There’s No Shame in Asking for Help When Filing for Bankruptcy | Mankato, MN

Discussing money can be uncomfortable, so much that it’s often a taboo subject at social gatherings or holiday parties. When it comes to filing for bankruptcy in the Mankato and southeastern Minnesota area, some people may feel embarrassed or ashamed, perhaps because they believe filing for bankruptcy is an uncomfortable public admission of a difficult financial situation.

Fortunately, a recent study shows that these embarrassed individuals are in the minority. Only about one quarter of Americans believe that shame is a major disadvantage of filing for bankruptcy, which is likely because bankruptcy has become quite common within American households:

  • 24% of households have considered filing for bankruptcy
  • 18% of households have filed for bankruptcy
  • 32% of households with children under 18 have considered filing for bankruptcy
  • 25% of households with children under 18 have filed for bankruptcy

Now that bankruptcy has become a reality for more households, there are other disadvantages that outweigh embarrassment when filing. Rather than considering shame, Americans now tend to feel more concerned about fiscal, credit-based matters, such as their credit score or relationships with businesses.

Bankruptcy is not something to feel ashamed about and, fortunately, more than half of Americans agree. Fifty-five percent of those interviewed said that a major advantage of bankruptcy is getting a fresh start. Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision and process, but receiving another chance at financial success is certainly an advantage.

Bankruptcy has become a personal subject for nearly one of four adults within the United States. With that statistic in mind, it’s important to find a bankruptcy specialist that appreciates your financial needs. At Behm Law Group, Ltd, we understand the importance of a fresh financial start in the Mankato and southeastern Minnesota area.

Three quarters of Americans agree—there’s no shame in asking for financial help. Call Behm Law Group Ltd. today.

Don’t Commit Bankruptcy Fraud

Not committing bankruptcy fraud seems like a no-brainer to most people, and Behm Law Group always counsel their clients to be honest and transparent when filing for bankruptcy in Mankato MN. But some people think that they are above the rules or can get away with the lies, and bankruptcy fraud does happen. Just the other week the Minneapolis Star Tribune, published an article about a jewelry store owner who had filed for bankruptcy and claimed that his jewelry had been sold, dismantled, or melted down. A federal bankruptcy judge claimed the store owner owed $253,000 but his creditors only received $17,500.

A Minneapolis attorney, Nauni Jo Manty, was appointed as a trustee in this case. It took four years of dogged effort on her part between both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Finally, last month, Rohricht pleaded guilty to hiding bankruptcy assets and is currently awaiting sentencing.

The moral to this story is if you think lies and complexity will thwart your creditors, guess again. If you read the entire article, you’ll be able to appreciate how much determination it took to render justice.

If you think back to when you were owed money, did you simply shrug your shoulders when it wasn’t repaid on time? Or, did you relentlessly pursue what was owed?

We guess that if you had any difficulty whatsoever, you remember the person who owed you, the amount of money owed, and the circumstances very well. In fact, your memory probably was so good that you relayed your predicament to any and all who would listen especially if you were repaid late or never at all.

The same can be said for creditors. They provided a product or service to you on good faith and expect to be paid accordingly. If you lie or hide assets during a bankruptcy proceeding, it may take some time, but justice will be served in the Mankato, MN area, too.

There’s one more thing you may want to note that’s even more valuable than any of your assets. What about your reputation? It can take many years to repair that. In some cases, maybe never.

While there can be legitimate reasons for filing bankruptcy, don’t do so under a false pretense. Creditors can be very observant. So can trustees.

To learn how to file for bankruptcy legitimately, consult the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. in the southeastern Minnesota area.

Ask Behm Law Group: Can You Talk Your Mankato Business Into Bankruptcy?

Can a business owner lose everything because of what they said? Well, business mogul and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump recently came under fire for some of his remarks regarding Mexicans and others who cross the U. S. border illegally. While this is a far cry from the bankruptcy cases Behm Law Group typically handles, let’s take a look at whether freely expressing your views could land your Mankato, MN business in bankruptcy.

