Importance of Bankruptcy Attorneys Even with the Automatic Stay

As with any other legal process, it can be difficult and complicated to navigate the bankruptcy court system, including correctly filling out the right forms and paperwork, and understanding which dates and stipulations mean what. Unlike most other types of legal processes, bankruptcy is one that can be handled without the assistance of an attorney. However, bankruptcy is a highly nuanced system that can change in an instant with the introduction of a new form, different financial circumstances, or the decision of an attorney or trustee. Because of this, it’s strongly recommended that filers take advantage of the resources and protection a bankruptcy lawyer can provide. When you work with Behm Law Group Ltd. expert bankruptcy attorneys in Luverne, MN, you are ensured a neatly compiled case that offers long-term effective debt relief.

 

Individual consumer filers can use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate their non-exempt assets in exchange for debt relief or they can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to reorganize their debts into a three- to five- year repayment plan suited to their unique financial circumstances. No matter which chapter you file for, however, you will immediately receive the benefits of the automatic stay.

 

The automatic stay is a routine procedural rule for bankruptcy cases. It goes into effect the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed. The implementation of the automatic stay prevents creditors from collecting debt payments from you, stops them from filing claims or lawsuits against you, keeps them from enforcing liens on any of your assets, and establishes a formal reconciliation or balance between them and you for the duration of your bankruptcy case. This legal reconciliation or balance prevents creditors from contacting/harassing you or sending other collections agencies after you.

 

The automatic stay protects you from your creditors while your bankruptcy case is being worked out, but it is still important to have the protection, guidance, and expertise of a trained and certified professional bankruptcy attorney. Aside from the valuable work of organizing your case, filling out the correct paperwork, establishing communications with the court, and overall guiding you throughout your case, a bankruptcy attorney can protect you against your creditors if uncommon events should occur. For example, the court could lift the automatic stay if one or more creditors file a motion to lift it. Additionally, creditors can ask the trustee administering your case to take action against you if they believe you have engaged in fraudulent behavior, object to the discharge of a particular debt, protest your paperwork, and take many other actions that can damage your case or leave you unprotected.

 

The helping hand of bankruptcy attorneys is often the key in forming a strong case that will produce successful results, and it is also critical for protecting you against any actions your creditors might take that compromise the automatic stay or introduce new legal proceedings.

 

To learn more about the help bankruptcy attorneys in Luverne, MN, can offer, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Handling Payday Loans in Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s generally accepted that you should not be spending more on credit than is absolutely necessary. This includes purchasing anything from luxury items to car repairs that aren’t needed. Loans like payday loans from lending companies, paycheck advances, or other similar debts are handled in various ways in a bankruptcy case. The way they are treated depends entirely on the circumstances of the loan and your intentions. If you do file for bankruptcy in Marshall, MN and have payday loans, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you determine how they might affect your case, and our attorneys can guide you through a case to receive long-term debt relief.

 

If you have taken out a payday loan or received a paycheck advance, you will most likely receive a discharge of the debt if you file for Chapter 7. This discharge is ensured if you took out the loan for a necessity and you intended to repay it when the time came. Because it is an unsecured debt, it will be discharged in full in addition to other unsecured debts like credit card and medical bills. If you file for Chapter 13, your payday loan will be included in your repayment plan along with other unsecured debts.

 

If you did take out a payday loan and there are facts indicating that you did not plan to repay the debt, you may face some issues in your bankruptcy case. There are ways a creditor can prove that you fraudulently took out a payday loan or that you misrepresented your financial information when you requested an advance on your paycheck. To start proving you took out a loan without planning to repay it, a creditor can file an adversary proceeding. Presumption of fraud is particularly likely if you’ve taken a loan out 70 to 90 days prior to filing to bankruptcy. You may be asked to demonstrate that your actions were warranted and not fraudulent if you did take out a loan within that time.

 

In most cases, however, the court understands the conditions filers are in when they take out payday loans. Borrowers need money in advance to cover necessary expenses; indeed, this is something that is quite common. Because of this, most payday loans are taken out with good intentions to repay them in time. If you are worried that your payday loan might be considered fraudulent, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and including it in your repayment plan might be a better option.

