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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Natural Disasters Influence Bankruptcy Claims in Mankato, MN

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

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

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

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

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

Coming to Terms with Personal Bankruptcy

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

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

It shouldn’t be that way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beware Fraudulent Transfers | Bankruptcy Law Tips

Minnesota Bankruptcy Lawyers at Behm Law Group Ltd.

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota Bankruptcy Advice- Are Student Loans Eligible for Discharge?

Tips from Minnesota Bankruptcy Attorneys- Behm Law Group

Student loans are generally understood to be “exempt” when it comes to bankruptcy protection. If you have student loans, you are required to pay them back in full, and the federal government has put rules into place to ensure that debt is collected. There are provisions that can help ease student loan debt, but the burden of proof is on you to prove you are in a position that makes it practically impossible for your to pay your loan. Filing for bankruptcy in Minnesota is a viable option. The Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group offer advice on how to navigate these tricky waters.

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Student loan debt is a huge concern nationwide. As college tuition continues to skyrocket, hundreds of thousands of graduates and perhaps their parents are saddled with debilitating student loan debt that can equal or exceed the price of most starter home mortgages. Private and federal student loan debt exceeded credit card debt in 2010, hit the $1 trillion mark in 2011, and as of this year stands at $1.2 trillion dollars. Meanwhile the economy is struggling to regain past employment levels and starting wages are generally lower, leaving college graduates with burdensome debt and little opportunity to get back on track.

Up until 1976 all education loans could be discharged through bankruptcy. That year the bankruptcy code was changed which disallowed college or government loans to be discharged during the first five years of repayment. After five years of payment the loans could be discharged though bankruptcy or if “undue hardship” was being experienced by the borrower. In 2005 Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which gave further protections to student loans, both federal and private, from bankruptcy protection.  The only “door” left open for bankruptcy protection was if the borrower could demonstrate to the court that repayment of the student loan would cause an “undue hardship.”

Undue hardship can be exceptionally difficult to prove. Just the simple fact that you don’t have the funds available to pay your loan generally does not qualify as undue hardship.

Navigating through this complicated legal landscape is something best left to a professional bankruptcy attorney. Though full bankruptcy protection is still far from an attainable goal regarding most student loan debt, legal avenues do exist for at least a partial discharge of the overall debilitating debt burden that’s all too common for today’s college graduates.

Behm Law Group, Ltd. employs a professional team of bankruptcy attorneys who can help you through the daunting legal world of bankruptcy protection. With our years of dedicated training in the field of bankruptcy we can advise you about your student loan debt options and whether or not you meet the demanding criteria for having your student loans discharged through bankruptcy.

Serving Mankato, MN, and surrounding areas, Behm Law Group, Ltd. is available to help clients maneuver their way through financial difficulty and avoid the stress and uncertainty of unnecessary, burdensome debt. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. to discuss your bankruptcy options.

They Are Not on Your Side- Credit Cards Can Lead to Bankruptcy

Considering bankruptcy in Minnesota? Behm Law can help.

Commercials for big credit card companies make it look and sound like their only intent is provide you with an easy alternative to cash or checks to help all your “wants and needs” come true. The commercials show happy people buying bag-loads of goods at high-end stores, retiring to a beach-front home, or treating friends to an expensive dinner at a pricey restaurant. But are they really on your side? Are they really there to help you make your dreams come true? A look at their net incomes give you a glimpse of what they’re really out to do, and who truly benefits from their services.
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One recognizable company, Capital One, which gets half of its income from credit cards, reported a $1.1 billion net income for third quarter, 2013. Think about that—$1.1 billion in one quarter. The biggest credit-card issuer, American Express, reported a $1.37 billion net income for third quarter, 2013. Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. home lender, reported a third quarter net income of $5.58 billion. One thing is certain; these companies can’t achieve net incomes in the billions of dollars each quarter by giving money away. They make their exorbitant profits by charging high interest rate
s, massive late fees, and ridiculous overdraft fees. In other words, they lure you with friendly promises of luxury and convenience, and then snag you with highly predatory interest rates and insurmountable fees and penalties.

Credit card companies love to advertise “easy, affordable” credit. But, when times get tough and you’re financially struggling, they can make resolving your financial hardships unbearable and hopelessly unaffordable. Have you been entrapped by the large credit card companies? Is your income being sapped by high-interest payments? Are you over your head in debt? If so, do everything you can to get out of their snare. Your financial future depends on it. But if you are in so much financial trouble you cannot escape on your own, bankruptcy might be your only option. To see if bankruptcy is the right solution for you, call the personal bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. Unlike the big credit card companies, we really are there for you.

 

The Government Shutdown and Bankruptcy

How does the government shutdown affect Minnesota Bankruptcy?

minnesota bankruptcy behm law groupUnless you’ve been on an extended vacation in a far-away land with limited access to television, radio, or internet, you have heard about the U.S. government shutdown. The media calls it a “partial shutdown.” You may be wondering, “How does the government shut down relate to Minnesota bankruptcy?” Well, for the countless people who are affected by the government shutdown, there’s nothing partial about it; many are left completely without wages and pay. Not only are government employees affected, but also government contractors. Furthermore, there will be a financial domino effect. Companies that do business with the government won’t get paid. In addition, the restaurants, coffee shops, and retails stores that cater to government employees will see a reduction of business, and could end-up laying off employees, or worse, even be forced to shut their doors for good. And, when the unemployment benefits and savings accounts for these people dry up, many will have no option but to file for bankruptcy.

