy.

    If that will not work, there may be other ways to protect the money from needing to be turned over to the trustee as a part of the bankruptcy estate. There are certain exemptions that may be used to protect certain amounts of assets, including liquid assets. Those exemptions vary by state, and we practice in Missouri and Illinois, so we’ll have to go over those with you individually.

    It is also important to understand where there are some cases where it would be in a debtor’s best interest to file bankruptcy before receiving the tax refund. For example, in Illinois certain types of tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit (EIC) are exempt from the bankruptcy estate and the debtor is entitled to keep any money from the EIC, regardless of amount. A bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of Illinois recently ruled that where a debtor received her refund just hours before she filed that the debtor could not keep the money from the Earned Income Credit because once she has the money in her hand it was simply liquid assets, not an Earned Income Credit. In this case it would have been much better for the debtor to file her bankruptcy before receiving her tax refund. This is a very technical interpretation, but this case may set an interesting precedent for future cases.

    If you have questions about this, or any other bankruptcy questions, please call a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today!

  • Why Cant I File the Bankruptcy without an Attorney Why Cant I File the Bankruptcy without an Attorney

    Why Cant I File the Bankruptcy without an Attorney

  • Avoid Turning Over funds from a Personal Injury ClaimAvoid Turning Over funds from a Personal Injury Claim

    Avoid Turning Over funds from a Personal Injury Claim

  • Personal Injury Claims and the Bankruptcy EstatePersonal Injury Claims and the Bankruptcy Estate

    Personal Injury Claims and the Bankruptcy Estate

  • Filing taxes after bankruptcyFiling taxes after bankruptcy

    Filing taxes after bankruptcy

  • Tax Refunds and Your BankruptcyTax Refunds and Your Bankruptcy

    Tax Refunds and Your Bankruptcy

  • Business and BankruptcyBusiness and Bankruptcy

    Business and Bankruptcy

     

  • Post petition debtPost petition debt

    Post petition debt

  • Dismissal of Chapter 13 Part 2Dismissal of Chapter 13 Part 2

    Dismissal of Chapter 13 Part 2

  • Dismissal of Chapter 7 - Part 2Dismissal of Chapter 7 - Part 2

    Dismissal of Chapter 7 - Part 2

  • Dismissal of Chapter 13 Part 1Dismissal of Chapter 13 Part 1

    Dismissal of Chapter 13 Part 1

  • Dismissal of Chapter 7 - Part 1Dismissal of Chapter 7 - Part 1

    Dismissal of Chapter 7 - Part 1

  • My car got repossessed. There is nothing I can do to get is back right?My car got repossessed. There is nothing I can do to get is back right?

    My car got repossessed. There is nothing I can do to get is back right?

  • Taxes were due prior to filing. They are discharged right?Taxes were due prior to filing. They are discharged right?

    Taxes were due prior to filing. They are discharged right?

  • Chapter 7 or Chapter 13Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

    Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

  • What do I need for meeting with attorney?What do I need for meeting with attorney?

    What do I need for meeting with attorney?

  • Choice of an AttorneyChoice of an Attorney

    Choice of an Attorney

  • Chapter 13 process Part 1Chapter 13 process Part 1

    Chapter 13 process Part 1

  • Chapter 13 process Part 2Chapter 13 process Part 2

    Chapter 13 process Part 2

  • Chapter 13 prrocess Part 3Chapter 13 prrocess Part 3

    Chapter 13 prrocess Part 3

  • Insider PaymentInsider Payment

    Insider Payments

  • What if I cannot appear at my 341 Meeting of Creditors? What if I cannot complete my Credit Counseling Course? What if I cannot complete my Financial Management Course?What if I cannot appear at my 341 Meeting of Creditors? What if I cannot complete my Credit Counseling Course? What if I cannot complete my Financial Management Course?

