December 2007

31 Dec Think Twice Before Changing Title to Property

How spouses hold title to their home has far broader implications than the stepped up tax basis at death noted by The Consumerist. The post noted correctly that a house held in community property gets a step-up in basis on both the decedent's half and the surviving spouse's half of the property when one spouse dies. The author suggests that spouses should run out and change title to their homes if they don't hold in community property. No mention is made that only about 9 states recognize community property. Worse, the post utterly ignores other issues controlled by how title is held. The most important, undiscussed consequence of how you hold title it that all of the community property of a couple in California is liable for the debts of either spouse.
Read More

31 Dec Denial Of Social Security Often Leads To Bankruptcy

Most people don't realize that they can go bankrupt waiting for social security disability to kick in to help with their living expenses. People think that if something happens that disables them, that they will be able to receive disability income to live on. In a recent New York Times article on social security denial, the problems leading to many bankruptcy filings are revealed.

The period between a person realizing that they need to apply for social security and when they actually file can mean months without a paycheck. When they finally do apply, they wait for a decision which most often is denied. Many people give up, not realizing that it often takes several applications before they get their approval for payment, but it often takes the intervention of an attorney and several years before getting the payments due.
Read More

30 Dec How Do I Prove My Budget?

The IRS standards are ridiculous. I cannot live on what they say I should live on. How can I convince the Judge otherwise? The best way to help your attorney help you is to gather documentation. Documentation is your best evidence for presenting your budget to the Court. The means test requirement for filing bankruptcy is based on IRS standards. I found that for the most part the IRS standards are in the ball park of the average family in Kansas City, Missouri except with it comes to the rent allowance. As of January 1, 2008 the standards are changing yet again. Although the standards for the Kansas City area are increasing it still may not be high enough in order to cover your actual expenses. So what can you do to ensure that you present an accurate budget to the Court?
Read More

30 Dec Can I Really Get A Chapter 7 Discharge And Make A Million Dollars A Year?

As usual, the Attorney always will say "it depends." But yes, it is possible. It all depends on the type of debt you have. Generally speaking, debts scheduled in bankruptcy proceedings are either considered consumer debts or non-consumer debts. If you can prove more than your debts are non-consumer debts, it doesn't matter how much you make!
Read More

30 Dec What is Property of the Estate When a Case Converts from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7?

Frequently, cases in bankruptcy are converted from one chapter to another. Most commonly, is the conversion from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7. More and more chapter 13 cases are converting as a result of debtors realizing that it simply makes no economic sense to save their home in Chapter 13 in light of the deflating real estate market.
Read More