A bankruptcy blog containing useful information for anyone considering a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney.

Recently, The New York Post reported that author Robert Kiyosaki’s company Rich Global LLC has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This seems to be a great example of setting aside feelings of embarrassment, shame or fear, in favor of making a smart business decision.

Perhaps you’ve read his books about building personal wealth. Maybe you’ve seen him speak on PBS or even in a live seminar. Regardless, most of us have heard of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It’s a book that uses a fictional example of two different ‘dads’ to compare how different spending habits affect our potential to build financial security and wealth.

So how can a financial guru file bankruptcy and not tarnish his reputation as a financial guru to millions? At first it sounds impossible. But when you learn that he filed the Chapter 7 bankruptcy to protect the remainder of his assets from a judgment creditor, it makes perfect sense. He is taking advantage of the rules in bankruptcy because he can. And, because he is more concerned with making a smart choice than being embarrassed. I encourage my clients to embrace this exact mentality.

Personal Bankruptcy

When a client is considering filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the question shouldn’t be will my neighbors find out (Probably not), or will this haunt me forever (No, it won’t). You certainly won’t show up in the news and in hundreds of headlines like Kiyosaki has. Instead, the question we ask ourselves should be simple and clear:

Is bankruptcy the best thing for me and my family right now?

With the help of a Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney who understand bankruptcy, you can sort through your options. Let’s strive to be like Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki. When it comes to considering bankruptcy, let’s place our important concern for our long-term financial well-being over our temporary and self-induced emotional discomfort.

Email me HERE or call me today at 704.749.7747 for a free phone consultation. I look forward to helping you protect your assets and start down the path to building them again.

First… Congratulations! You’re here because you are taking control over your finances. And you CAN take control of your finances. There are powerful options that the bankruptcy code creates for individuals like you and me, which can rescue us from a tough financial situation and with the help of an attorney, start us down the quick path to financial stability.

Bankruptcy is a process. With the help of a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, you can utilize all the power of that process to achieve a discharge of medical bills, credit card debt, personal loans, vehicle debt and mortgages. To read more, continue with this post or click HERE to watch a 2 minute video about bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy: How To

Make a phone call. You start the bankruptcy process by reaching out to a qualified bankruptcy attorney and telling them about your situation. It’s that simple. Perhaps you are facing overwhelming credit card debt. Maybe you have lost your income, or been injured in an accident. There are numerous reasons people explore bankruptcy as an option.

Once your lawyer understands your situation, they will ask you to provide some written information about your income, your expenses, and the property you own. This is 90% of the work that you will do. When you hand that work over to the lawyer’s office, it’s their job to determine if you will qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or in the alternative a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

About Bankruptcy And The Process

Your attorney will guide you through the process, providing clarity and answering your questions about calls from creditors, whether to keep paying on credit cards, and when you’ll receive the discharge of your debts. You will feel cared for and comforted throughout the entire process. And, each step of the way, you’ll feel yourself regaining your footing—both emotionally and financially.

The message from our law office is simple: your situation is not your fault. There is nothing to feel guilty about. You are simply taking advantage of the powerful options offered by the bankruptcy code. And you’re entitled to them. You’re also not alone. I take phone calls every day from individuals who are trying to recover financially. Exploring bankruptcy as an option is a smart thing to do.

Do I Have To Go To Court?

You do have a short meeting at the courthouse, called a 341 meeting. In fact, in Charlotte, NC, that meeting takes place across the street from the courthouse in a small two story building. The room is carpeted, and you and your bankruptcy attorney sit at one table while a bankruptcy trustee sit at another table. The trustee asks you a few questions.

There shouldn’t be any surprises at this short meeting. Your only job is to listen and to be honest. The meeting typically takes a few minutes. The most common response from clients after the meeting is “That’s it?!” The answer is yes.

Take A Step Forward

The easiest way to get information is to pick up the phone. I’m here to listen to you. My goal is to understand your situation and offer solutions that work for you, whether that means filing a bankruptcy or defending against a creditor, or giving you the good news that you don’t need a lawyer. If you’d like to talk about your situation, there is no cost for that. Just call 704.749.7747.

