By Kara O’Donnell, Bankruptcy Attorney

(857) 526-1355       Quincy, MA
www.QuincyLegal.com

In a bankruptcy filing, debtors have the right to claim a generous amount of property as exempt.  (Exempt property is NOT allowed to be taken by the Trustee and sold to pay the creditors.) 

While most debtors choose to use the Federal exemptions,  debtors who have a large amount of equity in their home most often prefer to use the Massachusetts property exemptions instead.  Consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine which plan of action is right for you.

While there is a set dollar amount of property that can be exempted in Federal exemptions, there also exists ADDITIONAL exemptions to protect almost all of your retirement funds in bankruptcy. This is a very broad protection that applies to all types of plans including 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans. IRAs and Roth IRAs are protected but only up to the amount of $1,000,000.  (There are some exceptions as to rollovers – consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.)  

And as mutual funds are not retirement funds, they would be subject to the exemptions mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com

Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

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By Kara O’Donnell, Bankruptcy Attorney in Quincy, MA

www.QuincyLegal.com

In one of my previous posts, I addressed a widely used banking practice of the “Automatic Overdraft Protection.” View here https://quincylegal.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=143&action=edit

The problem was that the banks, without even requiring your approval, would allow you to withdraw funds from the ATM or make charges to your debit card and then HIT YOU WITH AN OVERDRAFT FEE. Remember the old days? When if you didn’t have enough money in your account, the ATM would say DECLINED? Those days are long gone and have been for quite a while.

BUT NOW, there are new Federal regulations coming into play – finally! Score one for the consumer!! It seems new laws now require the banks to decline the ATM withdrawal or debit card transaction UNLESS you opt in. (Note: Do NOT opt-in. You will forget you have done so then regret it later when you see 3 overdraft charges on your account for one day of buying coffee, lunch and dinner.)

Below is a notice I just got on my Sovereign/Santander account.

Important Changes to Your Account.
Under new federal regulations that will take effect this summer, Sovereign will no longer authorize overdrafts* on your checking or money market savings accounts for the following transactions**, unless you authorize us to do so by opting-in to our overdraft program:

ATM withdrawals and transfers
One-time debit card transactions

If you opt-in and one of these transactions overdraws your account, Sovereign may pay the transaction. If we do so, we will follow our standard overdraft policy*. If you do not opt-in to this program, and you try to make transactions when you do not have sufficient funds, we generally will decline the transaction.

Learn more about ATM and Debit Card Overdraft Elections.

To opt-in, call 877-SOV-BANK (877-768-2265) or visit your local branch today.

* An overdraft on your checking or money market savings account occurs when you do not have enough money in your account to cover a transaction, but the transaction is still processed by Sovereign. Under Sovereign Bank’s standard account overdraft practices, a fee of up to $35 will be charged for each overdraft on your account. If your account is overdrawn for 5 or more consecutive business days, an additional $5 per day will be charged. There is a limit of 9 fees per day for overdrawing your account.

** Sovereign will continue to authorize overdrafts for checks and other transactions made using your account number, automatic bill payments, Online Banking payments and transfers, and recurring debit card transactions. Overdrafts are always paid at our discretion, and we do not guarantee we will always authorize and pay any type of transaction. If we do not authorize and pay an overdraft, your transaction will be denied.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com

Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

A decision to file for bankruptcy should be made only after determining that bankruptcy is the best way to deal with your financial problems.

Many were under the impression that the 2005 change in bankruptcy laws now prevent many individuals from filing bankruptcy. While bankruptcy has become a bit more complicated, at least for the attorneys preparing the filing, most people still find themselves eligible to file and obtain the fresh start that bankruptcy offers.

What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who can not pay his or her bills can get a fresh financial start. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. In Massachusetts, these courts are located in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you, at least until your debts are sorted out according to the law.