 

Overall, payday loans will be discharged or included in your repayment plan unless a creditor has grounds to file an adversary proceeding. To learn more about payday loans and filing for bankruptcy in Marshall, MN, please contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Handling Bankruptcy Audits with the Help of a Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is a nuanced process that can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. No matter what type of bankruptcy you file for, the process can be greatly improved and filed without mistakes when you take advantage of the protection and guidance of a professional. Bankruptcy cases for individual consumers are typically formatted into Chapter 7 (non-exempt asset liquidation in exchange for debt discharge) or Chapter 13 (debt reorganization into a three- to five-year repayment plan). Both of these Chapters can be further complicated with the introduction of a bankruptcy audit. If you choose to file for bankruptcy, the help of a Behm Law Group Ltd. bankruptcy attorney in Owatonna, MN, can counsel and protect you in the face of an audit or any other legal hurdles you may face.

 

Bankruptcy audits are rare, but they are done routinely each year by the U.S. Trustee’s office, which can audit up to 1 in every 1,000 Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases and is required to audit a minimum of 1 in every 250 cases per district. The audits are randomly selected, but the office can also audit unusual cases based on an income or debt alert system.

 

In a bankruptcy audit, the Trustee’s office delegates an external auditing company to verify aspects of the case, including income, expenses, debts, and assets. You, as the filer, do not have to pay any fees in the audit, but you are required to provide copies of any requested financial documents.

 

The audit firm has 21 days to submit the audit report to the court, and the court uses that data to determine how the audit affects your case.

 

If your case is audited by random selection or based on the office’s alert system, a few outcomes can happen. If the court finds any issues in the audit with your case, you may have your case dismissed, your right to a discharge may be denied, or your case may be marked as fraudulent and criminal proceedings could be commenced if you have tried to use the process to hide assets. In most cases, if a bankruptcy filing is audited randomly, there are no issues and your petition continues through the court process normally and you get a discharge of your debts.

 

In some circumstances, filers may have made mistakes in their paperwork that appear fraudulent or must be remedied by reopening the case. With the support of a bankruptcy attorney, however, corrections can be made in the course of an audit and your case will not be dismissed and you will get a discharge of your debts. To file a case with integrity and receive long-term debt relief, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com to get started with a bankruptcy attorney in Owatonna, MN, today.

Reopening Your Case with the Help of a Bankruptcy Attorney in Mankato, MN

If you recently filed a bankruptcy case and before you could receive a discharge or reorganization of your debts, your case was dismissed, don’t give up yet. There may be a chance you can reopen your case and successfully file for bankruptcy. Because there are many reasons why your bankruptcy case might be closed before it affects any of your debts, it’s highly advantageous to have the help and protection of a certified legal professional from the start. Whether you’ve filed and had your case closed or you are just considering bankruptcy as an option, Behm Law Group Ltd. can provide the guidance and advice you need from an expert bankruptcy attorney in Mankato, MN.

 

Cases are often closed due to an issue in the pre-bankruptcy requirements or in the paperwork you completed. Bankruptcy paperwork can be complex, and the pre-bankruptcy requirements are mandatory and can be rigorous. That’s why a case closure is frequently due to a failure to satisfy a court requirement.

 

Failure to:

  1. List an asset: If you neglected (accidentally or otherwise) to list an asset/property on the initial documents you are required to complete in your bankruptcy case, your case can be dismissed. However, if your case is originally dismissed due to your lack of accurate asset listing, you can reopen your case with the corrected paperwork. The guidance of a bankruptcy attorney is often key in filling out bankruptcy documents regarding assets.
  2. List a creditor: Even if a creditor will not be involved in the bankruptcy process in any way, you are required to list all the parties to whom you owe money. This includes lending companies, landlords, the court system, the government, and even friends and family. If you fail to list a creditor, chances are you can reopen your case with adjusted documents and direction from a bankruptcy attorney about the details of your creditors.
  3. Complete credit counseling: Every filer has to attend court-approved credit counseling sessions within 180 days before submitting a bankruptcy petition. Without the advice of a bankruptcy attorney, it can be difficult to find an approved counseling provider or to understand when a provider might take advantage of your situation. If your case was dismissed because you failed to complete credit counseling, you can reopen your case if you prove you’ve satisfied that pre-bankruptcy requirement.

 

To reopen you case, you simply have to correct anything you failed to do and submit an application that explains why you want to reopen your case. With that application, you also need to submit documentation that proves you have remedied any failures in the original submission. To learn more about reopening a case and why the help of a bankruptcy attorney in Mankato, MN, is important, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Resolving Medical Bills and Other Debt Relief in Mankato, MN, with Bankruptcy

In the United States, the cost of healthcare is high, even with medical insurance. This expense is often a cause of much hardship for those who encounter medical costs of any kind, expected or otherwise. These expenses put pressure on household finances during an already stressful and often emotional time. If you are facing unmanageable hospital bills and medical expenses on top of other common debts (e.g., credit cards, mortgages, car loans, taxes), you can find debt relief that offers long-term, effective results by filing for bankruptcy. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can file a successful case and receive debt relief in Mankato, MN, from your medical bills and other debts.

