Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law Moves Into New Office in Washington Township

Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is pleased to announce that she has moved her growing Dayton family law and Dayton bankruptcy practice into new, larger office space in Washington Township, Ohio. If and when you are in the neighborhood, please visit her there at 7601 Paragon Road, Suite 103, Dayton, Ohio 45459!

For a consultation to discuss your legal issue, please contact Helen today at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Tax Refunds and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you are thinking about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and also expecting a tax refund, please contact an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney! There are many important things to consider. When a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of their assets, including their tax refund, become part of the bankruptcy estate. The theory behind Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the trustee, the attorney appointed to administer the bankruptcy estate, can use a person’s assets (unless exempted or protected as discussed below) to pay off unsecured creditors.

If you file bankruptcy before receiving and spending your tax refund for the year, the unspent refund is considered part of the estate. The tax refund is looked at as money that was unnecessarily paid to the IRS, therefore it is treated like cash or money in a bank account. If you receive a significant refund every year, you may consider adjusting your withholding to reduce the refund to a lesser amount. This will allow you to get more money in each paycheck and make the refund too small to be of value to the trustee.
 
Planning the timing of your bankruptcy with the receipt of your tax refund is advisable. If you have already received your refund, you are allowed to spend it on necessary expenses prior to filing bankruptcy. Necessary expenses include mortgage payments, rent, home or motor vehicle repair, food, clothing, utilities, medical expenses, etc. However, be careful! Do not use the refund to purchase luxury goods, or to pay a friend or family member, or to pay one particular creditor (this may be a preferential payment – a payment made to one creditor and not others. Preferential payments can be avoided, meaning the trustee can order the creditor to return it to the estate).

Even if you file bankruptcy prior to receiving and/or spending your tax refund for the year, therefore making the tax refund part of the estate as discussed above, you may be able to exempt or protect it. The bankruptcy code (or law), provides exemptions for certain property including some that can protect your refund. For example, the earned income and child tax credits allow many people who file Chapter 7 to keep their entire refund. The wildcard and cash on hand exemptions may also be used to protect some or all of your refund.

If you are expecting a tax refund and also considering bankruptcy, please consult with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney who can analyze your particular situation and help you determine both the best use of your refund and the best time to file bankruptcy.

For more information about bankruptcy, and/or to schedule a consultation please contact your Dayton bankruptcy attorney at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

How Often Can A Person File for Bankruptcy?

Sometimes people who have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past can find themselves in situation where it would be to their benefit to file for bankruptcy again.  For example, a person may have recently received a Chapter 7 discharge, but then incurred a tax debt that could be paid back through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.

The general rule is that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor who receives a discharge cannot receive another Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge for 8 years.  However, there are important exceptions to this general rule.  In order to properly analyze your particular situation, you need to consult with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney.

However, generally speaking, the Federal Bankruptcy Rules allow the following:

If it has been 8 years since a person received a discharge in any sort of bankruptcy case, he or she is free to file again for bankruptcy under any chapter (7, 11, 12 or 13).

If a person has received a chapter 7 discharge in a case filed within 8 years, then he or she cannot receive a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filed today.  However, he or she could still file and receive bankruptcy protection.  For example, that person could file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and would be eligible for a discharge if 4 years had past since the filing of the discharged Chapter 7 case.  If 4 years had not yet passed, the person could file the Chapter 13, repay debt in the Chapter 13 plan, but would not be eligible for a discharge.

A person who filed a Chapter 13 and received a discharge, could file and receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy once 6 years has passed since the Chapter 13 filing.  That person could file another Chapter 13 case, and receive a discharge, 2 years after the first Chapter 13 was filed (but again, that person could file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection before 2 years has passed, they would just not be eligible for a discharge).

To schedule a consultation with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today, click on the on the preceding link, send an e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or place a telephone call to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Bank of America Settles Bad Mortgage Claims for over $10 Billion

Your Dayton bankruptcy attorney is pleased to report that Bank of America has agreed to pay the federal government more than 10 billion dollars to resolve claims stemming from bad mortgages (risky mortgages that were incurred questionably by Bank of America and then later packaged and sold by Bank of America to Fannie Mae). Please click on the link below to an informative article in The New York Times to learn more:

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/bank-of-america-to-pay-10-billion-in-settlement-with-fannie-mae

To learn more about past or present foreclosures, mortgage debt forgivenss, loan modifications, and/or to schedule a free consultation please contact your Dayton bankruptcy attorney at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Things To Do and Not to Do When Contemplating Bankruptcy

It is very important to do and not to do certain things when preparing to file bankruptcy. Your Dayton bankruptcy attorney can give you a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts similar to the one below. If you wonder if something is appropriate to do before bankruptcy – CONSULT YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE DOING IT!

