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What Happens at the First Meeting of Creditors/341a Bankruptcy Trustee Hearing?

Once we file a bankruptcy for a client, inevitably the biggest source of stress for our clients is the 341a/Trustee meeting.  They receive the notice from the Court and the notice is entitled “First Meeting of Creditors.”  For obvious reasons, the client becomes filled with anxiety thinking that all of their creditors will be at […]

What Are the Costs of Filing A Bankruptcy?

Obviously, one of the first and for many potential clients, one of the most important questions that a client has is: how much is filing a bankruptcy going to cost me? I would start by telling anyone looking into filing a bankruptcy that the fee an attorney is going to charge you, while an important […]

Should I File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

This is not an easy question to answer, as it depends on many factors.  So my first bit of advice would be to set up a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, like Capone & Keefe, so that we can go through the analysis for you.  However, to oversimplify it, the main reasons to consider […]

Can Creditors Still Report Negatively on Your Credit After You File for Bankruptcy?

One of the things we advise all of our clients once their bankruptcy is over and they have received their discharge, is to pull a credit report and make sure that everything is properly reported and there are no creditors that have continued to report negatively on their report.  All debts that were included in […]

The Rewards of the Practice of Bankruptcy Law

People ask me all the time, how did you pick Bankruptcy Law as the basis of your law practice.  It seems like it would be depressing they go on to say.  I don’t see it that way. I see the practice of Bankruptcy Law as uplifting.  We are helping people that have had a financial […]

Bankruptcy Myths Debunked, Part 3

6.) I can only file for Bankruptcy with my Spouse.   Again not true!  Over the years, we have had more than a few situations where one spouse or the other just refused to file. There are also situations where one spouse does not need to file, because all of the debt is in the name […]

Bankruptcy Myths Debunked, Part 2

In continuation of my last post, here are additional statements that I hear clients say all the time, that are just not true: 3) I can’t file a Bankruptcy, I feel obligated to pay my creditors back:  That’s great that you feel the need to pay your creditors back, and guess what the filing of […]

Common Bankruptcy Myths Debunked

I have been a consumer bankruptcy attorney for over 23 years and during that time I have heard all kinds of unfounded fears that my clients had about Bankruptcy.  Most of these fears or concerns came from misinformation that my clients received from friends, family or business associates. But there is also a lot of […]

Bankruptcy Fears and Famous People that Have Filed Bankruptcy

Here is a partial list of some famous people that have filed bankruptcy. I wanted to add this list here to hopefully alleviate some of the fear, shame or embarrassment issues that you may have when you are considering filing for bankruptcy. I have been practicing Bankruptcy law for over 23 years and in that […]

Should Student Loans Be Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

The Below article appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal. When I first became a lawyer, my first job was as the Staff Attorney for the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee in the Trenton and Camden vicinages. At that time student loan debt was dischargeable provided that you had made seven years worth of payments on […]

Beware of Tax Implications from a Short Sale or Loan Modification

This Article recently appeared in the New York Times.  Come tax time, JPMorgan Chase will be able to write off the $1.5 billion in debt relief it must give homeowners to satisfy the terms of a recent settlement. But the homeowners who receive the help will have to treat it as taxable income, resulting in […]

Please Don’t Cash in Your Retirement Accounts to Pay Credit Card Bills

A huge mistake that many of my clients make is that the cash in their 401k plans or IRA accounts in order to pay off debt. Most of these clients have already made this mistake prior to meeting with me.  Their intentions are good, trying to pay down their debt, but they are usually motivated by panic […]

The Pitfalls of Balance Transfers

I’m sure many of you are receiving all kinds of offers from credit card companies offering low interest rates, 0% to 2.99% on balance transfers or new purchases.  These seem the perfect opportunity to pay off those higher interest rate cards that you presently have. However, these seductive rates do come at a cost if […]

Do I Qualify For Bankruptcy?

