Published On: March 8, 2014

Arizona Representative Michelle Ugenti, introduced bill which challenges the rights of a disabled person to protect their vehicle.

The other day a caller said “I used a document preparer or bankruptcy petition preparer. Certainly they have obligations to keep my social security number confidential?” Unfortunately I had to say “Oh how wrong you are.”

Michelle Ugenti handicappedArizona Representative Michelle Ugenti, introduced House Bill 2633handicapped which will make it extremely difficult for persons with disabilities to protect their vehicle from their unsecured creditors.  It is my opinion that Ms. Ugenti did not properly investigate the consequences of her bill.

The good news is that we defeated Rep. Ugenti’s attempt to reduce the protections offered to handicapped persons in Arizona.

WARNING: is this was the second time in two years the issue was raised. Where is it coming from? From the bankruptcy trustees who make a profit selling the debtor’s assets.

Some of the Arizona bankruptcy trustees wanted to override a doctor’s determination that someone is handicapped

Under current Arizona law, all citizens have a right to protect the motor vehicle from creditors if it is valued at $6,000 or less. For persons with physical disabilities, the motor vehicle exemption is $12,000. This differential has been in the law for over 30 years because it is understood the importance of a vehicle for this very vulnerable population and the recognition that: (1) they may need a larger vehicle to transfer into and to transport such medical supplies as oxygen or a wheelchair, and (2) that because of their reliance on their own vehicle, they need a properly functioning car, including a properly functioning air conditioner. Many persons with disabilities cannot get to a bus stop, wait out in the heat for public transportation or walk long distances.

Those with disabilities need protection – the Arizona bankruptcy trustees sought to reduce that protection

This bill requires that to obtain the higher exemption, the motor vehicle must “accommodates the disability.” The word accommodate is very difficult to define. It also circumvents a doctor’s opinion that the person with disabilities should have a certain type of vehicle (either more dependable, larger to fit a wheel chair, lower to the ground to make it easier tohandicapped get in and out, etc).

Problems with this bill:

• Most persons with disabilities are low-income and need a dependable transportation and a vehicle that fits their unique needs.
• Contrary to what the proponents claim, the “accommodates” wording in the bill severely limits who can get the exemption without any regard to the need for the vehicle.
• Currently, to get the higher exemption, a doctor must state the person has a physical disability that imposes restrictions on walking, breathing and their heart functioning. This bill allows others, such as creditors and bankruptcy trustees, to challenge that medical determination.
• Most importantly – this bill changes the burden and puts it on the vulnerable vehicle owner, who besides having a disability is often low-income and unrepresented, to know their rights and to challenge the objection of the trustee and protect their vehicle, instead of keeping the burden on the trustee, who is represented and sophisticated in the law.

This bill will result in persons with disabilities losing their vehicles and not being able to get to work, school or their doctors. This bill is proposed by bankruptcy trustees who failed to disclose that they financially benefit from the passage of this bill. They are paid 25% of the first $5,000 from the sale of seized assets. Also, trustees can seize assets that they believe not protected and it can take weeks or months to have a court hearing in order to get the assets back. During that time a person with a disability would be left without their vehicle.

The only example given for a purported abuse of the current law is a person claimed the higher exemption for a motorcycle.

The trustee in that case chose not to challenge the exemption and take the issue to the judge. Even if this was abuse of the exemption allowance, one case should not be used to harm tens of thousands of other persons with disabilities. Remember – this bill extends to exemptions to all Arizona citizens, not just those who have to file for bankruptcy protection.

My husband, a disabled vet testified to the Legislators that he knew another vet who rode a motorcycle (not unusual you say? – this vet had one leg).

The exemption provisions were amended just last legislative session. The statute works well for more than 30 years. We would appreciate anything you can do to help us get the word out. We will need a few who are willing to testify at a Senate hearing. I will be there with them so they do not need to feel they are on their own.

