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File Your Bankruptcy Remotely, From Home

** We are able to handle all cases remotely and telephonically, so even if you are home quarantined, we can still represent you fully throughout the bankruptcy process **This is some text! In this most turbulent of times, we are here for you, even… Continue Reading “File Your Bankruptcy Remotely, From Home”

IRS: Offer In Compromise

Offer In Compromise – Doubt as to Collectibility There are three types of Offer In Compromise (OIC). The most commonly utilized OIC is the “Offer In Compromise, Doubt as to Collectibility,” or OIC-DATC. This OIC is geared towards those individuals who are unable to… Continue Reading “IRS: Offer In Compromise”

Can criminal restitution be discharged in bankruptcy?

Unfortunately no, criminal restitution cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. However, the automatic stay will prevent any creditor or court from forcing a payment while your bankruptcy is pending. This could last up to 5 years. The Automatic Stay protects clients from any collection efforts,… Continue Reading “Can criminal restitution be discharged in bankruptcy?”

Inheritances in Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee looks to the timing of the inheritance. If the inheritance was before filing, any amount on hand at the time of filing will become part of the estate. When it becomes part of the estate,… Continue Reading “Inheritances in Bankruptcy”

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Liquidation Analysis

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, if you are unable to exempt all of your assets, you will need to perform a liquidation analysis (LA).  The purpose of a liquidation analysis is to ensure the general unsecured creditors are receiving at least the amount they… Continue Reading “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Liquidation Analysis”

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Save the Home

When an individual falls behind on their mortgage, they have the benefit of filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to prevent a foreclosure. A unique feature of a Chapter 13 bankruptcies is that junior mortgages, a second or third mortgage, can be… Continue Reading “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Save the Home”

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: What is a Cramdown?

 A “cramdown” essentially reduces the principal balance of a secured debt from the outstanding loan amount down to the Fair Market Value. This is most often used with car loans, mobile home loans, household goods, and other personal property in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.… Continue Reading “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: What is a Cramdown?”

Why file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy when you qualify for Chapter 7?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy, which in essence wipes out most of an individual’s general unsecured debts (i.e., credit card and medical bills) without a need to pay the balances through a repayment plan.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a bankruptcy… Continue Reading “Why file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy when you qualify for Chapter 7?”

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Examples of Disposable Income

Disposable Income in the bankruptcy world will be whatever is left over after taxes, insurance, and any necessary household expenses. This disposable income must then be turned over to the Chapter 13 trustee. However, there are additional forms of income that can come into… Continue Reading “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Examples of Disposable Income”

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Tax Refunds?

Short answer, yes, as long as the paperwork is handled correctly. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, tax refunds are treated as disposable income, and as stated in other articles, by default all disposable income is to be turned over to the trustee. However, the… Continue Reading “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Tax Refunds?”

Grand Rapids Bankruptcy Attorney – Bankruptcy’s Effects On Credit

A common fear among individuals considering bankruptcy, is what the bankruptcy will do to their credit record and how long they will be affected.  It is true that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, this notation on your credit report will last for ten… Continue Reading “Grand Rapids Bankruptcy Attorney – Bankruptcy’s Effects On Credit”

Bankruptcy: Debt owed to the unemployment agency?

If you owed money to the Michigan Unemployment Agency, you might want to give my office a call. First off, if a determination was made between Oct. 1, 2013, and Aug. 7, 2015 that you owe for back unemployment compensation, Michigan will no longer attempt… Continue Reading “Bankruptcy: Debt owed to the unemployment agency?”

Bankruptcy: My mother has is mentally incapacitated, can she still file for bankruptcy? Yes.

It is possible for there to be a situation where a parent needs to file for bankruptcy, but has severe dementia, and therefore mentally incapacitated. Dementia can come on gradually, limiting their ability to make wise financial decisions.  By the time you realize their mental health… Continue Reading “Bankruptcy: My mother has is mentally incapacitated, can she still file for bankruptcy? Yes.”

Mobile Home in Bankruptcy? What are the benefits? A LOT!

If you currently have a loan for a mobile home, there is a chance you are paying a high interest rate for for a loan where you owe significantly more than what the home is worth. If that is the case, then I want… Continue Reading “Mobile Home in Bankruptcy? What are the benefits? A LOT!”

How Often Can I File For Bankruptcy?