 

While filing for bankruptcy may seem drastic, it is the most effective and direct way of resolving your medical expenses in addition to many other debts. Instead of working through the red tape of most hospital administrations without the assurance that your debts will be resolved at all, consider filing for bankruptcy, which kills several birds with one stone with the treatment of many debts and a guarantee that your medical bills will be completely dissolved.

 

Because medical bills are considered an unsecured debts, they will be fully discharged in any type of bankruptcy you can file for as an individual.

 

Chapter 7

As a liquidation type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 discharges debts in exchange for the liquidation of your non-exempt assets. In most cases, the bankruptcy exemptions that are available to you are more than sufficient to protect all of your property from liquidation.  Unsecured debts such as credit card debts, and of course, medical bills, are discharged in full. Chapter 7 is the quickest and most expeditious type of bankruptcy to treat unsecured debts because the process usually takes only three to four months to complete.  However, you must pass the Means Test in order to prove you qualify for chapter 7 debt relief by showing that your household income is not greater than the state median income for a household of your size.

 

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is a debt reorganization form of bankruptcy. Also referred to as wage-earner bankruptcy, Chapter 13 is an option available to those with an incomes too high to file for Chapter 7 or for those who want to protect their non-exempt assets from possible liquidation.  Chapter 13 reorganizes your debts into a manageable three- to five-year repayment plan. This means that you will pay your unsecured debts what you can afford to pay for a limited time with no interest, no late fees and no penalties.  At the end of your three- to five- year plan, whatever amounts of your unsecured debts that remain are discharged.

 

In a nutshell, filing for bankruptcy will ensure your relief from medical bills, and in most cases, many other debts as well. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy and receiving debt relief in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

How A Bankruptcy Lawyer Supports Your Pipestone, MN, Case

Bankruptcy is a process that affects a higher percentage of families, individuals, and businesses each year as many aspects of our economy change. There is absolutely no reason to feel shame in filing bankruptcy. In fact, bankruptcy is a government sanctioned process designed to help U.S. citizens find relief from debts, unexpected or otherwise. While some take on bankruptcy without a professional at their side, this is not recommended as filing for bankruptcy is one of the most complex and condition-based procedures an individual or business can undergo. Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you work through a case with the advice and support you need from a professional bankruptcy lawyer in Pipestone, MN.

 

Any bankruptcy trustee or legal professional will advise individuals and businesses to take advantage of the invaluable help a bankruptcy lawyer provides, and for good reason. No matter how much research you do to understand the process and your own circumstances, a bankruptcy lawyer provides legal protection in addition to the expert guidance and support you need in any type of case.

 

When you partner with a Behm attorney, you can expect knowledge, experience, outside-of-the-box thinking, and true caring for you, the client.

 

A Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Guidance

 

The key role of a bankruptcy lawyer is to provide guidance throughout a case. This includes:

 

  1. understanding aspects of your circumstances and determination of the best course of action when it comes to the type of bankruptcy you should file
  2. comprehensive assistance in gathering documentation for your case, including all financial information about income, debt, accounts, expenses, and more
  3. advice throughout credit counseling and other preliminary requirements outlined by the court
  4. support at the 341 hearing (meeting of creditors) or in court in the event your case advances beyond standard procedure
  5. advice and assistance in creating a Chapter 13 repayment plan proposal that fits the requirements of the court and your own financial situation
  6. support throughout the Chapter 7 liquidation process and assistance in claiming exemptions
  7. help in establishing a long-term plan for post-bankruptcy life

 

A Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Protection

 

Not only do bankruptcy lawyers provide guidance and insight from start to finish in your case, they also give vital protection from any parties involved. This includes:

 

  1. protection from creditors’ harassment that might occur
  2. support and protection in the event you may face a judgment claim from court or creditor
  3. defense against many reasons your trustee may attempt to dispute your case
  4. assistance during the meeting of creditors, the first critical time your case is introduced to the bankruptcy court

 

If you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, Behm Law Group Ltd. can offer you the support and protection of a professional bankruptcy lawyer in Pipestone, MN. To learn more or to get started with us today, contact us at (507) 387-7200.

