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Livonia Michigan Bankruptcy

Michigan Bankruptcy Blog

Archive for April, 2012

“N” is for Non-Attorney Bankruptcy – Livonia Michigan

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 30th

“N” is for Non-Attorney Bankruptcy

You do not need an Attorney to file Bankruptcy.  In fact, when you first meet with me I have to give you a disclosure that tells you can file your own bankruptcy, hire an attorney, or use a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer.

Written Notice Required by 11 U.S.C. Section 527(b)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER.

  • If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you can represent yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney.  THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFIYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKPRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST….

So you have three Choices, you need to decide what to do and how to get there.

Choice #1 – The Do it Yourself Bankruptcy

If you do not want to hire anyone you can download all of the court forms from the internet and fill them all out correctly and file your case on your own with the Bankruptcy Court.  The Biggest issue with filing your own bankruptcy is you have no idea what you are doing, or what you may lose.  People who file on their own almost always fill their forms out incorrectly.  The Bankruptcy Trustee can then take your property or belongings, or worse ask the bankruptcy court to deny you a discharge in Bankruptcy if you do not fill the forms out correctly.  I have seen people lose thousands of dollars in assets, just because they did not hire a proper attorney to prepare their bankruptcy petition. 

Choice # 2 – Use a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

In Metro Detroit, a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer can only charge you up to $100.00 for their service.  The State Bar of Michigan prevents the Bankruptcy Petition Preparer for giving you any legal advice.  Basically, all the Bankruptcy Petition Preparer can do is, give you the forms to fill out, and tell you where the bankruptcy court is to file them for $100.00.  The bad news is a lot of Bankruptcy Petition Preparers charge you much more than $100.00, sometimes more than a Bankruptcy Attorney, but then force you to lie that you never paid them and never met them on your bankruptcy petition and at the bankruptcy court.  The issue is then now you have committed perjury on your bankruptcy petition for not disclosing what you paid your Bankruptcy Petition preparer.  When you get to court the Trustee will ask you again if you have paid anyone to help you with your Petition, again you lie and say no.  Then when the Trustee starts asking you how your filed out the petition, you can’t answer the questions correctly because you did not fill out the petition, so the trustee files a Motion to Dismiss your case and prevent you for getting a discharge for lying on your Bankruptcy Petition, and lying to the court.   

Choice # 3 – Hire a Competent Bankruptcy Attorney

This is by far the best choice when looking to file bankruptcy.  You can read my prior blog entry on how to find the best attorney to file your bankruptcy here.  There have been countless people who lose their assets and never received their bankruptcy discharge because they attempted to use a non-attorney petition preparer or filed on their own.   Now more than ever it is important to use an attorney that practices exclusively in the field of bankruptcy. Because of the bankruptcy law changes that took effect in 2005, bankruptcy is no longer an area of law that an attorney should just do a little bit of work in.  You as a client deserve an attorney that practices in the field of bankruptcy exclusively. 

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Photo Credit: TooFarNorth

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “N”

  • Northern California Bankruptcy Court – Marin County Bankrupttcy Lawyer, Cate Eranthe           
  • NACBA – Wisconsin Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bret Nason        
  • Naked – New York Bankruptcy Lawyer, Jay S. Fleischman 
  • Negative Notice – Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney J. Dinkins G. Grange
  • Never – Cleveland Bankruptcy Attorney William Balena     
  • No Asset – Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein           
  • No Asset Report – Honolulu Bankruptcy Lawyer, Stuart T. Ing      
  • Non-exempt Property – Miami Bankruptcy Attorney, Dorota Trzeciecka            /
  • Nondischargeable – Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein
  • Nondischargeable – Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer, Cathy Moran           
  • Nondischargeable Debt – Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell           
  • Notice – Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Attorney Bob Doig 
  • Notice – San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney, Jeff Curl       
  • Notice – Taylor, Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney, Chris McAvoy 
  • Notice of Rights to Claim Exemptions – Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorneys, Collum & Perry           
  • Numbers and New Bankruptcy Laws – Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney, Mark J. Markus                       

“M” is for Median Income in Bankruptcy

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 20th

“M” is for Median Income

 

Come May 1, 2012, the Median Income for Michigan used for bankruptcy eligibility will be changing once again.  The Median income figures are used in figuring out the first part of the “Means Test” that is required when figuring out if you are eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, or for figuring out in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy if you will be required to commit to a 36, or a 60 month repayment plan.

