Avoiding Skeleton Petitions in the Mankato Minnesota Area

One dark, stormy night in the Mankato, Minnesota area, Kevin sat alone in his den. He was looking through bank statements, wondering how he’d be able to cover both his medical bills and his son’s college tuition for the rest of the year.

Lightning flashed in the distance. Kevin started, looking from the dark window towards the ticking cat-eye clock on the kitchen wall. The time had come. He was prepared to file his skeleton petition for bankruptcy.

At this point in the story, you should be screaming, “Stop, Kevin! Don’t do it!” Kevin is about to make a mistake. Filing a skeleton petition for bankruptcy is dangerous, and almost always inadvisable.

So, how can you become a hero in your own scary story? Here are three things to do in order to avoid skeleton petitions:

  1. Do your research: What, exactly, is a skeleton petition? These petitions, often referred to as “skeletons” or “ghosts,” are filed in bankruptcy court with minimal information, in order to avoid foreclosure. These documents are usually three or four pages long, whereas typical petitions are twenty to thirty pages long.
  2. Do find a professional attorney: Folks usually don’t file a skeleton petition if they’re working with a trained, professional bankruptcy attorney. If you are advised to file a skeleton petition, it’s a sign that your attorney is either inexperienced or unprofessional.
  3. Do go through the process: Often, people file skeleton petitions in order to avoid the entire bankruptcy process or to delay foreclosure. However, skeleton cases are typically dismissed. This means that you’ll need to file again, and ultimately, you’ll need to go through the traditional bankruptcy procedure within a court.

If you live in the Mankato, Minnesota area, don’t make Kevin’s mistakes. You can avoid skeleton petitions, and as a result, your scary story might not be so scary after all.

In fact, with the help of the professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd., it could be a story with a very happy ending. So take control of your plotline; contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today!

Honestly Filing for Bankruptcy in the Mankato, Minnesota Area

This time of year, costumes, masks, and spooky makeup line the shelves of Mankato, Minnesota area department stores, beckoning folks to come along and alter their appearances. Putting on a costume or disguise can be exciting, especially for partygoers and trick-or-treaters on this one night each year. But what about the other 364 days?

Telling the truth, rather than hiding behind a costume or mask, is vitally important to a bankruptcy filing. As an example, let’s take a look at Abby Lee Miller from the popular television show Dance Moms, who came under investigation this week for fraud.

Although you may have heard about this infamous bankruptcy case over the past few days, let’s take a deeper look at Miller’s case to examine the benefits of a truthful bankruptcy filing:

  • The Disguise: Miller filed for bankruptcy with over $300,000 in debt. At the time, she was also making money from the television show Dance Moms, but failed to disclose this income to the judge.
  • The Reveal: A few years later, the judge on this case happened to be channel surfing when he came across Miller’s television show. He took another look at her case and quickly realized that she had been making significant income during the time of her bankruptcy filing.
  • The Truth: Over the past few years, Miller concealed more than $700,000 in income, all made from her television show.
  • The Consequences: Miller may spend five years in prison and receive a fine of approximately $250,000 for each count of fraud she pleads guilty to.
  • The Lesson: Always, always, always be honest with your bankruptcy filing. Although it may seem tempting to disguise income and hide the truth, the consequences far outweigh the short-term benefits!

Folks in the Mankato, Minnesota area, it’s always best to save the disguises, masks, and costumes for Halloween. When it comes to your bankruptcy filing, opt for honesty instead. The professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd. can help, and that’s the truth. Contact them today.

Avoiding Zombie Foreclosure & Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

Foreclosure can make any house feel haunted in the Mankato, MN area, but there’s a certain type of foreclosure that’s especially chilling: zombie foreclosure. Although this type of foreclosure doesn’t include actual moaning zombies crawling down the street, it still feels scary to homeowners.

Just as in regular foreclosure, zombie foreclosure requires a certain timeline, especially in relation to bankruptcy. If you declare bankruptcy, your mortgage debt may be discharged to you personally (i.e. you are no longer personally responsible for it) but transfer of the property title and deed is done solely by the bank that controls your mortgage. Sometimes a bank will decide not to finish the foreclosure on the property and leave the title in your name, even though you believe you surrendered your house when you filed for bankruptcy. Thus a zombie foreclosure can wrack up numerous debts and tax expenses for homeowners if they are not careful, which can result in both financial troubles and, ultimately worsen your financial prospects with bankruptcy.