 

 

 

When we are attempting to manage our debt, it helps to consider it in pieces. Typically, the most substantial monthly payment for each of us is our home, or the mortgage on the home. With the significant changes in the real estate market and homeowners’ inability to pay current mortgages due to financial hardship, banks are increasingly willing to modify your mortgage. You may have even received letters about loan modification in the mail.

A bank is motivated to modify your mortgage to avoid foreclosure, bankruptcy or other adverse proceedings which negatively affect the bank’s interest. By working together with your bank and your bankruptcy attorney, you can achieve the best results for future financial stability.

Modification Prior To Filing Bankruptcy

You can modify your loan prior to filing bankruptcy. The modification will not negatively affect your bankruptcy filing. When you do file your bankruptcy petition with your Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer, you’ll need to provide the most up to date information about the mortgage to the bankruptcy trustee.

Modification During Bankruptcy

Chapter 7: If you are in an active Chapter 7 bankruptcy, loan modification is typically still available. You should speak with your bankruptcy attorney before entering into the modification agreement, as the attorney may need to get the court’s permission to allow the modification. If you have received a discharge in Chapter 7, you can proceed with your loan modification without permission from the court.

Chapter 13: If you are in an active Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your attorney will need to request permission from the court to allow the modification. This will be done by filing a Motion to Incur Debt. If you have received a discharge in a Chapter 13 or even a dismissal, you do not need the court’s permission to enter into a loan modification.

Working With Your Bank

Your bank will have a standardized process for approving a loan modification. They want to know your financial picture so they can show cause or need for granting the modification. They are also attempting to determine whether you’ll be able to make your new (lower) monthly payment after the modification.

Missing Mortgage Payments

Some banks will tell you that they will not consider a loan modification until you have missed a certain number of mortgage payments. While this may be the case, it’s important to remember that in order to file a Chapter 7 and keep your home in Chapter 7, you must be up to date on all mortage payments, including property taxes. Your attorney can help you strategize and balance the tension between the two options of loan modification and bankruptcy.

Get An Attorney’s Help

You are capable of pursuing a loan modification on your own. You may find that the bank is more responsive when they are contacted by your bankruptcy attorney. The reason is that the bank understands you are close to filing a bankruptcy, which may affect their rights adversely. While there are no promises, sometimes this makes the bank move more quickly on your file, which can make all the difference.

Information is free. Call me today to ask questions and get answers. I can be reached at 704.749.7747. Or, you can send me an email HERE and I’ll reply shortly. You’re on your way to recovery. It’s closer than you think. If you want to know whether you qualify for bankruptcy, consider completing this short bankruptcy evaluation. I’ll get back to you after I’ve reviewed it.

Trying to manage overwhelming credit card debt is like driving in a storm—you can only see what is directly in front of you. This leads to decisions that address a situation with today’s aggressive bill collector, but often leaves us facing the same situation around the bend.

There are numerous approaches to tackling overwhelming credit card debt, and there are plenty of people eager to take your money in exchange for the promise of debt relief. Consumers deserve to know that while the effect on your credit score is similar, you can get very different results from a bankruptcy filing vs. a debt consolidation program.

 

In Debt Settlement: Debt settlement companies are relying on the assumption that creditors will settle with you. In order to get those creditors to settle, they instruct you to stop paying your credit cards and instead give that money to the settlement company to pay their high fees and allow them to negotiate on your behalf.

In Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy is law. The rules are clear. Your bankruptcy attorney can tell you with great certainty—before you file—what you will and will not be able to accomplish by filing a bankruptcy. Consumer bankruptcy can eliminate credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, judgments, tax debt and 2nd mortgages. It is undeniably a much more powerful tool for consumers.

What Happens When I Stop Paying My Credit Cards?

In Debt Settlement: When you stop paying your credit cards, your creditors take notice. They tack on fees. They report your delinquent payments to credit agencies, and they pursue all legal means of collecting the debt. If your debt settlement company is unable to negotiate successfully with one or more of your creditors, you just dramatically weakened your financial well-being—the debt not only remains but it has significantly increased. And the creditor is calling for repayment NOW.

