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.

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 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.

What Bankruptcy Means for Your Credit Now and in the Future | Mankato, MN

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, far more adults (62%) are worried about the effect bankruptcy would have on their credit reports than the shameful stigma attached to declaring bankruptcy (26%). If you are considering bankruptcy in the Mankato, MN area, Behm Law Group wants to help you understand what declaring bankruptcy means for your credit profile.

How does bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Your credit score is an easy way for you and creditors to calculate the health of your credit profile. Declaring bankruptcy means that you are in a situation where you are unable to make payments on your debt, so it is viewed as a very negative event on your credit report. But the overall impact it has depends on your entire credit profile. If you had perfect credit, you would probably see a large drop in your credit score. However, since most people who declare bankruptcy usually have poor credit and several other negative marks on their credit reports, bankruptcy might make a relatively small dent in a credit score.
Additionally, bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to 10 years after you file and will continue to affect your credit score until it is removed. Even so, that doesn’t mean you are unable to obtain new credit in the meantime.

How soon can I qualify for new credit?

Bankruptcy is a means of clearing your financial slate and it will take time for you to rebuild your credit history to the point where creditors are willing to grant you a line of credit. Generally it takes 18-24 months of full, on-time payments before you will be able to qualify for most loans. Of course, creditors also take into account your income, debts and assets so you may be a viable candidate for new credit sooner if your financial situation has greatly improved since you declared bankruptcy.

Here are some general timelines for a few of the major types of credit:
• Credit Cards: This type of credit is usually available immediately after a bankruptcy because credit card companies can justify charging you higher interest rates and fees if you have a checkered credit history. Be wary of opening new credit cards, however, as you might easily find yourself deep in debt again. A secured card is a safer way to begin rebuilding your credit because it can be used like a regular credit card but it requires a deposit upfront to cover your credit limit.

• Auto Loan: Auto loans are also often readily available soon after filing bankruptcy thought the interest rates will be quite steep. If possible, you might want to wait until you can qualify for a loan with a more competitive interest rate to avoid paying more in interest over the life of the loan.

• Mortgage: While some lenders will give you a home loan right after filing for bankruptcy, it is best to wait at least two years before applying for a mortgage. Not only will you have time to develop a good credit history, lenders will usually leave your bankruptcy out of the consideration and offer you better interest rates. Plus you will also be able to save for a down payment and decrease the amount you need to take out in loans.

Though bankruptcy may cause your credit to take a hit immediately after filing, declaring bankruptcy can actually help you in the long-term by wiping out most, if not all, of your debt. This allows you to start managing your money better and rebuilding your credit without the burden of monthly payments. If you are ready to start over financially, call Behm Law Group for assistance with declaring bankruptcy in the Mankato, MN area.

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.

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.