Fortunately, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. can give you perspective on bankruptcy and zombie foreclosures. Follow these simple rules and you’ll easily survive zombie foreclosure and negotiate bankruptcy no matter how terrifying it may seem:

  • Rule #1: Know your enemy – Zombie foreclosure occurs after a homeowner has moved out of a foreclosed property too quickly. If the bank does not claim the property, the property deed remains in the homeowner’s name. This can also be known as a “zombie title” or a “zombie property.”
  • Rule #2: Know your area – There are a few states with especially heightened numbers of zombie titles. These states include Florida, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey because they have especially lengthy foreclosure processes, meaning homes can sit vacant for long periods of time. For the record, states with lower numbers include California, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington.
  • Rule #3: Know the risks – Homeowners remain responsible for zombie titles if they are not transferred to the bank. As a result, homeowners become responsible for a great deal of debt and expense, which may ultimately lead to a bankruptcy filing in addition to foreclosure. Therefore, before moving out of the house and filing bankruptcy, it’s important for homeowners to know the property title has been transferred.
  • Rule #4: Know the solutions – Before moving out of a foreclosed home, be sure to check with the county recorder’s office to ensure the title has been transferred. If it hasn’t, your foreclosure may begin showing signs of the undead!

By following these rules, you’ll survive zombie foreclosure and avoid deepening your bankruptcy situation in the Mankato, MN area. If you need backup help, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help with all your bankruptcy needs. Give us a call today.

 

 

 

 

 

Foreclosure and Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

It’s officially October! With Halloween just around the corner, scary haunted houses are popping up around the Mankato, Minnesota area. Usually, these houses have spider webs on the door or Jack-O-Lanterns on the front porch. They are presented in good fun, intended to spook ticket-buying folks in search of a scare.

For some people, however, a house doesn’t have to be haunted to be scary. A house in foreclosure can be equally as frightening as one frequented by a witch, simply because it’s full of so many uncertainties and unknowns. For example, what exactly is foreclosure? Is it better to file for bankruptcy before or after foreclosure? And, should you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

If you’re facing foreclosure and considering bankruptcy, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. may be able to answer a few of your questions:

  1. What exactly is foreclosure?

Foreclosure occurs when a homeowner cannot make mortgage payments. As a result, the bank or lender has the ability to accelerate the mortgage debt and “foreclose” on the property, which means taking the property and evicting the current occupant.

  1. Is it better to file for bankruptcy before or after foreclosure?

If you have the option, it’s best to file before. Although not all of your debts will be relieved as a result of bankruptcy, your mortgage will be discharged to you personally.  Of course, the house itself will remain liable on the mortgage debt. Also, because bankruptcy filings and foreclosures can take months to process, you may be able to remain in your home for quite some time.

  1. Is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 a better option if foreclosing on a house?

Both options are available. However, it’s important to determine if you want to retain the home and if you can repay the mortgage delinquency through a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.  For instance, many people miss one or two mortgage payments and then the management of the entire mortgage spins out of control because late fees, escrow additions and other charges are piled on top of the past due regular mortgage payments.  Chapter 13 can be a “reset” of sorts because one can cure or pay back the mortgage delinquency over 36 to 60 months instead of having to come up with the whole amount in a much shorter period of time.  In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one is not able to do this.

Filing for bankruptcy before foreclosure in the Mankato, Minnesota area can be a daunting process. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd., however, it shouldn’t have you spooked. Whether you need assistance filing for bankruptcy or clearing cobwebs from your financial history, contact our professionals today.

Studying U.S. Presidential Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

In last week’s Behm Law Group, Ltd. blog, Donald Trump sparked a conversation in the Mankato, Minnesota area. We discussed which famous business owners recovered from bankruptcy before beginning successful careers. However, business folks are not the only ones who are susceptible to bankruptcy. Anyone, even the President of the United States, can be financially vulnerable.

There are actually a number of former presidents that have filed for personal bankruptcy. Whether before, after, or during their presidencies, these leaders of the free world all struggled financially at one point in their lives.

Here are a few names you may recognize from U.S. history class:

Thomas Jefferson

The third president truly believed in his own pursuit of happiness, especially when it came to alcohol. By today’s monetary standards, Jefferson spent over $100,000 on wine alone! Fortunately, few people know that he spent his life struggling financially because Jefferson’s roles as president and author of the Declaration of Independence overshadow his reputation for frivolous spending.

Abraham Lincoln

Though most folks know Abe Lincoln worked as a lawyer before taking office, few know about his tumultuous history as a shopkeeper. In 1840, far more than four score and seven years ago, Lincoln’s attempt to run a general store failed when his business partner unexpectedly passed away. Lincoln filed for bankruptcy, but went on to be a successful President of the United States.

Ulysses S. Grant

Between investing poorly before his presidency and overspending during it, Ulysses S. Grant financially floundered throughout his entire life. When he was diagnosed with deadly cancer, Grant elicited Mark Twain’s help in composing a series of memoirs. These memoirs provided for Grant’s family after his death, thus liberating them from his bankruptcy and debts.

