Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, When Self-employed

Self-employment is often a rewarding way to create income for you and your family. However, self-employment doesn’t always guarantee a regular income, especially if you work in an industry that has fluctuations in demand. If you are self-employed and have found it difficult to meet debt payments each month, you have several options for debt relief, including bankruptcy. For those with a steady self-employed income who also want to keep their home and other properties, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, is a realistic and highly effective option. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., self-employed filers can build a successful case and start a repayment plan that fits their financial circumstance.

Filing for bankruptcy, especially Chapter 13 bankruptcy, requires a collection of financial documents, income verification, expense reports, and much more. These documents can sometimes be difficult for some people to track down and organize, particularly for those who are self-employed.

The help of an expert bankruptcy attorney is often critical for self-employed filers to compile a case with a repayment plan proposal that the court and bankruptcy trustee can accept. Many self-employed filers are required to provide more extensive documentation of income and expenses when they file for Chapter 13.

 

Income Verification

Verifying your income received from self-employment can be tricky depending on the nature of your work. Tracking your income carefully, even if you don’t plan on filing for bankruptcy, is a good idea for those who are self-employed. This tracking can include:

  1. Check Stubs: When your clients, customers, or other parties who commissioned your work pay by check, saving those checks from the last 12 months is an excellent start to income documentation.
  2. Invoices: If you request payment in the form of invoices, filing those invoice documents (digital or physical) is also key.
  3. Contracts: Contracts are legal proof of your work with a client. Without that proof, you may have a difficult time explaining forms of payment such as checks, cash, or transfers.
  4. Tax Returns: Records of your self-employment income and the yearly taxes paid on it is also required for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.
  5. Bank Statements: Deposits, withdrawals, credit card transactions, account records, interest, and most other bank statements are necessary to build a strong Chapter 13 case.
  6. Signed Statements: In many cases, unconventional, random, or odd signed statements can often also prove up a contractual agreement. These signed statements are frequently required for your bankruptcy case, and missing the information they provide might break, rather than make, your case.

 

Overall, the more financial information self-employed filers can provide their attorney and the court, the better. Every transaction you encounter that connects to your income as a self-employed individual as far back as a year may be involved in your case.

 

To learn more about gathering the necessary financial information and building a strong case for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

What You Can Learn from Public Listings of Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

In the U.S., the majority of court cases are put on public record. This includes all bankruptcy filings which are often listed in local newspapers and are always available on the government-administered online database PACER (Public Access Court Electronic Records). The listings available on PACER are not easily accessed by any individual, but they are available to bankruptcy attorney, creditors involved in bankruptcy proceedings, bankruptcy trustees and bankruptcy judges.

 

If you’re struggling to meet debt payments and think that bankruptcy might be right for you, it’s important to understand why and how your case may be listed publicly and could be accessed by a limited number of parties. If you are considering filing, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can provide the guidance and assistance you need when working through bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN.

 

Bankruptcy is given a poor image both in financial and social terms, but the fact is that it’s a vital process for those who are unable to recover from severe debt. For many, bankruptcy is the best way to debt relief and long-term financial recovery.

 

Those planning on filing for bankruptcy can learn some of the basics of the process just from looking at listings local to their area. If your local newspaper lists monthly bankruptcies, it’s likely they will be written out like this:

  • Name of filer
  • Name of any joint filers
  • Address of filer
  • Chapter they filed
  • Date they filed
  • Their assets
  • Their liabilities

 

This is what you can learn from this listing:

  • The name of the filer may tell you if it was a business or individual.
  • The joint filer names tell you that either a spouse or a business partner filed jointly.
  • Their address tells you what region they filed in, and may give you some more information about the financial demographics of that area if there are multiple bankruptcy filings. If you live in the same region, it may give you some peace of mind to know you’re not alone.
  • The chapter they filed for will give you an idea of the bankruptcy process (i.e. whether it was liquidation or reorganization).
  • The date they filed may give information about fluctuations of increases or decreases in bankruptcy cases throughout the year.
  • Their asset amount tells you how much their properties and accounts were worth. This includes physical property, bank accounts, stocks, retirement funds, and any other sources of income.
  • Liabilities represent a blanket term for debts and other unpaid financial obligations. This amount tells you just how much debt might have been resolved through bankruptcy, and it gives you a good comparison of asset to debt ratios.

