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.

What does a Municipal Bankruptcy Mean?

When it comes to money, emotion can wreak havoc in our lives. A relative or friend uses a doleful expression to request a “loan” to stay out of dire circumstances. After a while, these “loan” requests become more frequent. Now that you’ve started a precedent, how do you stop? This same dilemma can happen with Minnesota cities just like Mankato, Owatonna, and Albert Lea. The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. want to illustrate a case in point.

It used to be that cities which experienced financial difficulty simply increased taxes. Then came The Depression of the 1930s. This method no longer worked.

Subsequently, a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy law was created. Only about half of the states in the U.S. incorporated this law into their systems according to an article by Adrian Shirk.

Since 2008, over 50 cities have filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy; only 13 successfully. By far the largest municipal bankruptcy in the U.S. is Detroit, Michigan.

Cited Reasons for Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. To many, this result was inevitable. After reviewing Detroit’s financial history since the 1950s, reporters Nathan Bomey and John Gallagher concluded that time and time again, city leaders either refused or failed to enact tough decisions that could have staved off financial collapse.

They cited these factors as having the greatest impact on Detroit’s bankruptcy filing:

  • mass departure of city residents
  • sharply decreasing tax revenues
  • soaring home abandonment
  • billion-dollar borrowing by city leaders
  • creation of new taxes
  • failure to reduce expenses when necessary
  • large bonuses given to workers and retirees
  • failure to reduce health care benefits

All of these factors over many, many years spelled financial disaster. It seems some leaders never want to play the bad guy. In so doing, they become the bad guy anyway.

Let us explain. When people encounter difficult situations, your heart may go out to them. But, when it comes to money, a leader has to weigh the considerations of all residents. It’s not about making people happy in the short term by giving them money. It’s about how to effectively use taxpayer money to achieve the best, long-term results. This takes thorough planning, discipline, transparency, and effective communication.

A city needs to be run like a business. Leaders have to pay for street lighting, signs, police, fire, utilities, courthouses, public schools, public hospitals, parks, other public properties, and municipal salaries, benefits, and pensions.

In fact, the top two sources of municipal debt are the employee salaries and benefits of both current and retired employees.

Just like in a personal household or in another business, when income declines and expenses stay the same or increase, adjustments need to be made to stay out of debt. In a city’s case, city services suffer first. Maintenance items get postponed. Residents have to endure the new normal. City morale tanks.

Sometimes, the state offers to provide money in exchange for taking more control over the city’s budget.

Some Decisions Detroit Made After Bankruptcy

In Britain, if a city were to file for bankruptcy, everything would be liquidated. In the U.S., the counterparties have to stay as long as they are assured their debts will be paid.

This rule was fortunate for Detroit. Creditors eyed the 57,604 piece collection of artwork in the city-owned Detroit Institute of Art. Instead of auctioning everything off and losing part of the city’s culture, the collection was divested to a series of charitable trusts. For the next 20 years, the Detroit Institute of Art “committed to contribute $100 million to the city’s recovery.”

In addition, Detroit agreed to:

  • restructuring labor union pensions
  • utility shut-offs
  • state loans

According to the Michigan Constitution, pensions can’t be cut; however, Chapter 9 bankruptcy takes precedence over this rule.

While Detroit had more than 100,000 creditors, far more than you would ever likely have, we can still learn from Detroit’s predicament.

Steps to Avoid Bankruptcy

Work to keep income greater than expenses. If circumstances change, drill down to discover the root cause, and act accordingly. Do not react emotionally or let your emotions dictate how to spend your money. At times, that can be easier said than done.

Have a financial plan. Follow your plan. Scrutinize changes. Follow up with careful decision making. Even with that, if you ever have questions about bankruptcy in Mankato, Albert Lea, or Owatonna, MN, consult the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd.

Recovering Tuition in Bankruptcy in Mankato, Minnesota

For parents in and around Mankato, MN, imagine your sons and daughters going to college. Emotions overflow. A new adventure awaits. All that hard-earned money is finally producing more educated citizens. Now you have the time to pursue other interests. Behm Law Group, Ltd. congratulates you on this new chapter in your life.

Let’s fast forward a couple of years. Let’s say you’ve incurred a large amount of debt. You worry. Your financial decisions don’t seem to bring you much income, so you file for bankruptcy. At least your children’s futures will be better, you think. They’re already well on their way to achieving degrees.