What Can Bankruptcy Do for Me?
Bankruptcy may make it possible for you to:
– Eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts. This is called a “discharge” of debts. It is designed to give you a fresh financial start.
– Stop foreclosure on your house or mobile home and allow you an opportunity to catch up on missed payments.
– Eliminate a 2nd mortgage but only a) in a Chapter 13 filing and b) if your first mortgage is already MORE than your house is valued.
– Stop wage garnishment, debt collection harassment, and similar creditor actions to collect a debt.
– Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
– Allow you to challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud or who are otherwise trying to collect more than you really owe.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and you live in Massachusetts, contact Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell at 857-526-1355.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com

Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

By Kara O’Donnell, Bankruptcy Attorney

Occasionally people with credit card debts (who are usually past due) will get notices in the mail from a collector which offers to settle a credit card debt. Sometimes these offers are for 50% of face value of the debt. But there are 2 problems:

1) You will only get this notice if you are already past due on your credit cards minimum payments. And if you cannot afford the minimums how will you settle for 50% of the bill, especially when they want the payments in a lump sum?

2) Your balance is $20,000 but the collector is offering to settle for $10,000. Sounds great? Maybe you sell a car to get the money or borrow from a relative, but then comes the surprise sometime around tax season . . . a 1099-C form for $10,000. The 1099-C form is for cancelled debt and you must file it with your return. The IRS will treat that $10,000 as taxable income – same as if you got a bonus from a job or gambling winnings. Depending on your income tax bracket that $10k “gain” that you got (from the written off/cancelled debt) will be subject to 25-40% in taxes.

HOWEVER, while cancelled debt may create an income tax liability, discharged debt does not. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, if a debt is discharged in a bankruptcy case, it does NOT count as taxable income. Bottom line? In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will get your unsecured debts, such as credit cards, discharged and NO 1099-C will show up at tax time.

This is just another reason why the decision to use a debt management company needs to be very carefully considered prior to giving them any money whatsoever. They cannot prevent the IRS from knocking on your door wanting to tax you on the cancelled debt.

Is it possible for a bankruptcy filer to get a 1099-C for discharged debt?
This has occasionally been known to happen. (Those creditors are sneaky!) However, the filer needs only to know the law is on his side and to file IRS Form 982. This will exclude the amount of discharged indebtedness from your gross income. (Remember – there is a very big difference between cancelled income and discharged income.)

By Boston Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
(857)526-1355

In 2009, the Obama administration realized that unless the credit card companies were somehow reeled in, consumers would continue to be taken advantage of and, possibly, never get out of debt.  The result?  The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009  (also known as the CARD Act.)

Effective February 22, 2010:

  • Credit card issuers will not be able to increase interest rates on existing credit card balances unless the borrower is at least 60 days late on the account. This will eliminate the retroactive rate increases and the universal default clause where credit card issuers would periodically review an account holder’s current credit standing to determine changes in terms and annual percentage rates.
  • Credit card issuers will have to provide clear disclosure of account terms before a borrower opens an account. If the account provides a promotional interest rate period, the promotional interest rate will have to last a minimum of six months.
  • Credit card issuers will not be able to raise interest rates on new credit card accounts during the first year the account is opened. This rule will not apply if the borrower falls 60 days late on a credit card payment.
  • Credit card issuers will not be able to charge over-limit fees unless they obtain the account holder’s consent to accept and process over-limit transactions beforehand. If consent is obtained, the card issuer will not be able to charge more than one over-limit fee per billing cycle. Additionally, credit card issuers will not be able to charge an over-limit fee if interest charges or other fees are the sole reason for pushing the account holder over their limit.
  • Credit card issuers will not be able to charge additional payment penalties for accepting payments by mail, phone, electronic transfer, or any other means, unless the payment is processed through an expedited service processor.
  • Credit card issuers will face significant hurdles if they try to issue credit cards to consumers under age 21 without an “of-age” co-signer, unless they meet sufficient income requirements to independently repay the debt.
  • If a due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the credit card issuer will not be able to penalize mailed payments that are received on the next business day. Payments received by 5 p.m. must be credited the same day.
  • Double-cycle billing, a process where credit card issuers use the previous month’s balance to calculate interest charges for the current month, becomes illegal.
  • Credit card issuers will be required to apply any payment above the minimum amount due to the highest interest balance first.
  • Subprime or “fee harvester” credit cards will have fee limits. Fees on a credit card (other than late fees, over-limit fees, or insufficient funds charges) will not be able to exceed more than 25 percent of the credit limit when the account is opened.
  • Credit card issuers will have to include a minimum payment disclosure that explains how long it will take to pay off the existing balance and the total cost in interest fees if the cardholder paid only the minimum amount due. Additionally, card issuers will have to provide minimum payment details and the total cost in interest to pay off the existing balance within 3 years (36 months).
  • Card issuers will have to make account terms and cardholder agreements available to their cardholders on the Internet.

