Understanding Proof of Claim in Bankruptcy as a Filer or Creditor

Whether you’re a debtor filing a bankruptcy petition or a lender involved in a bankruptcy case as a creditor, you have certain responsibilities. Bankruptcy is a highly complex legal process that requires comprehensive paperwork from all parties involved. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy relief, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you put together a strong petition that provides long-term debt relief from Chapter 7, 13, or 12.

 

As a debtor, bankruptcy can be key in resolving debts in an effective way, and as a creditor, it means you’ll see a return of what’s owed when that might not otherwise be the case. Creditors involved in a bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN are responsible for filing a proof of claim if they want to receive any return on the debt the filer owes.

 

A proof of claim is a key part of the bankruptcy process. All creditors, unsecured or secured, must file the correct paperwork that shows proof of their claim on the debt in order to be paid from the bankruptcy case. Creditors are paid from the liquidation of the filer’s non-exempt assets in a Chapter 7 case, and in both Chapter 13 and 12 cases, that money comes from the filer through payments made pursuant to a repayment plan.

 

Occasionally, creditors won’t be required to fill out a proof of claim form if the filer has a no-asset Chapter 7 case. This means there’s no money in the bankruptcy estate, and none of the creditors involved will receive a return on the debts owed.

 

Proofs of claim must be filed within 70 days of the date the petition was filed for non-government creditors. Government creditors have 180 days to file their proof of claim paperwork.

 

Formal proofs of claim include the name and case number of the filer, creditor information and mailing address, amount owed to the creditor, the basis of the claim, and whether the debt is secured or unsecured. Supporting documentation from the creditor’s records is also required.

 

In some cases, another party of interest (person or entity that might gain or lose from the case) can object to a creditor’s proof of claim. Reasons a claim may be objected to include inaccuracies such as an incorrect amount listing, the wrong type of debt is listed, the supporting documents were not included, or the interest is listed incorrectly.

 

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help. Contact us today at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com for more information.

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.

Overview of Some Bankruptcy Statistics since 2005

In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) became law in response to the rapid spike in individual consumer bankruptcies. The difficult economy of the early 2000s pushed many people into serious debt, and filing for bankruptcy was the best option available to them for long-term debt relief. However, it also created a situation in which bankruptcy fraud became more prevalent. To counteract this, the BAPCPA was passed, but since then, a lot has changed in the U.S. economy. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy relief in Marshall, MN, Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you navigate the BAPCPA and other bankruptcy laws to build a strong, successful Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 case.

 

After the BAPCPA was passed in 2005, the bankruptcy numbers changed dramatically. There was a decline in the number of Chapter 7 cases filed because the act created more strict requirements to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. From 2005 to 2017, 12.8 million consumer bankruptcies were filed, with an average of 68% Chapter 7 cases and 32% Chapter 13 cases. Even with the passage of the BAPCPA, the ratio of Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 is still high.

 

In 2008, the crashed economy sent more people into bankruptcy, and by 2010, the United States saw the highest filing of bankruptcy cases since before the passage of the BAPCPA. The total number of consumer bankruptcies filed in 2010 was 1,538,033 with 1,105,534 Chapter 7 cases and 430,583 Chapter 13 cases. By 2017, as the economy stabilized, the total of consumer bankruptcies was 767,721 with 61.50% Chapter 7 cases and 38.36% Chapter 13 cases. In comparison, the 2005 total of consumer bankruptcies was more than 2 million nationwide.

 

Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana filed the highest percentage of consumer bankruptcies from 2006 to 2017, likely due in part to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Between 2006 and 2017, 92% of the 25 states contributing the most to the total of national consumer bankruptcies were southern states.

 

In 2011, however, California filers made up 17% of the national consumer bankruptcy filings.  In contrast, Alaska had less than 1,000 filings that same year. In 2016, Alabama had as many as 1 in 112 households filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

 

The most common causes of consumer bankruptcy reported in 2005 included medical bills and credit card debt as significant factors. Since then, the causes of bankruptcy have expanded in variety, including job loss, income reduction, unexpected expenses, and divorce. The average filer today is middle-aged, married, and making less than $30,000 a year.

