The Affordable Care Act and Bankruptcy

Behm Law Group explains the connections between Mankato, MN bankruptcy filings and the Affordable Care Act

As controversial as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been over the last, well, forever, it does try to address the growing need in this country for access to affordable healthcare.

Regrettably, the focus ended up being on health insurance rather than the skyrocketing costs of healthcare itself. So now here we are, arguing about whether people should be forced to pay a tax for something they may not want or need to use for years.

However, there’s still an underlying truth about healthcare in America, and it’s something that seems strangely neglected in all the reporting and opining about the ACA.

Namely, medical costs account for one of the most, if not THE most common reasons for bankruptcy filings in America today. Even under the best of circumstances or the most mundane of medical costs, the price tag can be staggering. In instances of serious emergency care, those costs can be absolutely ruinous.

Regrettably, these ruinous costs can be racked up even if somebody has some form of insurance, because not all insurance is alike. More affordable insurance plans, for example, can carry with them deductibles that are just plain impossible for some lower and even middle class families to meet. Even though they technically carry insurance, it’s insurance in name only.

This is one of the cited flaws of the ACA: while it mandates that all Americans must be insured—and even though there are many subsidies available—medical costs are still high enough that even those with insurance (which is to say EVERYONE), may not be able to meet the responsibilities of both their monthly premiums AND an eventual deductible in the event of a catastrophic injury or illness.

Time will tell if the kinks in the ACA will eventually be ironed out or the law is simply allowed to limp along in its current imperfect form. One thing seems certain though: bankruptcy filings due to medical costs is almost guaranteed to be a reality for thousands of Americans annually.

Behm Law Group, Ltd. has expertise in all aspects of personal bankruptcy law, including bankruptcy arising due to medical costs. We understand that bankruptcy is unavoidable in certain instances and we’ll help you navigate the law so you can focus on what’s important: you and your loved ones.

Our bankruptcy law professionals dutifully serve the residents of Mankato, MN and the surrounding communities, and all of Southern MN and we stand ready to assist you to navigate your unique bankruptcy situation. Give Behm Law Group, Ltd. a call today.

Mankato, MN Bankruptcy: The Basics

Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides assistance with Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN and surrounding communities

Under 11 U.S.C. §101(41), Bankruptcy can apply to debtors who are:

An individual, a partnership, or a corporation or other business entity

In plain English: ANYBODY. Yes, ANYBODY who has debt they can’t possibly repay can file for bankruptcy. BUT:

Under 11 U.S.C. § 109(g), an individual cannot file under chapter 7 or any other chapter, however, if during the preceding 180 days a prior bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to the debtor’s willful failure to appear before the court or comply with orders of the court, or the debtor voluntarily dismissed the previous case after creditors sought relief from the bankruptcy court to recover property upon which they hold liens.

TRANSLATED: If you filed for bankruptcy and didn’t show up for your bankruptcy hearing or didn’t follow court orders or if a creditor asked for relief from your bankruptcy case to repossess an asset and you, thereafter, asked that your bankruptcy case be dismissed, you can’t file for bankruptcy again for at least six months.

And:

Under 11 U.S.C. § 109(h), no individual may be a debtor under chapter 7 or any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code unless he or she has, within 180 days before the filing of the bankruptcy case, received credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency either in an individual or group briefing.

TRANSLATED:

If you’re going to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or any other form of bankruptcy, plan ahead. If bankruptcy is in your future within the next six months, make a gesture of good will and attend credit counseling. You may find the counseling can’t help you remedy your current circumstances, but make the effort; it will help you in the future.

Filing for bankruptcy is a hard and difficult decision and bankruptcy is a highly nuanced and specialized area of the law.  To help you avoid any potential pitfalls and to get you through the process with peace of mind and with as little disruption to your life as possible, you should ask for help from someone who is educated, trained, and experienced in bankruptcy law. You shouldn’t try untangling bankruptcy law language on your own. Simple mistakes caused by a lack of knowledge can cost you a lot of money and time. Let professionals who understand the bankruptcy system make your case for you.