The Trump Situation

Univision had already severed its contract with Donald Trump when he declared that he couldn’t continue his tv show, The Celebrity Apprentice, because of his candidacy. Nonetheless, NBC blasted Trump for his comments regarding Mexicans as well. Some wonder if the rebuke was because NBC would lose money by not continuing that show.

Other companies and persons who currently do business with Donald Trump are reconsidering their alliance with him. For instance, Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts, the two co-hosts of a pageant produced by Trump, will not participate in the next pageant.

Despite heavy criticism and loss of business partners, Trump remains steadfast in the accuracy of his comments, citing both truth and free speech.

Could It Happen to You?

Obviously, Donald Trump is a big celebrity personality and a billionaire to boot, so losing the revenue stream from his television show and a few business partners isn’t going to force him into bankruptcy. But what if you have far less money in reserve and really depends on a steady stream of customers for your small business to make a profit?

The short answer is yes, but it’s not truly because of what you actually said. Everyone is able to say whatever they please through the right of free speech. However, the 1st Amendment does not protect against others reacting negatively to your views. When consumers don’t like the views a business owner holds, they will often boycott that particular store or service. Furthermore, they will probably tell their friends and family to avoid shopping at that business as well which means you could lose even more revenue and gain an unfavorable reputation that could be hard to shake.

In the 21st century, word of mouth is still critical to business success and your customers show approval or disapproval with the ways they spend their money. So while you have the right to say whatever you want, as a business owner you might want to be careful. An off-color comment could potentially lead to a domino effect that ends in bankruptcy.

A situation like this certainly be one of the most interesting set of circumstances Behm Law Group Ltd has come across in our years of practicing bankruptcy law. But whether a comment you’ve said has cast a negative cloud over your business or you’re facing more mundane financial problems, contact Behm Law Group when you need to file for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

Dealing Emotionally With the Decision to File for Bankruptcy in the Mankato Area

When times are bad and the thought of bankruptcy is on your mind, it can be difficult to cope emotionally with those feelings of failure and shame. Whether you or your spouse have lost a job or suffered some other catastrophe, call Behm Law Group, Ltd if you are in the Albert Lea and Mankato areas and contemplating bankruptcy. We understand that bankruptcy is a hard choice, but often the choice that is in your best interest.

Regardless of why you need to declare bankruptcy, here are some steps you can take to move on toward a brighter future:

1) Gather a support group for yourself, if you don’t already have one. It can be a relief to share your troubles with those who care about you and your well-being. A supportive group of friends and family can also help you think about other things in life and help you keep your bankruptcy in perspective.

2) Set goals for yourself, and stick to achieving them. Start with small steps first. When you’re ready, then begin on the larger goals. These goals can be anything from organizing your finances to applying for a new job or getting an exercise routine.

3) Gain some insight by reading books on psychology or strategies for success. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey as well as Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman come to mind and both are widely available in public libraries.

4) Find your strengths and areas for self-improvement—especially if you are looking for a new job. Make a list of the skills you do have and strive to improve any skills you are missing. If you are unsure of your strengths, try taking a personality or job skills assessment test. These tools can highlight some skills you didn’t know you possessed and give you direction toward a new career path.

5) Think of some fun, creative endeavors you can do to lower your stress level. Declaring bankruptcy can alleviate some of the stress from dealing with creditors all the time but can also cause more anxiety as you worry about your financial future. Some inexpensive ideas to help you de-stress include hiking or having a game night with friends.

Following these tips can help you feel more positive about your decision to declare bankruptcy and become confident that you can make a better life for yourself. Bankruptcy is just a bump in the road and the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd, can help you get up and over that bump because bankruptcy is our specialty. Consult with Behm Law Group, Ltd. today.

