Bankruptcy Continues to Best Form of Relief for Most People

I hope you are having a great Sunday. My name is David Ruben and I have been a bankruptcy lawyer in Maryland for almost 23 years. I love what I do. Tommorrow is one of those rare days that I do not have to appear in court, so I was thinking about what my day will bring. Aside from all of the written work that I have to do, I will probably (hopefully) field about 15-20 new phone inquiries about filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. What continues to amaze me about the phone calls is that many of the people have been thinking about calling a lawyer for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy for months, sometimes years, and have been reluctant to do so for fear of the unknown. People are actually afraid to call me and scared of what they might hear. Many people, after we have our consultation, say "wow, that was easy, I was expecting that to be much worse, I feel so relieved." Despite what you might think or what people might tell you, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are … [Read more...]

What is a Meeting of Creditors?

The meeting of creditors is provided pursuant to this Section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The meeting is often referred to as the 341 meeting of creditors or your bankruptcy court date. At the meeting of creditors, you along with your attorney are going to be present in front of either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 trustee. The purpose of the meeting is to administer any assets in a Chapter 7 that are administrable and in a Chapter 13, to verify that you are putting all of your disposable income towards your Chapter 13 repayment plan. At your meeting of creditors, you are going to be sworn in. You’re going to have to show identification and proof of your Social Security card. Once you are sworn in, you are going to be asked a series of questions based on the information provided in your documents. For example, the trustee is going to ask if you signed the documents under all penalties and perjury, if you listed all of your assets and all of your liabilities and … [Read more...]

Can Bankruptcy Help?

At the Maryland Bankruptcy Center, we tell at least 1 person per day that they are NOT eligible to file bankruptcy or that bankruptcy is not a good idea. On the other hand, we tell most people who call that filing bankruptcy in Maryland is the right choice. Why is that? Chances are, if you are researching bankruptcy, you have found yourself in a very difficult financial situation and you are desperate for help. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are your last resort, but unfortunately in this economy, it is the only resort for hundreds of thousands of Marylanders each year. Consider the article below, and if you have any questions at all, feel free to call us anytime. Filing For Bankruptcy is a Major Decision. Necessary For Some, Unnecessary For Others… You don’t just throw a bankruptcy in your shopping cart and head for the check out, it’s a major life decision that should not be entered into lightly. In some cases, bankruptcy can really help. Some families who are avoiding filing … [Read more...]

Maryland Bankruptcy and Credit Card Debt

The Basics of Credit Card Debt and Bankruptcy In an economy where housing problems dominate the headlines, high interest credit cards still remain one of the largest issues consumers face in their fight for financial health. It should come as no surprise to learn then, that credit card debt is still one of the primary reasons consumers are forced to file for bankruptcy. When a credit card account has been delinquent for more than 180 days, banks will charge off what is owed as “bad debt” and sell the account to a debt collector who will call, harass and even sue if the past due balances are high enough. Mounting pressure from debt collectors pushes many consumers through the front door of a bankruptcy office because chapter 7 protection is widely perceived as the fastest and best way to get out from under unmanageable credit card debt. While it is true that filing for bankruptcy can help discharge credit card bills, there are some basics that every consumer needs to know before … [Read more...]

Getting Credit After Bankruptcy…..Is it really 10 years?

Clients are always concerned about their credit score. It is not unusual for the question “How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?” to be the first thing that comes out of someone’s mouth when they consider bankruptcy as an option. Although bankruptcy does have an effect on your credit, the effect may not be as bad as many would have you believe. Further, most people fail to compare the alternative effect that not filing bankruptcy will and already does have on their credit. There are a number of facts that will appear on your credit report. Any type of loan, any credit you have taken out, how you use it, whether you have paid it or are in default, are all things that will appear when someone looks up your credit report. Bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for up to 10 years. Any negative occurrences will appear for 7. If your credit is poor, as most people’s is when they consider filing for bankruptcy, bankruptcy may not hurt your credit as much as not filing … [Read more...]