Behm Law Group, Ltd. has attorneys on hand who can help you make sense of bankruptcy. We have extensive experience serving the communities in and around the Mankato, MN, area and all of Southern Minnesota when it comes to bankruptcy. Call Behm Law Group, Ltd. today and let us help you regain your foothold on firm financial ground.

If Detroit Can Do It, So Can You | Mankato, MN Bankruptcy

Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides bankruptcy attorneys in Mankato, MN and surrounding areas

Late in May, the City of Detroit made the case for its bankruptcy restructuring plan via a court filing, an event made all the more surreal since Detroit is the only United States city to ever file for bankruptcy protection. As bankruptcy law goes, it doesn’t get much bigger, or unusual, than this.

Just consider that the city argued it has the legal justification to transfer ownership of the Detroit Institute of Arts to a third-party non-profit organization. That’s right; a city is in jeopardy of losing a museum due to bankruptcy. Most individuals have to worry about losing a vehicle through bankruptcy, but the City of Detroit is trying to figure out a way to keep its museum intact. Talk about pressure.

Or, consider that the City of Detroit has been arguing that its pension annuity payments are “excessive” and those excessive pension distributions are tantamount to a Ponzi scheme. It takes a certain astonishing level of systemic financial mismanagement to refer to your city’s own pension system as a Ponzi scheme.

Not surprisingly, the City of Detroit is facing considerable pushback as it makes its legal case for the justifications surrounding its bankruptcy filing, but it should prove fascinating to watch as it unfolds.

Thankfully, individual bankruptcy filings don’t entail nearly the same seemingly impossible legal hurdles the City of Detroit faces, although individual bankruptcies can be incredibly daunting in their own right.

While chances are you won’t be trying to save your own personal museum from being liquidated to appease creditors, you will want to protect some of the most personally meaningful items and property, and that’s incredibly important to you.

Behm Law Group  understands how stressful individual bankruptcy can be, and we’ll work to ensure your bankruptcy journey is as smooth and efficient as the law allows. Our professional and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys have helped countless clients just like you to navigate the incredibly confusing bankruptcy landscape.

You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, go through a bankruptcy ordeal on your own. If you reside in Mankato, MN or anywhere in Southern Minnesota, and you require bankruptcy guidance, contact Behm Law Group today. We’ll be alongside you every step of the way to successfully guide you through this complicated process.

And, if you do happen to have a museum you’d like to hold on to, we’ll see what we can do about that, too.

Let Behm Law Group Help You with Bankruptcy Problems in Mankato, MN

Behm Law Group | Bankruptcy Attorneys in Mankato, MN

You never know when you will be faced with navigating the maze of bankruptcy laws.  All it takes is for one very expensive medical bill to give you a financial headache.  We recommend you contact the best bankruptcy attorneys in Mankato, Minnesota, Behm Law Group Ltd., to ease the pressure.

Have you ever wondered how the term bankruptcy originated?  The exact origin is a bit unclear.  Perhaps it was derived from banco rotto, or “broken bank” in Italian.  In Medieval Italy, bankers transacted their business on benches.  When one could no longer lend or fulfill commitments, the bench was broken to display the banker’s inability to continue negotiating.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group want to help you from sliding into a morass of financial ruin, and we won’t use scare tactics.  We are honest, yet concerned and friendly, and are glad to answer any questions you may have. Behm Law Group specializes in bankruptcy law, whether it’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  We are willing to meet with you when it’s convenient for you:  evenings, weekends, or at your home.

Instead of endlessly worrying, contact Behm Law Group.  The issues surrounding bankruptcy law can be complex.  We can simplify it for you, so you can better understand what your options are.

Whether you are accumulating massive medical debt, credit card debt, or other unforeseen expenses, call the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group in Mankato, Minnesota, to see how you can best resolve your dilemma.

 

How Natural Disasters Influence Bankruptcy Claims in Mankato, MN

Filing for Bankruptcy in Minnesota | Tips from Behm Law Group, Ltd.

