12 Tips to Understanding Your Chapter 13 Plan

Here in the Western District of Pennsylvania, we have “conduit” Chapter 13 plans, which mean that all of your secured loan payments are made inside the Chapter 13 plan. As I’ve written before, don’t draw conclusions about the way that the Chapter 13 process is handled from State to State (or even within your State). It helps to first recall … Read More

O is for Obligations in Bankruptcy

O is for Obligations in the Bankruptcy Alphabet. When you file any type of bankruptcy, your biggest obligation is to tell the truth. When you sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules, you do so under penalty of perjury. You disclose your assets and their worth along with all of your debts, even those that you intend to repay. If telling … Read More

M is for Mortgage Arrears in Bankruptcy Court

M is for Mortgage Arrears in the Bankruptcy Alphabet. Today, I’m talking mostly about Chapter 13 cases where folks want to save their home from foreclosure. Let’s say that you’re 6 months behind on your mortgage, and you’re facing a potential sheriff’s sale. You’ve got two choices. You can apply for a mortgage modification through your mortgage company. But good … Read More

K is for 4 Reasons to Keep your 401k

K is for keeping your 401k if you have debt problems. In other words, don’t take out money from your 401k to pay your creditors. And there are four big reasons for my advice: You can fully protect your 401k or IRA if you file bankruptcy. Neither the Bankruptcy Trustee nor your creditors can get access to your retirement funds. … Read More

H is for Harassment by Creditors

H is for Harassment by creditors in the Bankruptcy Alphabet. First of all, once your bankruptcy case is actually filed in Court, then your creditors cannot contact you at all. Why? It’s the automatic stay of the Bankruptcy Court which protects you until the Court issues the discharge order (which in a Chapter 7 case is about 4 to 5 … Read More

G is for Gambling Debts in Bankruptcy

G is for Gambling Debts in the Bankruptcy Alphabet. Those of us practicing bankruptcy law are surely seeing an increase in new clients who have incurred debts from local casinos. The general rule in bankruptcy law in Pennsylvania is that you can discharge (wipe out) gambling debts in bankruptcy (if you do it properly). First, if you’ve incurred any gambling … Read More

Thoughts on Taxmasters filing for bankruptcy

By now you may have heard that Taxmasters has filed for bankruptcy relief. You probably saw their commercials on television. They promised to help you reduce your IRS tax debt to pennies on the dollar. More technically, they would assist folks in making “offers in compromise” to the IRS. This is a perfectly legal strategy that requires a taxpayer to … Read More

E is for Expenses in Bankruptcy

E is for Expenses in the Bankruptcy Alphabet. Whenever you file a bankruptcy case, you must submit a list of all of your property, income and expenses. Schedule J of the bankruptcy schedules is where you must list your monthly expenses. One of the most important tasks for any bankruptcy attorney is to properly inquire into the living expenses of … Read More

D is for Debt Buyer

D is for Debt Buyer in the Bankruptcy Alphabet. Debt buyers are companies around the country which purchase debts for pennies on the dollar and then attempt to collect them. Examples of such companies are Portfolio Recovery Associates, eCast Settlement, B-Line, Midland Credit Management and others. I confront these types of companies frequent as a Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney. These companies … Read More

9 More Tips for Budgeting to Chapter 13 Success

Okay, your Chapter 13 case has been filed and your creditors have been notified. Congratulations– for the first time in a long time, your creditors aren’t calling you night and day. The automatic stay is in effect, which means that your creditors can’t sue you and have to abide by the terms of your Chapter 13 plan, once confirmed. So, … Read More