Duration of Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcies have a minimum commitment period of three years and a maximum of five years. This means that the repayment plan in a Chapter 13 will last somewhere between three and five years. A number of considerations determine this.

The first consideration is whether a debtor is below or above the median income. The median income is the median income for the household size of the debtor in the state the debtor lives in. If the debtor is below the median income, the debtor can elect a three-year plan. If the debtor is above the median income, then the debtor must have a five-year plan.

If the debtor is below the median income, the debtor may choose to enter a repayment plan that lasts longer than three years. For example, if the debtor is filing a Chapter 13 in order to pay mortgage arrears and stop a foreclosure, then debtor may elect to file a five-year plan. The debtor may choose this to keep the payment in the Chapter 13 more affordable. All mortgage arrears must be paid back in full over the course of the plan. Stretching the plan over 5 years would allow for a lower payment in some circumstances. The debtor could also elect to have the plan duration be any number of months between 36 (three years) or 60 (five years).

 

By Kris Whelchel


I Received a Complaint Saying My Creditors Are Suing Me, What Do I Do Now?

If you received a lawsuit document indicating the creditor is attempting to sue you, it can be a worrisome situation. When you receive the initial complaint, it indicates a law firm is representing the creditor to further pursue their claim against you.

The first step in the process is for the creditor to serve you with a “Summons and Complaint” document indicating the nature of the lawsuit. In the paperwork, it will set forth the factual allegations and legal complaints against you. They can “serve” the lawsuit on you in one of two ways:

  • by delivering it to you personally or leaving it at your home with a person of suitable age and discretion; or
  • by mail, if you agreed in writing to accept service of the Summons and Complaint by mail and signs a form that indicates your acceptance.

 

If you wish to contest the lawsuit, you need to serve the creditor’s attorney with a form called an “Answer.” If you do not provide the Answer in the time period of 20 days, the creditor may enter a default judgment against you which allows them to take further action.

There are several defenses against the lawsuit; however, not being able to afford to pay the debt is not a defense. Some of the available defenses are: improper service, statute of limitations, FDCPA violations, lack of standing, proof of payment, fraud, mistaken identity and lastly bankruptcy.

Filing bankruptcy is a protection against a lawsuit served upon you and can be used as a defense to stop any further action. When you receive any lawsuit document, it is important to consult with an attorney who can give you advice about your specific situation. One of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can sit down with you and review the lawsuit to give you the best advice towards your next steps.

 

By Ann Hagerty

Written by Ann Hagerty

I have a passion for working directly with clients and helping them navigate difficult financial decisions. I love practicing in bankruptcy because it is one of the rare opportunities in life where someone can start fresh and free themselves of financial stress.

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My Credit Score After Filing Bankruptcy:

Your credit score will take a hit after filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your score was low before you filed, the drop will not be as significant as if your score is high. The fact that you filed bankruptcy will show up on your credit score for about 10 years, but that alone is not going to keep you from getting that new car, apartment, house, etc. Needless to say, the fact that you filed and a drop in your credit score is not the end of the financial world. The key is what you choose to do after the bankruptcy. Rebuild.

Filing your chapter 7 bankruptcy will the stop the bleeding in the injuries caused by your debt. As soon as your case is filed the creditors stop calling, wage garnishments and bank levies come to an end, foreclosure or repossession actions come to a halt, and minimal payments are no longer required.  Once the stress of creditor harassment comes to an end, it is time to rebuild your credit. This is an endeavor we do not want you to undertake alone. Our office works with the 720 Credit Score program to help our clients rebuild towards their financial goals after filing. 720 Credit Score is a seven step program that guarantees your credit score will be 720 or higher within 12-24 months after receiving your chapter 7 discharge. Call us today to set up an appointment and learn more about this program.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Social Security Income and the Means Test

When filing a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, a debtor must show that he passes the means test. The means test is basically a series of calculations that are supposed to show, in theory, whether or not the debtor has enough income to be able to pay back his creditors. To perform the means test, one must determine what the debtor’s income is. Almost all sources of income are to be taken account of on the means test. The amount of the income is determined by taking the six month average of the debtor’s various sources of income.

Social Security Income gets special treatment on the means test. It can be completely excluded. That means that Social Security Income does not have a negative impact when the means test is used to determine if someone may qualify for a Chapter 7.

The means test is not the only determining factor on what type of bankruptcy a person is allowed to file. The actual budget of a person is taken into consideration as well. This budget is represented on Schedules I and J. If Schedule J, shows a substantially positive amount, chances are that the debtor will not be able to qualify for a Chapter 7.

Social Security Income can also be excluded from a debtor’s budget. Therefore, it will not have an impact on a person’s qualification for a Chapter 7 here either.

If an individual wishes to file a Chapter 13, he may elect to include their Social Security income on his budget, so that he can show he does have enough income to afford a repayment plan.

 

By Kristen Whelchel


What is a Bankruptcy Trustee and what does it have to do with my Bankruptcy Case?

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not only will you be working with an attorney, you will also work with bankruptcy trustee. While you will be working closely with your attorney throughout the whole filing process, you will not meet the trustee until the meeting of the creditors (also known as your 341 hearing).

