Understanding Personal Guarantees and Liability When You File for Business Bankruptcy in Luverne, MN

If you own a small business anywhere in the U.S., your livelihood depends on countless factors ranging from market competitors to economic recessions. Maintaining a business with a steady flow of income and output of products or services is difficult, even with a strong foundation. No matter how old or young your business is, it’s possible to face financial struggles. If you’re having a hard time making debt payments from month-to-month, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you decide whether filing for business bankruptcy in Luverne, MN, is the right choice for your business.

Filing for business bankruptcy is a highly effective way to recover from severe debt. When you file for a business bankruptcy, you can choose Chapter 7 and liquidate your assets (shutting down your business in the process), or you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and propose a restructuring of your debts into a manageable repayment plan (allowing your business to continue operating as you repay debts under the supervision of a bankruptcy trustee).

Whichever type of bankruptcy you file for, your trustee will rigorously examine your case for information about your past finances, business format, debts, income, living expenses, and contract agreements with your creditors. This examination determines how your assets will be liquidated and your debts discharged or restructured. Once your trustee has all the necessary information submitted with your petition and you have met all pre-bankruptcy requirements (credit counseling, bankruptcy fees, Means Test, and 341 hearing), the liquidation process will being in a chapter 7 case or you will propose a repayment plan in a chapter 13 case.

Behm attorneys can work with you to draft a repayment plan taking into account all your debts (priority, secured, and unsecured) and determine which debts you are liable to repay in full or have discharged in part from 0%-100%. One concern many business owners have in bankruptcy is whether they’ll be personally liable for the debts their business cannot repay. In the majority of cases, you will be personally responsible to pay debts your business can’t because it’s likely you made a personal guarantee agreement with your creditor when the loan was given.

Personal Guarantee: When you make a business loan agreement, the creditor needs to know they are protected in the event you cannot repay that debt. To resolve this issue, most creditors will not extend loans to businesses without requiring the owner to sign a personal guarantee agreement stating they are responsible as an individual to repay that debt in the event their business can’t meet payments.

Personally Liable: In short, you will be personally liable for your business debt when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if:

  1. You have a sole proprietorship
  2. You have a partnership
  3. You made a personal guarantee on a debt

To learn more about filing for business bankruptcy in Luverne, MN, or to find out about personal guarantees and debt liability, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Why Some Debts Are Exempt from Your Case When You File for Bankruptcy in Windom, MN

For hundreds of years, bankruptcy was wrongfully associated with morally unsound citizens who could not manage their finances. The reality, however, is that people are stuck with debt because of a wide range of circumstances. Today, individuals can accrue debt from more sources than ever before—from credit cards to student loans to medical costs. You are not alone if you are struggling to meet debt payments each month, and like many other debtors in the United States, you can recover financial stability in your life by filing for bankruptcy. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. in Windom, MN, you can decide which type of bankruptcy is right for you and build a strong case to resolve your debt.

Filing for bankruptcy is a viable solution for many debts but be aware that some debts are not dischargeable through the bankruptcy process. The majority of debts the common U.S. individual holds can be included in all bankruptcy formats, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. These bankruptcy formats include debt from credit cards, medical bills, mortgages, bad checks, old utility bills, and car loans—all debts that cause individuals to file for bankruptcy at the highest frequency.

Unusual Debts When You File for Bankruptcy

Debts that may not be discharged when you file for bankruptcy range from unusual debts, like malicious misconduct debts, to even the most common type of debt in America, student loans. Sometimes student loans can be discharged but one must actually commence a law suit against the student loan company and prove to the bankruptcy court that the student loan will impose a financial undue hardship going forward. Such law suits can be both expensive and protracted.