There’s one slight hiccup the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. want you to be aware of. When someone files for bankruptcy, the court normally appoints a trustee. What do you think that trustee’s job is? It’s not to safeguard your money. Rather, it’s to help creditors recoup as much money as they can.

In fact, court-appointed trustees can review payments made 4-6 years prior to the bankruptcy in most states. If there doesn’t appear to be a viable need for that spent money, it can be re-taken by the trustees. Essentially, the end result would be as if you never spent the money in the first place.

Whoa, you exclaim! How could that affect you? Remember that tuition you paid? You may view that expense as essential and beneficial. Of course, your children can prove the education made their lives better. Or, can they?

Actually, in many cases, a court-appointed trustee can and has recovered spent tuition monies. Now you’re wondering what your rights are. We’re glad you asked.

Contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. for your bankruptcy needs in the Mankato, Minnesota area. Find out what trustees can and can’t do in your situation. Find out how recovered tuition would impact your child’s education. Get some answers and some peace of mind.

Heirlooms & Bankruptcy in Mankato, Minnesota

You might think all you need is more money. Then you would never have to worry about bankruptcy. You could buy all sorts of expensive items and live in luxury. Certainly, it’s possible to live luxuriously without declaring bankruptcy. It’s possible to live modestly without declaring bankruptcy, too. Either way, you’re likely to have some family heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations. If you declare bankruptcy, can you keep those heirlooms? Or, would you have to give them up to pay creditors? The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. declare that it depends. Whether you live in Mankato, Faribault, Albert Lea, or Owatonna, MN, circumstances can differ between cases

If you ever find yourself in a financial bind, creditors will be looking at your assets and nipping at your heels for any way they can collect on their money. They have to follow rules in this process, however.

If you are contemplating bankruptcy now or in the future, please seek legal advice first. Behm Law Group, Ltd. specializes in bankruptcy and can help you work with creditors. We can inform you of your rights under bankruptcy law and what you can and cannot do. We can clarify future expectations. We can help you in southeastern Minnesota with a professional and courteous manner.

Whenever someone experiences a loss on TV due to a natural disaster of some sort, he or she inevitably expresses thankfulness for surviving and a will to re-build, but regret at having lost items of sentimental value. Family heirlooms have sentimental value.

It can take many years to acquire them. The memories remain priceless. Before you even consider relinquishing those treasures during a bankruptcy, let us review your options with you at Behm Law Group, Ltd.

It’s possible to re-build and to start over. It’s possible to buy new things. In a disaster it’s not always possible to keep remnants of family history. Let the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. work with you in Mankato to make sure any bankruptcy you encounter doesn’t become a disaster. Contact us today.

Rebuilding After A Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

For business owners in Mankato, Albert Lea, Owatonna and Faribault, MN, are you worried about what protesters could do in your area? We have seen the mayhem and destruction caused by protesters in larger cities across the country for some time now. Who’s to say where this chaos will move to next? If such an event happened to you, should you rebuild after declaring bankruptcy? Behm Law Group, Ltd. believes these are all good questions. Planning never hurt anyone. Failing to plan has.

We’re assuming that an act of destruction to your business would cause you to declare bankruptcy. Such may not be the case, especially if you have adequate insurance. The question of rebuilding remains either way.

You could decide that protests occur in enough areas and it would be difficult to escape them. You’ll rebuild and take the chance nothing bad will happen again. Or, maybe you were thinking about retirement. The insurance settlement would help you to live a life of peaceful enjoyment.

There is another option you may not have considered. Many people dream of doing something else. Are you one of these people? You have made a decent living toiling away at your business in Mankato, Albert Lea or Owatonna, but your soul doesn’t feel complete. Then bankruptcy comes along. You didn’t want this. You certainly wouldn’t recommend it. But, in this case, maybe it makes sense for you.

Perhaps bankruptcy would close one chapter, so you could start the next. Perhaps you could now pursue another hobby or interest with gusto and make it into a new business venture. You know you have the entrepreneurial skill set. You know you have the drive. Now you also have the passion.

Maybe you’re not worried about protests reaching your city. That doesn’t mean some other circumstance wouldn’t result in the same outcome.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. want you to dream big. What do you really want to do when you grow up? You could define your next steps in your plan.