In Bankruptcy: When you decide to file a bankruptcy, your bankruptcy lawyer will advise you as to when you can stop paying your credit cards. And yes, your creditors take notice. But they are bound by the Federal bankruptcy laws, which create an Automatic Stay that freezes all attempts at collection. So long as you qualify for filing bankruptcy and your situation does not give rise to a Presumption of Abuse, your creditors have no say in the matter—your filing will succeed and the debt will be discharged.

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of The Debt?

In Debt Settlement: Assume you subject yourself to the risk of debt settlement or debt consolidation. In addition to the risk that your creditors may not cooperate as expected, you also run the risk that one missed payment during the lengthy repayment period (typically 36 months or more) will undo the negotiated amounts with creditors.

In Bankruptcy: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, by comparison, goes from filing to discharge of debts in typically three to four months. During that much shorter timeframe, you are no longer making payments to credit card companies (along with medical providers and other creditors), and no longer receiving any communications from those companies, per bankruptcy law.

Make a phone call today. A bankruptcy attorney can help you sort through the options and choose one that serves you best. Fifteen minutes will give you peace of mind, clarity and relief. Email me HERE or call 704.749.7747 for a free consultation.

Many of my bankruptcy clients are small business owners, and typically operate their business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or LLC. While these clients are currently facing financial hardship, the business represents a great potential for future income and a lot of hard work went into creating it. A common question when considering bankruptcy is whether business debt will be discharged as part of the bankruptcy. Ideally, clients would like to be able to file a personal bankruptcy and save the small business.

Personal Debts Are Discharged

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debts you are personally liable for are discharged. For the typical small business owner who has taken on debt to operate a business, at the time the obligation was created, that individual was required to sign both for the business AND individually. An example would be a lease for a copier, or a loan for purchasing computers. The filing of a Chapter 7 would discharge that debt as to the individual. The debt would remain an obligation of the business entity.

Continuing to Operate Your Business

You can often continue to operate your small business after filing a Chapter 7, however there are circumstances where the bankruptcy court wants to see the business closed in conjunction with the owner being personally discharged of the debt. While businesses that are service-oriented can typically remain in operation, businesses with large assets and substantial income may need to dissolve. Regardless, business owners can usually re-establish the business under a new entity after the bankruptcy.

Discharging Company Debt

If you want debt discharged as to the company, then the company needs to file its own bankruptcy. Practically speaking, a company owner who has been personally discharged of the debt by a Chapter 7 simply files articles of dissolution with the Secretary of State—a much easier and cheaper way for the business owner to move on.

Reorganizing The Debt

If you have valuable business assets, income from the business or both, you’ll most likely want to continue to operate the business. In that event, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically ideal, and involves working out a repayment plan with creditors that discharges most debt over time, while creating a monthly payment plan that is significantly more favorable than the current payments you are having trouble maintaining.

If you are having trouble with your finances, finding out your options is empowering. Call me if you’d like to speak to an attorney about your situation. The call is free and it will help you clarify your next steps. You can email me HERE or call 704.749.7747 to talk to me today.

If you’ve been browsing online for a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, you’ve probably come across the phrase “Cheap Bankruptcy Attorney” more than once. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a situation where cost matters more, than when you’re running low on money already. I encourage all of my clients to comparison shop attorney’s fees—it’s their right, and it makes sense. I also encourage them to focus on making sure they require a few things of the attorney they choose. If you want a fee quote I’m happy to provide one– here is the link for requesting Bankruptcy Fees.

Make Sure It’s A Law Firm

You can file on your own. You can file with the help of a non-attorney. These options exist. But when you’re filing bankruptcy, it’s important that you get the guidance you need and usually that requires the knowledge of a bankruptcy attorney. In exchange for paying the going rate for an attorney, you get competent legal representation, someone who has a relationship with the bankruptcy trustees, and accountability. Each of these elements helps to insure the success of your filing.

Demand The Attention You Deserve

Your attorney should be available. They may not answer their phone every time you call but calls should be returned quickly and if the bankruptcy lawyer doesn’t have the answer you need, you should get an informed response as soon as the lawyer has a chance to research the answer.