Bankruptcy can impact anyone, including the Commander in Chief. Fortunately, in the Mankato, Minnesota area, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. are here to help, whether your house is painted red, blue, yellow, or white. For all your bankruptcy needs, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today.

Thirteen Facts about Chapter 13 (Part Two) in the Mankato Minnesota Area

Welcome back scholars in the Mankato Minnesota area! Today, we’ll be completing our study guide of thirteen facts about Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Before we get started, let’s have a brief moment to review. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called a “wage earner’s plan” because debtors are offered the opportunity to repay debts. This gives them approximately 3-5 years to repay creditors and, during that time, they must typically be employed.

So, now, let’s learn a little bit more about Chapter 13:

1. Q: Other than the creditor and debtor, who else is involved in filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A: Typically, a neutral trustee must be involved in the filing.

2. Q: Are co-debtors protected under Chapter 13?
A: Yes, co-debtors are protected. Creditors are restricted from collecting “consumer debt” from anyone liable on a debt with the individual debtor. A creditor can get relief from the bankruptcy court to pursue a co-debtor if good cause warrants such relief.

3. Q: What is “consumer debt,” exactly?
A: The term “consumer debt” refers to individual debts acquired for personal, familial, or household reasons.

4. Q: What are the types of claims related to Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A: There are three types of claims involved:
• Priority claims: These claims have a special status within bankruptcy law, and they include claims regarding taxes and filing costs.
• Secured claims: Creditors who have these claims have collateral securing the debts that they can take from a debtor if the debtor does not make payments.
• Unsecured claims: Creditors who have these claims do not have collateral securing the claims that they can take if a debtor does not make payments.

5. Q: What happens if a debtor is unable to pay?
A: Their Chapter 13 filing may be converted to a Chapter 7 filing instead or it may be dismissed.

6. Q: Can a debtor be discharged from Chapter 13 after repaying debts?
A: Yes, but only if the debtor has completed all payments required under the debtor’s chapter 13 plan, if the debtor has not received a chapter 13 discharge within 2 years before the present case was started, and if the debtor has taken a course in financial management.

Well, this concludes our two-week course in Chapter 13 bankruptcy! If you live in the Mankato Minnesota area and believe all this studying has prepared you for your own filing, contact the professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd. today.

Successful Business after Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

Donald Trump’s history with bankruptcy has been all over the news lately. It may seem odd that a high-profile name associated with wealth, apprentices, and successful business could also be associated with bankruptcy. Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s financial struggles are not uncommon and serve as proof that bankruptcy can happen to anyone.

If you’re living comfortably in the Mankato, Minnesota area, this may be an unsettling thought. There’s no need to fret, though, because many important, successful business folk have experienced bankruptcy and thrived as a result of it. Behm Law Group, Ltd. has compiled a short list of names you’ll likely recognize:

  • Walt Disney – Thanks to an untrustworthy distributor, Disney’s first, Kansas City-based company went under in 1923. Just five years later, though, Disney worked his magic with a new creation: Mickey Mouse. His new company in Hollywood, California quickly bounced back from bankruptcy.
  • Henry Ford – Ford proved to be his own downfall in 1901. He held his vehicles to such a high standard of perfection that, in one year, the company only made and distributed 20 cars. Only two years later, however, Ford took a new approach towards The Ford Motor Company and made it a post-bankruptcy success. 
  • Milton Hershey – The Hershey company hasn’t always been a sweet success. Milton Hershey filed for bankruptcy after his businesses in Philadelphia and New York both failed, which then brought him home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was here, after his bankruptcy filing, that Hershey struck gold in the form of milk-based caramels and secret recipe chocolate bars.

These famously successful business moguls prove that, no matter the circumstance, bankruptcy can happen to anyone. For each of them, though, success didn’t arrive until after they’d let go of past debts. If you like how that sounds, live in the Mankato, Minnesota area, and feel prepared to begin filing, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today.

 

Seven Facts about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

School is about to start up in the Mankato, MN area, which means that students everywhere are looking ahead to homework and assignments. By the end of the month, they’ll be memorizing biology flashcards, solving algebra equations, and working through textbook chapters.

However, students aren’t the only ones working through chapters. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., our bankruptcy professionals are always ready to handle Chapter 7, a specific type of bankruptcy with a unique set of rules and restrictions.

If Chapter 7 is something you’d like to learn more about, take a peek at our notes. Behm Law Group, Ltd. has compiled a study guide of seven facts to know about Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

1. Q: How long does it take to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
A: Typically, it takes about 3-4 months to file and obtain relief from debt.

2. Q: How long does a filing remain on my credit report?
A: A bankruptcy filing can remain for about five to seven years.

3. Q: What might I lose when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
A: It depends on each individual case but most possessions will be exempt and the exemption laws allowing you to keep property are quite generous.