The trustee is a third party, appointed by the United States Trustee, she herself is not a government employee. She does not represent you and she does not represent your creditors. The trustee represents the bankruptcy estate, and has several duties in doing so.

The trustee’s duties include:

  1. Conducting the meeting of creditors;
  2. Investigating your assets and claimed exemptions;
  3. Checking for fraud or inaccuracies and making objections when appropriate;
  4. Reviewing your right to a discharge;
  5. Sending any required notices related to domestic support obligations;
  6. Determining whether there any non-exempt assets to liquidate and distribute amongst your creditors;
  7. Gathering, protecting and preserving any non-exempt assets of the estate, or
  8. Ensuring statement of intention provisions are followed;
  9. If applicable, filing a report stating that no assets have been found

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Will a Bankruptcy Affect my Credit?

People often wonder how filing for bankruptcy will affect their long term credit. Some have the misconception that a bankruptcy will ruin their chances of ever having a good credit score. While it is true that a bankruptcy will stay on a credit report for ten years it is not the end for a person’s chances at having good credit.

In the short term a person’s credit might take a drastic hit after filing for bankruptcy. This depends on the credit score at the time of filing. The higher the score before filing the further it will fall. For example a person with a score of 680 before filing could see it fall to 550 while a person with a score of 780 could fall to 560. If a score is in the 500s or lower at the time of filing there may not be much change.

After the bankruptcy a person can begin to rebuild. Having a bankruptcy on your record will be a negative mark for some potential creditors. It may take some time after filing before a person is able to get a new loan. However, many people are surprised to find they are able to get car loans and new credit cards relatively quickly. The interest rates may be high and the credit limits low, but it is a start. By being careful and paying back any new debt on time a credit score can start to rebuild. While the bankruptcy may show up on a credit report for ten years a score can be repaired within a few years. The bankruptcy is a fresh start for people looking to build a secure financial future.

Sources:

Bankruptcy timeline: Rebuilding credit

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/bankruptcy-timeline-rebuilding-credit-1.aspx

How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy—Fast

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/curtis-arnold/how-to-rebuild-your-credi_b_5790860.html

Credit Report Q&A

http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/credit_problem_comparison.aspx

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can my Garnished Funds be Recovered After Filing a Bankruptcy?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, but it depends on the situation. If a creditor has garnished a debtor’s funds there are ways for the debtor to recover some of the money after filing bankruptcy.

Any funds taken by garnishment or levy within the 90-days prior to the bankruptcy filing can potentially be recovered. If the total amount is $600 or more a debtor can make a claim for the return of the funds. However, in a bankruptcy a debtor can only protect a certain dollar amount of their assets. If the debtor has already exceeded the amount which could be protected the garnished funds cannot be recovered. In that situation the bankruptcy court may attempt to recover the funds and then distribute them evenly to all the debtor’s creditors.

If the creditor refuses to return the garnished funds a debtor does have the option of filing a claim with the bankruptcy court. The court may compel the creditor to return the funds. However, it does cost money to file the claim so a debtor will need to weigh the cost of the claim against the amount that could potentially be recovered.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Keep my Yearly Bonus in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Some employers give their employees yearly bonuses and holiday bonuses. If you are thinking of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few things you should know if you have just received a bonus, or if you are expecting a bonus within the next year.

As a general rule, if you have received a bonus within the last six full months, the bonus may be included in calculating your income to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the United States Trustee will average your last six full months of income to decide whether you qualify for a Chapter 7. For example, if you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July, the trustee will look at your average income from January to June. If you have received a bonus within these six months, the Trustee will include the bonus in your average income. If the bonus is a large bonus, it may affect whether you qualify.

One possible solution is to wait until your bonus falls off of the six month average before filing for bankruptcy. Suppose that you received a bonus on January 1. If you file for bankruptcy in July, this bonus will likely be included in your six-month average to determine whether you qualify (January to June). But if you wait to file until August, your January income will no longer be included to determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy, so you may have an easier time qualifying.

You should keep in mind that the Trustee can also look at any bonuses are you entitled to receive within the next year after you file for bankruptcy. Future bonuses do not factor into whether you qualify for bankruptcy, but a future bonus may be considered an asset in your case. The reason for this is that even if you have not yet received a bonus, if you are entitled to the bonus at the time you file your case, it is considered an asset in your bankruptcy. Depending upon the other assets that you own, you may be able to keep your bonus, or you may have to give up the bonus to the trustee when you do receive it. Whether you can keep your future bonus when you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on the facts of your case. You should consult your attorney if you are expecting to receive a bonus within the next year, to determine whether you can keep your bonus.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Bankruptcy Effects Credit Score

No ifs, ands or buts, your credit score will drop.

How low?

It depends. What does your credit score look like now? If your credit is fairly unblemished prior to filing, you can expect a large drop in your score. However, if your credit is already tarnished and full of negative items, your score may see only a slight drop. A 2010 FICO report showed that an individual starting with a credit score of 780 could drop to 540 and an individual with a 680 score could fall to 530. While these are only examples, they demonstrate that an individual with a higher score to begin with has a farther way to fall, but both individuals land in close proximity (530-540). Until you file, it is impossible to state where you will land. Your credit score may be affected more or less.

