Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few important questions you may ask yourself. Do I qualify for chapter 7 relief? How would this filing affect my home or other personal property? Is filing chapter 7 going to affect my credit, now or in the future?

A debtor that files Chapter 7 may be an individual, partnership, corporation or other business entity. However, it is important to check with a bankruptcy attorney, as a Chapter 7 discharge is available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations. A chapter 7 filing for a business is designed to liquidate company assets and pay its obligations.

The purpose of filing for a Chapter 7 would be to give an individual a fresh start, as the debtor would have no liability for most debts, once they are discharged. However, there are some debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7. Certain taxes, debts for alimony and child support and student loan debt, among others, may not be able to be discharged in Chapter 7.

An important note is that any filing under Chapter 7 may result in some property loss. Yet, the debtor may be able to file a schedule in Chapter 7 that would exempt some personal property. A bankruptcy attorney in your state can assist in helping the debtor to retain important property and to receive a discharge that covers most of the debtor’s allowed debts.

In a chapter 7 filing, the debtor will need to provide a listing of creditors, personal property and a listing of all monthly expenses. Additionally, the debtor releases all creditor’s names and addresses to his/her attorney. Then the bankruptcy court would give notice of the bankruptcy filing to these creditors. Typically, there is an ‘automatic stay’ that stops most collection action against the debtor or the debtor’s property. Under this automatic stay, creditors typically cannot initiate or continue a lawsuit, garnish wages, or make phone calls that request payment to the creditor.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can affect your credit, and can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, not filing when is necessary, may cause negative marks as well on your credit report, due to late or missed payments to your creditors. In Chapter 7, you will also lose your credit cards, but you can get new lines of credit within one to three years of filing for bankruptcy, but sometimes with a higher interest rate. So, it is important to decide what is best for your situation.

However, if you file now for Chapter 7, and you have a certain amount of disposable income, the bankruptcy court can convert your case to a Chapter 13, where you pay back debts over several years. This action may improve your financial situation as you are paying off some debts and converting could be more favorable to your credit. Check with a bankruptcy attorney in your area for more details on filing for Chapter 7.

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Managing Finances After Divorce

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Divorce

Divorce is never a topic that is fun to discuss, and yet so many people face this difficult arrangement and must learn to manage it. There are many considerations to take into account at the time of a divorce and perhaps one of the most stressful is finances. You must take your assets and finances and determine how to split them, as well as how to fully support yourself after the divorce is final.  This is a difficult topic at any point in time, but when you are also facing the emotional impact of a divorce you should not have to spend any additional energy researching how to protect your finances. For this reason, the San Antonio Express-News created an article detailing some of the best steps to take to secure your finances during a divorce.

Justin Miller is a wealth strategist at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and he offers several important pieces of advice about how to ensure that you control your finances after a divorce. His first piece of advice is to start detailing your financial plan early in the divorce process. Next, he recommends that you update your pension or 401(k) plan, if your spouse is the beneficiary of the plan. This protects your pension and ensures that your money does not still go to your former-spouse in the event of your death. The next most important decision to make is to determine how you will manage a jointly-owned house. If you or your spouse is planning to sell the house after your divorce, Miller recommends that you work together and sell the house before the divorce is final. This allows you to make more money off of the sale because a smaller percentage of the profits are taxable, due to capital gains exclusion, when you and your spouse are still considered co-owners. According to Miller, These are the two most important ways to protect your finances after a divorce.

Managing finances even under the best of circumstances is difficult, and the worry and struggle are only increased when you are also facing a divorce. Miller offers sound financial advice to follow the first steps during your divorce proceeding. However, these alone do not cover the number of different financial questions and problems you may face. If you and your spouse have children, you must determine how to handle expenses related to their care and well-being. Additionally, other jointly-owned property may be difficult to split or sell, and you must choose how to best protect your interest in them. These are just a few of the remaining questions and concerns you may have about your finances.

Fortunately, if you are struggling with how to proceed, whether financially or with the divorce process itself, an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and make the right decisions. A San Antonio lawyer, such as Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P, can help you protect yourself and your assets after a divorce, which will allow you to move forward with your life

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Components of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 in Wrongful Death

Wrongful death happens when a person has been unwarrantedly killed because of another. According to the website of the Milwaukee personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the loved ones of those who have been wrongfully killed may have legal options, such as trying to get compensation from the damages they have sustained. But what constitutes a wrongful death lawsuit, exactly?