Since Hurricane Katrina, there have been changes and adjustments to bankruptcy laws. This is especially important for people that have been the victim of a natural disaster and lost all of their possessions and potentially their income. With the recent tornadoes and weather events in the South, Behm Law Group, Ltd. wanted to revisit the nuances of bankruptcy for disaster victims.

When an enormous weather event, such as Hurricane Katrina, strikes, the government may relax some of the laws associated with bankruptcy. In the instance of Katrina, the strict rules of Chapter 7 bankruptcy were relaxed to take into account the increased expenses and loss of property and income that disaster victims and their families experienced. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for debts to be completely erased. If the looser rules were not put into place after such large events, some families with higher income than the state’s median may have to repay their debt over a five year period.

Of course, these exceptions are due to extreme cases, like natural disasters and other events that impact an entire geographic area. It is still applicable to residents of Minnesota that sometimes experience tornadoes and flooding statewide.

To help you navigate the intricacies of bankruptcy law, call Behm Law Group, Ltd, your local bankruptcy attorneys based in Mankato, Minnesota. Filing for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is never an easy decision, and it certainly isn’t a simple process. We are here to help you through the hardest times in your life, whether they are naturally occurring or caused by a natural disaster.

Bankruptcy and Your Credit Score

How does bankruptcy affect your credit score? Behm Law Group Ltd. explains.

It should go without saying that filing for bankruptcy can carry with it certain consequences. While bankruptcy protections are in place to relieve many of the burdens of crushing, intolerable debt, filing for bankruptcy can impact your life in many ways over the next several years.

Perhaps most notably is the impact bankruptcy will have on your credit score. Following a bankruptcy, it’s still possible to obtain credit cards and loans. However, creditors will sometimes ask that you have a co-signer (someone with good credit who will assume responsibility for the debt with you). People who file bankruptcy will have the bankruptcy reflected on their credit histories anywhere from 1 to 7 years, irrespective of whether one files a chapter 13 bankruptcy or a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Both types of bankruptcy will reflect the same on credit histories. Sometimes people who have filed for bankruptcy relief or who have gone through a foreclosure will have to wait 3 years after the bankruptcy or foreclosure to qualify for a home mortgage through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

While bankruptcy can negatively impact your credit history—which may not have been too great to begin with—you can start to repair your credit history almost as soon as you complete your bankruptcy process. Be sure to accurately and honestly reflect your bankruptcy situation. Potential creditors will want that information noted up-front so they can assess your credit risk. To most creditors, a bankruptcy filing simply represents a point in time. To them, the time predating the bankruptcy filing represents a time full of economic chaos and incredible financial uncertainty. The time after a bankruptcy filing represents financial order and economic balance. Most creditors will work with you following a bankruptcy because they know that they will not have to compete with pre-existing bankruptcy creditors for your payments because those creditors will have been discharged; they know that they will be first in line. Also, they will know that you will not be able to file for bankruptcy relief again for several years. They know that they could pursue collection action against you for several years if you do not pay them.

Unsecured credit after bankruptcy can be obtained. However, to improve your credit, you should look to secured credit, if possible, by placing money in the bank that’s equal to or more than the credit limit you’re looking to secure. Putting money away for a secured loan or credit can be challenging, particularly following bankruptcy, but the goal is to repair your credit history as much as possible and getting a secured line of credit is a good way to do it.

Any student loans you have will likely not be discharged through bankruptcy, so those debts will remain and they can be a ticking time bomb to your credit history if they go unpaid. Pay them on time, and pay over the minimum payment when possible, because that will likewise improve your damaged credit history.

There are companies that specialize in repairing credit history and credit scores, but they can be very expensive, and they’re not all reputable. In fact, some even engage other people who voluntarily allow the companies to “ghost” credit histories. The companies do not engage in identity theft. However, some people with good credit will, for a fee, allow credit repair companies to use their good credit standings and “ghost” those good credit standings for people with poor credit histories. Do your research before approaching a credit repair outfit but the best course may be to just stay away from them.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. are experts at advising how best to rebuild your credit history following bankruptcy, and we’re happy to guide you accordingly. If you’re facing a bankruptcy situation of your own, Behm Law Group Ltd. can provide expertise in guiding you through the process and explaining what you can expect following filing for bankruptcy. We proudly serve Mankato, MN, and all of Southern Minnesota. We stand ready to help you through your stressful financial ordeal. Give Behm Law Group Ltd. a call today!

