Family First Expo on Saturday, Sept 21st!!!

Are you looking to find businesses in the Madison area that are focused on families?  Come to the Family First Expo on Saturday September 21st from 10am-2pm.  This will give parents and families an  opportunity to meet with local resources that can help them  with college prep, nanny services, child development, family health, estate planning and child guardianship.  

I have created a facebook event where people can signup!!!  

https://www.facebook.com/events/175008599353650/

The event will be held at the American Family DreamBank right on the capitol square.  So, if you’re at the farmers market or just want to have a fun Saturday morning, please stop by!

Let anyone that you  know that my be interested in this event!!!

Expo

 

 

When is the best time to contact a Bankruptcy Attorney?

First let’s go over the worst case scenario.  If you have received a document notifying you that your wages are going to be garnished, served with a lawsuit, or foreclosure of a home in immanent, then this is the worst possible time.  If your car has been repossessed and now you have no way to get to work, this is again a terrible time to contact an attorney.  The key is to reach out before things come a head.  

While a bankruptcy attorney could still help you, it is better to contact an attorney and come up with a solid legal plan before you start to lose assets.  

The best time to speak to a bankruptcy attorney is when you know your finances are not where they should be and you are having a hard time paying the bills that you have.  You may be current on the financial obligations that you have, but you are beginning to feel the pressure of these obligations.  Thisis the time that you want to start looking at what strategies are available.  

It is important to note that looking for a bankruptcy attorney, does not commit you to filing.  The attorney should be available to give information and assess your situation.  The attorney should be able to go through the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy  

The key takeaway is to be proactive.  If you feel that you have debts that are adding stress to you life, consider speaking to an attorney before creditors are foreclosing on your home or repossessing your vehicle.

Please feel free to call Kemp Law Firm with any questions at 608-218-4092 

 

What are the Steps To File Bankruptcy?

A very short and sweet article on the steps that you need to go through to file bankruptcy.  The source is the Bankruptcy Law Network.   

If you or anyone you know is dealing with financial difficulties or hardship, please feel free to have them call Kemp Law Firm at 608.218.4092.  

I am often asked what to I need to do to file a bankruptcy. My reply is you have taken the first step. You have contacted a bankruptcy lawyer seeking information. Only with this information can you determine if you can file bankruptcy and if bankruptcy is the right thing for you to do. I thought I would make list of the things you should do.

1. Get Some information. You can do some basic information on how bankruptcy works by visiting a good website like this one.

2. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer for a consultation. Most bankruptcy lawyers will offer your first consultation for free.

3. Visit the lawyers website for more information.

4. Gather up your financial information. Bankruptcy lawyers will provide you help with this. My office has a package we send prior to consultation either by email, snail mail, or by directing people to our website. There is a list here of what we need to review.

5. Its time for your consultation. This is the most important stes. Only by meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer will you gain enough information to make a good decision. This first meeting will give you the basic information on how bankruptcy works in general. It can give you the information on how bankruptcy will work in your case. However there is often a lot of information that the bankruptcy lawyer will need to review to determine if bankruptcy is for you and the type of bankruptcy that is best for you.

6. Gather up and bring to your lawyer all the additional information and documents the lawyer asks for.

7. Get a copy of your credit report.

8. Retain your lawyer (pay the lawyer). Remember you still have not filed bankruptcy.

9. You may now have several contacts with your lawyer and the staff depending on how complicated your case. These meeting are important to make sure your paperwork is accurate

10. Take your credit counseling course. You can not file bankruptcy unless you have completed a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course. Your lawyer will provide you with information on how to do that.

11. My office provides a draft to our clients ahead of their signing appointment. It is very important to review this document for missing creditors and to make sure all the questions are answered truthfully and correctly.

12. Signing the paperwork. You will then go over the paper in detail with your lawyer to make sure it is correct and accurate. There are a number of different documents to sign. Once these papers are filed your answers cant be erased. Make sure you have all your concerns addressed before the papers are sent to the court.

13. Once you have signed the papers, the lawyer hits a button and you case is filed electronically with the bankruptcy

court. You are given a case number. You have now filed bankruptcy. A meeting of creditors is scheduled. There is a lot more still to be done but you have now filed bankruptcy.