 

Overall, public postings of local bankruptcy cases give you a great way to compare your own situation with those who found recovery through the bankruptcy process. Generally speaking, Minnesota newspapers choose not to list local bankruptcy filings.  However, newspapers in North Dakota and Iowa do choose to list local bankruptcy filings.  For many reasons, including the possibility of identity theft, newspapers are becoming much more circumspect about listing local bankruptcy filings.  If you believe filing for bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, might be the right choice for you, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Escrow Accounts and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN

Anyone with a mortgage or other large loan either has an escrow account or knows about the function of one. Escrow accounts are set up with a third-party agent or broker who manages and distributes the money in that account. The account works as a consolidation system for a mortgagor, holding values required to make a single payment for the monthly loan, interest, taxes, and insurance. Escrow amounts will change over time based on the cost of property taxes, insurance rates, and other taxes. If you have an escrow account and you find yourself in a situation where you must file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you understand how it will affect the account and guide you through the process of filing bankruptcy overall.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to reorganize your debts into a three- to five-year repayment plan. The reorganization plan is an extremely valuable option for those with a steady income who don’t want to work through the asset liquidation process of a Chapter 7. A repayment plan typically takes priority, secured, and unsecured debts, and rolls them into a single monthly payment made to a bankruptcy trustee.

 

While large portions of your unsecured debts are discharged in a chapter 13 repayment plan, your priority debts, such as tax debts, child support debts and alimony, and secured debts on assets that you want to retain, such as vehicles and houses, must be repaid. Because your mortgage is a secured debt, it must be paid in full but typically you will continue making the regular monthly mortgage payments directly to the mortgage lender rather than through the chapter 13 trustee. In many cases, the debt leading up to a bankruptcy and a Chapter 13 plan itself can affect mortgage escrow in two ways:

 

  1. Pre-petition arrearage: If you have been unable to meet full escrow payments even before you file for bankruptcy, you will have an escrow shortage, and therefore, be in arrears. In this case, the court will treat the shortage like a typical mortgage arrearage and require it to be repaid in full throughout the repayment period. Unlike a mortgage, however, the shortage amount does not incur interest.
  2. Post-petition arrearage: When you enter a repayment plan, you have to meet escrow payments as a part of the consolidated monthly payment that’s due. If you can’t meet this payment and you become short on escrow, you may be in danger of a case dismissal if you do not take steps to propose and work through a repayment plan adjustment.

 

The three to five years you are working through a Chapter 13 plan require you to be conscious of your finances and to maintain a strict adherence to your budget. The financial struggles that put you into the position of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must be put behind you, and the court expects you to understand the responsibilities of a repayment plan.

 

That said, there will be room for adjustments to be made throughout the repayment period depending on your income and your costs of living. If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

When Filing for Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN Is Your Best Option

If you are facing financial difficulties, you are not alone. Individuals in all types of circumstances can find themselves deep in debt because of numerous factors. In fact, the chance of severe debt is not an impossibility for anyone, and you should not feel shame for having financial troubles or for considering bankruptcy as an option for debt relief. If you are wondering whether you should file for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN, Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you answer any questions that you might have as well as counsel you throughout your case.

 

Bankruptcy is an excellent option for finding your way out of serious debt. It can resolve your debts in a liquidation process through Chapter 7 bankruptcy or in a reorganization process through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

 

Although bankruptcy is a highly effective solution for many debtors, it is not always the best solution for certain financial circumstances.

 

 

How to Know When to File

To determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the best option for your financial circumstances, you need to ask yourself some questions:

  1. Are you unable to meet debt payments or are you meeting them with a severe detriment to your necessary living expenses?
  2. Are most of your debts treatable in the bankruptcy process? (There are some types of debts that are not subject to discharge.)
  3. Are you able to pay the bankruptcy fees and an attorney fee?
  4. If you plan to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, will you satisfy the Means Test?
  5. If you plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, are you prepared to be responsible for a repayment plan for up to five years?
  6. Do your debts fall into the accepted limitations for bankruptcy? (For example, debt limits in chapter 13 cases.)
  7. If you plan to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, will you be able to protect the properties you want to keep with the allotted exemptions?
  8. Are you prepared to attend credit counseling and meet other pre-bankruptcy requirements?
  9. Are you able to organize, with the help of a Behm attorney, all the necessary documents of your finances and property for the bankruptcy petition?
  10. Do you understand and accept the effect that bankruptcy will have on your credit?
  11. Do you accept the fact that a  your bankruptcy filing could be known by the general public?
  12. Do you have a long-term rehabilitation plan for your finances after you file for bankruptcy, and are you willing to work with a Behm attorney to assist you in that regard?