How long will the bankruptcy negatively affect your credit score?

A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. BUT, as time passes and positive information supplements your report, the impact becomes less and less debilitating. Further, if you are motivated to rehabilitate your credit, it can be done. Your credit score can be rebuilt in 1 – 3 years.

So how do I move on and rebuild my credit after I file for bankruptcy?

Start by verifying that your credit report is free from errors. The major credit reporting bodies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Check that your report from each of these institutions is accurate and lists your pre-bankruptcy debts as “included in BK.” From there, be sure to check back on your credit score regularly (every 4 months). Eventually, you will be able to request that the pre-bankruptcy debts be removed from your report altogether.

Next, make an honest assessment of your finances and what led you to file bankruptcy in the first place. If you fail to recognize what went wrong the first time, you will likely fall into the same pattern and end up in the same trouble as before. Once you have recognized these financial faults, weed them out and start taking action to establish positive credit.

Right after filing it will be difficult to borrow money. Why? Because you are considered a greater risk to the lender, often referred to as a subprime borrower. As a result, you will likely be offered higher interest rates and greater penalties for defaulting. On the other hand, some credit card companies may find you to be a better risk and will start sending you offers immediately after you file bankruptcy. This belief that an individual who has just filed is a good risk for credit card companies is rooted in the fact that bankruptcy law forbids individuals to receive a second discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy within eight years of the first filing. Meaning: a debtor cannot rid himself of the responsibility of newly acquired credit card debt for another eight years.

Remember this: THERE IS HOPE. YOUR CREDIT IS NOT LOST FOREVER! It may take some self-assessment and discipline, but it is absolutely possible. It will be more difficult at first, but as was alluded earlier, as time passes the positive elements to your credit will increase and the “bad” will begin to dwindle.

 

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Will my Employer React to my Decision to File for Bankruptcy?

While it is difficult to say whether or not an employer, current or future, will react poorly to your bankruptcy, a few things are certain: You will not be fired. You will not be demoted. You will not be punished…at least you shouldn’t be.

The United States Bankruptcy Code forbids both public and private employers from discriminating and terminating employment based solely on the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. Note however, that if you have given your employer other reasons to dismiss you, such as excessive absences or poor performance, your bankruptcy will not protect you from getting the axe.

Further, if you are searching for a new job, do not be discouraged that a bankruptcy on your record will blow your chances at getting the position you want. Not only does the Bankruptcy Code shield you from termination and discrimination in an existing job, it may protect you when seeking out future employment.

If the position you are hoping to land is with a federal, state or local government agency the law states that the employer cannot turn you away just because of your history of bankruptcy. While private employers may refuse to hire you under such circumstances, do not despair. Depending on the responsibilities of the position for which you are applying, an employer may look favorably on your decision to file.

It is true that an employer managing a position in finance, accounting or the handling of cash will take a bankruptcy seriously. Nonetheless, a bankruptcy discharge may help with positions of high security clearances or those involving valuable merchandise. Employers may be concerned with the possibility of their employees accepting bribes or stealing company goods or stealing secrets to pay off the employee’s own personal debts. That being said, a decision to file bankruptcy is often seen as a responsible and proactive decision to solve a potentially damaging situation.

All things considered, it is possible that your bankruptcy goes unnoticed by your current employer. Generally, employers only learn of an employee’s bankruptcy if his wages are being garnished, if the employer is listed as a creditor or if the employee has a Chapter 13 plan deducting payments directly from his or her paystubs.

Before coming to the conclusion that filing bankruptcy will greatly damage your career, meet with one of our attorneys to discuss why bankruptcy could potentially help your career. In fact, here are individuals whose careers were not ruined by bankruptcy:

  1. Walt Disney
  2. Burt Reynolds
  3. Abraham Lincoln
  4. Michael Vick
  5. Larry King

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I get Money Garnished From me Back When I File for Bankruptcy?

For people living on a tight budget, a garnishment can be the difference between making ends meet and falling further into debt. If you are being garnished and you are considering bankruptcy, you should know that you may be able to recover money taken from you by your creditors, but the garnishment must meet certain requirements for you to get your money back.

First, the timing of the garnishment determines whether you can recover any of the money taken from you. If money was garnished from you before you file for bankruptcy, that money can only be recovered if it was taken within the immediate 90 day period before filing your case. For example, if you filed your bankruptcy case on November 1, 2014, you could recover money garnished up to 90 days before that date (August 3 to November 1). However, you could not recover any money taken earlier than that 90-day period (in our example, before August 3). Additionally, if your creditors continue to garnish any of your money after you file for bankruptcy, that money can be also recovered for you.

Second, the amount of the garnishment within the past 90 days can determine whether you can recover money taken from you by your creditors. The amount of money taken from you within the past 90 days must be $600 or more for you to be able to recover that money. If the amount taken from you is less than $600 total in the past 90 days, you will unfortunately not be able to recover that money in bankruptcy. (But, note that if your creditors continue to garnish money from you after you file for bankruptcy, any amount that they take after you file can be recovered for you).