 

The changes in bankruptcy statistics since the establishment of the BAPCPA in 2005 have manifested in many different ways, including rates of bankruptcy, types of bankruptcy, and circumstances of the filer.

 

To learn more about bankruptcy in Marshall, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Mortgage Options and Rebuilding after Bankruptcy in Luverne, MN

Owning a home is a big goal for individuals and families alike. In today’s world, however, buying a home is a difficult process that requires both good credit and a steady income. Unfortunately, those are conditions that many U.S. citizens don’t have in their lives. For many, the prospect of a mortgage isn’t even on the table. Those struggling with severe debts in addition to having a low income don’t have the option to buy a house unless they seek debt relief and take positive action to turn around their finances. Filing for bankruptcy is one option available to anyone qualifying, and with the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can file a successful case and begin rebuilding after bankruptcy in Luverne, MN.

 

Bankruptcy filing is generally offered to most individuals as a Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 reorganization process. This means your debts will either be discharged in exchange for asset liquidation of your non-exempt assets or reorganized into a repayment plan lasting three to five years and suited to your income. No matter which type of bankruptcy you file for, you’ll receive the benefits of debt relief and likely have long-term stability if you are wise with your finances.

 

While one effect of bankruptcy is debt relief, the other is a hit to your credit. The benefits of bankruptcy are not outweighed by the negative effects on your credit, but it is something you will have to deal with after you file. When it comes to buying a home, for example, you will face varying waiting periods before you can be approved for a mortgage.

 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

After you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will have to wait two years until you can be considered for Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans. Any other private, conventional mortgage company requires a four-year wait period until it will consider you as a borrower. An FHA loan is offered through a system designed to help consumers struggling to get loans because of poor credit, bankruptcy filings, or other financial problems. FHA mortgages have lower down payments and lower credit score requirements.

 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have a two-year waiting period for FHA loans if you have made consistent payments on your chapter 13 plan. However, if you have made consistent payments on your chapter 13 plan for one full year, you may apply for an FHA mortgage consideration with the added recommendation and explanation of your case from your bankruptcy trustee.

 

For conventional loans, that waiting period is two years after the chapter 13 repayment plan is finished and the case is officially closed. If your case is dismissed for any reason, that waiting period is extended to four years.

 

Rebuilding after Bankruptcy

No matter which type of bankruptcy you file for, getting a mortgage afterward requires patience and intelligent planning/management of your finances. To learn more about filing for and rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy in Luverne, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

Where Things Happen When You File for Bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN and the Surrounding Area

If you’re struggling to meet your debt payments month to month, it may be time for you to consider options for positive debt relief. One of the best long-term options available for individuals struggling with debt is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a complex, nuanced legal process that’s difficult to work through without guidance, but with the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. attorneys, you can build a strong case for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN. Our attorneys will help you move through the bankruptcy process with confidence and expert advice at each step of the way.

 

Bankruptcy is highly nuanced and requires extensive financial documentation and participation from all parties involved. The participation involved means meetings and other requirements that you, as the filer, must perform. The locations of these meetings vary depending on where you live. For Pipestone, MN residents and those in the surrounding area, these locations and meetings include:

 