 

If you can answer all of these questions and still believe that you could benefit from bankruptcy, then it’s likely that filing will provide a valuable opportunity for debt recovery. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

 

Preventing Foreclosure and Keeping Your Home with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN

Filing for bankruptcy can be a long-term solution for many financial problems, from credit card debt to car loans. Bankruptcy can also prevent and resolve the issue of a looming foreclosure. If you are struggling to meet debt payments each month, including those on your mortgage, bankruptcy might be the right choice for your household. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can file a successful case resulting in an effective repayment plan through Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN. Not only will this repayment plan stop foreclosure, it will also provide a foundational solution for the rest of your debts that can be treated in the bankruptcy process.

 

If your home goes into foreclosure, it can be at least seven years before a lender will consider you for another property loan. However, it can take just two to four years after a bankruptcy before you can take out another mortgage on a home or business. Filing for bankruptcy is also a better option to keep your home and find additional resolutions for your other debts.

 

Automatic Stay

As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the court will automatically place a stay on your creditors’ right to collect any debts from you. This means you will be given relief from any mortgage foreclosure actions as well as collection actions for your other debts until the outcome of your case is resolved. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the ideal outcome of your case will be a comprehensive three- to five-year repayment plan that is suited to your income and your reasonable and necessary living expenses.

 

Property Protection

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan, you won’t have to go through the same process you would in a Chapter 7 plan. This means your property will be protected from liquidation sales, but it also means you will still be responsible for paying debts on property, such as your house or vehicle, that you may want to keep.  Post-petition (after the bankruptcy filing) payments on any debts that are secured by such physical property, must continue to be paid throughout the duration of a Chapter 13 plan. If you want to keep your home, you must pay the ongoing, post-petition regular mortgage payments.  Any delinquency that you may have on the mortgage before your case is filed will be paid by the chapter 13 trustee through your chapter 13 payment plan.  However, you would still be required to make the regular mortgage payments that come due after the filing of your case and you would continue to make those payments directly to the mortgage creditor.

 

The benefit of filing for bankruptcy in this scenario is that your payment plan is structured, monitored, and enforced by the court and the bankruptcy trustee. Your Chapter 13 repayment plan is highly mutable based on your current income situation. For example, if your income drops beyond a point where you can meet your payments for a three-year plan, the court can alter your repayment plan into a five-year structure with lower monthly payments instead of the original proposal.

 

To learn more about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, and other bankruptcy options, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200.

Consequences of Asset Hiding When Filing Bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

If your debts are severely affecting your quality of life or the function of your business, it may be the right choice to look for realistic debt relief options. While some debt relief options are possible in negotiations with creditors and third parties, filing bankruptcy offers truly permanent, court enforced/sanctioned solutions for debt relief. When you find yourself looking for answers in a complicated financial world, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can provide all the assistance and guidance you need when filing bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

 

Bankruptcy resolves in several ways depending on the type of chapter you qualify for:

  1. If you’re an individual filer or a business with debts that outweigh income, you can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This process works to liquidate your non-exempt assets in exchange for the discharge of your debts.
  2. If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, you can qualify for Chapter 13 as either an individual filer or as a business. This process works to restructure your debts into a manageable repayment plan lasting three to five years. A similar process some businesses can choose instead of Chapter 13 is Chapter 11, which works very large businesses and individuals with very high incomes and very large amounts of debt.
  3. Finally, family farmers and fishers have a specialized bankruptcy process through Chapter 12. This is also a repayment plan structure, but it is designed to be processed in an expeditious legal protocol that is uniquely tailored to the specialized nature of the filer.

 

No matter what type of bankruptcy you file, there are certain parts of the process that are the same in all chapters. One major consistency between every single case that has ever been and will be filed is that the filer must be completely transparent about their finances.

 

Transparency about your finances, whether you’re filing as an individual or as a business, includes providing information to the court about your debts, income, living expenses and assets/properties. Failing to provide this information can result not only in your case being dismissed but also in having accusations of fraud leveled against you. You sign your bankruptcy paperwork under oath and subject to penalty of perjury.  One common type of bankruptcy fraud is asset hiding.

 

If you hide your assets, you can expect several consequences in your bankruptcy case, all negative:

  1. Your debts connected to that asset won’t be discharged because it’s impossible to treat a property secured debt in bankruptcy without revealing the asset.
  2. Discharges provided in your case may be revoked when the asset is inevitably revealed.
  3. If you file for bankruptcy in the future, previously hidden debts cannot be discharged.
  4. If you commit fraud, you can be sued and even face criminal charges with hefty fines or jail time attached.