Coming to Terms with Personal Bankruptcy

Behm Law Bankruptcy Law Firm in Mankato, MN

Bankruptcy is a difficult decision to come to terms with. Bankruptcy carries a stigma that permeates our culture, and this is particularly true when it comes to personal bankruptcy.

Whereas business bankruptcy is almost considered an expected risk that could very well come to pass—although it’s still best to be avoided—personal bankruptcy is usually accompanied by a deep feeling of personal failure.

It shouldn’t be that way.

While bankruptcy isn’t something people should aspire to, it’s far more common than most people think. Just in 2013, for example, a combined total of 1.03 million businesses and individuals filed for bankruptcy.

In an economy that’s been charitably referred to as “recovering” since 2009, bankruptcy is a specter that continues to hang over the heads of people and businesses that manage to barely squeak by month to month. And bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of.

In fact, personal bankruptcy can be seen as a way to start over, even though starting over after bankruptcy can be, admittedly, difficult. There’s a reason it’s typically referred to as “bankruptcy protection.”

However, bankruptcy—for individuals or businesses—can be made far less difficult if the bankruptcy details are handled by an informed, knowledgeable and professional third party. Behm Law Group Ltd. possesses exactly the professional third party bankruptcy protection experts you can count on to navigate your unique bankruptcy situation, and each situation is almost always unique.

Bankruptcy filing can be stressful even in the best of circumstances, and the best bankruptcy circumstances aren’t all that great to begin with. Being able to rely on bankruptcy attorneys who have vast experience with bankruptcy protection can drastically reduce the stresses and heartache that all-too-often are associated with bankruptcy filing.

If you’re in Mankato, MN, or any of the surrounding communities or anywhere in Southern Minnesota, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. right away and start your journey through bankruptcy protection with a team of experienced and seasoned professionals at your side.

 

What A Difference A Dollar Makes: Bankruptcy Law in Mankato, MN

Mankato, MN Bankruptcy Law and Mortgage Lien-Stripping – Behm Law Group, Ltd.

Bankruptcy law can turn on a dime, or at least a dollar. Consider, for example, the “mortgage lien-stripping” clause found in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In cases where a debtor has a home with more than one mortgage, mortgage lien- stripping may come into play, depending on a multitude of factors. Generally speaking, if a debtor owes more on their home with a first mortgage than the home is actually worth, then a second mortgage could be stripped away via Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers bankruptcy advice and assistance in Mankato, MN during your time of need.

However, the margin to qualify for mortgage lien-stripping can be razor thin. For example, if a home is valued at $125,000, but the debtor has a first mortgage of $130,000 and a second mortgage of $40,000, the second mortgage would qualify for mortgage lien-stripping because the debtor clearly owes more on the first mortgage alone than the home is actually worth. The mortgage lien-stripping waters become considerably less clear the closer the first mortgage and actual home value become. For example, if a first mortgage is for $130,000 but the actual home value is currently appraised at $130,001, the margin in that case is considered close enough that any secondary mortgage could not actually be entirely stripped off. Therefore, a single dollar can stand in the way of a debtor being able to discharge several thousands of dollars on a secondary mortgage.

Bankruptcy provisions such as mortgage lien-stripping can be incredibly complex and confusing, and they definitely shouldn’t be navigated by amateurs who aren’t extraordinarily well-versed in the nuances of bankruptcy law. After all, there are thousands of dollars at stake, and debt-holding entities don’t let go of thousands of dollars without putting up a huge legal fight. You need bankruptcy law professionals who can stand knowledgeably in your corner to protect your rights under the law.

The professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. are adept at navigating the intimidating landscape of bankruptcy filing and helping clients find their way through the bankruptcy experience. We assist clients throughout Mankato, MN, and all of Southern Minnesota, ensuring they fully understand their bankruptcy options and achieve their best possible outcomes. Contact us today!

