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

28 Feb How Should I List My Bankruptcy Exemptions in Light of the Supreme Court Case of Schwab v. Reilly?

The recent Supreme Court decision of Schwab v. Reilly dealt with a rather technical question of just what are debtors protecting when they claim an exemption in their bankruptcy? The Court said that a debtor must indicate that they are claiming an exemption for the full value of the item not just a portion of it. In Schwab, the debtor listed office equipment with a value of $10,718.00 and exempted the equipment for $10,718.00, which was not the total amount that could have been exempted. The trustee in the case claimed that the value of the equipment was much higher and that the debtor was only entitled to an exemption up to the amount claimed, which was $10,718.00. Therefore, he argued that the equipment could be liquidated and only $10,718.00 would have to be given to the debtor with the balance going to the debtor’s creditors on a pro rata basis. The Court sided with the trustee. Often bankruptcy exemptions have a ceiling as to how much can be claimed exempt. For example, in New York a debtor can now exempt a vehicle up to $4000.00. Here, Schwab does not really pose a problem, as a debtor can simply claim the full exemption of $4000.00, even if the vehicle is only worth $1000.00. In that case, if the trustee claims the value of the vehicle is really $3000.00, it would still be 100% exempt. But, there are exemptions that do not have a ceiling, and this is where Schwab has more of an impact. For instance, in New York, most retirement accounts are exempt and there is no limit as to the amount that can be claimed exempt.
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27 Feb Can I Get Out of a Bad Oil and Gas Lease If I File Bankruptcy?

Many landowners, particularly struggling farmers in Upstate New York, are trying to get out of gas leases they signed several years ago and replace them with new gas leases. It could make a difference of over $1,000,000 to the landowner. Filing bankruptcy could be the tool they need. For several years gas companies have known about the Marcellus Shale. This is a deposit of up to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lies at a depth of 7000 to 10,000 feet under significant parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Until recently the technology to retrieve this massive gas deposit in an economically feasible way was not possible. In the last few years, however, two technologies, hydrofracking (fracking) and horizontal drilling have been developed. You may have heard of fracking because it is the subject of an Oscar nominated documentary film at tonight’s Oscar presentation.
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20 Feb Can Collective Union Action Force Mortgage Modifications?

Congress has been unable to passany legislation that would allow for effective modification of mortgages. And the HAMP program is failing miserably. Two New York unions, however,have come up with theidea that collective action through the market may get the needed results. The heads of...

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26 Dec Outgoing Governor Paterson Gives New York Debtors Something to Cheer About!

Gov. David Paterson has signed a bill that gives more protection to New Yorkers who file bankruptcy or who have been sued by bill collectors. The new law increases the exemptions that people can use to protect their property from forced sales by bankruptcy trustees and debt collectors. It also allows a choice between State and Federal exemptions in bankruptcy cases filed in New York State. Consumer lawyers don't get much to cheer about, but this new law will allow many more financially strapped New Yorkers to get the debt relief they need. 2011 will likely see a large increase in the number of New Yorkers who are forced to file for bankruptcy. This is because of the slowness of the “economic recovery” and now because they will be able to protect more assets while they are eliminating their debts. Debtors can now protect up to $4,000 in their vehicle (up from $2400), $10,000 if the vehicle is equipped for people with disabilities. New York homeowners can now exempt $75,000 each of equity in their home (up from $50,000) in upstate areas like Binghamton, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. The homestead exemption goes up to $100,000 in the Hudson Valley, and as much as $150,000 in the New York City area and Long Island.
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26 Nov How Long Must My Bankruptcy Lawyer Represent Me?

In most cases, yourattorney must continue representing you throughoutyour Bankruptcy case. There are some Bankruptcy Courts that allow attorneys to limit their representation to certain specific matters. Other Bankruptcy Courts require attorneys to continue to represent their bankruptcy clients even if the lawyer is not getting paid. In the Northern District of New York Bankruptcy Courts,the judges require attorneys to fully represent their clients through the proceedings. In the Syracuse Bankruptcy Court, which includes Auburn, Ithaca and Owego, NY, Judge Cangelos-Ruiz expectslawyers to fully represent their clients from start to finish. She does allow Chapter 13 attorneys to get paid for their post-confirmation work as well as adversary proceedings.
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