Exempt Debts

The following list of debts is not comprehensive, but covers the most prevalent in the United States that are typically not discharged in the bankruptcy process:

  1. Student Loans Where Undue Hardship is Not Proven
  2. Child support and alimony debts
  3. Most tax debts
  4. Some debts owed to government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency for environmental hazards
  5. Reckless or malicious misconduct debts (for example, a debt in a lawsuit against you for injuries caused by drunk driving)
  6. Other forms of restitution debt
  7. Wages owed to your employees

So why are these specific debts not discharged in the bankruptcy process when so many others are? When considering each type of debt individually, the answer is a complex legal issue that takes into consideration other debts, other parties involved, location, and much more. However, if we take a look at all these debts together, we can see they have one thing in common: All these debts directly affect the well-being of another person or the well-being of the government as an entity that protects and supports the individual American.

If the bankruptcy process allowed the discharge or restructuring of these debts, it could significantly harm another person who has no direct responsibility for the cause to file for bankruptcy. While there are certain exceptions that include some of these debts in your bankruptcy case, they are most often excluded to protect innocent people in your life and the government that, in turn, protects people across the country.

Find Professional Help When You File for Bankruptcy

If you are uncertain whether or not you should file for bankruptcy in Windom, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about the process and your own situation today.

Bankruptcy Fees Today and Special Fee Circumstances for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN

Filing for bankruptcy may seem like a drastic measure, but it’s actually a highly effective way for individuals to recover from severe financial difficulties and regain stability in more ways than one. The process of bankruptcy is designed to benefit both the debtor and the creditors involved in the case with a court administered application of either asset liquidation in return for debt discharge or debt reorganization into a manageable repayment plan. Whether you’re struggling with unexpected, sudden debts or you have accumulated debts over time, Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides the legal counsel and support you need to file a successful case for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN.

No matter what type of bankruptcy you file for, liquidation or reorganization, the court will require you to meet several requirements in order to submit your petition, including paying the current bankruptcy fees.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees

The filing fee itself for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335.  If your case is closed and you have grounds to reopen it later, you will have to pay another $335 fee.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Fees

To file a Chapter 13 petition, you’ll be required to pay a filing fee of $310. To reopen a Chapter 13 case, you’ll have to pay another fee of $310.

Any additional bankruptcy fees and information about putting together your petition are provided on the U.S. Court website, including all the necessary forms and files you need to file.

If you’re struggling so severely that even these initial bankruptcy fees are outside of your budget, the court offers two options. You can apply to pay the filing fee in installments or you can apply to have the filing fee waived completely. In order to qualify for an installment plan you have to state your inability to pay the fee upfront and you must be able to pay it within no more than four installments. To qualify for a waived fee your income must be 150% below the Minnesota poverty line and you must be unable to pay an installment plan.

In the event you can’t pay the bankruptcy fee upfront, it’s almost certain that you’ll have to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Because of case requirements and the fact that you’ll still repay some of your debts during a Chapter 13 repayment plan, filers with incomes too low for even bankruptcy filing fees are not expected to choose reorganization as a viable bankruptcy option. Conversely, if you have an income high enough to pay the bankruptcy filing fee, you may well not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

To learn more about the fees involved in filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, or to get started on your case, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

Understanding When and Why a Trustee Looks for Fraud and How to Avoid Mistakes in Filing for Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN

Bankruptcy is a balanced system designed to help debtors recover from severe financial struggles and reenter the economic system as a productive consumer while remaining fair to creditors to whom debts are owed. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court oversees the outcome of bankruptcy cases for both individuals and businesses filing for bankruptcy, but the case details are handled through an appointed bankruptcy trustee. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you build a strong case.

 

One of the things trustees are highly efficient in finding within a bankruptcy case is evidence or potential for fraud. While most incidents of fraudulent behavior in a bankruptcy case are intentional, there are times when mistakes or misunderstandings can lead to a technical fraud. Understanding when and why a trustee determines an action is fraud is an important step to protecting yourself when filing for bankruptcy.

 

What is Considered Fraud When Filing for Bankruptcy?