You Should Feel Respected

You’re going through a challenging time. In my opinion, you should feel that your attorney is respectful of that. This respect can manifest itself by the attorney taking extra time to explain a concept to you, or offering some alternative ways to exchange information—essentially the attorney should strive to make the process as painless as possible for you, the client.

Stay Updated

You shouldn’t have to call your attorney for updates. Ask your Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer how often you should expect to hear from them with updates on your case. Mark your calendar, so both you and your attorney follow through. If you have questions, your attorney should make you feel comfortable calling at any time to ask those.

Get a Bankruptcy Attorney Referral

Your bankruptcy lawyer should plenty of names and phone numbers they can provide you so that you can reach out to their existing or past clients and ask how the experience was. Did things go smoothly? Was the attorney able to accomplish what he promised he would accomplish? In the end, were the fees as quoted or agreed upon?

I believe that one of my primary jobs as a bankruptcy attorney is to educate. It’s why this blog exists. The information here is free and I hope it makes you feel more comfortable with your options in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I also hope it makes you feel more comfortable in your choice as to which Charlotte bankruptcy attorney is going to assist you.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your options, please email me HERE or call 704.749.7747 today. Call today, and tomorrow will be different.

It costs a substantial amount of money to file a bankruptcy. When you don’t have money for utilities and rent, this feels like a cruel joke. And while most clients address it with a sense of humor, the fact is one of the biggest hurdles to getting out of debt is raising the money to pay the bankruptcy lawyer.

What You Shouldn’t Do

You shouldn’t use your credit card(s) to pay for bankruptcy. If you charge a credit card for more than $600 within 90 days of filing a bankruptcy, a presumption of abuse arises. Beyond this, any charge placed on a credit card– when you know the charge will be discharged in bankruptcy– is considered fraudulent. Your case may be dismissed!

You shouldn’t borrow from your 401(k). Not if you can help it, anyway. Retirement funds are protected and they represent an investment in your future. If you’re facing a foreclosure or there is no other way to pay for the bankruptcy fees, then you and your attorney can make a decision as to whether it’s a good idea to use retirement funds to pay for the bankruptcy.

What You Should Do

Consult with your attorney. Once your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney gets a feel for your overall financial picture, he or she will be able to help you creatively plan your bankruptcy payment in a way which won’t upset your filing. Together, my clients and I are usually able to figure out a way to get the necessary fees paid without too much discomfort for the client.

One option is to borrow from a family member. While family members may not be too keen on lending money to someone who continues falling behind, they tend to see the filing of a bankruptcy as a responsible choice and they are often eager to contribute to your financial recovery because they feel you have a plan. They’re proud of you for taking necessary steps to improve your situation.

Another option is to consider an upcoming tax refund. If you’re accustomed to receiving a tax refund each year, you can start working with your bankruptcy attorney on the paperwork as tax time approaches, and then instead of using the return to catch up on bills, use it to pay the attorney to help eliminate the debt…forever.

Every post ends the same way: CALL AN ATTORNEY. The reason? A phone call can change everything, and speaking with a bankruptcy attorney helps you to clearly see your options and make a choice. You can change your future, today. Email me HERE or call me at 704.749.7747.

When I get a first phone call from a potential client, there is usually a pressing reason.  They need help NOW. They can’t make this month’s bills, they are receiving threatening phone calls, or the Sheriff has been to the house to enforce a Writ of Execution. The Automatic Stay in bankruptcy halts the threats.

Upon Filing

Filing bankruptcy provides immediate relief. Upon filing bankruptcy, the court issues an “automatic stay.” This freezes all creditors in their attempt to collect on a debt. They can’t call you, send you mail, or otherwise attempt to enforce their rights against you. If they do, you and your attorney can file a violation of stay action against the creditor, or the collector they have employed.

Foreclosure Proceedings

If you are facing a foreclosure proceeding, the automatic stay freezes this as well. Your mortgage lender can petition the court to remove the automatic stay but that takes time. During this allotment of time, you can either get caught up on payments, work out a loan modification, or decide to surrender the property as part of the bankruptcy.

Vehicles

Most people I speak to daily are afraid of losing their vehicle. It’s a necessary part of life that we need to function normally. If you are behind on vehicle payments and file a petition in bankruptcy, the bank is prevented from trying to take your car and must treat you in accordance with the bankruptcy code.