Things Not to Do When Contemplating Bankruptcy

1) Don’t pay off or pay down any debts without consulting your Dayton bankruptcy attorney. 2) Don’t buy, sell, give away or transfer any property. 3) Don’t fall for companies or individuals promising debt consolidation without extensively researching their legitimacy. There are many fraudulent, criminal enterprises out there that will take your money and never pay down your debt. 4) Don’t borrow or cash out your retirement without first talking to your Dayton bankruptcy attorney. In Ohio, most retirement/pension accounts are 100% exempt (meaning they are completely protected) in bankruptcy. This means that a person may file bankruptcy, emerge after a successful discharge without any unsecured debt but with their full retirement account(s) intact. 5) Don’t take out new loans or create new debts prior to filing bankruptcy. 6) Don’t wait until the last minute to talk to your Dayton bankruptcy attorney about bankruptcy. Having time to plan and properly prepare a bankruptcy is the best case scenario.

Things To Do When Preparing to File Bankruptcy

1) Do tell your Dayton bankruptcy attorney about ALL of your debts and creditors. Often clients think that leaving out one credit card to use after bankruptcy for emergencies will be ok, but this can often lead to problems. Tell your Dayton bankruptcy attorney about absolutely every creditor and together you can decide what is the best course of action in your situation. 2) Do keep in contact with your Dayton bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is a process which can take 4 – 6 months. It is important that your Dayton bankruptcy attorney can reach you when needed. If you change your phone number or address, be sure to inform your attorney. 3) Do tell your Dayton bankruptcy attorney your complete story (including but not limited to all your assets and, as discussed above, all of your debts) in order to help you make the best legal decisions for your particular situation. 4) Do consult with your Dayton bankruptcy attorney to learn whether bankruptcy is a good option for you.

For more information about bankruptcy, and/or to schedule a free consultation please contact your Dayton divorce law firm at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extended Through 2013 As Part of the “Fiscal Cliff Bill”

Your Dayton bankruptcy attorney is pleased to report that Congress has extended the 2007 Mortgage Debt Relief Act through 2013. The Mortgage Debt Relief Act prevents debt that is forgiven through short sales, loan modifications or foreclosures from being taxable income to the homeowner. Without the extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, homeowners may have decided that short sales (when a home is sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage) were not in their best interest, because the difference between the amount paid by a buyer on the home, and the amount owed on the mortgage, would be taxable income to the homeowner (as it was prior to the initial passing of the bill in 2007). Similarly, without the extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, principal forgiven by a bank as part of a loan modification may also have reverted back to being taxable income to the homeowner.

To learn more about mortgage debt forgivenss, loan modifications, and/or to schedule a free consultation please contact your Dayton divorce law firm at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Ohio Law Will Significantly Increase the Bankruptcy Exemption for Home

As stated in last month’s blog by your Dayton bankruptcy attorney, the Bankruptcy Code allows an individual to protect (and therefore retain) some property from the claims of creditors because it is exempt under federal bankruptcy law or under the laws of the debtor’s home state. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b). Some of the current Ohio Exemptions (O.R.C. 2329.66) are listed below:

1) Personal residence = $21, 625 2) Motor vehicle = $3,225 3) Cash = $400 4) Household Items (aggregate) = $10,775 5) Jewelry = $1,350 6) Tools of trade = $2,025 7) Award for personal bodily injury (received within 12 months of bankruptcy) = $20,200.

The first exemption listed above, the exemption protecting equity in a personal residence, will be increased in March 2013 when Ohio House Bill 479 takes effect. On December 20, 2012 the Governor of Ohio signed into law House Bill 479, which contains a provision that increases Ohio’s homestead exemption from $21,625 (current) to $125,000. This increase will protect over $100,000 more of equity in a person’s home. House Bill 479 also expressly provides that 529 plans, and qualified retirmement plans, and Roth IRAs are 100% exempted under Ohio law.