  • Attorney Meeting: If you choose to partner with Behm Law Group, Ltd, your attorney meeting will take place in Pipestone, MN at one of the rooms in the Pipestone County Courthouse. Our office is located at 403 South Broad Street in Suite 60, Mankato, MN, but we can and do meet with prospective clients anywhere. If you’re unable to meet with us in person, we can also meet over the telephone and maintain contact via email.
  • 341 Meeting: A meeting of the creditors, also known as the 341 meeting, is required participation for you where you and your lawyer meet with the chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee that the bankruptcy court assigns to review your bankruptcy case. The meeting takes place after you file your petition. In this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will ask a series of questions about your debts, assets and petition overall. For Pipestone residents and those residing generally in the Pipestone area, your 341 meeting will take place in Mankato, MN at the U.S. Post Office building, if you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.  The Mankato Post Office building is located right across the street from our office.  If you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, the 341 hearing will be conducted in the large conference room in the lower level of the Redwood County Courthouse in Redwood Falls, MN. If you live elsewhere in Minnesota, this list of 341 meetings by county will tell you what location the meeting will take place. Learn more about the 341 meeting here.
  • Bankruptcy Court: The U.S. Bankruptcy Court operates at a national and state level. Each state has various locations of court branches that serve different regions. Minnesota has bankruptcy courthouses in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. While bankruptcy filers will only have to meet at the courthouse to deal with rare and unusual conditions in their case, there are occasions in which you may have to travel to the court nearest to you. For Pipestone residents any issues that would need to be addressed by the bankruptcy court would be handled at the St. Paul courthouse.
  • Credit Counseling: Another requirement of bankruptcy is credit counseling. Filers must conduct a credit counseling course, either online or in person, within 180 days prior to filing their petitions. There are many court-approved credit counseling agencies in the Pipestone County region and surrounding areas, and you can easily find one suited to your schedule and location. The United States Department of Justice provides a search engine system to find local, approved credit counseling agencies here.

 

To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN or to get started on your case today, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200.

Understanding the Rise of Bankruptcy in Windom, MN and Nationwide

Filing for bankruptcy is a valuable way to finding long-term debt relief for either an individual or a business. If you’re struggling with your finances and find it difficult to meet debt payments each month, you may benefit greatly from filing a bankruptcy petition.

 

Taking positive steps to work through a bankruptcy case can secure a financial future and stabilize your life in many ways. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can provide the support, guidance, and legal protection you need to build a strong case for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Windom, MN and get the results you need for long-term financial wellness.

 

The two most common types of bankruptcy for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is also the most common type for businesses of all sizes. This chapter works to liquidate your non-exempt assets (properties and accounts) in exchange for the discharge of the majority of your debts.

 

Chapter 13, on the other hand, reorganizes your debts into a repayment plan customized to your income. This repayment plan lasts three to five years, and it may discharge a large percentage of your unsecured debts (i.e. credit card debt and medical bills).

 

If you do plan to file for bankruptcy, you’ ll not be alone among U.S. citizens. In fact, there has been a recent increase in bankruptcies across the country. While the rate of bankruptcy is still far below recession levels, there is an unmistakable uptick. The American Bankruptcy Institute recorded a 3% increase in bankruptcies from July of 2018 to July of this year, projecting a total of 796,000 cases compared to last year’s total of 777,000.

 

In contrast to this increase in bankruptcies, there has been a national average increase in minimum wages and an overall decrease in unemployment. So, why are there more bankruptcies?

 

The fact is that U.S. debt is incredibly high right now. The recorded debt for total consumer households is at $14 trillion, with credit card debt at $1 trillion. For perspective, the total debt of the 2008 recession was $1 trillion less than today’s debt. Unfortunately, on top of their debt, many individuals are still spending recklessly. Businesses and consumers alike are suffering from the national debt, as all economic conditions ripple through the U.S. financial systems. To learn more about these circumstances, explore the New York Post’s coverage.

 

You may find yourself in dire straits, financially speaking, from accumulated or sudden debts, and this may be a result of actions in or out of your hands. No matter how you got here, bankruptcy is available to you as an effective debt relief option.

 

To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Windom, MN and the surrounding area, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Top Three Causes of Bankruptcy in Waseca, MN

Over 700,000 cases of bankruptcy have been filed each year since the 2008 market crash. Though this number has decreased since its peak in 2010, there are still thousands of cases filed across the country.

 

If you’re struggling to meet monthly debt payments, it may be time for you to consider joining others who have used bankruptcy as an effective debt relief option and gain long-term financial wellbeing. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. you can navigate the nuanced waters of bankruptcy in Waseca, MN and file a successful case for Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief.

 

Bankruptcy is a process designed to support debtors, lenders, and the economy as a whole. Different systems of bankruptcy have been in place for centuries, and today’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court has several types of bankruptcy chapters established to treat individual and business debts.