The answer really depends on which Chapter of Bankruptcy you previously filed (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13), and which Chapter you wish to file. Additionally, these restrictions only apply if you received a discharge in your previous filing. Ch 13 -> Ch 13: You… Continue Reading “How Often Can I File For Bankruptcy?”

Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Home?

Some people think that if you file for bankruptcy that you will lose your home. This is not the case in 99.9% of filings. If you have less than $11,850 in equity in your home, you can keep your home, and your other assets… Continue Reading “Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Home?”

Wildcard Exemption

As discussed in a prior article, think of an exemption as a credit you can use to buy back your property. If you have a loan or lien on a piece of property, then you only need to use your credits to buy back… Continue Reading “Wildcard Exemption”

Protecting an Education 529 Plan in Bankruptcy

Qualified state tuition programs, also known as “529 plans,” are growing in popularity as a way to save for your child’s future education.  Given the rising costs of college, having this plan waiting for your children can be one of the best gifts that you can… Continue Reading “Protecting an Education 529 Plan in Bankruptcy”

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy with my spouse?

You could receive Double Exemptions: If you live in a state that allows you to use federal bankruptcy exemptions, you can double your property exemptions when you file with your spouse. (If your state doesn’t allow federal exemptions, you might want to seek the… Continue Reading “What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy with my spouse?”

Is the Trustee a friend or a foe?

Trustees are neutral. They are supposed to be unbiased in their work, solely ensuring that the bankruptcy estate is maintained and in order. However, depending on the situation, they may seem to be a friend or a foe. Take for example, a case of… Continue Reading “Is the Trustee a friend or a foe?”

Can a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy status stop my foreclosure?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cannot permanently stop your foreclosure, but it is helpful in other ways that can help you manage a foreclosure you are facing. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can delay your foreclosure – When you file for bankruptcy you gain an automatic stay. Fortunately,… Continue Reading “Can a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy status stop my foreclosure?”

Bankruptcy: My spouse doesn’t want to file, is that okay? Yes.

One spouse may file a bankruptcy with or without their spouse. How much the the non-filing spouse (NFS) is involved, depends on the circumstances. NFS is Living in the Home: Under this scenario, when the means test is completed, we must use both spouses’… Continue Reading “Bankruptcy: My spouse doesn’t want to file, is that okay? Yes.”

Can I prevent an eviction by filing for Bankruptcy? Yes

If you file for bankruptcy BEFORE your landlord has a Judgment For Possession, the Automatic Stay triggers protection from an unwanted eviction. At this point, your landlord would be required to file a Motion to Lift Stay in order to proceed with the eviction… Continue Reading “Can I prevent an eviction by filing for Bankruptcy? Yes”

Automatic Stay: How long does it last?

When determining how long the automatic stay will last, the first thing that needs to be determined is whether a prior bankruptcy case was dismissed in the year before the filing of the current bankruptcy. 1. If no case was dismissed in the year prior, the… Continue Reading “Automatic Stay: How long does it last?”

Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Tax Refund? Yes!

Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Tax Refund? Yes! A question often asked is whether they can keep their tax refund. The potential client heard stories from others that by filing bankruptcy you forfeit your tax refund to the court, or trustee. That is simply not… Continue Reading “Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Tax Refund? Yes!”

Bankruptcy: Gave an automobile away to a family member or friend?

We often have potential clients come to our office, and after going through their circumstances we come to realize they transfer an automobile to a family member.  At the time of the transfer there were no intentions of committing a future bankruptcy fraud, however… Continue Reading “Bankruptcy: Gave an automobile away to a family member or friend?”

Meeting of Creditors (341-Hearing)

About 4-5 days after your bankruptcy petition as been filed, you (and the creditors you list in your bankruptcy papers) will receive a notification that a “meeting of creditors” has been set. The assigned bankruptcy trustee leads the hearing and, after swearing you in, will… Continue Reading “Meeting of Creditors (341-Hearing)”

Get Rid of Your Second Mortgage

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (also known as Repayment Plan) can remove a second mortgage from your home.  If the first mortgage is more than the value of your home, a Chapter 13 Repayment Plan will let you pay your second mortgage or home equity… Continue Reading “Get Rid of Your Second Mortgage”

Does my Bankruptcy become Public?

