Charting The Course of A Case

Planning the bankruptcy often determines whether the case succeeds or fails. To obtain good results for a bankruptcy client, sometimes you have to serve up unpleasant news and force the client to swallow that bitter pill. Hum a chorus of You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Of course, you can’t really force them to […]

6 Basic Points About Tax Liens in Bankruptcy

Everywhere I’ve looked this week, new bankruptcy lawyers are struggling with client tax liens.  Here’s my list of basics you need to know about federal tax liens. Tax liens create  a secured claim in favor of the taxing authority.  That claim incurs interest at the statutory rate. Exemptions, bankruptcy or state, are not effective against […]

Bankruptcy Schedules Call For Payoff Balance

Bankruptcy debtors hear something different when their lawyer asks, “What do you owe on your mortgage”. It’s as though they speak a different language,  Client, while we speak Bankruptcy. As  bankruptcy lawyers, we need to be bilingual. It shouldn’t be a trick question, but all too often the answer a bankruptcy lawyer gets back is […]

Bankruptcy’s 3 Year Rule for Taxes

Taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy once they meet the 3 year rule.  Don’t get swept away on April 16th and file a bankruptcy designed to discharge taxes without knowing whether the client got an extension to file for the year on the bubble. The three year rule, found in §507(a)(8), starts counting from the day the […]

Bankruptcy Exemptions: 10 Ways to Deal with Excess Cash

Bankruptcy lawyers occasionally are confronted with the client with more cash, or other marketable assets, worth more than the available exemptions to protect them. And state exemption systems often protect the darndest things, like a mule and a plow.  A milk cow.  The family bible. Those aren’t the things most of us are striving to […]

Assets in Bankruptcy Pose Valuation Issues

A bankruptcy lawyer seems to often have the unpleasant task of telling a debtor that their possessions have little value. I don’t know whether it’s a defense mechanism or just ingrained thinking,  but I have clients tell me all the time that their assets have values far beyond what seems likely in the current market. […]

Alternative to Bankruptcy: Do Nothing

Bankruptcy lawyers sometimes forget:  not everyone worried about debt actually needs to file bankruptcy. The anxiety that brings someone to your office may not be grounded in a real understanding of the rights of their creditors. I recently saw a woman drawing disability pay and looking at very substantial retirement income.  It seemed unlikely that […]