 

For individuals filing for bankruptcy, the system provides solutions for the most common causes of their financial struggles. For many individuals, there are three primary sources that push them to the point of filing for bankruptcy.

 

  1. Medical Bills: Because the U.S. doesn’t provide national healthcare coverage, privatized health insurance companies are the only option for the majority of individuals. Because health insurance providers are private companies, they can be very expensive. In addition to this, medical care itself is very costly, from general check-ups to serious surgeries. For those who can’t afford health insurance, it’s nearly impossible to pay for any medical treatments. Several studies show that accumulated medical bills or sudden expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
  2. Unemployment: While the government provides support for the unemployed via unemployment compensation, it’s often not quite enough to make ends meet. Long-term unemployment will almost certainly create a situation of severe debt, especially if the individual has mortgages, credit card debt, or car loans to repay. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to help those without a steady income resolve debts that they cannot pay while unemployed.
  3. Divorce: The combination of legal fees, emotional turmoil, increases in living expenses, and a decrease in income as a result of divorce can all create a situation of financial struggle. The cost of divorce is high just in terms of court fees and legal representation, often meeting a minimum of $2,500. In addition, you lose the income of your ex-spouse, and your living expenses may actually increase. All of this makes divorce a main cause of bankruptcy, especially if the couple was facing financial struggles prior to the split.

 

If you’re considering bankruptcy for any of these reasons and more, you’re not alone. Choosing to take the next step and starting a bankruptcy petition will take you down a path to long-term financial stability. To learn more about bankruptcy in Waseca, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

How Minimum Wage Can Affect Bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN and Across the State

State economies are affected by a range of factors, both within the state itself and by national or global determinants. The condition of a state economy will have its own impact on the cost of living, availability of jobs, wages, and more. Minimum wage is directly affected by the state economy, which means it should change over time to accommodate employees fairly.

 

Any changes to minimum wage will impact workers and employers alike, though this effect may manifest in many different ways. For some employers, an increase to minimum wage may stretch their finances to a breaking point. If a recent change in minimum wage, in addition to other factors, has led your small business into dangerous financial waters, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you file for bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN.

 

In January of 2019, Minnesota raised the minimum wage by 2.16% to a rate of $9.86 per hour for large employers and $8.04 per hour for small employers (and for underage employees). This change in minimum wage reflects the nearly annual changes in inflation, which means it will have positive and negative effects to all parties involved.

 

For employees, the increase in pay will have a very positive impact on their lives. For employers, on the other hand, even a small increase in minimum wage can impose a much higher cost of worker compensation.

 

For large employers, this increased expense doesn’t usually create a serious impact, but small businesses can take a hit. Businesses established as a sole proprietorship or a partnership in particular will have a harder time compensating for minimum wage increases over time because the owner’s personal debts include all their business debts.

 

If you own a small business as a sole proprietorship or partnership and are struggling with the changes to minimum wage in addition to other expenses, Behm attorneys can help you petition for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a debt reorganization plan that gives you a three to five-year repayment period and discharges portions of your debts. This type of bankruptcy also allows you to keep your business running with long-term stability.

 

Chapter 7 is a bankruptcy process available to all types of businesses, big or small. This chapter works to discharge debts in exchange for the liquidation of non-exempt assets. It’s one of the most effective bankruptcy processes in terms of concretely resolving debts, but it could require you to shut down your business for the foreseeable future.

 

Owning and operating a business is a difficult profession, and it can quickly become more difficult with small changes like the increase in minimum wage this year. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN to find debt relief for your business, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Why Many Local Restaurants File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

Running a business is a difficult endeavor, especially if it’s a young company. Maintaining a steady income and company growth means battling on several different fronts and working through many different expenses. Not only do the local economy and your business marketing endeavors affect your business standing, but also the national and even global economy play a role as well. Additionally, some businesses are even more difficult to run than others. Restaurants, for example, are notoriously difficult to maintain successfully. Behm Law Group Ltd. has helped many people work through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, and the surrounding area.

