Articles Posted in Bankruptcy Practice and Procedure

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The attorneys in our firm have over 100 combined years of practicing law in the arena of bankruptcy. We’ve heard different stories from prospective clients and we have met with some disturbing proposals. These disturbing proposals likely come from a mis-perception that many people have about the relationship between a client and their attorney. We’ve all heard about client confidentiality, but how many people really know what that means?

There is a perception by some folks that the purpose of an attorney is to advise them on how to break the law without getting caught. This concept has, no doubt, been something that has come about as a result of some unscrupulous television show lawyers. Your attorney is there to provide you with legal advice, provide you with options, and help guide you through your legitimate course of action in any given area of law. Your attorney is not permitted to advise you to break the law. Your attorney is not permitted to assist you in breaking the law, or to conspire with you in breaking the law.

When you meet with an attorney, it’s important to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Your attorney will be able to guide you through many important aspects and plan to take actions which you are not necessarily aware of. These are legal actions which, if taken appropriately, can protect you, your family, and your assets. Your attorney may advise you take a variety of actions to protect your interests. These may include a variety of things that you, as a lay person, were unaware of. This might be something as simple as making sure you legitimately spend your bank account down below $ 300.00 before you file bankruptcy. It might mean that you need to wait a while to file your bankruptcy in order to avoid a preference issue.

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When the real estate market crashed, starting in 2007, we had many homeowners stuck in a situation where their homes plummeted in value so much that there was no equity at all. Thousands of homeowners walked from their homes, allowing the properties to be foreclosed upon.

A lien strip is where the lien of a lienholder, other than the first mortgage, is stripped and ultimately changes the status of the obligation owed to the lienholder from “secured” to “unsecured”.

The legal authority for lien stripping in Chapter 13 is 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(2). and 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a). § 1322(b)(2) allows a wholly unsecured lien on a debtor’s principal residence to be modified. § 1328(a) allows any unpaid portion of the claim to be discharged as an unsecured debt.

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If you are considering bankruptcy and have been reading about your options, you may have come across the term, “bankruptcy estate”.

What is this… “bankruptcy estate” you asked yourself. A vineyard in Italy?

More likely…you knew that a bankruptcy estate is really just a collection of all the property and rights to property that belonged to the bankruptcy filer that can be legally administered during a bankruptcy case by the bankruptcy Court.