Know Your Business Partners in Mankato, Minnesota

How well do you know anyone? Really. Can you honestly say you know someone so well you can predict what he or she will do in any given business situation? If this were the case, there would be fewer breakups in the business world. Even if you did understand another well, this doesn’t mean one of you wouldn’t change as other events unfolded. If you want to counter potentially bad business relationships, the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd., recommend you consider the following steps in the Mankato area:

1) Do a background check on any potential business partners. Your due diligence in this area could avert a Bernie Madoff catastrophe.

2) Have an attorney review any legal documents you use in your business. This review should include any agreements or contracts with another business party.

3) Agree on a code of conduct. How should discrepancies or conflicts be handled? Put this agreement in writing.

4) Determine the areas of responsibility for each party. What happens when one person goes on vacation? What happens when one party interferes in the duties of the other? What happens as new areas of responsibility emerge as the business evolves?

5) What if one party is compromised in any way, legally or ethically? Be prepared to know what you would do in this case.

These five steps should allow you to forge a more meaningful business relationship. At times, it may be best to reassess some of these or other areas as your business develops.

Keep in mind that people can change. Who you thought was a person of sound character may change and almost devastate the business. Installing a system of checks and balances can help to thwart any intentions of wayward souls.

Although it may seem daunting at first, documentation is your friend. It provides clarity and structure to an otherwise fluid relationship. It can minimize misunderstanding and thwart ill intentions.

Let’s face it. If you don’t strive to make your business relationships concrete in the Mankato, Albert Lea, and Owatonna areas, one day you may be looking at bankruptcy because of something your business partner did.

If you find yourself having to file for bankruptcy, or you want to discuss your options should this occur, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. in the Mankato, Minnesota area.

How Do You Insure Against Bankruptcy in the Mankato Area?

Recently, an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia. It was reportedly going twice the posted speed limit around a curve. Several people were injured. The driver reportedly couldn’t remember anything. If you owned Amtrak, what would you do? Would your insurance cover any potential lawsuits? Maybe you’re not concerned in the Mankato, MN area because you don’t think any comparable accident would happen here. But then again, if it did, you’d want to contact Behm Law Group, Ltd., the bankruptcy specialist attorneys.

Whether it’s a train accident or some other accident, sometimes there’s negligence involved, sometimes not. You hope your insurance would cover any calamities. But, does it? the insurance limit you choose can be a matter of speculation. How do you know when you’ve reached a sufficient amount? You can talk to your insurance agent about that.

If you’re wondering about any potential liability on your part, include the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. in your discussion. Because, if a catastrophic accident does occur, it would be helpful to know your options before disaster strikes. Afterward, you’ll be overcome with emotion and not as likely to be able to deal with the situation logically.

While Mankato, Albert Lea, and Owatonna are smaller communities, even a small accident could become catastrophic for a business. As your business evolves, consider updating the insurance requirements.

Instruct your employees in proper safety procedures. Make sure they have adequate rest, especially if they work in a critical area. Have a regular maintenance check-up schedule for your equipment.

If you’ve covered all the aspects of safety first, that will work to your advantage later on if you ever do have a serious accident. If you find yourself contemplating filing for bankruptcy, consult with the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. to discuss your options.

What does a Municipal Bankruptcy Mean?

When it comes to money, emotion can wreak havoc in our lives. A relative or friend uses a doleful expression to request a “loan” to stay out of dire circumstances. After a while, these “loan” requests become more frequent. Now that you’ve started a precedent, how do you stop? This same dilemma can happen with Minnesota cities just like Mankato, Owatonna, and Albert Lea. The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. want to illustrate a case in point.

It used to be that cities which experienced financial difficulty simply increased taxes. Then came The Depression of the 1930s. This method no longer worked.

Subsequently, a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy law was created. Only about half of the states in the U.S. incorporated this law into their systems according to an article by Adrian Shirk.

Since 2008, over 50 cities have filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy; only 13 successfully. By far the largest municipal bankruptcy in the U.S. is Detroit, Michigan.

Cited Reasons for Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. To many, this result was inevitable. After reviewing Detroit’s financial history since the 1950s, reporters Nathan Bomey and John Gallagher concluded that time and time again, city leaders either refused or failed to enact tough decisions that could have staved off financial collapse.