 

Michigan Median Income Figures:

 

Family Size

 

1 Person

2 People

3 People

4 People

After May 1, 2012

$45,056

$51,660

$60,313

$72,454

Current Median

$42,562

$50,738

$60,161

$71,758

*Plus 7,500 for each person over 4

 

Chapter 7 – Median Income

 

In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the Median Income figure is used to see if you pass the first part of the Means Test.  For example, a single guy making $60,000 per year would not pass the Median Income portion of the Means Test and would most likely have to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Whereas, a family of four people making $60,000 per year would most likely pass the Means Test and be eligible for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

 

Chapter 13 – Median Income

 

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Median Income figure is used to determine your commitment period to the bankruptcy.  For example, a single guy making $60,000 per year would have a commitment period of 60 months if he was to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Whereas, a family of four people making $60,000 per year would have a commitment period of 36 months if they were to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Impact of the New Median Income Figures

 

The impact of the new Median Income figures is that more people will now be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy then prior to May 1, 2012.  For people looking to do a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, more people will be eligible for a shorter 36 month, over the longer 60 month commitment period. 

 

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Photo Credit: ChrisinPlymouth

 

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “M”

      

 

 

 

“L” is for Limits of Bankruptcy

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 16th

“L” is for Limits of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a very powerful tool that allows honest people a fresh start. A bankruptcy discharge eliminates a person’s legal obligation to pay a debt that is discharged. Most, but not all, types of debts are discharged if the debt existed on the date the bankruptcy case was filed.

Limits of Bankruptcy – Debts that are automatically not discharged in Bankruptcy!
Some of the most common types of debts which are not discharged in bankruptcy or may be held non-dischargeable are:

  • Debts for most taxes;
  • Debts incurred to pay non dischargeable taxes;
  • Debts that are domestic support obligations;
  • Debts for most student loans;
  • Debts for most fines, penalties, forfeitures, or criminal restitution obligations;
  • Debts for personal injuries or death caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while intoxicated;
  • Some debts which were not properly listed by the debtor;
  • Debts that the bankruptcy court specifically has decided or will decide in this bankruptcy case are not discharged;
  • Debts for which the debtor has given up the discharge protections by signing a reaffirmation agreement in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code requirements for reaffirmation of debts;
  • Debts owed to certain pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, other retirement plans, or to the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees for certain types of loans from these plans;
  • Debts incurred on the basis of fraudulent acts;
  • A debt from willful and malicious injury to another or another’s property, or an intentional tort (conversion, assault, battery, etc.);
  • Debts from embezzlement, larceny or breach of trust; and
  • Debts arising from a marital property settlement agreement or divorce decree.

If you have any of these debts it is very important that you disclose these debts with your Bankruptcy Attorney so he or she can fully advise you on how the bankruptcy will affect the status of these debts that are limited from Discharge in your Bankruptcy.

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.
Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds
Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “L”:

“K” is for Knowing What Bankruptcy Attorney to Hire!

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 9th

“K” Knowing What Bankruptcy Attorney to Hire!

OK, you have now decided that you need to file for bankruptcy. Now, how do you find the proper attorney for you? You need to KNOW what to look for in finding a well-qualified bankruptcy attorney. Here are several tips in helping you find the best attorney for you:

 

Cheapest is not always best.

I see signs on the side of the road “Bankruptcy $500!” Let me be upfront, I do not do bankruptcy for $500.00, if this is what you are looking for than I wish you the best of luck. Keep in mind like anything; you get what you pay for.

 

Don’t hire a “Jack of All Trades Attorney”

Take a look at the attorney’s website, do they practice bankruptcy exclusively? Do you really want someone who does Criminal, Family, Personal Injury, and Immigration doing your bankruptcy? The answer is simply NO. Bankruptcy is a very specialized area of law and you want an attorney that practices exclusively in the field of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Don’t hire an attorney that just files Chapter 7’s or Chapter 13’s

A lot of attorneys just file Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Why? Chapter 7’s are easier and maybe they do not know how to do Chapter 13’s. Some attorneys just do Chapter 13’s, why? You can make more money on Chapter 13’s. If you happen to meet with one of these attorneys you will either be sold a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 based on what that attorney exclusively does. You want an attorney that files both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, when you meet with me at your free consultation we will review the pro’s and con’s of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 together. Then you will be able to make an informed decision with my advice on what is the proper bankruptcy for you in your particular situation.