 

What You Should Do After Your Bankruptcy Discharge

A great article posted on the Bankruptcy Law Network on what to do after you have been granted a bankruptcy discharge.

Got your bankruptcy discharge?

Great! You’re on your way to a fresh start.

Now you’ve got work to do.

◊ List the debts that didn’t get discharged. Family support, recent taxes, student loans, or taxes for years for which you haven’t filed bankruptcy are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The discharge order doesn’t say what debts survive.

◊ Verify lien balances The discharge eliminates your personal liability for dischargeable debts; liens survive. If you plan to keep a house or car encumbered with liens, find out what you owe and resume payments. Otherwise, the creditor can enforce its lien by foreclosure or repossession.

◊ Rearrange banking Online banking and automatic bill pay may have been disabled while you were in bankruptcy.

◊ Set up automatic savings Bankruptcy probably brought home to you how little net worth you have and how thin the safety net is. Arrange for automatic savings for both an emergency fund and for retirement.

◊ Save your bankruptcy papers- You’re nearly certain to encounter efforts by buyers of zombie debt to collect debts that have been discharged in your case. You need to be able to show that the debt was scheduled in your case. Creditors with notice, and those they sell their worthless accounts to without notice, were discharged.

◊ Join a credit union Credit unions are owned by their members. They are in business to make loans to members. Rates are usually better than the banks, and the profits flow to members. About the only kinds of credit I’m enthusiastic about are car loans and home loans. Plan to be eligible to apply for a loan by joining now.

◊ Check insurance coverage If you elected to surrender property through the bankruptcy that still stands in your name, make sure that you are insured for liability. Liaibility insurance covers you for claims of anyone injured on your property. Electing to surrender property doesn’t take you off title til someone else goes on title. Don’t let post bankruptcy claims arising from property you’re trying to get rid of spoil your fresh start.

◊ Pull a credit report Several months after your discharge, check your credit report to make sure all discharged debts reflect a zero balance. The ugly history can properly remain, but you are entitled to a showing that you now owe nothing.

Take advantage of the opportunity that bankruptcy has provided, and go forth and prosper. Good luck.

 

4 steps to prepare for your bankruptcy filing

Take a look at this impressive article from the Bankruptcy Law Network about how to prepare for your bankruptcy filing.

Preparing to file for bankruptcy is no picnic.

You bring in all of your materials; he calls with questions.

You bring in even more documentation; he parses the documents.

Once all of the documentation has been collected and reviewed it is essential that you prepare for your life just before you file your bankruptcy.

Consider a new financial institution.

If you have a loan or other debt to your bank, the bank can help itself to funds in your deposit account to apply to what you owe it.

Usually, you stop making payments on dischargeable debts once you’ve made the decision to file bankruptcy.

Don’t leave your cash sitting in the bank, waiting to to be snatched by the bank. Open a banking relationship elsewhere with an institution you don’t owe money.

You don’t need to close the existing account, just keep no more money there than you’re willing to lose if the bank does a set off.

Know all of your automatic bill payments

If money is automatically taken from your checking account to pay recurring bills, ask yourself if each of those withdrawals are bills you want to pay if you are filing bankruptcy.

If not, stop the automatic bill payments.

Sometimes, it seems the only way to stop such things is to close the bank account. I’ve seen any number of cases where my client may stop the withdrawal for this month, but it pops back up next month.

On the other hand, if you end up changing banks to avoid an offset, like I talked about above, think about whether the automatic payments are for services you want to continue post bankruptcy.

If so, set them up at your new bank.

Use Cash Only

Once you’ve decided to file bankruptcy, any charges to your credit cards may be considered fraudulent. Stop using your credit cards!!! After all, you don’t expect to pay off that card after bankruptcy.

Stop using credit cards.

A debit card is fine, since it just draws on your own money. It isn’t a loan to be repaid. Again, if you have ongoing and necessary expenses regularly billed to your credit card, you need to make a new arrangement to pay those bills monthly.

Remember the checking account float

The balance in your account on the day your bankruptcy case is filed is the number important to you and the bankruptcy trustee. It is not the balance as shown on your check register.