 

There are several actions and events that can be directly or indirectly considered fraud in an individual consumer or business bankruptcy case. When this fraud is intentional, it’s generally straightforward for a trustee to dismiss a case based on those actions and events. Direct, intentional bankruptcy fraud most often includes:

 

  • Lying and falsifying documents of financial records such as records of personal loans
  • Purposefully filing incorrect bankruptcy forms
  • Falsely reporting income amounts
  • Hiding assets and accounts
  • Lying under oath
  • Transferring accounts and assets to other parties to hide them from creditors and your trustee
  • Creating a fake identity to hide assets or otherwise lie
  • Bribing your trustee, creditors, or court officials to your benefit
  • Embezzling any amount from your bankruptcy estate

 

These actions and events are the common types of fraud a bankruptcy trustee will base a case dismissal on, but there are other fraudulent behaviors that may occur. Indirect fraud is often caused by ignorance of your circumstances or mistakes in your bankruptcy documents. With the expert advice and assistance of Behm attorneys, you can avoid unintentional fraud including:

 

  • Missing bankruptcy forms or financial document records from your petition
  • Forgetting to pay bankruptcy fees or not understanding which fees apply to your case
  • Filing incorrect or incomplete financial information and bankruptcy forms
  • Missing deadlines or appointments accidentally
  • Building an infeasible Chapter 13 repayment plan
  • Failing to report changes in employment or income (as long as it was not intentional)
  • Attempting to apply exemptions where they cannot be applied
  • Any other unintentional signs of fraud that are caused by a lack of understanding of the requirements of filing for bankruptcy or simply by mistake

 How Professional Counsel Helps You When Filing for Bankruptcy

When you work with Behm attorneys, you can trust us to help you build a strong case and eliminate any potential for mistakes in your documents and forms. With the protection and counseling we provide, you can rest easy on your road to debt relief through the bankruptcy process.

 

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

 

Protecting Your Case with the Help of an Expert Bankruptcy Attorney and Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN

Bankruptcy in the U.S. is a nuanced system for individuals and businesses alike. Like other legal processes, it’s best to proceed with a trained professional who can protect and counsel you from start to finish. Because filing for bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, is rarely a straightforward process, taking advantage of the knowledge and professional standing of a bankruptcy attorney is key to a successful case. Behm Law Group, Ltd. bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated to providing expert counsel to our community households and local businesses.

 

If you’re struggling with overwhelming debt, filing for bankruptcy may be a viable way to recover for long-term financial stability. Filing for bankruptcy without a bankruptcy attorney, however, is not something we recommend. Not only is bankruptcy a difficult process to tackle without professional training and a working knowledge of the U.S. legal system overall, but without the protection of a lawyer, you’ll be vulnerable to aggressive creditor judgments and other potential claims against your case. Additionally, you may set yourself up for accusations of bankruptcy fraud, intentional or not, without the counsel of a bankruptcy attorney.

 

Even if you’re not criminally charged with bankruptcy fraud, the consequences of a case dismissed based on fraudulent behavior can be hard to come back from if you ever find yourself in the position to file again. This is because of the strict rules set in place through the federal bankruptcy fraud statute of limitations. A bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate this.

 

The statute of limitations is based on evidence of bankruptcy fraud and dictates when an individual or business can file a petition after a case dismissal or charge against them for fraudulent behavior. A limitation period is set into place for each filer’s own situation and the fraud committed, and that period determines a time period during which the government may press criminal charges.

 

This time period is dictated depending on certain circumstances unique to each case. Primarily, the limitation period depends on the type of crime committed in a case:

 

  1. If a filer commits a crime as a single event, like falsifying a document or lying under oath, the limitation period begins on the date of the crime.
  2. If a filer commits a crime in multiple events, such as a crime that takes several actions to complete, the limitation period begins when the last action is performed.
  3. If a filer commits a continuing crime, like hiding an asset or account, the limitation period starts with the beginning of the crime and continues until the property is revealed.