You might decide you don’t want to wait for bankruptcy. You want to start now with your new business idea. Why not?

With any business, you have to expect the best, but plan for the worst. Include Behm Law Group, Ltd. in your planning. If nothing else, you will have the peace of mind of knowing what your next steps would be. Contact us today.

Accidental Bankruptcy in the Mankato, Minnesota Area?

You’re in your parked car ready to drive away. Then it hits you. Literally. Another driver backs into you. Perhaps they were distracted. You don’t care about that. You care that your car is damaged, and your back hurts. You sue for damages. The other driver files for bankruptcy. What now?

Typically, when someone files for bankruptcy, in some cases, their debts can be erased. You’re probably wondering why someone would be able to shirk responsibility under the guise of bankruptcy, especially if filing after the fact, whether in Mankato, Owatonna, or Albert Lea, MN.

Bankruptcy isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be. Lots of factors can affect a legal decision. We encourage you to contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. when you’ve encountered a situation similar to the one above.

Depending on your viewpoint in the Mankato, MN area, bankruptcy may be an advantage or a hardship. Although it may seem like an easy pass like in the example above, qualifiers do exist to prevent people from wrongfully filing for bankruptcy. Some types of debt can be extremely difficult to discharge. Some examples of debts that could follow you continuously include:

• Child support and alimony
• Student loans
• Tax debt
• Any debt not mentioned in the bankruptcy paper work

Just because someone filed for bankruptcy after a car accident they caused does not necessarily mean that they don’t owe you anything. In certain cases, judges can be convinced that certain debts should remain.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. can answer all of your questions regarding bankruptcy in Mankato, Faribault, Waseca, Fairmont, Worthington, Redwood Falls, St. Peter, Marshall or New Ulm, MN, accidental or not. Bankruptcy law can be confusing and emotionally draining, but with our help, you can get through it. Contact us today!

Bankruptcy During Tax Season

While bankruptcies occur year round, timing is everything. Once you have determined you need to file for bankruptcy, consult with local attorneys, especially those whose practice focuses exclusively on bankruptcy. Factors such as assets, upcoming life changes (like marital status), and pending judgments you might have affect when you should file.

As you can see in the table below, people tend to file for bankruptcy predominantly around tax season. These statistics represent the 2014 bankruptcy filings according to the U. S. Courts:

Month in 2014 U.S. Total Filings Business Filings Non-Business Filings
January

70,491

2,233

68,258

February

74,508

2,228

72,208

March

70,491

2,233

68,258

April

90,670

2,563

88,107

May

87,966

2,467

85,499

June

76,223

2,253

73,970

July

79,239

2,218

77,021

August

77,190

2,098

75,092

September

75,312

2,039

73,273

October

81,179

2,295

78,884

November

64,250

1,830

62,420

December

65,161

2,094

63,067

Total

936,795

26,983

909,812

The highest number of total bankruptcy filings in the U. S. for 2014 was in April. In fact, according to Bob Lawless, bankruptcy filings consistently top out in the beginning part of the calendar year. Typically, January and February tend to accumulate at least 15% of the total filings, as is the case here.

Although the reasons could be numerous, let’s take a look at a few possibilities for why the beginning of the year and, in particular, the tax season may garner so much attention:

  • With taxes due April 15, people focus more on their finances and are apt to make significant changes then.
  • People think bankruptcy will lessen their tax burden.
  • Folks feel they can’t be audited if they file for bankruptcy.
  • Some think they can go on a spending spree before April 15, file for bankruptcy, and then owe nothing.
  • They expect a large tax refund and believe they can simply use that to pay toward a bankruptcy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if bankruptcy were that simple? It’s not. That’s why you should contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. Here’s why:

  1. In a bankruptcy, certain debt called priority debt cannot be discharged. Priority debt includes child support, DWI charges, some penalties, plus more.
  2. A bankruptcy does not stop an audit. The IRS gets priority here.
  3. If you go on a spending spree before declaring bankruptcy, that could be construed as intentional fraud.
  4. If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may or may not be able to spend your tax refund.

These are just a few examples where legalities can get tricky. You need to understand there are enough nuances within bankruptcy law that could really cause you problems if you don’t know what you are doing.