Beware, if you write checks on the eve of filing. If they haven’t cleared the bank when your case is filed, they may never clear, as the trustee may demand the balance shown on the bank’s books on the day you file.

If you have things you have to pay before filing or if you are counting on spending down the bank account, get cashier’s checks. The funds to buy a cashier’s check are immediately taken from your account; there is no checking account float.

Smooth sailing

Get these four things done before you file your case, and things in your financial life in general will go more smoothly.

 

Living Will? Declaration to Physicians? What are these things?

An interesting article from Lawyers.com

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a document in which you describe the kind of healthcare you want to receive if you are incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself, due to illness, injury or advanced age. It is sometimes called a healthcare declaration, a directive to physicians, a healthcare directive or a medical directive.

A living will is a gift not only to yourself, but also to your family. It can be gut-wrenching for family members to have to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf when they don’t know what you’d want.

In a living will, you can include any wishes you have for medical care. You can ask that certain types of care always be given, or instruct that certain types of care never be given – or anything in between. Take some time to carefully define the circumstances that make you comfortable. You can revoke a living will at any time by simply destroying the document.

Do You Want to Keep Living, Regardless?

Living will documents will ask if you want to receive treatments that will prolong your life, but will not make you better. Such procedures usually include transfusions of blood and blood products, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPA), diagnostic tests, dialysis, administration of drugs (other than for pain), use of a respirator and surgery.

Do You Want To Be Fed by Tube?

A living will should address the administration of fluids and nutrients via intravenous feeding or tubes. People who are comatose or near death cannot feed themselves. With artificial hydration and feeding, a permanently comatose person can live for years. A terminally ill person can take much longer to die.

What If You Are in Pain?

A living will should address palliative care. Palliative care keeps a patient comfortable and free from pain until life ends naturally. It is especially important when a patient has rejected life-prolonging treatments, fluids and nutrition. Palliative care does not try to cure an illness or condition, or to prolong life. Palliative care can be administered at home, in a hospice facility or at a hospital.

How Do I Make a Living Will?

Living will templates are readily available. After you complete your written document, you must sign it and have it witnessed or notarized, or both, depending on the law in the state where you live. Give copies to family members, your healthcare agent, your doctors and your hospital or care facility.

A living will is often paired with a power of attorney for healthcare, in which you name an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Some states combine these two kinds of documents into one, called an advanced healthcare directive.

If you haven’t taken the time to have this document drafted, please feel free to call me for a meeting at 608-218-4092.

 

 

What happens at the 341 hearing for your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin, you have to attend a hearing called the meeting of the creditors or the 341 Hearing.  Most people want to do all that they can to avoid going to courtand may even feel anxiety just thinking about attending a legal hearing.  As an attorney, I counsel my client s on what will happen at this meeting.  The truth is that it is very straight forward.  

The meeting itself is held so that the bankruptcy trustee to ask you any and all questions regarding the bankruptcy that you filed.  They will likely take only a few minutes (usually no more than 10) to ask you about yourself, the debts that you are trying to discharge, and if everything in the bankruptcy documents is acurate.  In 

Some clients are concerned as to whether or not their creditors may actually show up at the meeting .  In most cases, the creditors do not show up to the meeting of the creditors.  If they do, they may as questions regarding the debt itself.  

Other than that, the process is very straight forward.  If you or anyone you know is facing creditor calls, harrassment and stress from their debts, please feel free to have them call Kemp Law Firm at 608-218-4092

 

What does a bankruptcy trustee do?

Many clients want to know if they are going to have to go infront of a judge if they declare bankruptcy.  Generally speaking, most cases are administered by the bankruptcy Trustee.  This is not a judge.  In an article by Jeff Field and Associates, he discribes the role of the trustee and what  to expect.  

“Chapter 7 trustees are private practitioners who may continue working in their professions in addition to administering bankruptcy cases. Georgia attorneys and accountants, for example, may apply for the U.S. Trustee Program in order to become eligible to administer cases assigned to bankruptcy judges. They are allowed to maintain private practices that are entirely separate from their duties as a Chapter 7 trustee. Trustees are appointed at random to individual cases from a pool of available trustees who have been approved by the Office of the U.S. Trustee. As a result, Chapter 7 trustees are known as panel trustees.