Many clients have delayed coming in for a consultation because they fear they won’t qualify for a bankruptcy.  Most of the time, they have this fear because of misinformation they have received from friends or family or even from creditors.  The bottom line is that everyone qualifies for some type of  bankruptcy protection.  Since the bankruptcy […]

Negative Impact of the Bankruptcy Reform Act-Congress Needs to Fix It’s Mistake

 The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA ) became operative on October 17, 2005. A little more than six months later, the Case-Shiller index of real estate values reached their peak and began a free-fall that hasn’t stopped yet. (http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/2011-Case-SHiller-updated.png ) Shortly, real estate will be worth what it was in 1998 and the U.S. will […]

Apathy the Prime Reason People Are Not Dealing With Their Financial Problems

Even though more Americans are piling on debt, fewer are seeking help in trying to get their finances back on track. Poverty in this country has increased, unemployment rates continue to hover around 9% according to the U.S Department of Labor, but when you add in the underemployed and the discouraged the figure is closer […]

Factors Considered by Mortgage Companies When Deciding Whether to Modify Your Mortgage Under HAMP

I have discussed in a previous post the eligibility requirements for a loan modification under the HAMP program, now I would like to give you some idea how the mortgage company will determine if you will be offered a modification.  We will use the same example that we used in the previous post, you have […]

The Foreclosure Moratorium in New Jersey Has Given Homeowners a False Sense of Security

Late in 2010, the New Jersey Supreme Court had issued a moratorium on foreclosure filings in New Jersey by six of the largest banks, including GMAC, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, City Bank and West One. The ban on filings was due to these banks using robo-signing of documents causing illegal foreclosure […]

Bankruptcy May Be Your Smartest Investment and Quickest Way Back to Financial Health

Fear of the unknown, pride, uncertainty, misinformation, stubbornness, distraction, and cash flow are just some of the reasons that keep people from getting their financial life  in order with a bankruptcy filing.  The problem is that without it you may never be able to gain control of your pocketbook. Making the choice to do nothing […]

Do You qualify for a Loan Modification Under HAMP

Everyone it seems is attempting to get a loan modification these days. Anyone that has attempted to modify their mortgage knows that the process can be extremely frustrating. One way to make it somewhat less frustrating is to make sure that you qualify under the HAMP guidelines before you bother applying or retaining an attorney to apply […]

What is the First Meeting of Creditors?

Another frequent question I get from clients is–if I file a bankruptcy do I have to appear in Court?  Well the answer is sort of.  You may have to go to the Courthouse, but you will not be appearing in front of a Judge in a court room.  You will have to appear at what […]

What Kind of Paperwork Your Bankrutpcy Attorney Needs to Start the Process

One of the biggest hurdles we have in getting our clients cases filed is that our clients take a long time to gather their paperwork needed to complete their bankruptcy petition. Since the  Reform Act of 2005 was enacted a bankruptcy practitioner’s need to gather and keep in his file a large amount of paperwork […]

Short Sales, Possible Tax Consequences and Bankruptcy

Given the state of the real estate market and the large mortgage debt that many people find themselves in, many of my clients find themselves upside down on their residences.  One of the questions I get asked most often by my clients is whether or not they should move forward with a short sale on […]

Bankruptcy Filing and The Automatic Stay

One of the most stressful situations that my client’s are facing or have faced prior to the filing of their bankruptcy case, is the constant harrassing phone calls and correspondence that they are receiving from their creditors. Many of my clients have ceased answering their phones or have turned them off altogether. Other clients tell […]

Choose Your Bankruptcy Attorney Wisely

If you are contemplating the filing of a bankruptcy, then your have obviously experienced some trying financial times. The overwhelming percentage of people that file bankruptcy file because they have experienced some type of event that has tipped that delicate scale between your income and your expenses. There has usually been a loss of income […]

How a Chapter 13 Can Help You Reduce Your Burdensome Car Payment

Are you currently paying a burdensome car payment; a payment that is much too high for the vehicle that you are driving. Is the high monthly payment effecting your ability to pay other bills and to properly budget your income.  If the payoff on your vehicle is higher than the value of the vehicle, and […]

The Truth About Debt Consolidation

We’ve all heard those radio or television advertisements that claim that they can consolidate your credit card debt and settle it so that you only have to pay as little as 5% of what you actually owe. Sounds great doesn’t it.  If I’ve learned anything over the years it’s that if anything sounds too good […]

The Real Estate Market and How a Chapter 13 May Help

Five or six years ago the real estate market was booming. It seemed that values would just continue to escalate as there was no end in sight to the real estate boom. Many people refinanced during this period or took out second mortgages on their residences, as mortgage companies had many programs that made such […]

Bankruptcy and Your Credit

As a bankrutpcy attorney, one of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is how will the bankrutpcy filing effect my credit. Most people come in with the pre-conceived (and incorrect) notion that they will have terrible credit for 7 years after the filing of a bankruptcy. That is not correct. The 7 year […]