November 2010

29 Nov Tax Refunds And Bankruptcy

Today, I am going to add a new chapter to the continuing saga of how your Tax Returns, and more importantly, Tax Refunds, impact your Bankruptcy. I am a firm believer in planning the bankruptcy and the future. Do you remember when you were married. The traditional marriage vows contain the language, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, etc., but those vows do not go so far to include future tax refunds for the non-filing spouse. Recently, I read a case where the Bankruptcy Trustee attempted to go after the joint tax refund when only one of the parties to the marriage filed for bankruptcy protection. This may sound far-fetched but it is true. The Trustee's logic was simply that the Confirmation Order required the Debtor to contribute all future tax refunds toward the dividend paid to unsecured creditors, and therefore, the Trustee was justified in his position. Obviously, the Debtor and the non-filing spouse saw it differently. The Court agreed with the Debtor and the non-filing spouse. First, the Confirmation Order did not bind the non-filing spouse. Second, the Trustee cannot seek to over-reach on the Court Order and attempt to impose an obligation on a party that simply does not exist. Third, even if that over-reach was possible, it would create a significant hardship on a non-filing spouse.
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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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25 Nov Loan Modifications to Avoid Bankruptcy? 7 Tips to Help.

Since the mortgage market collapsed, loan modifications to avoid foreclosure have become industry and government policy. Many people hope to modify their mortgages to avoid having to give up their homes and file bankruptcy. The process is deceptively simple to get involved in - and easy to get burned by, even if you are working with a reputable modification agency. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind. Keep copies of everything. Your home is your most important investment. Keep everything the mortgage lenders send you about it and about any modification you are working on. A corollary is to keep notes of every conversation you have with them as well.
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