All of these victims of the government shutdown who end up filing for bankruptcy will have to do so not because they are careless, shopaholics, or addicted to gambling, but because of something over which they have no control: the decisions of a handful of powerful legislators. At Behm Law Group Ltd, we understand that this is true not just for furloughed government workers, but for most people who file for bankruptcy. Their financial problems were caused by forces and events over which they had no control, such as a CEO’s bad business decisions, skyrocketing medical costs, or the lagging economy.

At Behm Law Group Ltd, you will find understanding bankruptcy attorneys who will handle your case with compassion and professionalism. We know it’s not your fault. All we want is to help end your personal financial crisis. If your finances are being ruined by forces out of your control and you’re not sure what to do, call Behm Law Group. We can help you.

 

Why Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Advice from Behm Law Group

Mankato Bankruptcy Tips

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Behm Law Group, Mankato BankruptcyFor some people, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best option to consider when deciding which type of bankruptcy to file. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges people from all of their unsecured debts, Chapter 13 allows you to renegotiate your debts into more affordable payments which you make over the next three to five years. Chapter 13 isn’t for everybody, but it just might be the right option for you. The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group can help you decide which option is right for you.

Ineligible for Chapter 7

Not everyone is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To be eligible, you have to pass the means test, which we have discussed in a previous post . However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers you some protection that Chapter 7 does not.

Protect Your Property

If you want to retain your property, such as a house or a car, you will want to file for Chapter 13. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy only discharges debt, Chapter 13 can allow you to reorganize your debt on secured property under much more favorable terms. Also, Chapter 13 allows you to protect property that you might not be able to keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Protect Your Conscience

Even though they are in a bad situation through no fault of their own, some people feel guilty about filing for bankruptcy. They want to feel like they have kept their obligations. For these people, Chapter 13 provides the opportunity to reorganize their debt  into more manageable payments and may afford them greater peace of mind. 

We’re Here to Help

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. are dedicated to helping people make these difficult decisions. We can help you decide whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is best for you. If you need help deciding between Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, give us a call.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and The Means Test

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Mankato MNThe means test was developed to ensure that the only people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are those who truly do not have the ability to pay back their debts. There are many factors that go into the means test, so you should rely on an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy attorney to help you determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The first factor the means test uses to qualify you for Chapter 7 is your income. Basically, if your income is less than the median income in Minnesota for the size of your household, and your debt is consumer debt and not business debt, you qualify for Chapter 7. There is no further test required. However, even if your income is above the median income for Minnesota, you may still qualify for Chapter 7.

Another factor the means test considers is your disposable income. Your disposable income is what is left over after you have paid for your allowed monthly expenses. If the money that is left over after expenses is not sufficient to make payments on your debts, you may qualify for Chapter 7, even if you income is above the median. Otherwise, you must file for Chapter 13, which means you will have to make one monthly payment each month to a chapter 13 trustee for a certain period of time (36 to 60 months) which gets split up among your creditors each month pursuant to the terms of a chapter 13 plan of reorganization. However, that is not necessarily bad news. Depending on your situation, Chapter 13 might be your best option.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. deal exclusively in the area of bankruptcy law. Our highly trained and experienced staff can help you decide if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is best for your situation. When you are ready to put your debts behind you and move on with your life, give us a call.

Going to Jail for Owing Money? Or, Bankruptcy?

There are not supposed to be debtor’s prisons in the United States. That’s what bankruptcy is for. However, debt collectors have found a legal dirty trick to send a debtor to jail. Though it doesn’t happen often, this is a technique they are using that you should know about, especially if you have succumbed to the allure of payday loans. This dirty trick is called a “body attachment.”

Body Attachment Defined

A body attachment, also called a “writ of bodily attachment,” is a type of court order that is usually used for people who are guilty of contempt of court. It is a lot like an arrest warrant. The rules for how a body attachment can be used depend on local laws. As an example, if someone is in contempt of court for missing a court date, a court can order a writ of bodily attachment. Once this order is issued, the court can authorize a sheriff to physically force a person to show up in court. Unfortunately, debt collectors have found a way to use body attachments to harass debtors.

Body Attachment Abused

A debt collector cannot threaten to throw a person in jail. However, debt collectors have been able to use body attachments to do just that. For example, they might get a judgment against a debtor. The collector can then summon the debtor to court. However, the debt collector will then summon the debtor to many, frequent hearings, or worse, they might even fail to notify the debtor of the hearing. As a result, the debtor misses their appointment, and the court issues a body attachment. The debtor then ends up in jail and often pays much more than he or she owes in bail money. If they don’t pay the bail money, they must sit in jail until the court date.

A Bankruptcy Filing Ends the Abuse

When you file for bankruptcy, debt collectors can no longer directly contact you. They must always go to your Minnesota bankruptcy attorney. In other words, when you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, you have an advocate to stand up for your rights. If you’re being harassed and abused by debt collectors, call the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. We’ll end their unwarranted abuse and work diligently to protect your legal rights.