 

In bankruptcy cases, crimes generally include asset hiding – which provides a limitation period starting when the court grants a discharge, dismisses the case, or denies the discharge – or all other types of bankruptcy crimes – which provide a limitation period of five years.

 Protect Your Case With a Bankruptcy Attorney

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, protect yourself from accidental fraud and get the help you need to file a strong, successful case. Get started with a bankruptcy attorney from Behm Law Group, Ltd. today and contact us at (507) 387-7200.

 

Differences Between Discharge, Settlement, and Dismissal for Debt Relief in New Ulm, MN

In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to rack up a lot of debt from various sources. Whether you have debts from mortgages, cars, credit cards, medical bills, or any number of other sources, you have the obligation to repay those debts. If you’re unable to meet debt payments each month, there are several methods to resolve debts, but the most effective for those struggling with severe debt is through the process of bankruptcy. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the expert advice and protection you need to receive debt relief in New Ulm, MN by filing for bankruptcy.

 

The three primary methods individual consumers and businesses can receive debt relief are debt settlement, discharge, or dismissal. These processes happen very differently and will affect your legal standing differently in both the short and long term.

 

Discharge of Debt

 

Debt discharges are only possible through the process of bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many of your debts will be discharged during the asset liquidation process. This means your debts will be dissolved in exchange for the sale of your non-exempt property. The value of your non-exempt assets sold will be paid to your creditors. You may also receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 case for some unsecured debts (you will be required to repay 0% to 100% of those debts in your Chapter 13 repayment plan). Discharge through bankruptcy is permanent and government sanctioned.

 

Debt Settlement

 

Some debtors choose to find debt relief outside of bankruptcy through debt settlement. To settle a debt, you must negotiate that process with your creditor without the protection of a court process. This can be tricky and will reflect negatively on your financial records. Additionally, you may still have to pay taxes on the original amount of a reduced or settled debt, and any late payments or owed taxes on this debt will also become a detriment to your credit.

 

Debt Dismissal

 

This is a more unusual form of debt relief that only occurs if you can prove that your creditors are harassing you, abusing their authority (for example, charging extremely high late payments), your identity was stolen to gain the debt, your information on debt paperwork is incorrect, the items or services you took the debt on for were never received, or if your creditors can’t prove you owe the debt. If you suspect you may be able to prove these things, debt dismissal may be a viable option for debt relief, but in most cases, debt settlement or bankruptcy are more realistic choices.

 

Debt settlement has its place, but filing for bankruptcy is often the best long-term, concrete solution for debt relief. To learn more about receiving debt relief in New Ulm, MN and filing for bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Financial Strain in the Changing Economy May Lead to Increased Cases of Bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

The economy is an ever-changing system, as years of sudden or gradual changes have proven. Because of the intricacies that make up an economy, the way this system affects industries, businesses, and people varies differently depending on their various financial standings. Today, the economy has seen changes within the last few years that benefit some parties but has become detrimental to others. If you find yourself dealing with difficult financial conditions, you may be seeing the effects of our economy. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides expert legal assistance to help you determine if filing for bankruptcy in Jackson, MN may help you combat how the economy has affected your family or business.

While many reports of economic standing in the U.S. are positive, we still have reason to believe that not everything is going as well for some as it is for others. In fact, numerous studies and investigations show that many Americans are struggling to stay above the poverty line, and others are still living from paycheck to paycheck despite two incomes supporting the household. Unemployment rates may be lower than they’ve been in years, but some studies show that even as much as 31% (76 million) of U.S. citizens with jobs are still struggling to make ends meet.

 

Why is this happening?

The economy is a complex system, and there are thousands of individual circumstances that may be adding to the financial strain on households and businesses across the country. One condition that may be adding to the financial difficulties of many is the constant “hollowing out” of the middle class. This means the middle class is shrinking for two reasons: the households that prosper move to upper class economic standing, and the households that do not prosper move to lower class economic standing.