They cited these factors as having the greatest impact on Detroit’s bankruptcy filing:

  • mass departure of city residents
  • sharply decreasing tax revenues
  • soaring home abandonment
  • billion-dollar borrowing by city leaders
  • creation of new taxes
  • failure to reduce expenses when necessary
  • large bonuses given to workers and retirees
  • failure to reduce health care benefits

All of these factors over many, many years spelled financial disaster. It seems some leaders never want to play the bad guy. In so doing, they become the bad guy anyway.

Let us explain. When people encounter difficult situations, your heart may go out to them. But, when it comes to money, a leader has to weigh the considerations of all residents. It’s not about making people happy in the short term by giving them money. It’s about how to effectively use taxpayer money to achieve the best, long-term results. This takes thorough planning, discipline, transparency, and effective communication.

A city needs to be run like a business. Leaders have to pay for street lighting, signs, police, fire, utilities, courthouses, public schools, public hospitals, parks, other public properties, and municipal salaries, benefits, and pensions.

In fact, the top two sources of municipal debt are the employee salaries and benefits of both current and retired employees.

Just like in a personal household or in another business, when income declines and expenses stay the same or increase, adjustments need to be made to stay out of debt. In a city’s case, city services suffer first. Maintenance items get postponed. Residents have to endure the new normal. City morale tanks.

Sometimes, the state offers to provide money in exchange for taking more control over the city’s budget.

Some Decisions Detroit Made After Bankruptcy

In Britain, if a city were to file for bankruptcy, everything would be liquidated. In the U.S., the counterparties have to stay as long as they are assured their debts will be paid.

This rule was fortunate for Detroit. Creditors eyed the 57,604 piece collection of artwork in the city-owned Detroit Institute of Art. Instead of auctioning everything off and losing part of the city’s culture, the collection was divested to a series of charitable trusts. For the next 20 years, the Detroit Institute of Art “committed to contribute $100 million to the city’s recovery.”

In addition, Detroit agreed to:

  • restructuring labor union pensions
  • utility shut-offs
  • state loans

According to the Michigan Constitution, pensions can’t be cut; however, Chapter 9 bankruptcy takes precedence over this rule.

While Detroit had more than 100,000 creditors, far more than you would ever likely have, we can still learn from Detroit’s predicament.

Steps to Avoid Bankruptcy

Work to keep income greater than expenses. If circumstances change, drill down to discover the root cause, and act accordingly. Do not react emotionally or let your emotions dictate how to spend your money. At times, that can be easier said than done.

Have a financial plan. Follow your plan. Scrutinize changes. Follow up with careful decision making. Even with that, if you ever have questions about bankruptcy in Mankato, Albert Lea, or Owatonna, MN, consult the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd.

Recovering Tuition in Bankruptcy in Mankato, Minnesota

For parents in and around Mankato, MN, imagine your sons and daughters going to college. Emotions overflow. A new adventure awaits. All that hard-earned money is finally producing more educated citizens. Now you have the time to pursue other interests. Behm Law Group, Ltd. congratulates you on this new chapter in your life.

Let’s fast forward a couple of years. Let’s say you’ve incurred a large amount of debt. You worry. Your financial decisions don’t seem to bring you much income, so you file for bankruptcy. At least your children’s futures will be better, you think. They’re already well on their way to achieving degrees.

There’s one slight hiccup the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. want you to be aware of. When someone files for bankruptcy, the court normally appoints a trustee. What do you think that trustee’s job is? It’s not to safeguard your money. Rather, it’s to help creditors recoup as much money as they can.

In fact, court-appointed trustees can review payments made 4-6 years prior to the bankruptcy in most states. If there doesn’t appear to be a viable need for that spent money, it can be re-taken by the trustees. Essentially, the end result would be as if you never spent the money in the first place.