 

Don’t hire a Bankruptcy Mill

Metro Detroit has a few bankruptcy firms with dozens of attorneys. They advertise as being the biggest and best bankruptcy law firms in Metro Detroit. The issue with these large firms is you lose the personalized service, and you are just a number to them. At these firms, you will meet with one attorney during your initial consultation and someone else (maybe a paralegal) will prepare your case. At court, you will find another attorney, someone you have never met before, there to represent you. At our firm, you will work with me and my wife exclusively, we both work on every case together (two sets of eyes are better than one) and we represent you at court.

 

Personalized, Professional Service is Needed!

Bankruptcy can be a very stressful process. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be working with that law firm and staff of 3 to 5 years. You want to make sure the firm you hire is friendly to work with, how do they answer the phone? Do they keep their appointments with you on time? Does the attorney rush you through the initial consultation and not take the time to truly understand your situation? Do the attorneys and staff talk to you with respect, and not talk down to you? At my office, we pride ourselves in providing personalized service to our clients, after all, our clients are the reason we are here and they deserve respect and an attorney to take time to explain things to them.

 

Initial Disclosures required under the Bankruptcy Code

A great test to see if you should trust the attorney you are meeting with is do they immediately provide you with a set of Initial Disclosures that are required to be provided to any potential client under the Bankruptcy Code? I cannot count the number of clients that I have had consultations with, where I am the second or third attorney they are consulting with, but I am the first to provide them with the Initial Disclosures required under the Bankruptcy Code. If the attorney you are having a consultation with does not provide you with the Initial Disclosures, DO NOT HIRE THEM, they obviously have not read the bankruptcy code and you do not want them filing your bankruptcy.

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney. From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.

Photo Credit: TooFarNorth

 

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “K”:

“J” is for Joint Bankruptcy in Michigan

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 5th

“J” is for Joint Bankruptcy Filing

 

When a married couple comes into my Livonia bankruptcy office to learn about bankruptcy, we complete a full analysis to determine what course of action is best for their particular situation.  Sometimes, we file just the husband, sometimes just the wife, and sometimes we take advantage of being able to file both as a joint bankruptcy.   

 

A joint bankruptcy is by no means required in Michigan.  Sometimes, one person has all of the debt, or one person may have to0 many assets to make a bankruptcy practicable in their situation.  In your Free Consultation, we will review your family situation to determine if it makes more sense to do a single bankruptcy, a joint bankruptcy, or maybe even no bankruptcy at all. 

 

A joint bankruptcy filing is only available to married couples in Michigan.  You are not eligible to file a Joint bankruptcy unless you are legally married.  One of the greatest benefits of being able to file a joint bankruptcy is cost.  At my office it costs the exact same to file a bankruptcy for one spouse, as it does to file a bankruptcy for a married couple.  I do not charge my clients anything more because they are a joint bankruptcy.  If you are interested in learning more about a joint bankruptcy, please give our office a call to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.

Photo Credit: MrMark

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “J”: 

  • Joint Bankruptcy Filing  – Southgate, Michigan Bankrutpcy Lawyer, Christopher McAvoy               
  • Joint Debts – Hawaii Bankruptcy Attorney, Stuart T. Ing            
  • Joint Filing – Marin County Bankruptcy Attorney, Catherine Eranthe
  • Judgment – Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell
  • Judgment Debtor  – San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney, Jeena Cho 
  • Judgment Liens  – Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Attorney Bob Doig 
  • Judgment Liens  – Philadelphia Suburban Bankruptcy Lawyer, Chris Carr               
  • Judicial Lien – Cleveland Area Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bill Balena  
  • Jurisdiction  – Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein               
  • Justice in Bankruptcy – Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney, Mark J. Markus          
  • Justify – Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer, Cathy Moran    
  • Your Personal Finance Lawyer – New York Bankruptcy Lawyer, Jay S. Fleischman               
  • Jail  – Wisconsin Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bret Nason