To learn more about bankruptcy, or to discuss your personal financial situation with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney, and/or to schedule a free consultation please contact your Dayton bankruptcy attorney at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Not All Debts Can Be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Below is information from your Dayton bankruptcy attorney explaining that not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy:

Debts that can be discharged (meaning they are forgiven, and debtor is not legally obligated to repay the debt) vary under each chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 523(a) of the Code excepts some categories of debts from the discharge.  This means that even after a successful discharge in bankruptcy the debtor is legally obligated to repay those debts after bankruptcy.

Congress decided that some types of debts are not dischargeable for public policy reasons, either because the debt was incurred by improper behavior of the debtor, like drunken driving, or failure to disclose information in the bankruptcy, or other types of fraud, or because of the nature of the debt.

The exceptions to discharge apply automatically if the language prescribed by section 523(a) of the bankruptcy code applies.  Section 523 (a) lists 19 different categories of non-dischargable debt. The most common types of nondischargeable debts are some types of tax claims, debts not set forth by the debtor on the lists and schedules the debtor must file with the court, debts for spousal or child support or alimony, debts for willful and malicious injuries to person or property, debts to governmental units for fines and penalties, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or benefit overpayments, debts for personal injury caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, debts owed to certain tax-advantaged retirement plans, and debts for certain condominium or cooperative housing fees.

The types of debts described in sections 523(a)(2), (4), and (6) (obligations affected by fraud or maliciousness) are not automatically excepted from discharge. Creditors must affirmatively request the court to determine whether or not those debts are excepted from the debtor’s discharge. In the absence of an affirmative request by the creditor and the granting of the request by the court, the types of debts set out in sections 523(a)(2), (4), and (6) are discharged.

Sometimes it is prudent to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy rather than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, because more types of debts can be discharged in a chapter 13 case than in a chapter 7 case. Examples of debts dischargeable in a chapter 13, but not in chapter 7, include debts for willful and malicious injury to property, debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable tax obligations, and debts arising from property settlements in divorce or separation proceedings.

To learn more about bankruptcy, or to discuss your personal financial situation with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney contact Helen Wallace at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law today by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

The Basics of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the Southern District of Ohio

Your Dayton bankruptcy attorney can help you file a petition under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code that “automatically stays” ( or stops) most collection actions against you, the debtor or your property. 11 U.S.C. § 362.  The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.

Between 20 and 40 days after the petition is filed, the case trustee will hold a meeting of creditors, or 341 Hearing.  During this meeting, the trustee puts the debtor under oath, and both the trustee and creditors may ask questions. The debtor must attend the meeting and answer questions regarding the debtor’s financial affairs and property.  11 U.S.C. § 343. If a husband and wife have filed a joint petition, they both must attend the creditors’ meeting and answer questions. Within 10 days of the creditors’ meeting, the U.S. trustee will report to the court whether the case should be presumed to be an abuse under the means test described in 11 U.S.C. § 704(b).

After filing the bankruptcy case, but before a discharge will be issued, debtors are required to take a financial management class (in addition to the credit counseling class that is a required BEFORE filing).

In most “no asset” Chapter 7 bankruptcies (explained below), after the meeting of creditors, or 341 Hearing, if no issues arise, the debtor usually receives his discharge within 2 months.

To learn more about bankruptcy, or to discuss your personal financial situation with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney , please contact your Dayton bankruptcy attorney today at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

You Can Protect Much of Your Property in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Among the schedules that your Dayton bankruptcy attorney will file in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a schedule of “exempt” property. The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor (4) to protect (and therefore retain) some property from the claims of creditors because it is exempt under federal bankruptcy law or under the laws of the debtor’s home state. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b). Some of the Ohio Exemptions (O.R.C. 2329.66) are listed below:

1) Personal residence = $20,200
2) Motor vehicle = $3,225
3) Cash = $400
4) Household Items (aggregate) = $10,775
5) Jewelry = $1,350
6) Tools of trade = $2,025
7) Award for personal bodily injury (received within 12 months of bankruptcy) = $20,200
8) Retirement Account Funds = Unlimited

To learn more about bankruptcy, or to discuss your personal financial situation with an experienced Dayton bankruptcy attorney , please contact your Dayton bankruptcy attorney today at Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law by clicking on the preceding link, by e-mail to hw@helenwallacelaw.com or by telephone to (937) 654-6800.

The contents contained in Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog and Web Page(s) are for educational and informational purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal or tax advice. The reading of Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law’s Blog or Webpage does not create an attorney/client relationship with Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law. Please consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction (where you live or where the legal action arose) if you are seeking legal advice or representation. Please further be advised that Helen Wallace, Attorney at Law is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

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