Married and Filing for Bankruptcy

If you are married and filing for bankruptcy, it is important to think about how it will affect your spouse. When a person is married, then both that person and their spouse are basically co-signers on any credit cards and bank accounts held jointly. So, if your spouse files for bankruptcy, then you are both affected by the consequences. For example, if one spouse files for bankruptcy, and his or her debts are discharged, it is possible for creditors to look to the non-bankrupt spouse to collect the debts. A Maryland bankruptcy attorney can help you to protect your spouse as much as possible. However, if your spouse is not liable in any way for the debt, then the credit agency cannot collect from them. It can be difficult to determine if your spouse is liable for your debt. It may be better for a spouse to file for bankruptcy in Maryland than in some other states. This is because Maryland is not a community property state, it is an equitable distribution state. When you are married … [Read more...]

Tax Refund and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

As 2011 draws to an end, many people will be thinking about filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland in 2012.  One very common question, almost always asked at the beginning of the year, is:   IF I FILE CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY IN MARYLAND, WILL I STLIL BE ABLE TO KEEP MY TAX REFUND?   The answer is.............yes, in just about every case, you will be able to keep your tax refund.  When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland, you are permitted to keep roughly $12,000 worth of "liquid" assets.  That does not include your house.  That includes, for most people personal belongings such as household goods and furnishings, automobiles that are fully paid off, money in savings and checking accounts, and certain other assets.  One asset that people often forget is there tax refund.  A tax refund, or an expected tax refund, is nothing more than money in a savings account held by the government that will be given to you after you file your taxes and show that you have overpaid your taxes, which … [Read more...]

Ten Things To Do BEFORE FILING BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy is very often a time-sensitive process and pre-bankruptcy planning can be critical in protecting assets. Chapter 7, in particular, the trustee’s responsibility is to “look back” at the actions the debtor has taken to insure that there hasn’t been a fraudulent conveyance of assets, a non-allowed preference payment to creditors or other actions that might leave assets exposed. It’s critical, if you are considering bankruptcy, to consider taking the following steps to insure a successful filing: 1. Consult with an attorney. The bankruptcy laws have become so complex that consumers should not attempt to file by themselves. It’s a very risky process to try to do on your own. Since 2005, there is a complicated “Means Test” required, government-approved credit counseling, as well as other changes which made the filing of Bankruptcy much more complicated. Even if you eventually file pro-se (representing yourself) consult an attorney and ask questions about whether bankruptcy … [Read more...]

Chapter 7 Maryland Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Maryland Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy may provide some relief to a borrower under financial stress and overwhelmed with debt. Typically, there are two types of bankruptcy available to a debtor, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The requirements and benefits offered by the two types of bankruptcy differ greatly. A Maryland bankruptcy attorneycan explain the differences between the two chapters in detail and help ensure a successful bankruptcy filing. It is highly recommended that a debtor consult a bankruptcy lawyer for help determining which bankruptcy chapter is best suited for their situation. An incorrect or incomplete bankruptcy petition can create long-lasting consequences for the debtor. Chapter 13 is considered a restructuring bankruptcy because the debtor continues to make payments to their creditors according to a court approved payment plan. The payment plan outlines how the income the borrower receives will be used to pay off the debts owed. Once the payment plan is confirmed by the … [Read more...]

Filing Bankruptcy to Prevent Foreclosure

If you’re facing foreclosure, and you can’t seem to strike a deal with your lender, filing bankruptcy may be able to help. If you fall behind on your mortgage payments, your lender may take steps to foreclose on the property – meaning it may take back your home and sell the property at a public auction. The foreclosure process doesn’t happen overnight. In Colorado, a foreclosure typically starts after you fall behind on your payments for at least two months, and often three or four. This window of opportunity (commonly the reason behind a “strategic default”) will provide some time for you try alternate methods, such as loan forbearance, a short sale, or a deed in lieu of foreclosure. If you’ve already tried these options, filing bankruptcy may provide another option to avoid or stall foreclosure. Here are some examples of how filing for bankruptcy can help you – The Automatic Stay Delays Foreclosure When you file either a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court … [Read more...]