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November 2009 Archives

"Planning" to file a bankruptcy

It is important to consult with a lawyer if you are considering bankruptcy as one of your options for finding relief from debt. Most people understand the basics of bankruptcy, but are fuzzy on the details. Many if not all people do not want to file for bankruptcy, they just think they may not have a choice. First of all, there are choices, and meeting with a lawyer can help you explore those. Second of all, while it is admirable to try to find solutions to your debt problems on your own, as we all know, sometimes the best laid plans do not work out. Worse yet is that sometimes failed attempts at getting yourself out of debt or seemingly innocent bankruptcy planning can result in negative consequences if you later decide to file for bankruptcy. That is why a free consultation with an attorney is so important, even if you are not yet sure that you want to consider bankruptcy as an option. He or she can give you an opinion not only on whether bankruptcy might be a solution for you, but also on whether some of the ideas you are considering on your own will truly help you solve your debt problems, or whether they may be just short-term solutions that could make filing bankruptcy later difficult. There is no obligation to file bankruptcy or even to choose that lawyer just because you have had a free consultation. It is 30 or 40 minutes of your time that could prevent issues later.

NY Times Article on Medical Bill and Bankruptcy

In September , President Obama addressed congress. He called on lawmakers to protect those, "who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy." Below is a link from a recent New York Times article that discusses the impact of how increasing medical expenses are forcing more and more Americans into bankruptcy. This article also addresses how the new healthcare reform legislation could keep more people out of bankruptcy court.

How long will my Chapter 7 Bankruptcy take?

This is the question that I get asked the most at consultations. The answer I usually give is "it depends on you". The legal process itself, meaning from filing date to closing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, usually takes about 4 months. When the case is filed, the court will issue a Notice of Filing to all parties you have listed on your bankruptcy petition. That Notice has very important dates. The first date you will probably see is your meeting of creditors date. That date is usually about 30 to 45 days after the case is filed and you are required to attend that meeting.

What can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

The discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out many types of debt, including unsecured credit card debt, utility bills, back rent, medical bills, uninsured car accident judgments, amounts owed on repossessed or surrendered vehicles, and various other unsecured debts. The discharge accomplishes this by relieving the debtor of personal liability for these debts and preventing creditors from ever pursuing these debts in the future.

Can I discharge my Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

studentloans3.jpgDischarging student loans in bankruptcy is very challenging. In fact, the borrower's bankruptcy options on student loans have shrunk to a very few. Changes to the Bankruptcy Code in late 1998 made student loans non dischargeable, regardless of the age of the loan, unless the borrower can establish substantial hardship. Changes in 2005 made even private student loans non dischargeable. The only way the loan can be discharged is by proving that repayment of the loan will create an undue hardship on the debtor/borrower and his family. This standard is generally interpreted to mean that the debtor cannot maintain a minimally adequate standard of living and repay the loan. It usually requires a showing that the conditions that make repayment a hardship are unlikely to improve substantially over time. Many courts use the test for undue hardship found in the Brunner case. The Brunner case set forth the following requirements to allow one to get rid of student loans. Those requirements are: (1) that the debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a "minimal" standard of living for herself and her dependents if forced to repay the loans; (2) that additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans; and (3) that the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans. If you have student loans that you can't repay it is always suggested that you discuss your options with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.

Should I Chose Bankruptcy or Debt Consolidation?

fotolia_250326_xs.jpgMany people who can pay their bills are faced with the dilemma of filing bankruptcy or choosing some form of debt consolidation. A debt consolidation program (sometimes called debt management) means working with a law firm or debt consolidation service who will arrange lower payments to your creditors. Once you start a debt consolidation program it is very likely that your creditors will stop harassing you by phone or mail. At Miller & Miller we handle debt consolidation. We take care of the paperwork with your creditors so you will not have to deal with your creditors directly. The advantages of debt consolidation is that it is not a bankruptcy. It is discreet, confidential and there is no information given to your employer, although a debt consolidation program will generally appear on your credit report. Unlike a bankruptcy where you lose all of your credit cards, a debt consolidation program may allow you to keep a credit card for future use.

Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Just Debt Consolidation?

I often have clients who are concerned that if they don't "qualify" for a Chapter 7, they don't want to do a bankruptcy at all. Perhaps they don't qualify due to higher income, or due to a previous Chapter 7 filing in the last eight years. These clients have a vague idea of what a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is - a repayment plan - and don't feel it's "worth" doing a bankruptcy if they have to pay their creditors. Isn't that why they are seeing a lawyer in the first place, because they cannot afford to pay the creditors? Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be difficult, so I understand the hesitation. But before making a decision a person should know more about what a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy actually is, and also how to weigh that option against his current situation.

Financing a Car

Need A Car?

If you have bad credit, you've probably heard the word "no" in many different ways. You don't have to hear "no" anymore, especially if you want to purchase a new or used car. If you have a low credit score, have declared bankruptcy, have no credit, or are a first-time car buyer, you can find financing for an auto purchase no matter what your credit history says about you.

Contact Our Milwaukee Law Firm

Reach Miller & Miller Law, LLC, online or call us at 414-326-9231 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our law office also provides Spanish language services. Se habla español.

To schedule an initial consultation, call 414-326-9231 or contact Miller & Miller today.

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