Wage Garnishments

In North Carolina, wage garnishment requirements are strict but creditors do sometimes have the right to garnish your wages to collect on a debt supported by a judgment against you. In most cases, the automatic stay will stop wage garnishments. You can potentially recover funds taken prior to filing the bankruptcy; your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney will need to know specifics in order to determine this.

Renters and Utilities

An automatic stay will also give you some breathing room as a renter who is about to be evicted. While it depends on what part of the eviction process you are in, if you reach out to your attorney in time and file, your filing will buy you some time to remain in the home and plan your next move. Even utility companies are treated as creditors and must abide by the automatic stay—you and your family will be warm at night.

You have more control over your situation than you may know. By speaking with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney you can get peace of mind about your options, work together to maximize the benefits of filing a bankruptcy and take swift action to dramatically change your life for the better.

Reach out today. Email me HERE or call 704.749.7747 to speak directly with me. I’m here to help.

In a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, deficiency judgments can be eliminated.

I spoke with a client today who is considering filing bankruptcy in Charlotte. We discussed both her inability to balance her budget on a monthly basis, as well as additional creditors who have obtained judgments against her. One situation she is facing is leftover from a foreclosure—the bank sold the property and the sale did not satisfy their loan. As a result, the bank obtained a deficiency judgment against the client for the remainder they were owed. Great news– if she files bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will eliminate the personal liability for this debt.

Liens May Remain On 2nd Properties After Bankruptcy

If a client owns two pieces of property and one is foreclosed upon, it is important to file bankruptcy prior to the lender/creditor obtaining a deficiency judgment. The reason is that deficiency judgment related to the 1st property will ‘attach’ to the 2nd property owned by the client.

If the bankruptcy is filed before the deficiency judgment is entered, all liability for the debt is discharged. If the bankruptcy is filed after the judgment is entered, even though the personal liability for the debt is discharged, the lien may still exist as to the 2nd property. An attorney can help you wade through the law and your options.

When In Doubt, Make A Call

If you are getting notices about a lawsuit filed against you, or receive other communication about a lawsuit, don’t delay. By contacting a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney now, you can take action that will have very tangible effects on you and your family going forward. Information is free—call an attorney!

You can reach me HERE by email, or at 704.749.7747 at any time. I’m here to help.

If you receive a Writ of Execution, it means a creditor is attempting to seize your assets. Take a deep breath, you still have options. Filing bankruptcy is one of them. The key is acting quickly.

Before The Writ of Execution

If a creditor files a lawsuit against you to collect on a debt, you can attempt to defend that claim against you, or you can do nothing in response. If you defend yourself and lose, the creditor obtains a judgment against you. If you do nothing, the creditor will typically get a summary judgment which has the same effect—the creditor wins the lawsuit.

After obtaining a judgment, the creditor will attempt to use the judgment to force a collection on the debt from you. The first notice you will get will be a Motion To Exempt Property. This form gives you an opportunity to list and PROTECT property from the creditor. Your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney can explain the form and assist you in filing it. Whether you file it with a bankruptcy attorney or on your own, be sure to meet the 20 day timeframe for responding.

The creditor’s lawyers will then request a Writ of Execution from the judge. This is what causes the Sheriff to show up at your door. I know this is frightening but you still have options!

Communicate With The Sheriff

It is important that you communicate with the Sheriff. You can make a request of the Sheriff for more time to settle with the creditor or pay them. You can also tell the Sheriff that you are filing a bankruptcy and ask for an extension to get your Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed. The Sheriff may or may not grant you an extension but the key is asking.

Call Your Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer

Next, if you haven’t done so already, call your Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer. Together, you can sort through your options. Your bankruptcy attorney will know how much time remains to file a bankruptcy petition to stop the collection process. Your attorney will also help you decide which option is best and set a plan in place for taking action.

If you are getting notices regarding a civil summons, a judgment, a motion to exempt property or a writ of execution call your attorney now. Waiting only limits your options. The call is free and Charlotte bankruptcy attorneys are understanding of the urgency and they are here to help. Email me HERE or call 704.749.7747 to discuss your situation today and take steps to exercise your rights.