Death of a human being

The most basic component of a wrongful death, is of course, a death of a human being. That is why it is called wrongful “death” in the first place. The death can occur in two ways – it can occur instantly, wherein the victim has been killed in the scene immediately, or eventually, wherein the victim has been hurt in the scene and has died in a later time.

An event that has been caused by a negligent party

Another important factor is the event that has caused the death, whether immediately or eventually. This event can come in many forms, but their common aspect is negligence. A negligent party should be the one who has triggered the event, so this party can become liable.

The most common wrongful death events are abuses, car accidents, medical malpractice cases, premises and product liability claims, and workplace accidents. Again, it is important that a negligent party has caused the event, like abusive nursing home staff members, reckless drivers, incompetent medical professionals, negligent property owners, product designers and manufacturers, and employers.

Financial damages to the victim’s family members

A death of a family member can lead to a variety of financial damages, such as the medical costs, if the victim has not died immediately, funeral costs, lost wages and benefits, especially if the victim has been the primary earner in the family, and negative emotions that can ultimately lead to further financial damage, like psychological treatment costs.

Because the negligent party has basically inflicted these damages to the victim’s family members, it is just right that it is liable for them as well.

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How Properties are Divided During Divorce

Posted by on Jun 10, 2017 in Divorce

During a divorce, a spouse will likely have his or her best interest in mind, meaning that he or she will act in a way that will give himself or herself an advantage upon separation. Usually, this advantage is on the financial aspect, so it is not surprising that property division is one of the hottest disputes during divorce.

According to the website of the Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, division of property may be a complicated enough legal process to warrant the help of property division lawyers. How properties can be divided are simply explained below so you can have a background on how it works.

Community Property

Community Property is one of the ways properties can be divided upon divorce. Under this legal concept, there are two kinds of properties – community property and property of a spouse.

Community property is a property owned by both spouses. This may include cash accumulated during the marriage and all properties that have been bought using that cash. On the other hand, property of a spouse is a property owned solely by one of the spouses, such as gifts, inheritances, and properties that have been acquired even before the marriage.

During divorce, community properties are divided evenly for the spouses and properties of a spouse remain to that spouse.

Equitable Distribution

Depending on the state, division of property can be done through community property or equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is the fair division of properties to either spouse. The important word here is “fair,” and it should be noted that it is not synonymous to “equal.”

The idea behind equitable distribution is to give the spouses what they rightfully deserve. Typically, equitable distribution cases do not split properties fifty-fifty. The spouse who have contributed more to the accumulation of assets, or the spouse that is going to be more economically affected by the separation, can have a bigger share, depending on how the court sees fairness.

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The Dangers of Ridesharing Services

Posted by on Mar 8, 2017 in Ride Sharing

Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services are becoming more popular because they are efficient, convenient, and more economical. They can also be used through mobile applications, making them more accessible to the public.

This popularity has its down side. Since more people are using these ridesharing apps, more people are also becoming more vulnerable to traffic accidents involving these ridesharing services. It can also be argued that the passengers will suffer worse, because they are innocent victims who have sustained damages because of other parties.

How Accidents May Occur
Ridesharing services have guidelines before they give applicants the privilege of working under their name. These guidelines may include the driver’s age, vehicle’s age, and insurance. This may be a good way to filter the decent drivers from those that are not, but there are still instances where accidents may happen. Below are just some of the most common causes of accidents:

  • Reckless behaviors including speeding, weaving, tailgating, and driving under the influence
  • Driving errors like failing to use signal lights and refusing to yield to other vehicles and pedestrians
  • Mechanical failure associated with maintenance and usage issues, such as brake system defects and tire blowouts
  • Road hazards like malfunctioning traffic lights, unnecessary obstructions on the road, and potholes
  • Other negligent or reckless parties that may trigger accidents

Possible Issues with Insurance
Insurance providers will do everything to deny claims or minimize the compensation their customers will get. After all, insurance is still a business. But this doesn’t change the fact that there are ethical concerns in insurance, and customers and victims alike should get what they deserve.

For example, if an Uber driver got in an accident and there was no passenger, insurance providers may deny claims and argue that they are not liable because there has been no passenger in the first place. But it can also be claimed that there is still liability if the ridesharing app is on upon the time of the crash.

There are other issues that may arise, like how insurance providers may deny claims if the driver has been proven to be negligent. As a passenger, you are the one who is going to suffer more because of the lack of insurance. To avoid issues, it is best to contact a lawyer, and if possible, get one that specializes in ridesharing insurance claims.

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