 

If you find yourself facing a business bankruptcy after your restaurant becomes impossible to maintain, you’re not alone. Every year, many restaurants close due to bankruptcy, each case with its own unique set of circumstances. Despite the differences among cases, we can often highlight several common factors that played a part in the situation leading up to a bankruptcy.

 

Common Factors Playing a Part in Bankruptcy

 

  1. Capital: Restaurants require a lot of capital to operate. Not only does this include expensive kitchen equipment, restaurant-specific building systems, staff facilities, a large supply of furniture, registers/accounting systems, uniforms, and many other concrete items, they also include a range of food types with varying shelf lives. Building maintenance and restaurant operations are more expensive than almost any other service company.
  2. Licensing and Property: Liquor licenses, health inspections, zoning laws, rent, property taxes, and many other restaurant requirements are sky-high for restaurants. With the food service industry booming in the United States, state and municipal governments put restrictions on opening restaurants with these licensing and property expenses. In addition, federal health and food safety certification requirements put further strains on business incomes.
  3. Market Saturation: Another effect of the booming restaurant industry is market saturation. Restaurant customers are picky and they are eager to try new things and they are constantly demanding newer options and better quality. This results in a restaurant market that is highly saturated with many different types of restaurants that provide stiff competition to anyone else trying to make a living in the area. All of this means it’s extremely difficult to succeed based on market saturation alone, let alone in addition to other obstacles.

 

All these factors make restaurants a unique business in the fact that they are more difficult to run and more likely candidates for bankruptcy than most other companies.

 

Restaurant owners who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will face the good and bad of their situations. Chapter 7 works to liquidate some business assets in exchange for the discharge of debts, including mortgages, personal loans, equipment debts, and more. However, in many cases, this discharge comes with the reality of having to close down operations. It’s not impossible to reopen a restaurant again in the future, but for the time being, filers usually shut down their businesses.

 

If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about restaurant bankruptcy cases.

How Filing for Personal Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN Affects Your Community

If you’re struggling to meet monthly debt payments and feeling the weight of your financial difficulties, it may be time for you to consider some form of debt relief. For many individual consumers and businesses, filing bankruptcy is a highly effective form of debt relief that provides long-term beneficial results.

 

It’s true that bankruptcy has some negative side effects, specifically to your credit, but the advantages far outweigh these effects in the vast majority of cases. Filing may be your ticket to a better financial situation that lasts the rest of your life. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. bankruptcy attorneys, you can determine which type of bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN is right for your situation, and you can put together a successful case that gives you the best results possible.

 

Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help debtors and creditors alike. It’s a system that recognizes the situation that debts have put filers in but also understands that creditors deserve some kind of recompense for debts owed. This balance of treatment to creditors and debtors that bankruptcy creates is because it’s structured on a nuanced, complex system intertwined into the economic structure at all levels. This means that, overall, bankruptcy provides a support system for every party involved  including borrowers, lenders, and all other financial people/organizations at every financial level.

 

If you choose to file for bankruptcy, the following parties will be affected (not including you and your creditors), both directly and indirectly:

 

  • Family/Friends: Both emotionally and financially, your friends and family may be affected by your bankruptcy. This may appear in several ways depending on your situation. First and most directly, any personal loans you owe to family and friends may be discharged or reorganized into a repayment plan, making whichever loved one that gave you the loan into a creditor involved in bankruptcy. This can put serious stress on a personal relationship, but in addition to this, your loved ones will most likely be made aware of your financial status.

 

  • Local Economy/Government: In many ways, even one bankruptcy affects a municipal government and, in turn, a local economy. No matter the size of your rural or urban area, citizen finances are tied together, which means a bankruptcy in the area will reflect on the local economy. Your bankruptcy may be one of few, but more bankruptcies mark a potentially struggling economy and a local government that will have increasing difficulties in supporting its community. This system is all cyclical, but bankruptcy plays a part in returning that cycle to a positive side.

 

Bankruptcy can also affect the global economy in ways as well, but like many other financial matters, everything occurs on a gradual and cyclical scale.

 

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