    What if I cannot appear at my 341 Meeting of Creditors? What if I cannot complete my Credit Counseling Course? What if I cannot complete my Financial Management Course?

  • I paid in money to the trustee in my Chapter 7 because of unexempt assets. What happens to my money? I paid in money to the trustee in my Chapter 7 because of unexempt assets. What happens to my money?

    I paid in money to the trustee in my Chapter 7 because of unexempt assets. What happens to my money?

  • RedemptionRedemption

    Redemption

  • I am in a Chapter 13 and received a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Make Plan Payments. Does that mean I am kicked out of the bankruptcy? I am in a Chapter 13 and received a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Make Plan Payments. Does that mean I am kicked out of the bankruptcy?

    I am in a Chapter 13 and received a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Make Plan Payments. Does that mean I am kicked out of the bankruptcy?

  • Payday Loans and Avoiding Them!!!! Payday Loans and Avoiding Them!!!!

    Payday Loans and Avoiding Them!!!!

  • I do not have money so how do you expect me to pay you?I do not have money so how do you expect me to pay you?

    I do not have money so how do you expect me to pay you?

  • Refund Anticipation LoansRefund Anticipation Loans

    Refund Anticipation Loans

  • I am not eligible for Chapter 7 yet so I will file Chapter 13 and then convert when I am eligible for Chapter 7 discharge. I am not eligible for Chapter 7 yet so I will file Chapter 13 and then convert when I am eligible for Chapter 7 discharge.

    I am not eligible for Chapter 7 yet so I will file Chapter 13 and then convert when I am eligible for Chapter 7 discharge.

  • Garnishments and Bank LeviesGarnishments and Bank Levies

    Garnishment and Bank Levy

  • Can I Leave Creditors Off Bankruptcy?Can I Leave Creditors Off Bankruptcy?

    Can I Leave Creditors Off Bankruptcy?

  • Surrending House Through BankruptcySurrending House Through Bankruptcy

    Surrending House Through Bankruptcy

  • Consumer or Business Debt for Purposes of Means TestConsumer or Business Debt for Purposes of Means Test

    Consumer or Business Debt for Purposes of Means Test

  • Credit Report DisputesCredit Report Disputes

    Credit Report Disputes

  • Only SSI IncomeOnly SSI Income

    Only SSI Income

  • Considering BankruptcyConsidering Bankruptcy

    Considering Bankruptcy

  • Can I leave some creditors off of my bankruptcy?Can I leave some creditors off of my bankruptcy?

    Can I leave some creditors off of my bankruptcy?

  • Do I have to appear in front of a Judge for my bankruptcy? Do I have to appear in front of a Judge for my bankruptcy?

    Do I have to appear in front of a Judge for my bankruptcy? 

  • What happens if I get behind on mortgage payments while I am in a Chapter 13?What happens if I get behind on mortgage payments while I am in a Chapter 13?

    What happens if I get behind on mortgage payments while I am in a Chapter 13?

  • What is a wage order and what are the benefits?What is a wage order and what are the benefits?

    What is a wage order and what are the benefits?

  • Liens in BankriuptcyLiens in Bankriuptcy

    Liens in Bankriuptcy

  • Why do you need 6 months of income history?Why do you need 6 months of income history?

    Why do you need 6 months of income history?

  • Student Loans and Other Debts That are Not Discharged Student Loans and Other Debts That are Not Discharged

    Student Loans and Other Debts That are Not Discharged

  • Bankruptcy DefinedBankruptcy Defined

    Bankruptcy Defined

  • Forms Required - GenerallyForms Required - Generally

    Forms Required - Generally

  • Forms Required - Chapter 7Forms Required - Chapter 7

    Forms Required - Chapter 7

  • Forms Required - Chapter 13Forms Required - Chapter 13

    Forms Required - Chapter 13

  • Should I File Bankruptcy?Should I File Bankruptcy?

    Should I File Bankruptcy?

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Belleville, Illinois 62226
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