 WHAT THIS ALL MEANS TO THE AVERAGE CARDHOLDER:

The days of the credit card companies being in TOTAL control are GONE.  However, don’t be fooled.  If you are a person who charges frequently and only pays minimum monthly payments, the only difference is that the number of years/DECADES it will take to pay off your debt will be indicated right on your bill.  Under 21 card applicants will need a co-signer.  (Gone are the days of on-campus credit card kiosks where they solicited to student WITHOUT JOBS.)  Also, you will not be charged more than one over-the limit fee per month, and this seems to only be allowed on purchases you made and not because your account went over the limit last month due to interest or other fees.

Sure, the consumer receives additional protection from the CARD Act. However, if you are one of the many “only pay the minimum every month” or you are charging necessities every month (groceries, utilities, cash advances) then NOW is the time to take a second look at your overall financial health. 

If you are a person who sees no way out of your credit card problems, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you.  Call Massachusetts Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell for a free consultation at (857)526-1355.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES                    (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts

Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

By Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell

www.QuincyLegal.com

Quite often by the time a client comes to me to file bankruptcy he has already had months of being unable to meet the credit card minimum payments and is desperately in need of help.  However, many of these clients have used up assets to make these minimum payments even though a) those assets WOULD HAVE BEEN PROTECTED in a bankruptcy, and b) continuing to make minimum-only payments will get you nowhere in the long run.

There are some classes of assets that receive automatic protection in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:  Retirement accounts, monies obtained from personal injury settlements, monies received from workers’ compensation accidents, alimony, child support, some life insurance policies, and veterans’ benefits.  In short, NONE of these types of funds should be depleted in efforts to make credit card payments.  WHY?  Because if you can’t afford the payments this month what makes you think you will be able to afford them in the near future?  And, once those assets are gone, you will have no emergency funds to continue making the minimum payments.  The end result will be that you will end up filing for bankruptcy anyway AND your emergency funds will be gone.  Not the best outcome.

A better outcome?  If you are having trouble meeting your credit card minimum payments consult with a bankruptcy attorney TODAY.  Most attorneys, including myself, offer a free consultation for bankruptcy clients and, by doing so, you can create a financial plan for your future which involves both 1) the fresh start that bankruptcy provides and 2) still keeping your retirement accounts or other protected funds outlined above.

The key to your bankruptcy filing? Filing sooner and not later.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com
Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

By Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell, Quincy MA  Call 857-526-1355 to answer YOUR bankruptcy questions in MA.

___________

Just this week I was the victim of an online hacking to my personal checking account, linked to a Paypal account.  However, the resultant Insufficient Funds (NSF) fees reminded me of a documentary I had watched which investigated how the banks made money, expecially by offering so many “free” “no-fee” accounts.   The answer, in part?  NSF FEES.

When a person has several charges within a few days’ period the banks will actually process the LARGER ones first then the smaller ones after that, regardless of timing.  They do this to maximize their overdraft fee charges.   And, in fact, they have a SOFTWARE designed to do just that.

TRUE STORY!  On Jan 31, 2010, I bought my Chihuahua, Taz, a dietary supplement online at Ebay, paid through Paypal, for a cost of $17.33. I had the money in the bank. It would have no trouble clearing.

On Feb 1, ALSO through Ebay and Paypal, a hacker goes online and buys 2 $500 gift certificates with my account. Now CURIOUSLY, not only did the $500 charges bounce but also the $17 one which was the day BEFORE the fraud charges.  How does THAT happen?

In a documentary I recently watched (PBS maybe) a bank president admitted that they hold  multiple charges (in a few days period) then process the LARGE ones first.  The interviewer asked, “but doesn’t that result in more NSF fees to the consumer if they then get hit for  NSF fees for their $3 Starbucks charge, $2 bagel etc?”  The bank president then stated that the bank viewed it that, “We thought the consumer would appreciate their large charges, like rent or auto payments, being processed first.”

Geez, thanks alot, Rich Bank Guy.

