What Should I Pay For a Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy fees run the gamut from super low to relatively expensive. Many are competitive but can you find lower?  Probably.  Now comes the hard part…

What are you getting for your money?

One of life’s lessons is you get what you pay for.  Tell me, if you had cancer or a brain tumor, would you want the cheapest doctor or the one with the most experience in what you need?

I am betting you said “experience”.

Law is no different.  All attorneys are not equally competent in their fields.  Same as there are good and bad doctors, there are good and bad attorneys.  Now, just because an attorney charges a lower fee does not mean he or she is incompetent, this is a highly competitive market which works to your favor as the consumer.  However, there are many, many attorneys who have never practiced bankruptcy but see consumers like you and see $$$, so they throw their hats in the bankruptcy ring.  Are they competent in the bankruptcy field? Not so much.

What are you getting, or losing, by shopping price only? How much money are you really saving if this attorney screws up your case?

When you are shopping for an attorney you need to consider more than just price. Also consider these things:
1.  How long have they been practicing bankruptcy law?

Not law in general – bankruptcy.  It is its own field and has its own rules and regulations, time limits and requirements.  I would want someone who has been doing bankruptcy in your city (make sure they are local attorneys and not imported from other states) for at least 10 years.

2. Do you feel the attorney is competent?

Do they answer all your questions thoughtfully, knowledgeably and thoroughly? Do you feel they can handle any problems that might arise in your case?  Did they take their time with you or did they get your  money and shoo you out the door? Your consultation should take an hour (at least).  Make sure you get it! If you don’t feel like this attorney will do whatever it takes for you, keep looking.

3. Is this attorney personally handling your case or passing you off to a paralegal or another attorney? 

There is nothing wrong  with other people helping prepare your case but, ideally, the same attorney should be with you start to finish.

4. Last, but not least, make sure they give your their fees IN WRITING at the time of your consultation.  Under federal law a retainer agreement is required to be completed on every client an attorney meets with.

So, the moral of my story is, don’t just shop price.  Look for an attorney who makes you feel comfortable, secure and taken care of.  One who instill confidence in you.  This is your financial future, don’t just trust it to anyone.  Remember, you get what you pay for.

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Famous People Who Have Filed Bankruptcy