Third, it is only worth recovering money garnished from you if you are able to protect that amount of money as an asset in your case. Whether you can protect the money you recover depends upon the value of other property that you own and that you want to protect in bankruptcy. It can be a complex question, but your bankruptcy attorney will be able to walk you through what property can be protected when you file for bankruptcy.

Finally, garnishments are only worth recovering if the garnishment is from a type of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy. Certain debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy (you will still owe these debts after your bankruptcy). Debts such as student loans, alimony, child support, and recent tax debt, will remain after bankruptcy. There will not be any point in recovering a garnishment for one of these types of debt, as you will still owe that debt after bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Utility Services and Bankruptcy

Many people who file bankruptcy are behind on their utility bills. Some are being threatened with a utility shut off in the near future. If this is the situation you are in, the good news is that filing a bankruptcy case can stop a person’s utilities from being shut off. In addition, public utilities cannot refuse to provide or cancel service because you have filed a bankruptcy case.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, most types of unsecured debt will be discharged, or wiped out, through the bankruptcy. Utility bills are considered an unsecured debt, and as a result, will be discharged along with a person’s other debts.

However, this doesn’t mean that you will not have to pay utility services after you file your bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy will not discharge current or future utility bills. In addition, a utility company can require you to pay a deposit for future service. If your utilities had been disconnected, the service provider can also charge you a reconnect fee. If you fail to make utility bill payments after your bankruptcy case is filed, your utilities will eventually be shut off.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What Happens to Secured Debts after Bankruptcy?

A “secured debt” is any type of debt that you obtain by agreeing to give the lender an interest in some type of property in exchange for the loan (also commonly referred to as collateral). The most common types of secured debts include car loans and mortgages.

Many people wonder if they will still owe secured debts after filing bankruptcy. The answer to this is yes and no. Filing bankruptcy gets rid of your legal obligation to repay the debt, meaning that the creditor can’t sue you to get paid. However, the creditor can still take bank their collateral if you don’t pay the debt. This means that if you don’t pay for your mortgage or car loan, the lender can’t sue you, but they can repossess your car or foreclose on your home.

For this reason, if you want to keep property that you pledged as security for a debt, it is important that you continue to make payments for it during and after your bankruptcy case. Some lenders may also require you to sign paperwork agreeing to be legally responsible for the debt after the bankruptcy (called a “reaffirmation agreement”). If you have any questions about how your secured debts will be treated after filing bankruptcy, speak to your bankruptcy attorney about it.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How will Filing Bankruptcy Affect my Credit?

Many people wonder how filing bankruptcy will affect their credit. The truth is that there is not a clear answer to this question. Most people who file bankruptcy are already behind on their bills and often have bad credit as a result. In these circumstances, it is hard to say if filing bankruptcy will make things worse.

The fact that a person has filed bankruptcy can appear on his or her credit report for a period of 10 years after the date the case was filed. However, this doesn’t mean that a person who files for bankruptcy will be unable to obtain credit for 10 years! Because bankruptcy wipes out all of a person’s old debts, he or she may actually be in a better position to pay new lenders after the bankruptcy. As a result, some lenders are willing to extend credit to a person who has filed a bankruptcy soon after the case is discharged. However, the interest rates and fees may be high, so a person who has filed bankruptcy should be careful not to take on debt he or she can’t pay.

After filing bankruptcy, debts discharged in the bankruptcy should be listed as having a zero balance on the filer’s credit report. Debts that are incorrectly reported as having a balance will negatively affect a person’s credit so it is important to check your credit report after filing bankruptcy. Any errors should be reported to the credit reporting agency.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Medical Debts and Bankruptcy

Overwhelmed with medical debt? If you have incurred medical debt due to illness or having medical procedures without insurance, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you get rid of your debt. Many people are mistaken in thinking they are only able to file bankruptcy on consumer debts such as credit cards or unsecured loans, but medical debts are also included in bankruptcy.

Medical debts can be tantamount to credit card debt for a lot of people and many hospitals and clinics pursue these debts vigorously.In Minnesota, hospitals and clinics are able to collect medical debt from both spouses even if the debt is only incurred by one spouse, which can create issues if your family members have medical issues. Bankruptcy can help you avoid harassment, lawsuits and garnishments and bank levies on behalf of hospitals and clinics.

Many times, people suffering from illnesses or medical debts will be out of work and unable to keep up with their hospital bills and regular living expenses. Hoglund law can help! Please schedule a free consultation with one of our experience bankruptcy attorneys to discuss how we can help you through a medical bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Stopping Lawsuits, Garnishments and Bank Levies

When a person doesn’t earn enough money to cover his or her expenses, life can be stressful enough. Unfortunately, this financial stress can become overwhelming when one or more of an individual’s creditors threaten to take legal action to collect money from a debtor.

For example, credit card companies and medical providers often bring civil lawsuits against debtors who do not pay their bills. Once a creditor obtains a judgment against a debtor, the creditor can begin garnishing the debtor’s wages or seizing money the debtor has in his or her bank accounts. This can have serious negative consequences for some debtors, who may not be able to afford to put food on the table or pay their monthly rent if all of the money in their bank account is suddenly seized.