Whoa, you exclaim! How could that affect you? Remember that tuition you paid? You may view that expense as essential and beneficial. Of course, your children can prove the education made their lives better. Or, can they?

Actually, in many cases, a court-appointed trustee can and has recovered spent tuition monies. Now you’re wondering what your rights are. We’re glad you asked.

Contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. for your bankruptcy needs in the Mankato, Minnesota area. Find out what trustees can and can’t do in your situation. Find out how recovered tuition would impact your child’s education. Get some answers and some peace of mind.

Heirlooms & Bankruptcy in Mankato, Minnesota

You might think all you need is more money. Then you would never have to worry about bankruptcy. You could buy all sorts of expensive items and live in luxury. Certainly, it’s possible to live luxuriously without declaring bankruptcy. It’s possible to live modestly without declaring bankruptcy, too. Either way, you’re likely to have some family heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations. If you declare bankruptcy, can you keep those heirlooms? Or, would you have to give them up to pay creditors? The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. declare that it depends. Whether you live in Mankato, Faribault, Albert Lea, or Owatonna, MN, circumstances can differ between cases

If you ever find yourself in a financial bind, creditors will be looking at your assets and nipping at your heels for any way they can collect on their money. They have to follow rules in this process, however.

If you are contemplating bankruptcy now or in the future, please seek legal advice first. Behm Law Group, Ltd. specializes in bankruptcy and can help you work with creditors. We can inform you of your rights under bankruptcy law and what you can and cannot do. We can clarify future expectations. We can help you in southeastern Minnesota with a professional and courteous manner.

Whenever someone experiences a loss on TV due to a natural disaster of some sort, he or she inevitably expresses thankfulness for surviving and a will to re-build, but regret at having lost items of sentimental value. Family heirlooms have sentimental value.

It can take many years to acquire them. The memories remain priceless. Before you even consider relinquishing those treasures during a bankruptcy, let us review your options with you at Behm Law Group, Ltd.

It’s possible to re-build and to start over. It’s possible to buy new things. In a disaster it’s not always possible to keep remnants of family history. Let the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. work with you in Mankato to make sure any bankruptcy you encounter doesn’t become a disaster. Contact us today.

Rebuilding After A Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

For business owners in Mankato, Albert Lea, Owatonna and Faribault, MN, are you worried about what protesters could do in your area? We have seen the mayhem and destruction caused by protesters in larger cities across the country for some time now. Who’s to say where this chaos will move to next? If such an event happened to you, should you rebuild after declaring bankruptcy? Behm Law Group, Ltd. believes these are all good questions. Planning never hurt anyone. Failing to plan has.

We’re assuming that an act of destruction to your business would cause you to declare bankruptcy. Such may not be the case, especially if you have adequate insurance. The question of rebuilding remains either way.

You could decide that protests occur in enough areas and it would be difficult to escape them. You’ll rebuild and take the chance nothing bad will happen again. Or, maybe you were thinking about retirement. The insurance settlement would help you to live a life of peaceful enjoyment.

There is another option you may not have considered. Many people dream of doing something else. Are you one of these people? You have made a decent living toiling away at your business in Mankato, Albert Lea or Owatonna, but your soul doesn’t feel complete. Then bankruptcy comes along. You didn’t want this. You certainly wouldn’t recommend it. But, in this case, maybe it makes sense for you.

Perhaps bankruptcy would close one chapter, so you could start the next. Perhaps you could now pursue another hobby or interest with gusto and make it into a new business venture. You know you have the entrepreneurial skill set. You know you have the drive. Now you also have the passion.

Maybe you’re not worried about protests reaching your city. That doesn’t mean some other circumstance wouldn’t result in the same outcome.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. want you to dream big. What do you really want to do when you grow up? You could define your next steps in your plan.

You might decide you don’t want to wait for bankruptcy. You want to start now with your new business idea. Why not?

With any business, you have to expect the best, but plan for the worst. Include Behm Law Group, Ltd. in your planning. If nothing else, you will have the peace of mind of knowing what your next steps would be. Contact us today.