So, that explains it. On Day 1 you make 3 small charges.  On Day 2 you charge coffee then lunch then breakfast.  On Day 3 you pay your car or rent online.  You know you’re $50 short but figure, “Oh well. I’ll get one NSF fee.  At least my payment won’t be late.”   Then you check your account a day or two later and discover SIX insufficient funds fess – all at $35 each”  Now you are not just $35 in the hole BUT $210 in the hole.

In a USA TODAY article, it reported that in 2009, Bank of America settled a class action lawsuit over their overdraft fees.  They also had the software to calculate how to generate the most overdraft fees when a customer went negative on his or her account. 

But have the banks stopped this practice?  Obviously not.  Look at a screenshot of my Sovereign Bank account charges below.  My EARLIEST charge for the dog medicine was processed LAST even thought it was purchased the day before the hacker hit!

WHAT A SCAM!!!

_____________________________________________________________________________
BALANCE 818.96 NEGATIVE.   The earliest fees area at the bottom

02/02/2010  INSUFFICIENT FUNDS  FEE       $35.00-
 02/02/2010  PAYPAL INST XFER 100201 5JFJ243L       $17.33-
 02/02/2010  INSUFFICIENT FUNDS FEE       $35.00-
 02/02/2010  PAYPAL INST XFER 100201 5JFJ243M9E       $500.00-
 02/02/2010  INSUFFICIENT FUNDS FEE       $35.00-
 02/02/2010  PAYPAL INST XFER  100201 5JFJ243M9      $500.00-
02/01/2010  CHK CARD PUR 83xxxx HOMESTEAD.COM   CA       $4.99-

The good news? NSF fees are dischargeable in a Bankruptcy. Of course, only a small fraction of people affected by this will actually end up filing for bankrupcty. Most will be forced to just take their lumps and walk away.

(On a side note: The banks allow you to withdraw money you don’t have, they call it overdraft protection and they make their NSF fees on it. Interestingly, most banks will NOT allow you to turn off this “protection.” Trust me, I’ve tried.)

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com
Help@QuincyLegal.com

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

by Bankruptcy Attorney Kara O’Donnell of Quincy, MA   

When a new client calls me or comes into my office for a consultation we go over a standard list of issues. However, no two cases are ever the same!   

A standard question is “What is your household size?” Seemingly easy to answer, what if you were living with your spouse and kids but in your parents’ house? What if you were living with a wealthy friend, someone who was just helping you out with a cheap/free place to live but who did not pay your bills or otherwise give you money?   

One, two, three, four . . .

 

The issues have become complicated considering that there are so many more living arrangements than the traditional family. Non-traditional living arrangements can include extended families, domestic partnerships, roommates, nannies, etc. When these situations arise, your bankruptcy attorney now must determine who to count.   

Some cases are more clear cut than others. Your family (you, your spouse & 2 kids) live with your parents in an in-law apartment in your parents’s house? The separate households seems just that, and you would easily be able to claim a household of FOUR on the Means Test. However, for more grey areas, such as two families sharing a house, there are no clear cut answers. The information you should be prepared to give your attorney should include: who pays the bills, is there a family relationship to the other parties, do any parties pay rent or utilities?   

Why do we bankruptcy attorneys care so much about your household size? Because it is a determining factor in the Means Test. The basic purpose of the Means Test is to determine whether a debtor is eligible to file a Chapter 7 petition based on a rather complicated calculation of the debtor’s income and expenses. If you don’t pass it, you may not be allowed to file Chapter 7 and must then consider filing for Chapter 13 (the repayment plan.) Thus, the lower the final figure on the means test, the better. Generally, the more individuals who live in the household, the easier it is for the debtor to qualify for Chapter 7. This is because the Household Size is compared to the State median income for a household of the same size.   

The Means Test is not only based on “household size” but also “household income.” Household income and the number of individuals in the household are central issues in the means test. But, interestingly, “household” is not a term defined in the Bankruptcy Code.   

Which leaves us . . . WHERE?
One bankruptcy attorney I know of uses a general rule of “whoever sleeps in the house more then 3 nights a week or is financially dependent on someone else in the house should be seriously considered as a member of the household for the means test as well as schedules of income and expense.” While this seems like it could provide answers to many, if not most clients, remember, every case is different from the last! You must provide your bankruptcy attorney with as much information as possible so that he/she can provide you with the best legal advice for your own situation.   