Fortunately, bankruptcy can offer relief for people who are being threatened with lawsuits, garnishments or bank levies by creditors. Once a person files a bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from taking any further action to collect debts from the petitioner for the duration of the bankruptcy proceeding. As a result, creditors must immediately stop from garnishing a person’s wages or seizing his or her bank accounts.

In addition to stopping wage garnishments and bank levies, the automatic stay can benefit debtors in many other ways, such as by delaying evictions or utility shut-offs, stopping repossessions and can even be used to prevent a home foreclosure in certain circumstances. If you have questions about whether the automatic stay could help you, contact a local bankruptcy attorney.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Bankruptcy and Household Size and Income

When filing a bankruptcy, your household size is important. The number of individuals living in your household can have an impact on what type of bankruptcy for which you qualify. One of the determining factors for whether an individual will qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is your household income. If your household income is over a certain amount for your household size, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7.

The median income for your state is determined by household size. For example in Minnesota the median income for a household size of one is $48,876, but for two people it is $64,454. Making sure everyone in your household is accounted for is essential in your bankruptcy case. It is very important to let your attorney know about all individuals who are residing in your home. For example, you will want to let your attorney know if an elderly parent lives with you. Also you should inform your attorney about any children who are college students who live with you for at least the summer months. Making sure your attorney has the right information can have a great impact on how your case proceeds.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Why Will There be a Vocational Expert at my Hearing?

A Vocational Expert is a neutral party that will be providing testimony regarding employment. Specifically, they will be providing information regarding the past full-time jobs that a claimant has held in the past fifteen years. The Vocational Expert will refer to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, and clarify the skill and exertional level of each full-time job that a claimant has held. Additionally, the Administrative Law Judge will be asking certain hypothetical questions to the Vocational Expert to inquire whether jobs would be available based on certain restrictions and limitations. The Vocational Expert typically will not have any direct questions for the claimant, unless they need further clarification about job duties performed.

By hiring an experienced attorney, a claimant can be assured that any and all vocational issues are being addressed during the vocational testimony. An attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the expert and provide additional hypothetical questions to address medical impairments and restrictions. If you are currently unable to work due to medical impairments, please contact the firm of Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC. We will be happy to go through an intake questionnaire over the phone to determine if we are able to help with your claim for disability.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Debt Through Bankruptcy?

You may be wondering whether or not you can discharge your medical debt through bankruptcy. The short answer is, yes. Many individuals have circumstances that lead to high medical bills that they’re unable to pay, a burden that can be completely cleared with a discharge of a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Medical debts are considered unsecured non-priority debts, meaning they’re entirely dischargeable in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Once these debts are discharged, you are no longer responsible and creditors may no longer come after you. In order to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to pass an income means test. This means you (and your spouse if applicable) need to satisfy certain income requirements in order to be eligible for chapter 7 relief. This is something your attorney at Hoglund Law will be happy to analyze with you at your free bankruptcy consultation meeting.

It is important to keep in mind that your chapter 7 bankruptcy will only discharge debts that are outstanding at the time of filing. If you know that you are soon to be incurring significantly more medical debt, it may be worth waiting to file until after that happens. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may only be granted relief under a chapter 7 bankruptcy once every 8 years.  This means, if your medical care or the medical care of your family is ongoing, or you know a large expense is coming soon, you may want to wait until treatment is complete before filing for bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Filing a Statement of Intention

When filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, protection of certain assets requires more than just listing them under the applicable exemptions. For example, a homestead may be subject to a mortgage or a vehicle may serve as collateral for the repayment of a loan. In these situations, the debtor must file a Statement of Intention within 30 days after filing the Petition, or before the First Meeting of the Creditors, whichever is first. If the debtor is represented by an attorney, the attorney will typically file this form along with the Petition. On the Statement of Intention, the debtor must choose one of four options with regard to the asset. Surrender, redeem, reaffirm, or ride-through.

If the debtor is unable to make on-going payments toward repayment of the loan, he or she might have to surrender the asset. This means that the creditor may decide to repossess the asset. The good news, however, is that the repossession will wipe out the claim up to the value of the property, and the bankruptcy discharge will wipe out any outstanding balance.

If the debtor is able to come up with enough cash to “buy” the asset, he or she may pay the creditor the value of the asset, which will wipe out that amount of the claim (the secured amount). Any remaining balance on the claim will be unsecured and will be discharged. However, this is often difficult to accomplish because the redemption must be made in a one-time payment, rather than by installments.

If the debtor has equity in the asset, or will soon gain equity, it might be wise to reaffirm. This involves a written agreement with the creditor that also must be filed with the court. Under the agreement, the debtor becomes re-obligated to the debt, which removes the debt from the bankruptcy case. The upside is that the creditor must then report timely payments to the debtor’s credit report, which re-builds the debtor’s credit score. The downside is that if the debtor later defaults and the creditor repossesses the property, the debtor will still be obligated on the remaining balance.

Finally, the debtor may choose to ride-through. Here the debtor will continue to make regular payments as with reaffirmation, but there is no written agreement re-obligating the debtor to the debt. This means two things: First, the creditor is not required to report to the credit report. Second, if the debtor later loses the property, the remaining debt falls back into the bankruptcy case and is discharged. It also should be noted that some lenders do not allow ride-through.