Because the middle class is shrinking, the economy is shifting to create a greater financial gap between the small percentage of citizens at an economic upper class standing and the much larger percentage of citizens at an economic lower class standing. This leads to decreased spending from the population as a whole, which then leads to increased prices in all areas of consumer industry, making it more difficult for those in the remaining middle class and lower-class.

The increase in financial strain many Americans are experiencing means more and more households are seeing expense and debt increases without increases in income. If you find yourself in this position, debt relief can be an invaluable chance to stay above the poverty line and keep your financial situation stable. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the best option to restructure your debts into a manageable repayment plan without losing your home, car, and other properties as you might with liquidation bankruptcy. Chapter 7 has its place among debt relief options, but with a regular income and a family or business to support, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best choice for individual consumers above the poverty line.

 

To learn if filing for bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, is the best choice for you, or to get started with your case today, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200.

Minimum and Maximum Debt Amounts Allowed to File for Bankruptcy in Worthington, MN

If you’re preparing to file for bankruptcy, it’s important to understand the limitations before entering into the process. Bankruptcy is an extremely beneficial tool for those struggling with debt, even with a high income. Despite its effect on your financial credit rating, bankruptcy is an effective solution for immediate financial recovery and long-term stability for an individual consumer or business. The requirements of bankruptcy are strict in order to prevent abuse, but with the help and protection of Behm Law Group, Ltd. attorneys, you can successfully file for bankruptcy in Worthington, MN.

 

Because most individuals and small businesses that file for bankruptcy don’t have the legal knowledge of a trained attorney or a team of lawyers a larger company might have to help them through the process, it’s critical to take advantage of professional assistance in the form of a bankruptcy attorney. Behm attorneys are highly knowledgeable and capable of working through your case for a positive outcome as well as protecting you from creditor harassment and advising and educating you along the way.

 

One common concern we hear from our clients is about debt amounts when entering the bankruptcy process. Some of our clients worry they may have too little debt to file, while others face the opposite. When it comes to minimum and maximum debt limits, the requirements are, fortunately, quite straightforward.

Minimum Debt

 

There is no court-set limit on the minimum amount of debt you need to file for bankruptcy. You may have limits on your income if you plan on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but all filers must pass the Means Test, which will determine your eligibility. The only limits on a minimum debt will be put in place by your own judgment. If you have a debt amount so low that it doesn’t justify bankruptcy and attorney costs, you may want to resolve your debts another way. Additionally, if you have high debts but they are excepted from the bankruptcy discharge, you won’t gain much from a case. High credit card debts, medical bills, mortgages, and car loans are all common debts that will be relieved in the bankruptcy process and will certainly justify a case even if they’re as low as $5,000.

 

Maximum Debt

 

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court does set a maximum limit on the debt amounts that can be resolved in a bankruptcy case. These limits are very high, but occasionally we see clients that struggle with this compromise. For a Chapter 13 case, this maximum amount currently stands at $1,184,200 for secured debts and $394,725 for unsecured debts. Chapter 7 doesn’t have a current maximum debt limit, but again, you must pass the Means Test to be eligible for a petition.

 

 Find Expert Help When You File for Bankruptcy

If you have debts you would like to resolve through bankruptcy and want to learn more about your eligibility and the process as a whole, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 for more information about filing for bankruptcy in Worthington, MN.

Debt Domestication and How Foreign Debts Resolve During Bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN

Debt laws vary from country to country, and within the U.S., those laws even vary from state to state. The legal minutia around the debts you owe can quickly become complicated even within Minnesota regulations, but when out-of-state debts and foreign debts are introduced, those difficulties can increase ten-fold.