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES                    (857)526-1355
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com
Help@QuincyLegal.com   

   

Posted by Kara O’Donnell

MA Bankruptcy Filings: Have we finally reached the peak?
Email[Edit] | Written by karalawyer on Jan-24-10 2:00pm
From: quincylegal.wordpress.com 

by Attorney Kara O’Donnell
O’Donnell Law Offices
http://www.QuincyLegal.com 

According to recent data released by The Warren Group, personal bankruptcy filings in Massachusetts dramatically increased in 2009 and were up a whopping 33% over the numbers for 2008. 

While 2008 resulted in 12,034 filings, the number for 2009 was 16,033 – and this is just the number for Chapter 7 filings! 

See the MA Bankruptcy Filings chart here: ma bankruptcy filings chart  

Chapter 7 bankruptcy (known as the “full discharge” bakruptcy”) remains the most common option for individuals (both in MA and nationwide) and accounted for 81 percent of all filings in the state in 2009. 

While it is common knowledge that a bad economy almost certainly results in increased bankruptcy filings, there existed additional factors to push the expected increase even higher. The combination of unusually high unemployment rates coupled with plummeting home equity sounded the death knell for most “paycheck to paycheck” families. Gone were the days of home equity loans and 401k advances to pay the bills and get by, if not for just one more month. And just when you thought things couldn’t get much worse, credit card rates skyrocketed. Some debtors’ credit card accounts were closed by the credit card companies and some had their credit limits decreased – both bad signs of a credit card company’s financial well-being. 

Creditcards rates up, limits down!

Creditcards rates up, limits down!

 

Just as in the real estate market, it is difficult, if not impossible, to guess just where the upward trend will finally peak. Some experts believe that high numbers of bankruptcy filings follow the point at which the economy is at its worst. Others say that with increased filings more debtors are pulled away from the precipice of total financial collapse. One can only hope that some relief for overburdened debtors is on its way in 2010. 
Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES
Quincy, Massachusetts
http://www.QuincyLegal.com
Help@QuincyLegal.com 

Posted by Kara O’Donnell
Posted in Bankruptcy, bankruptcy massachusetts, Financial, Law, Legal Tagged: Ch. 13, Ch. 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 7, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 


by Attorney Kara O’Donnell, O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES

In this age of housing prices being LOWER than the mortgage balance, it isn’t too often that I get a bankruptcy client who has alot of equity in their house.

For those who have already done basic research on Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will already know that Federal exemptions allow you to keep a little over $20,200 of equity in your home. As this exemption is per individual, the amount of equity that can be protected per couple is just over $40,400.

What happens if an individual has more than $20,200 in equity in their home, is he out of luck?
Not at all! In such a case, the individual could use the Massachusetts state exemptions as opposed to the Federal exemptions.
The MA state exemptions protect property that the debtor occupies or intends to occupy, including mobile home up to $500,000. (MGL 188-1) There are special provisions for owners over 62 or disabled, but the same total exemption. (MGL 188-1A)

The only catch is . . .
The Debtor must record a homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy in order to take a MA homestead exemption (unless the title to the property already contains a statement of homestead). (MGL 188-2)

How do I know if I have a homestead declaration on my house?
Easy. Just call or visit the website of your county’s Register of Deeds. They can tell you if you have one already filed and how to file one if you don’t.

If you are a MA resident and considering filing for bankrupcty, call Attorney Kara O’Donnell at (857)526-1355 for a free consultation.

O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES, Quincy, MA

By Attorney Kara O’Donnell, Quincy, Massachusetts

When discussing bankruptcy issues in general with people, they are often surprised that it IS possible to dischargeable some tax debts.

Key word? “SOME . . . ”

Income taxes are not dischargeable unless a three-part test is met.
Irs guy
1. The tax return must have been due at least three years before the bankruptcy was filed

2. The return must have been filed at least two years before filing for bankruptcy, and

3. The taxes must have been assessed for at least 240 days.

NOTE: Trust fund taxes (taxes withheld by an employer from employee wages and sales taxes) are not dischargeable.

If you are a Massachusetts resident with questions about your IRS or other debt, please contact me at (857) 526-1355 or Help@QuincyLegal.com for a free, initial consultation. Together, we will determine whether or not a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best way to eliminate your debt.