How Bankruptcy Debt Relief Can Stop Legal and Illegal Creditor Debt Collections in Jackson, MN

Whenever you take a loan, whether it’s in the form of a mortgage, car loan, credit card, or otherwise, you become a debtor, and the loan provider becomes a creditor. The relationship between you and your creditors is generally a perfectly amiable, professional one if you’re able to meet your monthly payment requirements. If you find yourself in a position of being unable to meet those monthly payments, that relationship may start to change to something less amiable, and in some cases, less professional. With the protection of Behm Law Group, Ltd. attorneys, you can put a stop to creditor debt collections and find debt relief in Jackson, MN by filing for bankruptcy.

 

Anyone who has been in the position of being unable to repay their debts may know something about just how ugly creditor debt collection practices can get. Filing for bankruptcy can quickly resolve any issues you may be facing from your creditors’ collections attempts as well as provide a long-term solution for debt relief. Whether you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and have your debts reorganized into a repayment plan that is suited to your financial circumstances, or for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have your non-exempt assets liquidated in exchange for a discharge of your debts, you receive the benefits of an automatic stay.

 

The moment you file for any type of bankruptcy, the court automatically places a stay on your creditors’ ability to collect debt. This stay, with the additional protection of a bankruptcy attorney, should put a stop to any creditor debt collection attempts, legal or illegal.

 

Legal Creditor Actions 

Before you file for bankruptcy and receive automatic stay protection, creditors are allowed to collect debt according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This means they can directly attempt collections and negotiations with you for the first six months you are delinquent. After that time period, your creditors can bring in a third-party collection agency. These collectors can communicate with you directly unless you have attorney representation, in which case that agency must work with your lawyer. If your original creditor sells your debt, the buyer of the debt must also abide by the FDCPA laws.

 

Illegal Creditor Harassment

The moment your creditors or collection agents attempt to collect outside of the laws the FDCPA outlines, they enter harassment territory. Illegal harassment actions include anything from calling you repeatedly at inconvenient times or places, calling you when they should be calling your lawyer, contacting your family members, threatening you, misleading you about their identity, threatening you with jail time and much more. Learn more about illegal debt collection here.

 

Illegal and legal debt collections alike are halted with an automatic stay that goes into effect the moment you file for bankruptcy. For more information about bankruptcy and debt relief in Jackson, 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.

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.

 

 

Long-Term Financial Effects of a Government Shutdown and Getting Help from a Bankruptcy Attorney in Marshall, MN

Starting in December of 2018 and ending more than a month later, the recent government shutdown was the longest in U.S. history and impacted more government employees across the country than any other shutdown before. The ripple effects of the shutdown grew by the day and had severe effects on many employees’ finances. The lack of income for government departments, programs, organizations, and employees alike caused, for many, a rapid decline into debt.

 

If you were affected financially by the recent government shutdown and are facing unmanageable debts because of this, filing for bankruptcy is a viable option to receive government-sanctioned debt relief. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you file a strong case with the guidance and counsel of an expert bankruptcy attorney in Marshall, MN.

 

Reports of shutdown-related debts and expenses have come from all kinds of sources. All types of government employees suffered financially from the shutdown. A month without a paycheck can lead quickly to all kinds of poor financial conditions simply due to an inability to pay bills. Government employees found that they were unable to make payments on a wide range of common bills or debts including:

 

  • medical bills and health insurance
  • utilities, including water, electricity, and gas
  • rent or mortgage
  • car payments or car repairs
  • automotive and related insurance
  • life insurance
  • retirement plans
  • student loans
  • credit cards
  • taxes

 

Businesses and organizations that relied on government funding also suffered badly, and the individuals employed by these businesses and organizations experienced a range of difficulties such as not receiving a paycheck and benefits or being laid off. Though the shutdown only lasted for a month, the long-term effects will last for years. Recovery from unexpected, sudden, and complete cutoff from an income and government support for an unknown amount of time is still causing a real struggle today for many U.S. citizens and businesses.

 

In comparison with the 2013 government shutdown, for example, the recovery process has proved to be more difficult and longer simply due to the suddenness, time frame, and nature of the 2018-2019 shutdown. The lack of structure and planning in this recent shutdown created an outcome resembling an economic recession that was crammed into a 30-day period.

 

In times like these, it’s important to remember that consulting a bankruptcy attorney is a real option that you should consider seriously. If you were unable to pay your bills because of the government shutdown and are still trying to overcome the negative effects, bankruptcy may provide realistic, long-term recovery from debt.

 

To learn more about filing for bankruptcy and how an expert bankruptcy attorney in Marshall, MN, can help you get back on your feet after the shutdown, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.