The assets that are subject to the Statement of Intention requirement are often highly important to the debtor, if not necessary to his or her post-bankruptcy financial growth. Deciding which option to choose takes thorough planning and prioritizing, as well as knowledge of the law.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Student Loans and Bankruptcy Law

In today’s tough job market, people with higher education degrees are finding it difficult to obtain work. Many of these people also have significant student loan debt. Student loan payments can be extremely difficult to make, especially if a person is not receiving any income. There are many options available to help people with government backed, and even some private, student loans. The main options are deferment, income-based & income-contingent repayment plans, and extended repayment periods. These options can go a long way towards helping a person who doesn’t have a job or someone who had to take a lower-paying job than they expected. However, the deferment periods are of a limited duration and income-sensitive plans can really draw out the length of time a person spends in repayment. Individuals who remain in financial difficulty even after utilizing these options may consider filing bankruptcy.

For those individuals, it is important to know that Congress has determined that student loans are not eligible for discharge in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies unless a person is able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the bankruptcy court that the loans create an undue hardship on the person and the person’s dependents. Student loans can be included in a Chapter 13 payment plan, which can reduce the size of the payments and stop the collection activity, but any amount that remains at the end of either the 3 or 5 year plan is not discharged unless the undue hardship standard is met. As a result of this Congressional stance on student loan repayment, individuals seeking relief from overwhelming student loan debt should consult an attorney before filing bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Keeping Your Car and Home if You File bankruptcy

Many people worry that they will lose their homes or cars if they file bankruptcy. However, in most cases, this is not true and an individual who files bankruptcy will be able to keep his or her home and car. This is because state or federal exemptions can be used to protect a certain amount of equity that a person has in his or her car and home.

In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor may be able to keep secured property by paying the creditor the value of any equity he or she has in the property. A chapter 13 bankruptcy can even be used to stop a car repossession or home foreclosure by allowing a debtor to catch up on back payments and become current with the loan.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, people can also generally keep their homes and cars. However filing bankruptcy will not get rid of the security interest that a lender has in the property. This means that although a person’s legal obligation to repay the loan goes away after a bankruptcy, the lender can still take back the property if the person fails to continue making payments on the loan. A person who wants to keep his or her car or home after bankruptcy can keep the property by either signing a reaffirmation agreement with the lender, continuing to make voluntary payments on the loan, or by paying the lender the value of the property. The best option depends on the individual’s unique set of circumstances.

If you are considering filing bankruptcy and have questions about protecting your home or car, contact a local bankruptcy attorney for help.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Discharging Tax Debt in your Chapter 7 Bankrutpcy

People filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection often wonder whether or not their income tax debts will be discharged. The good news is tax debts are dischargeable if certain criteria are met.

First, if you want to discharge your tax debt you must have filed returns for the years you owe. Second, the returns were filed at least two years prior to your bankruptcy filing date. Third, the returns in question were due at least three years before you file. Fourth, the IRS or State has not assessed your tax liability within 240 days before the filing. Finally, you did not willfully attempt to evade paying taxes.

However, other types of tax liabilities have different rules. Property taxes are not discharged during Chapter 7 Bankruptcy unless they became due more than a year before your file for bankruptcy. Further, debts incurred to pay taxes cannot be discharged. For example, if you use a credit card to pay your taxes you will have to pay back the creditor who issued the card even if all your other debt is discharged. Finally you may be wondering if tax obligations are dischargeable if you filed late tax returns. The answer is it depends. For a long time the IRS would not allow any taxes owed on late returns to be discharged. However, now the IRS only applies this no-discharge rule to late returns if they were filed within two years prior to your bankruptcy filing.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What are Exemptions in Bankruptcy?

There is a myth that filing for bankruptcy means you have to give up your assets. This is simply not true. Bankruptcy law lays out specific exemptions which are used to protect your assets when you file for bankruptcy. (Federal exemptions are found in 11 U.S.C. § 522). In your petition you need to list all of your assets. These are all part of the “estate” and become property of the trustee. Exemptions are used to pull your property of the estate and protect it as yours. There are both federal and state exemptions and each state varies. When filing you can either choose one or the other, you cannot mix and match. There are also rules as to which state’s laws you are allowed to use based on where you live. Your attorney will usually be the one to choose what is best for your circumstances. In general, federal exemptions cover more items because of the “wildcard exemption.” Most exemptions are for specific items, but the wildcard can be used on any property up to $12,725 (depending on the amount of equity in your home).

The most common reason to use Minnesota exemptions, specifically, is if you have a home with a lot of equity. Minnesota has a large homestead exemption to protect your home, which is one of the most important assets to people and the most important to protect. If you need to use Minnesota’s exemptions, you may end up with “non-exempt” property. This means that you are not able to protect it and it will become part of your estate for the trustee. The most common non-exempt items are tax refunds and bank account balances. If you have a few non-exempt items it is not something to worry too much about. In most cases a tax refund is small in comparison with the amount of debt being discharged. Just because an item is “non-exempt” doesn’t mean you will lose it. You can pay the trustee to keep it, essentially buying it back from the trustee. Please consult an attorney, as the exemption laws are very technical and may result in loss of property if they are not used correctly.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Even Pro Athletes File Bankruptcy

Many of us know the tale of Michael Vick: one of the most dynamic and talented football players of our generation, who earned more than $200 million dollars over his career only to see it all disappear. Vick was forced to file bankruptcy in 2008 after he found himself more than $20 million in debt, with no real income stream to pay them off (he was banned from the NFL after being convicted of dog fighting and animal cruelty charges in November 2008). Vick is only one of hundreds of pro athletes that have gone broke. A Sports Illustrated article form earlier this year reported that 78 percent of NFL players face bankruptcy or serious financial stress within two years of leaving the game; 60 percent of NBA players face the same financial strife within five years. Why is this?