Phineas Taylor Barnum (P.T.) –   founder “The Greatest Show on Earth”
Lionel Bart – British composer-lyricist-playwright
Kim Basinger – Oscar-winning actress
L. Frank Baum – Author, famous for the Wizard of Oz
Jay Black – rock star, lead member of Jay and the Americans
Concrete Blonde – rock group
David Bowie – singer/actor
Loraine Bracco – who stared as Dr. Jennifer Melfi in ‘The Sopranos’
Matthew Brady – famous. Civil War photographer (1872).
Toni Braxton – rock star
Anita Bryant – singer (twice)
Nell Carter – Actress
Samuel L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”) – best-selling American author-humorist
George Clinton – rock star
Natalie Cole – singer
Gary Coleman – actor
John Connelly – former Treasury secretary and Texas governor
Francis Ford Coppola – Oscar-winning film writer-director-producer
Seymour Cray – inventor of the Cray supercomputer
Cathy Lee Crosby – actress,  author
David Crosby, Entertainer
Doris Day – actress
Vic Damone – singer
Dorothy Dandridge – Oscar-nominated actress-singer
Lee de Forest – Oscar-winning film/sound synchronization pioneer; producer (1937)
Dino De Laurentis – Oscar-winning film producer
Walt Disney – Oscar-winning film producer; animation & theme park pioneer (1923)
Jim Dooley – Former Chicago Bear and coach
Lenny Dysktra – New York Mets baseball player, winner of the 1986 World Series
Eddy “the Eagle” Edwards – Great Britain’s first Olympic ski jumper
Keith Famie – Survivor II: The Australian Outback contestant
Eddie Fisher – singer — declared bankruptcy four times!
Mick Fleetwood – rock star; leader of “Fleetwood Mac”
Heidi Fleiss – Clothing line founder; author, Infamous Madame
Henry Ford – auto magnate
William Fox – co-founder of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation (1936)
Zsa Zsa Gabor, Actress
Marvin Gaye – singer
Linda Georgian – spokesperson for Psychic Friends Network
Andy Gibb – rock star
Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber
Ulysses S. Grant – 18th U.S. President; Civil War general; author; pictured on the U.S. fifty dollar bill (in 1884, after leaving office)
Elizabeth Ward Gracen – actress; model; Miss America 1982
Archie Griffin – college football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner
Bob Guccione – publisher and founder of Penthouse magazine
Merle Haggard – country music star
Corey Haim – actor
Dorothy Hamill – 1976 olympic gold medalist figure skater
M.C. Hammer – rapper
Richard Harris – Oscar-nominated actor-producer-director (twice bankrupt)
Isaac Hayes – Oscar-winning songwriter-composer-musician-singer
Henry Heinz, ketchup magnate
Sherman Hemsley – actor
Milton Hershey, chocolate magnate
Paul Heyman – founder and CEO of ECW
Ron Isley – rhythm-and-blues singer (The Isley Brothers)
La Toya Jackson – rock star
Michael Jackson, singer
Thomas Jefferson – 3rd U.S. President
Don Johnson – actor-producer
Janice-Marie Johnson – rock star/disco diva
Kacey Jones – country music star; musical humorist
Clay Jordan – Survivor V: Thailand contestant; restaurateur
Chaka Kahn – rock star
Margot Kidder – actress, famous for playing Lois Lane in the Superman movies
Larry King – host of the Larry King Live
Bowie Kuhn – former U.S. baseball commissioner
Gary Kurtz – Oscar-nominated film producer (Star Wars, American Graffiti)
Veronica Lake – actress (1951)
Cyndi Lauper – rock star, boxing manager/promoter
Stan Lee – comic book industry pioneer (Spider Man,The Incredible Hulk,The X-Men and more, ’nuff said)
Jerry Lewis – actor, comedian, fundraiser
Jerry Lee Lewis – rock star
Abraham Lincoln – former US president and all-around good guy
Mindy McCready – country music star
George McGovern – former United States Senator and presidential candidate
Denny McLain – baseball pitcher
Ed McMahon – Television Personality
Ashley MacIsaac – musician
Meat Loaf – actor, rock star
Melba Moore – singe, actress
Lorrie Morgan – country music star, author
Motor City Five/MC5 – 1960’s rock group
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer
Willie Nelson – singer-songwriter-actor, author
Wayne Newton- singer, actor, entertainer, Las Vegas legend
Mary Nolan – actress
Johnny Paycheck – country music star
Tom Petty – singer/songwriter
Susan Powter – exercise/fitness expert; talk-show host, author
Randy Quaid – actor/producer
Rembrandt – painter
Burt Reynolds – actor
Debbie Reynolds – actress
Mickey Rooney – Oscar-nominated actor
Harry Saltzman – film producer (James Bond movies)
Anna Nicole Smith – model-actress; 1993 Playboy magazine “Playmate of the Year”
Leon Spinks – heavyweight Boxer and olympic gold medalist
Sheryl Swoopes – American professional basketball player, has won three Olympic gold medals and is a three time Most Value Player of the W.N.B.A.
J. Fife Symington – Governor of Arizona (filed while still in office)
TLC, Vocal group
Donald Trump –  businessman (casinos: Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc.) (1992; 2004)
Mark Twain, humorist
Mike Tyson – boxer
Johnny Unitas – legendary Hall of Fame football quarterback
Rembrandt Haremenszoon Van Rijn – famous Dutch painter (1656)
Oscar Wilde – Irish Playwrite (1897)
Tammy Wynette – country music star

How Ordering Your Credit Report Can Help You In Bankruptcy

Our firm recommends that each of our clients filing for bankruptcy obtain a credit report for the reasons listed below.  If you are married, we recommend obtaining credit reports for both you and your spouse.

You can obtain a truly FREE credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com   Any credit reporting service that requires you to enter credit card information is NOT free.