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can expect the trustee to review your petition and schedules, and at a minimum:

  • Conduct the meeting of creditors
  • Determine whether you meet the criteria established in the means testing
  • Determine whether you have disclosed all of your assets and all of your debts
  • Liquidate any non-exempt assets for the benefit of your creditors”
 

Are you being sued for a debt?

Are you being sued for a debt that you owe?  What are the steps that you should take?  Over the last few years, the financial crisis and the unwillingness of big banks to grant credit left many in the Madison area financial hardship.  If they are being sued, there are a number of things that can be done to deal with trying situation.  

This article by Jonathan Ginsberg is a great explanation of the steps that you should be considering.  Click on the link below

Article Link

If you have questions or know someone that is in need of assistance or considering bankruptcy, please call 608.218.4092 or check out our bankruptcy page below.

Kemp Law Firm Bankruptcy Page

 

 

Are you eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

An article from Nolo regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy eligibility

 

The bankruptcy ”means test” determines whether your income is low enough for you to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s a formula designed to keep filers with higher incomes from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. High income filers who fail the means test may use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to repay a portion of their debts, but may not use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe out their debts altogether.

However, having to take the Chapter 7 means test doesn’t mean that you must be penniless in order to use Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can earn significant monthly income and still qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have a lot of expenses, such as a high mortgage payment. Read on to determine if you can pass the means test and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How Does the Chapter 7 Means Test Work?

The means test was designed to limit the use of Chapter 7 bankruptcy to those who truly can’t pay their debts. It does this by deducting specific monthly expenses from your “current monthly income” (your average income over the six calendar months before you file for bankruptcy) to arrive at your monthly “disposable income.” The higher your disposable income, the more likely you won’t be allowed to use Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (Learn more about calculating your current monthly income for bankruptcy purposes.)

Only bankruptcy filers with primarily consumer debts, not business debts, need to take the means test. To take the means test, you must first determine whether your income is more or less than the median income in your state. If you earn more than the median, you must figure out whether you would have enough left over, after subtracting certain expenses, to repay some of your debt.

Is Your Income More Than the Median

The first step is simple: If your current monthly income is less than the median income for a household of your size in your state, you pass. Period. You’re done. You do not need to complete the rest of the means test. You can file for Chapter 7.

Do You Have Enough Disposable Income to Repay Some Debts?

For those whose household income exceeds the state median, the means test computations get significantly more complex. You must determine whether you have enough income left over (called “disposable income”), after paying your “allowed” monthly expenses, to pay off at least a portion of your unsecured debts (such as credit card bills). If your disposable income adds up to more than a certain amount, you fail the means test and cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Median income levels vary by state and household size, and each county and metropolitan region has different allowed amounts for categories of expenses: basic necessities, housing, and transportation. But don’t worry: You can get through the math with the help of an online calculator.

Use a Chapter 7 Means Test Online Calculator

If you’re looking for an easy way to determine your eligibility under the Chapter 7 means test, visit www.legalconsumer.com and use its online bankruptcy means test calculator. Once you enter your zip code, the calculator uses the applicable income and expense standards for your state, county, and region to determine your eligibility.

You’ll have to supply some income and expense information, but the calculator will save you the trouble of looking up income and expense figures for your area and doing the math. And, if you decide to file for Chapter7 bankruptcy, you can use these figures on your official paperwork (the calculator closely follows the format of the means test form, Official Form 22A, that you must complete when you file for bankruptcy).

If You Pass the Chapter 7 Means Test

Just because you qualify under the means test does not necessarily mean you should file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy — merely that you can. Any decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be made only after considering alternatives and other factors discussed in previous blogs.  

If You Don’t Pass the Chapter 7 Means Test

If you don’t pass the means test, you are limited to using Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which requires you to make monthly payments over a three- to five-year period according to a strict budget monitored by the court. Most people who file for bankruptcy prefer Chapter 7, which requires no repayment. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is still the best way to handle specific types of problems, like curing a default on a mortgage. But before you settle on Chapter 13 bankruptcy, be sure to talk to a lawyer. With expert legal advice, you may find that you are able to pass the means test after all.

 
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