 

If you’re planning on filing bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about how our attorneys can help and for comprehensive counsel throughout your case.

Building Business Up Again after Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

Businesses may thrive or fail for a wide range of reasons in a nuanced and ever-changing economy. If you are struggling with a failing business, you should never feel shame in seeking debt relief. Instead, understand that you are taking assertive action to protect yourself, any other parties involved, and even your business itself in some cases. One common and highly effective debt relief option available to all kinds of businesses is bankruptcy. With the guidance and counsel of Behm Law Group Ltd., filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, can be a positive, long-term solution for your finances.

 

While it’s true that the majority of Chapter 7 business bankruptcy cases end with the closing of the company, there are some businesses that can maintain their functioning after filing.

 

Businesses that stay open after liquidation include those that:

  1. Do not themselves own the assets needed for business operations (i.e. the assets are actually owned and have always been owed by the individuals who own and operate the business); and
  2. The total value of assets owned by the business is less than the total amount of debt owed by the business, particularly debts owed to creditors who have security interests in and to the business assets.

 

In the case that you can keep your business open after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, it may become increasingly difficult to maintain production/services and revenue. For those who would be unable to continue operating their business even while meeting the above condition, and for the remaining majority of business owners whose businesses close after liquidation, don’t despair. There is still hope you may be able to reopen your business in the future or start a new business successfully.

 

Starting Afresh

While it may be difficult, starting a new business after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is entirely possible. Being fully prepared for the obstacles you might face is the best course of action if your end goal is a long-term business operation.

 

  1. You may have challenges getting loans and business credentials in general. It is hard but not impossible to gain business credit after a business you have already been affiliated with has filed for bankruptcy relief.
  2. The best way to improve your chances of gaining business credit is to create a detailed, strong business plan with both short- and long-term structure.
  3. Another way to improve your chances of a successful business is to partner with someone who has good credit and is ready to support you in the face of lenders.
  4. Finding investors with reputable backgrounds (friends and family included) to support your business in the beginning stages is often an effective way to navigate through and around the credit structure system.
  5. Many local banks and credit unions provide financing programs for those individuals and businesses who have worked through a bankruptcy case in their community. Finding organizations that are willing to support your endeavors with goodwill is also a viable option.
  6. Depending on the nature of your business and your community, you can also find a wide range of grants, financing, and crowd-sourced funding that are provided to many starting business owners.

 

If you are hesitating to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, because of a concern for business closure or other difficulties beyond, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 to learn more. There is life after bankruptcy, both for the individual and the business!

How to Use Your Tax Refund While Filing for Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN

As tax season approaches, everyone filing has to take time to look at their finances in more detail than usual. For many individuals and businesses, a financial overview may show just how much they are struggling with the weight of debt. For those with too much debt than they know what to do with, tax season may be the perfect time to consider a long-term solution. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we’ve found that there are many cases where tax season was the most effective time for those considering filing for bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN to take the next step forward.

 

Whether you have credit card debt, mortgages, or most other forms of debt, filing for bankruptcy can act as a recovery system that helps you resolve those debts under government protection. For most with a steady income that overbalances their debt-to-income ratio, the process of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the most effective as it restructures your debts into a three- to five-year repayment plan suited to your own financial situation.

 

Because of the demand that a Chapter 13 plan puts on all your disposable income, you will most likely have to forfeit some of your yearly tax refunds you receive to your trustee for the repayment of your unsecured debts. While your trustee may allot some of that refund for you to spend or save, you will not be able to retain all of it.  To get the most use out of your tax refund if you plan to file for bankruptcy, you should plan to use it before you file your petition.

 

If you use your tax refund prior to filing for bankruptcy, you will have to spend it all or you may have to surrender some of your tax refund to the trustee. To get full use of your refund without being at fault when the time comes to file, you should expect to only use the refund for:

 

  • food and prescription medicine
  • mortgage or rent
  • home maintenance and repairs
  • utilities
  • education costs
  • clothing
  • insurance
  • medical or dental costs
  • car payments, repairs, and maintenance
  • homeowners association fees

 

The best use of your tax refund if you plan on filing for bankruptcy is for it to go to these expenses. When you use your refund for these purposes, it’s also critical to keep accurate and legitimate records of all your spending. With the help of a Behm attorney, you can record and collect necessary information and documents that will fully demonstrate your use of your tax refund for these expenses rather than other debt payments. Your trustee will most likely require a tax return for the year prior to and the year you file for bankruptcy on top of the additional bankruptcy petition documents.