The good news is that we defeated Rep. Ugenti’s attempt to reduce the protections offered to handicapped persons in Arizona.

The warning is this was the second time in two years the issue was raised.  Where is it coming from?  From the bankruptcy trustees who make a profit selling the debtor’s assets.  Some of our Arizona trustees earn as much as $600,000 in a year.  The lowest paid Arizona trustee earned approximately $175,000, which is more than the amount most Arizona consumer debtor attorneys earn.  Most of the trustees are hardworking and fair, but anyone who files for bankruptcy protection and does not obtain competent per-bankruptcy planning advice may face a result which haunts them for many years to come.

Even though the debtor attorneys  earn considerably less than the trustees or their attorneys they were the only group that stood up against Rep. Ugenti.

They took considerable time out of their practice in order to fight for the rights of those who could not.  The attorney who led the defense was Dwayne Farnsworth.  Other than a few of us no one knows his name, but for years he has been out there working to protect the rights of the consumer.

CLICK TO OUR WEBSITE

Moral – stand up for your rights.  Be heard when those rights are trampled on.

We have several videos on this site.  This one is about “Arizona Exempt Property”

By |Published On: March 8th, 2014|Last Updated: May 29th, 2022|

Share this article

About the Author: Diane Drain

Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.

*Important Note from Diane: Everything on this web site is offered for educational purposes only and not intended to provide legal advice, nor create an attorney client relationship between you, me, or the author of any article. Information in this web site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney familiar with your personal circumstances and licensed to practice law in your state. Make sure to check out their reviews.*

Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A., Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer - Google Reviews
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A., Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer - Yelp Reviews
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A., Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer - Avvo Reviews
Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A., Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer - Alignable Reviews
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A., Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer - Better Business Bureau
5 / 5

“You folks are the BEST OF THE BEST in Arizona.” M.H.

You and Jay are the best attorneys I have ever had or needed and thank God for the Honorable Robert Gottsfield in recommending you folks – I would have never made it through the entire process without you and Jay and God Bless you both always and stay in touch as well. You folks are the BEST OF THE BEST in Arizona.

5 / 5

“My only regret is that I didn’t find Diane sooner.” K.H.

I can’t say enough good things about Diane. The way she handled my not typical circumstances was amazing. I was very nervous to start the bankruptcy process but Diane just has a very comforting way of explaining the whole process. My only regret is that I didn’t find Diane sooner. If you find yourself in a financial situation that you can’t correct on your own, please Call Diane Drain as soon as possible.

5 / 5

“Filing for bankruptcy can be a stressful life event” R.A.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a stressful life event, and selecting the right attorney can add to this stress. Diane and Jay were a pleasure to work with, and it is obvious that they are passionate about helping people get their life back on track. I would highly recommend them if you need a bankruptcy attorney.

Related Posts

  • Published On: July 24, 2022

    Want to avoid dishonest debt collectors?  Watch this video from FTC’s Consumer Advice By Joseph Ferrari,July 22, 2022 (reprint from FTC, Consumer Alerts) During Military Consumer Month 2022, the FTC [...]

  • Published On: July 20, 2022

    BEWARE OF THE SECRET COSTS OF USING ‘BUY NOW PAY LATER’!! What You May Not Know About These Services Services like “buy now pay later” now account for $100 [...]

  • Published On: June 13, 2022

    Diane Drain received the 2022 Preeminent Award and Gold Client Champion Award from Martindale-Hubbell. The 2022 AV Preeminent award is given to an "elite group of attorneys who have been rated highly by their peers [...]

  • Published On: April 16, 2022

    ARIZONA IS ONE OF 2 STATES THAT WILL TAKE YOUR TAX REFUND IF THIS HAPPENS.  SHOULD THE LAW CHANGE? By RUSS WILES, Arizona Republic (reprinted for educational purposes only) Tens of millions of Americans [...]

My intention is to put you back in control of your life
Start with $0 down*. We provide affordable payment plans.

FREE CONSULTATION