1.  Obtaining a credit report helps us get accurate creditor names, addresses, types of debt, balances due and account numbers.

2.  Through your credit report we  may find creditors whom you have overlooked.  It is important that we find out about all debts you owe.

3.  Credit reports can alert us to judgments filed against you.

4.  Credit reports can alert us to liens against your property.

5. We may find out about co-signers to some of your debts, which are important to list in a bankruptcy.

6.  If you are married there may be surprising items on your credit report or your spouse’s and the reports can help us determine whether you should file individually or jointly.

7.  We may find out about debts created by a former spouse who many have forged your signature to obtain credit.

8.  Credit reports can alert us to mistakes on your credit record.  This way you can contact the credit bureaus to correct any mistakes or provide updated information.

9.  Credit reports often contain the names and addresses of collection agencies representing creditors and we can notify these collection agencies about the bankruptcy so that collection efforts stop.

10.  If the IRS has a tax lien on your property the credit report will alert us so that it can be dealt with properly.

11.  Knowing what is on your credit report can help you get credit approval for important purchases after your debts are discharged.

Not every creditor reports to a credit bureau so your credit report may not list all debts.  You should let us know of any debts you are aware of so we can be a thorough as possible.



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What is Lien Stripping?

Lien stripping is a way of eliminate second mortgage and/or home equity lines.  With the decline in housing values, lien stripping has becomes more prevalent  in Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

A lien strip allows us to transform a secured second mortgage or home equity line of credit into an unsecured debt, thereby eliminating a monthly payment and reducing total debt by tens of thousands of dollars.

Let’s say that your home is worth $250,000 today.  When you purchased it you paid $450,000.  Since then the housing market tanked.  Now your home is worth much less of what you paid for it.  Your mortgage balance is $370,000 for your first mortgage and $56,000 for your equity line.  Your mortgages are considered “underwater” as your amount owed is more than your home is presently worth. In your Chapter 13 bankruptcy we would ask the bankruptcy court to “strip away” the second mortgage since all of the value your house presently has is tied up with your first mortgage.  In other words, if you were to sell your house, the first mortgage lender would not be paid in full and the second mortgage lender would get nothing.  The second mortgage lender is, therefore, considered unsecured.

Remember this only works when:

  • You are a debtor in a Chapter 13 case

  • The mortgage loans are in your  name

  • The fair market value of your house is less than the balance due on your first mortgag

We can provide you much more detailed information during your free consultation.  Call today!  Let us help you take back control of your life and financial future!

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The 3 Reasons Most People File for Bankruptcy

You don’t have to be psychic to know why you are in our office.  Most people are not “deadbeats” or “people who just spend too much” they aren’t “immature and irresponsible”.  Bad stuff happens to good people.  Plain and simple.  There are 3 main reasons people need to file bankruptcy:

1.Job Loss or Loss of Income

2.Divorce/Separation

3.Medical Issue

Job Loss or Loss of Income:

Job Loss is a catastrophic event for anyone involved.  Suddenly your security is ripped away and you feel terrified, alone and, sometimes, sadly, worthless. There is no crime in losing your job and no reason to feel like less of a person.  You are amazing, your industry has lost out when they lost you.  Now is time to use bankruptcy to help you eliminate those bills hanging over your head leaving you free to reevaluate what you want to do with your life and get on with it!

Loss of Income can be as devastating since you still have income just nowhere near enough.  Now you start robbing Peter to pay Paul.  You start juggling bills and losing sleep trying to figure out who to pay this month and who can wait a month.  Unfortunately, we have learned that eventually Peter peters out and that snowball becomes an avalanche.

Research tells us that most people wait 2 years after job/business loss, loss of income to actually come into our office to get help.  Unemployment has run out, they have tapped all their relatives and they are at the end of their rope.  We only wish they would have come in sooner.  Why go through all this unnecessary suffering when a solution is a phone call away?

