We are pleased to announce that our office has moved to 2002 Hogback Road, Suite 11, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. The new office promises more room and comfort for clients, attorneys and staff! Please visit with us.
We are pleased and proud to announce the hiring of our first associate attorney, Joseph T. Corey. Please visit Mr. Corey’s page on our site for more information.
If you are draining your retirement account in an attempt to save your house or to pay your credit cards it is a sign of serious financial problems. If this is happening to you, please make an appointment to see us ASAP. Call us at 888-489-3232.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that attorneys are Debt Relief Agencies under the Bankruptcy Code. See Milavetz v. United States andUnited States v. Milavetz (08-1119 and 08-1225). This means that attorneys must adhere to certain requirements under the Code such as informing, in advertising, that they are debt relief agencies and help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. The Court also ruled that attorneys may not advise a client to incur more debt because the client is filing bankruptcy but may do so for a legitimate purpose.
Did you know that we have several practice areas. Just this morning we successfully represented someone on a charge of Domestic Violence. As well, we have opened a Social Security Benefits practice area.
As always, if we don’t handle your practice area, we will be happy to help you find an attorney who does.
Clients often express that they don’t want to be in a Chapter 13 because they don’t want the Court involved in their lives for 3 to 5 years. While understandable, they often also don’t know that, contrary to Chapter 7, the following relief is available in Chapter 13:
- the “stripping off” of a second or subsequent lien on real estate: if your home is worth less than or equal to the balance of your first mortgage loan, you may be able to strip off the second and subsequent mortgage liens. What this means, in plain English, is that, at the successful completion of your Chapter 13 Plan, you would never have to pay the second or subsequent loans again and you get to keep your house (this assumes you can make payments on your first loan).
- the lowering of interest rates on secured debt: no matter when you acquired your property, such as a car, your interest rate might be lowered to a reasonable rate, currently around 5% – 6%.
- the ability to make up arrears on secured debt, taking up to 36 months or more to do so.
- while student loans are generally non-dischargeable, you still get 3-5 years during which you only need make your Chapter 13 payment and do not have to make independent payments to your student loan company.
- you can get up to 5 years to pay a taxing agency, such as the IRS, without incurring interest.
- in most cases, you can keep property you may have had to give up in a Chapter 7.
As you can see, Chapter 13 sometimes is better for the Debtor than Chapter 7. However, only you and your attorney can make the proper determination over which Chapter is right for you (please note that Chapters 11 and 12, also available to consumer debtors, are beyond the scope of this Post).
This is perhaps the most asked question in my practice. I am sorry to say that the answer is a definite “maybe.”
No type of bankruptcy will currently allow someone to adjust the terms and conditions of a mortgage loan on their primary residence, as long as the house is used solely for that primary residence. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a Sheriff’s Sale and allow you to make up your arrears, typically over 36 months.
Moreover, Chapter 13 allows someone to strip off mortgages that are wholly unsecured by value of the property. So, for instance, if you own a house that is worth $90,000, your first mortgage loan balance is $100,000 and your second mortgage loan or HELOC balance is $20,000, the successful completion of a Chapter 13 Plan can get rid of the second loan altogether and leave you only with the first loan (and, of course, with possession of your house).
As always, the best thing to do is make an appointment to see an attorney.
It is with sadness that we announce the departure of Attorney Joe Corey. Joe is, at least temporarily, pursuing other avenues as an Attorney. He had been interning with our Firm. We wish Joe the very best.
People ought to be very careful before they start withdrawing funds from their qualified retirement accounts to pay debts, including mortgage loans. Aside from the negative tax consequences, there are few situations where such withdrawals are good decisions. Please consult with a professional before doing so.
Many people are afraid of consulting a bankruptcy attorney and don’t know whether they actually need a bankruptcy or not. Moreover, many people who visit our Firm do not need a bankruptcy and we are not afraid to let them know that. So, if you even suspect a bankruptcy might be of assistance to you, please make an appointment to see us at your earliest possible convenience. The first consultation is free and you have njothign