Getting the Most from the Means Test

When the means test look back period for a well paid individual includes the end of the year, a bankruptcy lawyer cannot rely on the paystubs to define the tax deductions. That’s because contributions to Social Security and other some other taxes  are capped at certain income levels.  Wages above the cap are not subject […]

Fixing the Omission from the Schedules

Twice yesterday new bankruptcy practitioners asked about how to deal with debts or assets not listed in the debtor’s original schedules. The answer in either situation is amend the schedules. As soon as you know that the schedules are not accurate on a meaningful issue, make them accurate. Creditor left out For an omitted creditor, […]

Bankruptcy Schedules Look Forward and Backward

New bankruptcy lawyers are often frustrated by the  internal inconsistencies required by the “reformed” Bankruptcy Code. Whether it’s rational or not, the means test income figure looks backward while the  means  test expenses set forth are prospective. Some of those prospective expenses are actual (taxes ) while others are contractual (mortgage payments). Social Security income […]

Answer to Every Question Starts in the Code

If Jews, Muslims, and Christians are People of the Book, we, as bankruptcy lawyers, are, or ought to be,  People of the Code, the Bankruptcy Code. Virtually every question that a new bankruptcy lawyer asks ought to send her first to the code for a start. The Bankruptcy Code adopted in 1978, was well thought […]

Track Down All The Client’s Creditors

While a new client may seek out a bankruptcy lawyer when they are served with a lawsuit, they may overlook the plaintiff in that very  suit when listing their creditors. Pretty amazing, but if you rely on the client to identify their creditors, their list will often omit creditors who didn’t send them a bill […]

Bankruptcy Cases Not Predictably Simple

I’ve been aghast at the willingness of lawyers brand new to bankruptcy practice to take on cases and issues far beyond their current competence.  I’ve tried to gently counsel that  both self preservation and the client’s best interest require the inexperienced to pass on cases beyond their present skill set. I realized just how glib  […]