Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

 

Author: Peter Orville, Binghamton Bankruptcy Lawyer

26 Oct Why Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail In Bankruptcy Court

If you are considering filing abankruptcy petition you should consult with an experienced lawyer so you can do some planning. But you should be careful; as with most of life, good planningwill save you money but sloppy planning can land you in hot water. I often talk with people who are considering bankruptcy who have already tried to do some planning on their own. They sold their car to a friend for ten dollars, or quit claimed their property to their spouse thinking that was the only way to protect it. Sometimes theyused their tax refund to pay off a loan from a relative, or "settled" a debt with one creditor. Other times they borrowed from their retirement or took out a home equity loan to try to forestall the inevitability of having to file. These are things you should NOT do before filing.
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07 Oct How Will Serious Flood or Natural Disaster Damage Impact My Bankruptcy Case?

2011 has been called “The Year of the Natural Disaster”. We have seen deadly tornadoes, massive floods, billion dollar blizzards, devastating drought, East Coast earthquakes, and Texas wildfires…oh my! Millions of Americans have had their lives seriously disrupted this year. Many of them were in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases at the time of the disaster, and had to not only to pick up their lives, but also had to decide what to do with their Chapter 13 case. Chapter 13 cases usually last between 3 and 5 years. When you file a Chapter 13 you don’t always know what will happen in your life in the upcoming years. Often there are unplanned events that cause the best Chapter 13 plans to fail, or need serious adjustment, which is one of the great advantages of a Chapter 13 over other forms of bankruptcy. Such is the case in my area of the Southern Tier of New York State, where we had our second “500 year flood” in the last 5 years. Here are some examples of the issues some Chapter 13 Debtors have had since the September 8th flood:
  1. The flood damaged three properties belonging to one Chapter 13 debtor. She had severe damage to her residence, and suffered a near total loss to a rental property and to her business property. She must now make decisions on what to do with each of the properties. She had flood insurance for $203,000 on her residence, but the insurance company will only give her 50% of that figure and estimates are $147,000 for the repair. She has been told to get an SBA loan for the remaining cost, but because she is in the Chapter 13, SBA will not loan to her. The other two properties were being partially paid in the bankruptcy. She will probably have to modify her Chapter 13 plan to surrender these properties.
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27 Sep Should I Keep Paying My Mortgage if My Home Was Destroyed in a Natural Disaster?

Natural disasters have recently destroyed countless homes and uprooted huge numbers of individuals and families. When the flood/hurricane/tornado/wildfire is over you focus on the destruction to your home, car, and business. You concentrate your concerns on whether or not you should rebuild, and on how to put your family’s life back together. In upstate New York we have suffered through the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The Binghamton, NY area experienced the second “500 year flood” in five years. Entire neighborhoods and towns were under water. Tens of thousands were evacuated, and many returned to condemned homes. In the wake of this destruction many face the dilemma of what to do about their mortgage payments and other debts. Usually, the credit industry puts out “public service announcements” reminding people in disaster areas to keep paying their mortgage, car payments and credit card debts or risk late payment fees, damaged credit scores and foreclosure. But many people did not have or could not get flood insurance. So in the overall scheme of things, how high a priority should it be to stay current on the mortgage and debt payments? What help is available? And what steps can you take to relieve some of the pressure?
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27 Jun Why Have Bankruptcy Filings Gone Down?

chart of filings nationally Fewer people have filed bankruptcy petitions so far in 2011 than they did in 2010. Last year there were over 1.5 million bankruptcies filed in the United States. In the first quarter of 2011 there were 6% fewer cases filed than there were in the first quarter last year. In March the decrease was 8.2% compared to last March. The decrease is even greater in Upstate New York. In the Northern District of NY, which includes Syracuse, Utica, Albany and Binghamton the decline in March was over 12.4%. In the Western District of NY, which includes Buffalo and Rochester, the decline for the same period was 18.8%. So why are there fewer people filing bankruptcy? Has the economy improved that much?
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26 May Why is My Chapter 13 Case is Infeasible?

When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you are asking the Bankruptcy Court to allow you to accept a payment plan that will pay offyour debts in an affordable way. Yourconfirmed plan isan agreement that you willpay a monthly paymentto the Chapter 13 Trustee for between 36 and 60months, which willpay a certain percentage towards your unsecured debts. For example, your confirmation order might say that you are to pay $300 per month for 60 months which will pay a minimum of 10% to your unsecured creditors. In this example, $300 times 60 months will total $18,000 over the course of your plan. This $18,000 is called your "base". After your creditors have filed their Proofs of Claim, it can be determined how much money is needed to pay off your claims according to your confirmed plan. This will include any secured claims plus interest paid inside the plan,any priority claims paid in the plan, legal fees, trustee's payments and the 10% to the unsecured creditors. If the amount needed to pay the claims turns out to be more than the "base", your plan is "infeasible". If this happens, the Chapter 13 trustee will usually contact you and your attorney and ask you to resolve this infeasibility. If you do nothing, then the Trustee will likely make a motion to dismiss your case.
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