Pro athletes make millions and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars over their careers, so it is hard for those of us who will never make close to that understand how athletes could ever find themselves in financial difficulty. One big problem is trust. A lot of athletes came from nothing and do not trust anyone to give tax, legal, and financial advice that could ensure a lifetime of financial stability. Other athletes have the problem of trusting the wrong people and are defrauded of their millions.

Another large problem is pressure from friends and family. Athletes feel obligated to buy expensive houses and cars for those that helped them go pro. They also get a lot of pressure from family and close friends to invest in businesses even when that friend or family member may not have any idea how to run a business. Michael Vick is a prime example of this. He bought a number of cars for friends and family members, a house for his mom, a number of houses for himself. This, among other things, all led to his bankruptcy in 2008. Fortunately for Vick, he landed a $100 million contract the Philadelphia Eagles to help pay off his debts and start over.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What is a Bankruptcy Means Test?

A bankruptcy means test is a tool that is used to determine whether or not you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Prior to 2005, the means test was non-existent and it was much easier to be found eligible for bankruptcy. In order to reduce the leniency of the program, the Bankruptcy Protection Act of 2005 was passed and therefore the means test came into play.

There are two parts to the means test. The first part of the test looks at your average income for the last 6 months prior to filing bankruptcy. This average is then compared to the median family income of the state you apply in. If it is found that you meet the median family income or fall short of it, you will be found eligible for Chapter 7. In this type of test, your average monthly income isn’t solely based off of what you make at work (wage, overtime, tips, etc.); it also looks at all aspects in your life that contribute to how much money you receive in a month (child support, alimony, workers’ compensation, rental income, etc.) However, there are a few things that are not included in calculating your monthly income; some of those are: Supplemental Security Income, Social Security retirement benefits, or tax refunds.

You will need to look into the second half of the test if it is found that your average income exceeds that of the median family income of the state you’re filing in. This part of the test will look at necessary expenses (rent/mortgage payment, groceries, etc.) and subtract that from your income. If the remaining amount of income won’t cover your unsecured debt you will be found eligible to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7. If not, you will need to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 where a payment plan will be created for you to pay off your debts (priority, secured, and some unsecured debts). There are, however, rare circumstances that will allow you to still file under Chapter 7 even if you fail the means test. These circumstances are attributed by “special circumstances” such as a serious medical condition or becoming unemployed within recent months. Every case will vary, though, and if no special circumstances are found than you will need to file under Chapter 13.

http://bankruptcy.findlaw.com/chapter-7/the-bankruptcy-means-test.html

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Credit Counseling and Debtor Education

When going through the bankruptcy process, there are a few things that you must do; two of which are going through credit counseling and attending a debtor education course. The former must be completed before you file for bankruptcy and the latter must be completed after you have filed for bankruptcy. These two things are by no means optional, they are requirements by the government and you also must make sure you are going to the proper provider. This simply means that the provider who is putting on the credit counseling and debtor education course must be one that is approved within the judicial district you are filing bankruptcy in, as well as one that is approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. You can find a list of approved providers at your local bankruptcy clerk’s office.

As was mentioned above, you must go through credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy and must provide proof that you took the session. The session itself can vary based off of who you decide to do the program through, but most sessions have 3 basic components. The first will be going over your financial condition, then discussing any other options you may have other than bankruptcy, and finally creating a plan to manage your finances. Sessions usually run anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes and cost around $50 (unless you cannot afford to pay and fill out a fee waiver to waive the cost). After finishing your credit counseling session, the provider will present a certificate to you which can be used to provide proof of session completion.

Once you have filed for bankruptcy (and before your debt is discharged), you must then complete a debtor education course. Much like the credit counseling session, each course may vary by provider; they will, however, go over a couple key informational pieces that will be very useful for you after your debts have been discharged. Your course instructor should go over helpful ways to budget and manage your money, as well as how to properly use credit without abusing it. These courses will roughly run about two hours, depending on the provider, and can cost anywhere around $50-$100. There is a fee waiver you can fill out, too, if you are unable to pay for the cost of the course. After you have finished the course, you will be granted a certificate that will provide proof of completing the course.

Just remember, although these requirements may seem bothersome, they are only beneficial for you and your future. They will provide you will helpful tips that you can utilize well after completing bankruptcy.

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0224-filing-bankruptcy-what-know

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can Wage Garnishments be Stopped when Filing for Bankruptcy?