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.
O’DONNELL LAW OFFICES
Quincy, Massachusetts
www.QuincyLegal.com
Help@QuincyLegal.com

Bay State Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings soar – Daily Business Update – The Boston Globe

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by Attorney Kara O’Donnell of Quincy, MA.  www.QuincyLegal.com

Massachusetts is like many states in the country in that it is suffering from an unusually high unemployment rate and a real estate market which, while no longer crashing, shows little immediate promise.  Combine those two ingredients, allow to simmer and what do you get?  An unsavory dish of record bankruptcy filings in our state.

The most recent available statistics released by the United States Bankruptcy Court indicate that the number of new people filing for  bankruptcy in MA has risen 35% in the second financial quarter of the year versus the same time last year.   Looking back over the past two years shows that the number of filings has actually doubled.

While multiple factors may exist as to why this has occurred, a reasonable guess would be that the recession has caused more consumers to accumulate more credit card debt and spend through savings as they deal with growing unemployment.

The same statistical reports indicate that people who are filing bankruptcy are far less likely to choose Chapter 13, the repayment plan option, than its “full discharge” cousin Chapter 7.    In the second quarter, according to the report, Chapter 7 bankruptcies rose 58 percent while Chapter 13 bankruptcies actually dropped.  Why?  With fewer jobs and less income, consumers are simply less able to fund an acceptable payment plan and have no other choice but to file Chapter 7.

Q:  Why would someone even choose Chapter 13 if they could just file Chapter 7?

While an individual’s reasoning varies in each situation, in general, most people file Chapter 13 to be able to retain a major asset (e.g. house) and force the mortgagor into allowing a repayment of the arrears over an extended period of time.  Assuming the debtor has enough funds to pay the existing monthly mortgage payment, he would be able to get back into good standing with the mortgage company by paying both the regular payment and the small arrearage payment set up through the Chapter 13 plan.  People may also file Chapter 13 if their household income is higher than the Means Test or if they have filed Chapter 7 in the recent past and are prohibited from doing so again.

Q:  Will Bankruptcies Continue to Rise?

All signs point to continuing increases in the bankruptcy filings in Massachusetts throughout the next two quarters, at a minimum.  As the recession drags on, people will begin to experience the inevitable: unemployment benefits running out.  Absent another Federal extension, the sudden loss of benefits could force many into bankruptcy as a direct result.   Economists are in agreement that many, if not most, bankruptcies occur later in a poor economic cycle.  Which brings us to one final question:

Q:  Are We There Yet?

Kara O’Donnell, Esq.

Law Office of Kara O’Donnell

http://www.QuincyLegal.com

by Attorney Kara O’Donnell of Quincy, MA.  www.QuincyLegal.com

Before you take the step of filing for bankruptcy, it is wise to read up on the law, the different types of bankruptcy filings (Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13) and the options you have within the bankruptcy law. Here are some resources for you to use that will help you ask more insightful questions of your bankruptcy attorney, should you decide to file for bankruptcy protection.

The American Bankruptcy Institute has a web site for consumer bankruptcy that is full of useful information on the bankruptcy process.

Some good books on the topic of bankruptcy include:

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY, 9TH ED. by Stephen Elias and Robin Leonard

HOW TO FILE FOR CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY, 15TH ED. by Stephen Elias, Albin Renauer and Robin Leonard

THE PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY ANSWER BOOK by Wendell Schollander

Credit After Bankruptcy by Stephen Snyder

These resources will provide you with a wealth of information that you can use to determine if bankruptcy is the right solution for you. They will also help you be an informed consumer as you meet with your bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is not a do-it-yourself proposition. The risks are too high and the rules are too stringent for you to go it alone. Consult an expert bankruptcy attorney if you are considering filing for bankruptcy.

If you have a question regarding Bankruptcy please contact us at 857-526-1355 or visit http://www.QuincyLegal.com and we can connect you with one of our experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys. The first consultation by telephone is free. Our firm will assist you with all aspects of your case. If you are have questions about filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, a chapter 11 bankruptcy, a chapter 13 bankruptcy, lien stripping, cram down, stopping a foreclosure or wage garnishment, discharging debt, etc. we can help!

Please feel free to complete our free bankruptcy evaluation at http://www.quincylegal.com/contact.html and we can quickly determine if you are a qualified candidate for bankruptcy.

Kara O’Donnell

Law Office of Kara O’Donnell

Quincy, MA

QuincyLegal.com

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