No. Although when you file for Bankruptcy it is a “public record,” it is not published in the local paper. Unlike a foreclosure, which would be published in the Grand Rapids or other local newspaper, this does not happen in a Bankruptcy. For that… Continue Reading “Does my Bankruptcy become Public?”

Get Your Car Back With A Bankruptcy

In a ruling that agrees with most other courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a creditor who repossesses a car or truck must return it if the owner files chapter 13 before it is sold. If you car was… Continue Reading “Get Your Car Back With A Bankruptcy”

Chapter 13 Plan Payment

Pursuant to the bankruptcy code, the debtor must commence making payments pursuant to their plan within 30 days after their petition is filed. Payments to the trustee must be retained by the trustee until the plan is confirmed or denied. If the plan is… Continue Reading “Chapter 13 Plan Payment”

Retaining Nonexempt Property in Chapter 7 Cases

In consumer chapter 7 bankruptcies, although the trustee pretty clearly has a right to take possession of totally nonexempt property prior to the 341 meeting of creditors, this rarely occurs. These non-exempt issues can be resolved in one of three fashions.: (1) Turn the… Continue Reading “Retaining Nonexempt Property in Chapter 7 Cases”

Can I keep my 401(k) if I file for bankruptcy? Yes.

When you file for bankruptcy you are given exemptions that you may use to protect your property. Some exemptions are limited, such as those used to protect your automobile and household goods, and some are unlimited, such as the exemptions you receive to protect… Continue Reading “Can I keep my 401(k) if I file for bankruptcy? Yes.”

Can I Discharge Michigan Driver’s Responsibility Fees with Bankruptcy? Yes.

In this attorney’s opinion, driver’s responsibility fees only compounds our economic problems and do not “encourage” drivers to drive more responsibly. Fortunately, Michigan driver’s responsibility fees are generally dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as well as Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Criminal penalties are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. However,… Continue Reading “Can I Discharge Michigan Driver’s Responsibility Fees with Bankruptcy? Yes.”

How To Rebuild Your Credit

Looking to build or rebuild your credit? You should consider a Secured-CD Loan. Here is how it works: Bank gives you a loan for $1,000.00. That $1,000.00 immediately goes into a CD. That loan is then secured by the CD. You pay $85.00 a… Continue Reading “How To Rebuild Your Credit”

Means Test – Chapter 7 Qualification

To qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you must past the “means test.” To determine whether one passes the means test, and therefore qualifies for a Chapter 7, their household income must first be calculated. To calculate, you must take the previous 6 full months… Continue Reading “Means Test – Chapter 7 Qualification”

Paying Preferred Creditors

Clients may wish to delay a bankruptcy until after they have paid creditors whose claims they do not want to see discharged, for example friends or grantors of credit cards they hope to keep.  Such payments, if over $600 and within the applicable preference… Continue Reading “Paying Preferred Creditors”

Secured v. Unsecured Debt

Debt is typically separated into one of two categories — secured or unsecured. The main difference is that a secured loan contains collateral as a form of security for the creditor. If you do not pay off your debt, the creditor can take the… Continue Reading “Secured v. Unsecured Debt”

Automatic Stay: What does it do?

The automatic stay is an injunction against against the continuance of any legal action against a debtor or the debtor’s property. 11 U.S.C. 362. The automatic stay protects a debtor from harassing collection calls, evictions, repossessions, foreclosure sales, and garnishment of wages.  The protection… Continue Reading “Automatic Stay: What does it do?”

Garnishments: Will they stop and can I get my money back?

When a person files for bankruptcy, they are immediately extended a number of protections designed to protect them from further actions by creditors. The very minute a bankruptcy has been filed, creditors can no longer to seek collection of the debts. This means any… Continue Reading “Garnishments: Will they stop and can I get my money back?”


Many people considering bankruptcy live with the fear of losing all of their property. However, that is not the case. And more often than not, they will not lose anything at all. This is all due to “exemptions.”  Think of an exemption as a… Continue Reading “Exemptions”

Experienced Grand Rapids Bankruptcy Lawyer

We understand that our clients come to us in a time of need. Many suffer from financial hardship, emotional distress and difficulties in their lives that affect their families. Mr. Russell has years of extensive experience in bankruptcy, family law and estate planning where… Continue Reading “Experienced Grand Rapids Bankruptcy Lawyer”

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