If you haven’t yet filed for bankruptcy, but are in debt to some creditors, it is possible that they can have the court order that your wages be garnished if they provide evidence you are not paying them. This simply means that your payments to the creditor are directly pulled from your paychecks before you actually get the money. However, filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy should stop your wages from being garnished by creditor debts. This only applies to dischargeable debts, though; your non-dischargeable debts such as student loans can still be pulled from your paychecks if you’re late on payments.

Filing for bankruptcy puts what is called an “automatic stay” on any dischargeable debt you owe creditors. This means that creditors are no longer allowed to collect money from you, which ultimately means they are no longer able to go through with garnishing your wages. The “automatic stay” only stops your wage garnishments during the process of filing for bankruptcy, what happens to wage garnishments after your bankruptcy all depends on which type of bankruptcy you file under.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your nonexempt property is sold to help pay off whatever debt is owed to creditors. Any debt that you have remaining will be discharged. Because this type of bankruptcy wipes out any dischargeable debt, it will permanently stop creditors from garnishing your wages because you will no longer owe them money.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a much different plan for dealing with debts than Chapter 7. When filing for this type of bankruptcy, you won’t need to sell any of your property (exempt or nonexempt); instead, you will create a type of affordable payment plan to pay off your debts. With this type of bankruptcy you will include the debt causing the wage garnishments in to your payment plan.

Just remember that wage garnishments can only be stopped for dischargeable debt, they cannot be stopped for any non-dischargeable debt such as child support, alimony, or student loans.

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/bankruptcy/using-chapter-7-wage-garnishment.htm

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What to Do: Bankruptcy or Debt Consolidation?

When facing issues with debts, there are a couple of ways to go about fixing it, two of which being more popular: bankruptcy and debt consolidation. Much like other decisions made in life, each one has its own benefits and consequences. However, filing bankruptcy is usually the better route to take when deciding between the two.

Unlike bankruptcy, debt consolidation does not completely discharge your debts. Instead, your credit counselor will need to try and negotiate with creditors to create affordable interest rates for you, lowered monthly payments, or help you obtain a larger loan to pay off credit debts. This is problematic because it does not wipe out your debts, but practically creates more being as you may need to take out a loan. Another pitfall of debt consolidation is the fact that not all creditors will want to make a deal with a credit counselor; nor do they have to be dealt with all at once. If your credit counselor so chooses, they can deal with your creditors one at a time which will both prolong the process and make you susceptible to problems with your other creditors who have yet to be dealt with. One more thing to keep in mind about debt consolidation is that credit counselors usually only help out with unsecured debts (credit cards, medical bills, etc.), not secured debts (mortgages, vehicle loans, etc.). Bankruptcy, however, does deal with both.

As you may have guessed after reading the previous paragraph, filing bankruptcy is most likely the best option to go with. If you were to file under Chapter 7, a large portion of unsecured debts will be discharged and unlike debt consolidation, all creditors must oblige by it. They cannot choose whether to be a part of the discharged debts or not. If you were to go the route of Chapter 13, you will set up an affordable payment plan with creditors to pay off debts with the additional benefit of protecting your secured assets from being repossessed (unlike in debt consolidation). One final thing to keep in mind is that debt consolidation has a tendency to cost more than bankruptcy, as well as have fewer benefits. Although every person’s situation is different and their solutions to debt may vary, filing bankruptcy should be considered before going through with debt consolidation.

http://www.saderlawfirm.com/newsletters/bankruptcy-verus-debt-consolidation/

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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The Meeting of Creditors (What to Expect in Minnesota)

About 3 to 5 weeks after you have filed for bankruptcy you will be required to attend a meeting of creditors, which is also known as the 341 meeting.  For some bankruptcy cases, just the meeting of creditors will suffice, in others you may need to appear in court; even if you didn’t need to appear in court, you should take this meeting just as seriously. Another thing to keep in mind is that although the name of the meeting implies creditors will be there, it does not necessarily mean that ALL of your creditors will be there.  Most times you will see only one creditor at these meetings.  In addition to the few creditors that may be present, your lawyer and a bankruptcy trustee will show up as well.  A bankruptcy trustee is somebody appointed by the court to review your case and deal with your estate/assets, they will also be the ones to ask you a series of questions regarding your bankruptcy case during this meeting.

Before heading to your meeting, make sure you have the following items with you: proof of ID, social security number, most recent pay stub, and bank statements.  If you are missing one of these items you will have to reschedule your meeting (especially if you forget your ID or social security number).  If you forget your pay stub or bank statements but your attorney has back-up copies on hand, your meeting can continue as planned.

As mentioned above, the trustee present at your meeting will ask you a series of questions regarding your case.  The following are some areas the trustee may ask about: your assets, property ownership, your bankruptcy petition, whether or not others owe you money, history of payments to creditors, property transfers, domestic support, or previous bankruptcy filings.  These are just a few areas that the trustees might ask about, however, they are not all the areas they may question you on.  These questions may make it seem like this could be a long meeting, but it is quite short.  The meeting of creditors usually lasts around 5 minutes; it is short, brief and is meant to get to the point.

 

http://www.friedmaniverson.com/consumer/blog/bankruptcy/what-should-i-expect-at-my-bankruptcy-meeting-of-creditors/

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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