Maximizing the Initial Client Interview

The first meeting with a bankruptcy prospect is the best and hardest work I do. It’s probably the most important as well.  I use it to figure out what the issues in the case are, what the client’s goals are, and to convey what I will need from the client to produce a successful outcome. […]

But She’s Not a Creditor!

An unliquidated tort cause of action is just as much a “claim” for bankruptcy purposes as a credit card bill. Not all creditors send monthly bills  I reminded  my rookie lawyer friend. My friend’s fact pattern was a bit more complex than the unresolved auto accident:  an exspouse was complaining that a title company mix-up […]

A Bankruptcy Exemption Planning Basic

The most elemental exemption planning tool is to save exempt assets while consuming non exempt assets. It doesn’t require last minute transfers or fundamental alterations in the way assets are held.  It simply requires attention to which pocket the debtor pays bills from. Clients who receive Social Security, disability, or other forms of income that […]

Client Horror Story Contains An Asset Of The Bankruptcy Estate

Do you recognize your client’s tale of woe with prior professionals or not-so-professionals as signs of an incipient asset? A new bankruptcy lawyer was telling me about his client’s dealings with a loan modification lawyer he called a fraudster.  That relationship  resulted in a near foreclosure on the client’s home while the prior lawyer was […]

Bankruptcy Checklist: Social Security Numbers

Do you check the client’s  proffered   Social Security number against the number on their tax return?  I’d never thought to do so til my partner returned from a 341 meeting with this story.  She was sitting waiting for our client’s turn at a first meeting of creditors  when the trustee asked a debtor about […]

Bankruptcy Abuse & Schedule J

The debtor passed the means test but lost a motion to dismiss for abuse of the bankruptcy system.  Schedule J, the debtor’s projected future expenses, showed a monthly excess of $500.  Dollars to doughnuts, the debtor’s bankruptcy lawyer followed the form and the budget provided by the client.  Dismissal resulted. What happened here?   Two […]

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 […]