Divorce/Separation:

Divorce is hard enough without the added stress of bills that need to be paid.  Both parties are trying to heal and move on with their lives and this process is complicated by all these debts that have to be paid – but how?  One household is now two – two times the expenses PLUS all the bills from pre-divorce. Add in the divorce attorneys bills, child support and alimony.  No one escapes divorce unscathed.

Medical Issue:

Medical Issues now account for a large percentage of the bankruptcies filed in the U.S every year.  Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard, conducted a research study in 2007 which concluded that bankruptcies had increased by nearly 50 percent in the six-year period, from 46 percent in 2001 to 62 percent in 2007.  She found that most of those who filed for bankruptcy were middle-class, well-educated homeowners.

“They concluded that 62.1 percent of the bankruptcies were medically related because the individuals either had more than $5,000 (or 10 percent of their pretax income) in medical bills, mortgaged their home to pay for medical bills, or lost significant income due to an illness. On average, medically bankrupt families had $17,943 in out-of-pocket expenses, including $26,971 for those who lacked insurance and $17,749 who had insurance at some point.” Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies June 05, 2009 |By Theresa Tamkins

Even given the huge increase in filings in 2005 due to the panic over the “new law” bankruptcy changes, it is clear that medical bills/issues account in one way or another, for a large percentage of the bankruptcies filed in the U.S.

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We know that no one wants to file bankruptcy.  It’s not a life goal for most people, but it can be a necessity for survival.  Life happens and we do what we have too to survive.  The bankruptcy laws are there to give you the opportunity to clean your slate and get a fresh start.  Come in and let us discuss your options and what the best course of action is for you.  We are here to help!



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You retained our office for bankruptcy. What’s next?

So you have retained our office for bankruptcy. What happens next?

When you retain with our office you will be given some information. Most importantly you will receive the homework package, a document checklist, and credit counseling information. The homework package needs to be filled out as completely as possible so that we are able to complete your bankruptcy paperwork that will be filed with the court. The documents on the checklist are required by the trustee and we need to provide them to the trustee before your hearing date. The credit counseling must be done at least one day before your case can be filed. The certificate is only good for 180 days (about 6 months) so we recommend you try to do it as close to before your signing appointment as possible. We don’t want to have you do the credit counseling, have something come up that delays a final payment or your signing appointment and then you have to do the credit counseling again.

The signing appointment is made with our office when: you are paid in full to file, we have your homework package, your credit counseling certificate, and we have most – if not all – of the applicable documents on the document checklist. At this appointment you will first review the paperwork to make sure you do not see any errors. You will then meet with the attorney and he will go over all of the documents with you, make any necessary changes, and have you sign them. You will receive a copy of everything you have signed at this appointment and these documents are what we will be filing in your case.

You signed the paperwork, you did the credit counseling, and you provided us with the document checklist documents.

Your case is filed!

Once we file your case the court generates a case number right away you can call us to get the case number for your records if you wish. A few days after filing, the court also generates a hearing date and sends us a hearing notice (they will also send you a copy of this). The hearing date is scheduled for generally 30 to 40 days after the date of filing. When we get that hearing date we will send you a letter letting you know when it is, what time to be there, where to go, any documents we still need from you, and what to take to court with you. If you are filing a chapter 13 your letter will also have information about your confirmation hearing date and time.

FOR CHAPTER 7’S BANKRUPTCY:


Once you have the hearing the court has to wait at least 3 months before issuing a discharge. They have to wait this time in all cases to make sure no creditors have objections or make sure there is nothing else that the trustee or court have issue with. Your discharge will be filed about 3-4 months after your hearing date. If it has been 4 months since your hearing and you do not have a Notice of Discharge from the court or a card from our office, call us and we will find out what is holding it up.

FOR CHAPTER 13’S BANKRUPTCY:


At least one month after your first hearing you have a confirmation hearing. During the time between hearings you are to be making payments as stated in your Plan. At the confirmation hearing the court will approve your Plan and your case will continue for 36 or 60 months as stated in the Plan. The attorney will have gone over all the parts of the plan with you before your case was filed.

