Craig W. Andresen is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 22 years’ experience in consumer and small business bankruptcy cases. He is the Minnesota chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Mr. Andresen lectures often on the topic of consumer bankruptcy at local and national legal seminars.


Author: Craig Andresen, Minneapolis, MN, Bankruptcy Attorney

23 Jan Filing Two Bankruptcy Cases Can Be A Smart Move

You might be wondering how filing two bankruptcy cases could possibly be legal, or why somebody would ever want to do it. Actually, filing two bankruptcy cases is not that unusual, although most would not benefit from this process. "Filing two bankruptcy cases" does not mean filing two cases at the same time; it means filing one case, usually a chapter 7, then when the first case is finished, filing another one, usually a chapter 13. For some, this can produce valuable results which cannot be obtained any other way. The bankruptcy law says that a person cannot receive a chapter 7 discharge within eight years of receiving a prior chapter 7 discharge. Also, a person cannot receive a chapter 13 discharge within four years of a prior chapter 7 discharge. However, these are limitations on receiving a discharge, and do not limit eligibility to file a bankruptcy at any particular time. Sometimes, receiving a discharge is not the desired goal of a bankruptcy filing. Instead, a bankruptcy might be filed for the purpose of obtaining a stay of collection activity, and the stay can last for years in a chapter 13.
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22 Jan Landlord Security Deposits In Bankruptcy: Can the Trustee Take It?

When a person who does not own a home, but instead rents the apartment or home he or she lives in, files for bankruptcy, the assets which must be listed in the bankruptcy papers will usually include a landlord security deposit. The reason the landlord deposit must be listed is that it still belongs to the bankruptcy debtor, even though it is in the possession of someone else (the landlord), and even though it could be taken by the landlord if the debtor ends up owing money to the landlord at the end of the lease. Section 541 of the bankruptcy law says that any money or property the debtor owns, no matter how tenuously, is part of the bankruptcy case, subject to being taken by the trustee unless it can be claimed exempt. This includes landlord security deposits.
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21 Jan Bankruptcy and Divorce: What If I Just Paid My Divorce Lawyer?

Along with medical bills and excessive credit card debt, one of the leading causes of bankruptcy filings is divorce. If a family is barely getting by when it is intact, adding a divorce or separation is sure to cause a worse financial hardship, which might only be able to be remedied through a bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy could be filed by one or by both spouses, and it could occur either during or after the divorce. Sometimes, a problem can arise if the divorce lawyer has received a large attorney fee payment just before the bankruptcy filing. The problem arises due to two factors: section 547 of the bankruptcy law, which allows the trustee to recover debt payments of over $600.00 made in the 90 days before the bankruptcy is filed, and section 541 of the bankruptcy law, which defines "property of the bankruptcy estate" to include bank accounts of the debtor, even bank balances in a divorce lawyer's trust account which technically still belong to the client/bankruptcy debtor.
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17 Jan What If I Am Being Sued, But I Have To Wait To File My Bankruptcy?

Lawsuits filed against a person intending to file bankruptcy can pose a special problem when the bankruptcy case cannot yet be filed due to timing considerations. For most persons, this is not an issue; when they start getting sued they simply file their bankruptcy case and that is normally the end of the problem. However, if there is an important reason to wait to file the bankruptcy, the question becomes, what should be done about the lawsuits that are started before the bankruptcy can be filed? Although it is usually a good idea to file a bankruptcy once a person knows there is no other way to address the financial issues, there are numerous reasons that could justify waiting to file the case, such as recent property transfers, a prior bankruptcy discharge, or a recent bonus received by the debtor which could negatively affect the means test. If the delay in filing is long enough, creditors might begin filing lawsuits. This is sure to create uncertainty and fear in the debtor unless he or she does something to prevent the lawsuits from turning into judgments.
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15 Jan If I File Chapter 7, Will I Get a Discharge?

If you are considering filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you might be wondering if you are guaranteed to get a discharge of your debts. You're right to wonder -- it certainly is not gauranteed! It would be disappointing, maybe even financially ruinous, to file a chapter 7 case, only to have an unforeseen problem result in the ultimate bankruptcy disaster, denial of a discharge.
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14 Jan Contract for Deed Cancellation in Minnesota: Can Bankruptcy Stop It?

In Minnesota, the purchase of a home is most commonly financed by obtaining a mortgage, but it can also be accomplished by means of a contract for deed. This is usually done by a buyer whose credit rating is too poor to qualify for a mortgage. There are less legal protections for the contract for deed home buyer, so this is not a good choice for anyone except those who have no other way of purchasing a home. Laws governing contract for deed home purchases vary from state to state, and the information contained in this article applies to Minnesota only. In a contract for deed, the buyer does not obtain a deed to the home until he or she finishes making all the payments under the contract. However, Minnesota law recognizes the home buyer as having a legal interest in the land, even though he or she has not yet received a deed to the property. The length of the contract can be any length of time the buyer and seller agree to, but usually the contract will call for regular monthly payments, with a balloon payment due in five or ten years. Contracts for deed rarely last for thirty years, as most home mortgages do.
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