March 2007

30 Mar What Can I Keep In a Bankruptcy?

One of the first questions I'm usually asked by a potential client in financial trouble is, "I can't file for bankruptcy—if I do, I'll lose everything!" Not true. Not even close to true. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, people keep everything they own—their home, their cars, their furniture, their retirement, and even the money in their bank account.
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30 Mar Can A Creditor Add Attorney Fees To My Bankruptcy Case?

Under certain circumstances a creditor may charge your bankruptcy case for attorney fees. Some bankruptcy cases have assets that are distributed to creditors. Before a creditor receives any money, the creditor must file a Proof of Claim identifying the amount allegedly owed to that creditor. Federal bankruptcy law by itself does not enable or authorize a creditor to add attorney fees to a Proof of Claim. Proof of Claims are evaluated according to the applicable state law. If the underlying contract giving rise to the claim provides for payment of attorney fees, the creditor may, under certain conditions, include such fees consistent with that agreement. Such conditions are present in cases of residential real estate mortgages and court judgments.
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29 Mar Bankruptcy is just filling out forms, right?

The sales pitch of the "bankruptcy assistance" sites or the petition preparers claims that since bankruptcy is nothing more than filling out forms, why do you need a lawyer? You need a lawyer to 1) know what goes in those forms; 2) to help you plan so as to keep as much as the law allows; and 3) to guide you through what follows filing those forms. A bankruptcy case is begun by filing forms that identify your assets; your debts; your budget; and your recent financial history. The trustee studies those forms to determine whether you qualify for the chapter you filed; whether you are entitled to the exemptions you claimed; whether he can sue any of your family members whom you paid off before the case, etc.
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29 Mar Is My Spouse Responsible For My Debt?

For along time in the United States, we have recognized that husbands and wives are separate legal entities. We may take for granted that women can own property in their own name or that a husband does not 'own' his wife. We accept that generally speaking, spouses are not responsible for each other's debts. They can file for bankruptcy alone.

But is this entirely true?

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