For the life of your case you will be required to submit your tax returns to our office so that we can send them to the trustee. If your plan states, you may also be required to submit your tax refunds to the trustee to go towards your Plan payments.
Once your Plan is complete, the trustee will do an audit (which can take up to 6 months but they will have stopped taking out payments at this point) and begin closing the case. You will receive documentation about this. You will receive a Notice of Discharge once your case is discharged and you will receive a card from our office.

 

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 !!! SOUTHFIELD BANKTRUPTCY ATTORNEY ALWAYS READY TO HELP YOU !!! 


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How Soon Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

ERASE YOUR BILLSWe get asked this all the time. There are a series of time constraints on when you can file another bankruptcy if you have had successfully discharged bankruptcy.

Here’s how it goes:

From date of FILING

Chapter 13 to Chapter 13 is 2 years.
Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 is 4 years.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 is 6 years (if your plan paid under 70% to your unsecured creditors).
Chapter 7 to Chapter 7 is 8 years.

There are subtleties to the law that can be confusing yet can be overcome. Don’t look at these dates and think you can’t refile. Odds are you can. This is what we specialize in. We can help you, please feel free to call!


I Need A Cheap Detroit Bankruptcy Attorney!

 I’m Broke! I Need a Cheap Bankruptcy Lawyer !

 

Cheap Detroit bankruptcy attorney lawyer

I Know everyone price shops, heck I do too but lets put price shopping your attorney in perspective. If you needed heart surgery would you price shop the doctor you need to save your life? Would you really want the cheapest doctor or the one with the most experience in the field you need? Why are you looking for the cheapest person to entrust your financial future to?

Instead of price shopping your attorney shop their EXPERIENCE. Look for an attorney who has been doing BANKRUPTCY for at least 11 years. Why 11 years ? Because they know the law before and after the changes made in 2005. You need someone who KNOWS what they are doing, without question.

We give you both! Our attorney has been doing bankruptcy exclusively for over 25 years. He practices bankruptcy exclusively and at an affordable price. Call us today for a free consultation. Let us help you get some peace of mind!

To set up your FREE initial consultation Call Now -248-559-9529

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What is the “Automatic Stay”?

If you haven’t filed or had a case dismissed in the last year then when you file for bankruptcy, you receive immediate protection from creditors through a special court order known as the bankruptcy automatic stay.

Think of it as all your creditors and debts going into limbo. Your creditors must stop collection efforts. They must immediately stop foreclosures, repossessions, lawsuits and wage garnishments. Creditors are no longer allowed to contact you in any form, phone, mail or email.

The court may grant a creditor “relief from the stay” if the creditor can show that the stay does not give them “adequate protection” of their secured property. Usually the creditor is asking for a return of property, be it a boat, car or real estate. In most cases it is property that you have already said you want to return. In order for the creditor to take it back they have to ask the court to allow them Relief from the Automatic Stay.

The automatic stay stays in effect throughout the life of your bankruptcy. If you have more questions, please feel free to call us.



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Required Debtor Education

Once your bankruptcy has been filed you (and your spouse if you file jointly) are required to take a course in “Debtor Education” from an approved agency before you will receive your discharge. A List of the approved Debtor Education Agencies is here. This class will take a minimum of 2 hours and you take a short quiz at the end. Don’t worry, you can’t fail it!

Once you have completed this course make sure a copy is sent to your attorney and you will need to complete a “Form 23” that your attorney will file with the court along with your Certificate of Debtor Education.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy your Form 23 and Certificate of Debtor Education must be filed with the court no later than 45 days after the date on which your meeting of creditors was first scheduled. Don’t miss the deadline. The court will close your case if these forms are not filed in this time period and if that happens, you’ll have to reopen your case (which costs more money for court fees and attorney fees).

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy your Form 23 and Certificate of Debtor Education must be filed with the court no later than the date you make your last plan payment. You can take the course immediately after your case is filed and many attorneys recommend this because the course provides a lot of useful information on budgeting and new ways of thinking about debt. This can help you budget and successfully complete your Chapter 13 plan.

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