 

These complications may never become a problem for the debtor if they continue to make regular payments month to month, but if the debtor misses payments or chooses to file for bankruptcy, it can be extremely difficult to wade through those legal waters without professional help. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, and you have foreign debt in addition to your U.S. debts, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can protect you from creditor action and guide you through the process.

 

If you hold foreign debt, it can be discharged in your bankruptcy case. However, that debt is only officially discharged if your foreign creditors domesticate and enforce that debt.

 

Enforcing Foreign Debt

 

When you move from another country, your creditors in the original country cannot pursue collection actions unless they domesticate that debt, or you return to that country. This rule applies to bankruptcy as well, which means that if you want to discharge a foreign debt, your creditors must domesticate that debt or drop the debt completely. It may be easier to convince your creditor to domesticate a debt if they’ll gain some reimbursement from asset liquidation or a repayment plan.

 

Domesticated in Bankruptcy

If your foreign debt is domesticated, it will be handled in bankruptcy depending on the type of chapter you file. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your non-exempt assets with value in excess of your allowable bankruptcy exemptions are liquidated and your debts are discharged. Complications with foreign debts arise if the country you owe debt in has differing bankruptcy laws. In most cases, these issues are related to the portioning amount of the values from liquidated assets, but this is an issue the courts will resolve for you.

 

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, similar issues arise with your foreign creditors in the repayment plan structure. Chapter 13 works to restructure your debts into a manageable repayment plan where you repay priority and secured debts in full and all other debts in predetermined portions from 0%-100%. If your foreign debts are unsecured, the courts may have issues deciding how much you’ll repay those creditors when their country’s legal system dictates higher or lower repayments.

 

Your foreign debts can be resolved in your case, but it’s important to understand how they’re enforced and what complications may arise in bankruptcy. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, or to get started on your case, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Debt Securing and Its Role When You File for Bankruptcy in Marshall, MN

In this fast-paced world, it’s almost impossible to go through life without incurring debt. From mortgages to car loans and credit card debt, many areas of a consumer’s financial life involve borrowing. While it’s obvious that borrowers directly gain from loans, it can be difficult to understand how lenders benefit outside of the amount they gather from interest. Understanding the full lending process is an important part of financial management, including knowing when you should file for bankruptcy because of those loans. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd., you can determine if, when, and how you should file for bankruptcy in Marshall, MN.

While the primary reason lenders supply loans to consumers is the percentage of interest gained in the period it takes those borrowers to repay them, they can also benefit from holding secured collateral on a debt. This collateral usually manifests as some item of property that acts as security for the lender and provides the lender the opportunity to offer better rates and sign with more customers. If you enter into an agreement with a lender on a loan with secured collateral, you have incurred a secured debt.

Secured debts always involve properties that act as security or collateral. Common secured debts include mortgages, car loans, and loans for work equipment, appliances, or luxury items. Lenders generally secure debt with the implementation of a lien, either voluntary or involuntary.

 

Voluntary: This is the most common form of a lien lenders will place on a secured loan. Often these liens are written into the initial contract you sign to close the agreement and allows secured creditors such as mortgage providers to foreclose on your home if you can’t make monthly home payments. Voluntary liens can also be imposed on personal properties such as tools, work equipment, furniture, and inventory.

 

Involuntary: Lenders can also impose involuntary liens as security interest by going through the court system. These options take forms similar to lawsuits and are usually put into place as judgment liens, but occasionally can include income tax liens, mechanic’s liens, and landlord’s liens.

 

Liens, either voluntary or involuntary, work to protect a creditor’s right to repayment. In the event a debtor defaults, the creditor can repossess the secured property, foreclose a home, or file court action. If a debtor chooses to file for bankruptcy, a secured creditor is protected and most likely guaranteed some repayment in the process.  At a minimum, the secured creditor would receive the collateral securing its lien which the creditor would auction off and use the sale proceeds to pay off some of the underlying debt.

If you’re struggling to meet debt payments on any of your debts, secured or otherwise, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Marshall, MN.