4. Q: Will Chapter 7 take care of alimony or student loan debt?
A: If a debt is truly alimony, probably not but sometimes alimony is not really alimony and the right to receive it has been assigned to some other entity. In such a case, sometimes relief can be accorded. With respect to student loans, a person must go beyond the filing of a bankruptcy petition by filing an adversary proceeding against the student loan lender. Sometimes, student loans can be discharged if one can establish “undue hardship” but the process is very expensive and protracted.

5. Q: Am I able to file for bankruptcy a second time?
A: Yes! However, there are certain time restrictions involved.

6. Q: What kinds of time restrictions?
A: In most scenarios, you must wait at least six years between Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings.

7. Q: Do I still need to repay certain debts despite a Chapter 7 filing?
A: Sometimes. Certain types of debts, like some tax debts, child support or alimony obligations, aren’t generally discharged in a Chapter 7 proceeding.

Feel prepared for an exam on Chapter 7 bankruptcy? If you live in the Mankato, MN area, put down your number two pencils, throw away those test booklets, and give Behm Law Group, Ltd. a call today.

Thirteen Facts about Chapter Thirteen in the Mankato, MN Area | Part 1

Class is still in session in the Mankato, Minnesota area! Please take your seats, sharpen your pencils, and prepare for your second week of Bankruptcy 101. Last week was all about Chapter 7 which means that, today, we’re going to focus on another type of bankruptcy: Chapter 13.

We at Behm Law Group, Ltd. have prepared another overview to help you decide which type of bankruptcy is best for you. So, without further ado, here’s part one of our Chapter 13 study guide:

  1. Q: What exactly is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A: Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy that allows debtors to gradually repay some (but not all in most cases) of their debts. This is why it’s often called a “wage earner’s plan.”

 

  1. Q: In order to file, do debtors need to have a consistent income?

A: Yes. This is because payments to a chapter 13 trustee are made in regular installments over a period of time.

 

  1. Q: How long does a debtor have to repay these debts?

A: A chapter 13 bankruptcy must last at least 3 years.  Sometimes, however, it can go for 5 years.  The maximum time a chapter 13 bankruptcy case last is 5 years.

 

  1. Q: Do debtors have to confront their creditors through out the process of filing?

A: No. Debtors don’t need to have any direct contact with their creditors.

 

  1. Will Chapter 13 bankruptcy erase all outstanding debts and payments?

A: Debtors are still responsible for paying certain expenses, such as mortgages, but are able to halt foreclosure and allow extra time for other payments such as payments on tax debts and mortgage delinquencies.

 

  1. Q: Who can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A: Individuals are eligible for this type of filing, but generally corporations and partnerships do not file for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

 

  1. Q: Which documents are required for a Chapter 13 filing?

A: At a minimum, four documents are required: a creditor list, the debtor’s documented income, the debtor’s documented property, and the debtor’s documented living expenses.

If you live in the Mankato area and believe Chapter 13 is the right kind of bankruptcy filing for you, contact the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. today. Class dismissed!

Taking Control of Time and Bankruptcy in the Mankato and Southeast Minnesota Area

For people living in the Mankato and southern Minnesota area, summertime gets to be a little hectic. Schedules are jam-packed with everything from county fairs to work events, Little League practices to Fourth of July celebrations. Busy schedules make it very easy to lose track of time.

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, however, timing is important. There’s not a generally accepted “best time” of year for people to file for bankruptcy, so it can be difficult to decide which time is personally best for your finances. This summer, however, Behm Law Group, Ltd has developed a four-step process to make your decision a little easier:

1. First, ask yourself a few important questions:

Do bill collectors contact you regularly?

Do you feel afraid to address your finances or to consider bankruptcy?

Do you know how much money you owe?

Do you pay only the minimum on your credit cards?

2. If you answered “yes” to the above questions, it may be time to seriously address your financial situation regarding bankruptcy. This can be a scary realization, so it may be beneficial to recruit some help. After assessing your situation, contact a professional credit counselor or financial advisor. This professional can serve as a support system for both you and your finances!

3. Next, begin collecting all of your bills and expenses, adding together retirement funds, stocks, bonds, and any of your other liquid assets. Though this may be time consuming, it’s worthwhile. Having a calculated total of your assets will give you a much clearer understanding of your financial situation when considering bankruptcy.

4. Finally, compare your total assets to your total debt. If you find that your assets are still worth more than your debt, you may be a candidate for loan modification, refinancing, or creditor negotiation. If you realize that your assets are worth less than your overall debt, it’s likely the right time to file for bankruptcy.

Here in the Mankato and southern Minnesota area, summer goes by way too quickly. Rather than wasting time feeling worried about your finances or putting off tough decisions regarding bankruptcy, take control of your time. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd today.