 Find Professional Help When Filing for Bankruptcy

To learn more about how to use your tax refund before filing for bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Farms and Other Local Midwest Food Suppliers File for Chapter 12 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

Farming is a notoriously difficult profession even with the knowledge, tools, and power agriculturalists have access to today. Throughout the ages, farmers have faced challenges with the weather, soil conditions, seed fertility, plant diseases, pests, economy crashes, and many other variables. With all the hardships farmers face, it’s incredible there are so many strong people who still choose this vocation, and we have those hard workers to thank for the abundance of food in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country.

 

However, many farmers still face extreme financial hardship, and it’s no surprise that many find themselves deep in significant debt connected to their crop, livestock, or fishing operations. If you’re having difficulties as a family farmer or fisher, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you find your way out of severe debt by filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

 

With the large spread of farmland dotting the countryside between Mankato and other cities in southern Minnesota, there are many local people living in our communities that took on farming as a profession. Unfortunately, this year has marked a rise of farm debts, not just in Minnesota, but across the Midwest as a whole.

 

Why Farm Debts Are on the Rise

 

Sometimes described as a “slow bleed” of independent farms in the face of low dairy, crop, fish, and meat prices, the debts of family farmers and fishers are not matched by the income they receive from product sales. When independent farms are higher in geographic concentration, as they often are, the trickle of each small farmer’s debts turns into a river of severe financial crisis. If this happens to a community, no matter how widespread, bankruptcy is a highly valuable solution. When farmers and fishers take advantage of the assistance filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy provides, it serves as a true system of recovery and healing for agricultural communities.

 

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

 

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is a debt relief option offered to family farmers and fishers who earn over 50% of their income from agricultural or fishing operations. If you file for Chapter 12, you are provided with a system of bankruptcy that reorganizes and restructures your debts in a manageable repayment plan suited to your income. This bankruptcy repayment plan is spread over a period of three to five years and allows for fluctuations in your income with the growing and harvest seasons. Not only does Chapter 12 give farmers and fishers a way to repay their debts without losing their land, home, agricultural equipment, and overall livelihood, it also provides protection against creditor harassment.

 

Farm debt may be on the rise due to several conditions in the food industry today, but there are solutions. Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN is one option that many can use to recover in the long-term from agricultural debt. To learn more about bankruptcy and debt relief, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Why Post-Holiday Debt Can Be a Real Reason to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for many households. It can be a time when love and kindness pair with quality family time and a break from the regular work schedule. However, because it’s also the time of year when we spend the most money, it can be one of the most difficult times for some who have little to spare.

 

Food, gifts, decorations, and travel expenses make up the bulk of most consumer’s spending from October to January. The time from Halloween to the New Year fills a quarter of the year when spending can be out of control. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we understand the financial pressure you may experience during the holidays, and we know from experience with other clients that post-holiday debt is a perfectly valid reason to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to restructure your debts under the administration of a bankruptcy trustee. This restructuring turns your unmanageable debts into a repayment plan that fits your income and benefits you and creditors alike.

 

The primary way most individuals pay for holiday expenses is with a credit card. As many know, credit cards have some of the highest interest rates compared to any other debts you can incur. With the amount most people spend around the holidays, it’s inevitable that large credit card debt amounts are vastly increased from October to January across the country. Annual post-holiday debt surveys show that the average consumer spends upwards of $1,000 during the holidays, and many predict that amount will increase each year.

 

While it’s easy to get carried away with holiday spending, it’s much harder to come back from credit card debt in the long-term. Struggling with the weight of excessive interest rates can be remedied with a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a highly effective process for those with a steady income, a family to support, and a desire to protect all their properties from the liquidation that occurs in a Chapter 7 case. When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, your creditors have an automatic stay placed on their ability to collect debt, and you can begin building an appropriate repayment plan that will last three to five years.

 

The debts involved in your repayment plan are treated based on the loan agreements you made with your creditors (secured, unsecured, or priority). Because credit card debt is unsecured debt, it is most likely to be discharged up to 100% in a repayment plan.

Find Professional Help when Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Holiday spending is hard to avoid, but a reasonable amount of spending that fits into your budget can be a great way to add cheer to your holiday season. However, if you find yourself struggling with post-holiday debt on top of other debts, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN might be the right choice for you. To learn more about bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.