Payday loans, title loans and other usury loans. A discussion about greed, abuse and general human corruption.
I highly recommend this great article in the New York Times about bankruptcy and the elderly. Everyone should understand the issues related to protecting your own or your parents’ hard earned retirement funds when faced with a financial crisis. Related Post Reverse Mortgages & Their Pitfalls
Why is this “ground breaking”? This is the first time that payment processors are held to the same standard of responsibility as the debt collectors. Related Post New Mortgage Lending Rules – CFPB Protecting… Collection Fraud – You Cannot Be Arrested Fo… 20% of Consumers Have Credit Reporting Errors CFPB Takes Action Against Wells Fargo […]
The following is for the exclusive use of attorneys. This firm does not make any representations as to the accuracy or current status of any case cited herein.
Typically unsecured liens do not exist after bankruptcy because the liens did not attach to anything before bankruptcy. The judgments are void per 11 USC 524(a)(1). A void judgment cannot create a post-petition lien. Therefore the judgments do not attach as liens to property acquired post-petition.
It is true that pre-petition liens on nonexempt property survive bankruptcy, but that requires that the liens have attached pre-petition to property owned pre-petition.
524 (a) A discharge in a case under this title—
(1) voids any judgment at any time obtained, to the extent that such judgment is a determination of the personal liability of the debtor with respect to any debt discharged under section 727, 944, 1141, 1228, or 1328 of this title, whether or not discharge of such debt is waived;
In re Charnock, 318 B.R. 720 (BAP 9th Cir, 2004) has the legislative history of 522(f)(2) and says that the debtor may avoid a judgment lien recorded before a consensual lien regardless of state law, because Congress wanted to favor consensual liens regardless of the priority of recording.
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Here is a great blog from Matt Berkus, another bankruptcy attorney, in response to the statement we all heard “I have a simple bankruptcy”.
Invariably, two-thirds of prospects will preface a consultation with “I have a simple bankruptcy.” The transparent motive behind the comment is the belief that a simple bankruptcy case should be inexpensive. Let’s state two facts. First, 99.5% of prospective clients are not bankruptcy attorneys and have never filed bankruptcy; so they have no clue what goes into a bankruptcy and the time it takes. Second, simple bankruptcies are actually rare. Simple bankruptcies are the exception, not the rule.
A bankruptcy’s cost is based on the anticipated time to be spent on the case. As bankruptcy attorneys we understand that we are working with people in financial distress. So, our margins are razor thin and subject to fierce competition. Anything, at all, that adds time to a case, even if it is 12 minutes, increases the cost of a case. Let’s put the issue to rest. Here is what a simple bankruptcy looks like. If you have anything more than what is stated here, you don’t have a simple bankruptcy.
A simple bankruptcy has no more than one source of income. If a husband and wife file a joint bankruptcy, and both work; you don’t have a simple bankruptcy. If you receive social security, and your spouse works, you don’t have a simple case. For every source of income, we need six months of payment documentation that must be reviewed, input and analyzed. In short, the more sources of income, the more time your case takes.
If you are anything other than an employee, unemployed, or retiree whose only income is social security, you don’t have a simple case. The self-employed, business owner, or independent contractors never have a simple bankruptcy case.
To have a simple bankruptcy, all debts must appear on your credit report. There are two reasons why. (a) A credit report gives us an independent source for identifying your creditors. (b) Most bankruptcy preparation software will allows us to direct import the creditors from your credit report. Common creditors that do not appear on a credit report are medical bills and pay day loans. Those debts require us to verify those debts and manually input them (e.g. spend more time).
In a simple bankruptcy, the debtor cannot have special debts. Special debts include back income tax, child support, spousal support, any sort of business related debt, restitution, etc.
Owning real estate compounds the time we spend on the case. It is an additional asset, your home is important to you, and there is usually a mortgage associated with it. So, we must do the due diligence to make sure the home is not at risk, and add that information to the petition.
This factor takes a bit to explain. Exemptions are the laws that allow you to keep your stuff notwithstanding the fact you are filing bankruptcy. Rest assured, in most chapter 7 bankruptcies, the person loses nothing or very little. In real terms, having only non-exempt assets means that you have the typical assets we would expect for a middle class family in debt. These assets are furniture, clothing, television, computer, car, and a 401(k) or IRA.
If you own anything, even something minor, that is non-exempt (e.g. tax refund, a 3rd car or a business), you don’t have a simple bankruptcy case. First, we have to take the extra time to explain the consequences and options for dealing with non-exempt assets. Second, if you have non-exempt assets, your chapter 7 bankruptcy will become an asset chapter 7 case. That means we will be doing significantly more work after the bankruptcy is filed to deal with the trustee, keep you informed, and instruct you on what to do. For Colorado, the big category of non-exempt assets are tax refunds and firearms.
If you are unmarried, you only have one vehicle. If you are married, you have no more than 2 vehicles. If you have car loans, you are current on payments and the equity in the vehicles is break-even. If none of the above is true, you don’t have a simple bankruptcy case.
Even a simple bankruptcy (chapter 7 bankruptcy) takes about 15-20 man-hours. That time estimate assumes the client does what they are supposed to do. Here’s the thing, a typical bankruptcy attorney charges $250.00 per hour. That would mean that a simple chapter 7 bankruptcy, charged by the hour, would cost $3,750.00 to $5,000.00. However, most markets cannot support that fee. So, bankruptcy attorneys charge significantly less than their counterparts in almost any other area of law. When you see advertised bankruptcy fees of $699.00, take it with a grain of salt. Understand you will probably end up paying more (because of “add ons”) and an attorney is “barely” involved in your case.
A simple bankruptcy involves only one source income, debts that appear only on a credit report, no one has real estate, assets are all exempt, and only 1 car per debtor. In addition, the debtor cannot have done anything in the run-up to bankruptcy to create issues. I think you can see, that a simple bankruptcy is actually rare.
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