When to file tax returns regarding bankruptcy has its own issues. One thing that is certain is you cannot discharge taxes that haven’t been filed in the first place. For specific advice, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. We serve mankato, MN and the surrounding areas, including Marshall, Worthington, Owatonna, New Ulm, St. Peter, Redwood Falls, Waseca, and Fairmont.

One good thing to keep in mind is that discharged debt doesn’t really affect taxes because it isn’t considered to be taxable income.

This April 15, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, make sure you have the facts. It may not be in your best interest to file now. Any important financial change deserves careful thought. For further advice, contact your local bankruptcy attorney.

Are Student Loans Discharged When Filing Bankrutpcy in Minnesota?

Everyone knows the cost of higher education has increased dramatically. Students grumble about the cost of their student loans, and rightfully so. According to Bloomberg, college costs have soared over 500% since 1985. Who wants to be in debt before they even start their first job? No wonder students might seek ways to erase this debt, even if it entails bankruptcy. The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd., want you to know that normally, student loans are not discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.

However, 11 U.S.C. sec. 523(a)(8) notes two exceptions to this rule:

1. The student loan cannot be affiliated with a governmental unit or nonprofit entity. This means if a governmental unit insures, guarantees, or funds the student loan in any way, the loan cannot be discharged.

2. If the student, or debtor, incurs an undue hardship in order to pay the loan, it’s possible the student loan could be discharged.

Before October 1998, student loans could be discharged according to certain circumstances, provided the loan was over seven years old. That stipulation no longer applies for loans after October 1998.

Meeting an exception doesn’t automatically mean a student loan can be discharged. The court weighs all factors of each case before making a decision on what is considered dischargeable debt.

Before you incur any student loan debt, you should think very carefully about your academic interests and your possible career objectives. Student loan debt can pile up quickly. It is understandable and common that people must take more than four years to complete a degree. However, if you change course of study too many times, you could find yourself under oppressive student loan debt after you graduate. Education is important, of course, but you might want to explore more affordable options if your first choice in schools would break your piggy bank.

It wouldn’t hurt to make sure you major in a viable field that can generate sufficient income to pay for your living expenses as well as your debt. Finances can bring a real-world mentality to those ideals of simply following your whims. Sometimes, you either have to be creative in developing a job for yourself or you have to just accept an available position until you can afford to leap to something you would enjoy more.As stated, the court views several factors in student loan bankruptcy cases. If you want to explore your options in Mankato, Minnesota, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. We restrict our practice to only bankruptcy.  You can expect the best from us.

What Happens to My Tax Debt When I File For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN?

Behm Law Group provides bankruptcy consultation and advice for Mankato-area residents.

The word “bankruptcy” creates visions of having no money and no way out. There is more than one type of bankruptcy, however. If you are contemplating bankruptcy and want to know which course you should take, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows Mankato residents to set up a payment plan whereby some dischargeable debt may be discharged at the completion of that plan. In the case of tax debt, under Chapter 13, the entire tax debt has to be paid off within 60 months. However, you would not incur penalties or interest on that tax debt.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd would like you to plan ahead for tax season. You should be putting together your receipts and other paperwork to prepare for 2014 taxes. Rather than wait until the last minute, Mankato, MN, why not start saving the money you expect to pay for taxes. If you are coming up short to the point bankruptcy is a possibility, give Behm Law Group, Ltd a call.

Taxes never go away. If allowed to accumulate, the tax debt you owe can appear insurmountable. It’s a fact that inaction, when dealing with a problem, can lead to negative reaction or continued non-action, neither of which will solve your money issues. Add forward momentum by taking that first step in Mankato, Minnesota. Contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd .

Knowledge is power. Instead of guessing or imagining all possible scenarios, just find out the facts. Maybe bankruptcy wouldn’t be best for you. We’ll let you know that, too.

If Chapter 13 bankruptcy fits your situation, Mankato, then the next step is to form a plan to pay off any tax debt as well as other non-dischargeable debt. Every situation is different. Behm Law Group, Ltd’s attorneys can definitely help you. We will clarify the bankruptcy laws for you, so you understand exactly how you are affected and what you can do about it.

Just think, positive forward momentum leads to freedom of debt. You will have an opportunity to start fresh, create a budget, and stick to it. Soon, living within your means will become a habit.

Mankato, Minnesota, the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd are ready to serve you when you need help. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

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.