Don’t embark on your bankruptcy path without our professional team at your side. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today and start your journey out of bankruptcy.

Defining “Undue Hardship” – Bankruptcy Law in Mankato, MN

Mankato, MN Bankruptcy Law with Behm Law Group, Ltd.

Generally speaking, discharging student loans via bankruptcy can difficult endeavor. However, when you’re facing outright bankruptcy—which can be challenging and stressful enough—it can’t hurt to explore all your options. It may surprise some people to learn there is a section of the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. Sec. 523[a][8]) which addresses student loans specifically. It basically states: “Student loans can be discharged as long as one can show that excepting [excluding] such debt from discharge (debt relief provided through bankruptcy) would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides professional bankruptcy counsel in Mankato, MN in your time of need.

The key term here is “undue hardship,” a term which only government lawmakers could conjure that sounds ridiculously simple.  However, what constitutes “undue hardship” is a very factually intensive inquiry.  In order to establish “undue hardship”, one must review all of the circumstances surrounding someone’s financial situation.  Serious medical conditions, job losses, the likelihood of being able to get higher paying employment and one’s other living expenses and sources of income are only a few factors that need to be considered.  Discharging student loans in bankruptcy can be done and, indeed, has been done in many cases.

One example of a fact substantiating “undue hardship” is to show you’ve incurred a disability since graduating from college that prevents you from being able to realistically carry out the necessary tasks that are part of any job aligned with your college degree. Let’s say you graduated with a degree in astronomy that requires you to look through a telescope, but after graduating you became permanently blind. You may be able to show and convince a bankruptcy judge that this constitutes “undue hardship.”

If you’re filing for bankruptcy protection, and you’re interested in exploring whether you qualify for a student loan bankruptcy discharge, you should seek out professional bankruptcy counsel. In Mankato, MN and the surrounding communities, Behm Law Group, Ltd. should be your first point of contact when considering your bankruptcy options. We have highly trained bankruptcy attorneys with extensive experience when it comes to making sense of the Bankruptcy Code and how it applies to our clients’ unique situations.

Let us guide you through the bankruptcy process. We know how bankruptcy law works and how it can work for you. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today to discuss your bankruptcy options.

Beware Fraudulent Transfers | Bankruptcy Law Tips

Minnesota Bankruptcy Lawyers at Behm Law Group Ltd.

If you wish to keep your friends and family members in your good graces, don’t attempt to transfer property to them if you anticipate filing for bankruptcy within the next two years and they don’t pay you a reasonable market value for the property. Embarking on such a path may be considered fraudulent and could result in your friends or relatives being sued to give up that undervalued property. They’d be out whatever money they paid you plus the property they thought was theirs.

According to 11 U.S.C. Sec. 548, a bankruptcy trustee can sue individuals who purchased property, such as a vehicle, from the debtor who received substantially less than equivalent return value. Therefore, if a debtor sold a vehicle or similar property worth, say, $15,000, to a friend or family member, but only received $3,000 in compensation, and that transfer took place within two years before the debtor filed bankruptcy, the trustee could sue to reclaim that property in order to sell it for a more accurate market value. The trustee would then take that increased capital and distribute it evenly among the debtor’s affected creditors.

To avoid this potentially embarrassing fraudulent transfer situation, make sure you enter into financial agreements with friends or relatives by asking for a reasonable market value. This is especially important if you’re selling property when you’re under extreme financial duress that could lead to a bankruptcy filing in the near future.

The Bankruptcy Code can be extremely difficult to understand, especially when delving into the more arcane language and clauses that are best left to bankruptcy law professionals. Behm Law Group Ltd. serves Mankato, MN, and surrounding communities, and our bankruptcy expertise is at your disposal to help you successfully emerge from the stressful experience of filing for bankruptcy protection.

To better navigate this somewhat obscure bankruptcy side road, our professional team of bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. is available to assist and advise you. Contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today and begin your personal journey out of debt.