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.

 

Key Factors that Affect the Repayment Plan Structure of Bankruptcy in Windom, MN

Today, Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy for both individuals and businesses. Because the Chapter 7 process is only available to those with income-to-debt ratios lower than the Minnesota median, bankruptcy is often associated with unemployment or even financial ruin. However, bankruptcy is an option to people and businesses with a wide range of incomes and debts in the form of debt restructuring—Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and guidance to help you decide which type of bankruptcy in Windom, MN, would be the most beneficial to your current financial situation.

 

If you have a stable job and your debts weigh heavily enough for you to consider bankruptcy, chances are you’ll gain the most out of a Chapter 13 case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to structure your debts into a 3 to 5-year repayment plan that’s suited to your income. The process is designed to give your creditors as much of a return on your debt as possible without crippling your finances or severely damaging your quality of life.

 

In a Chapter 13 repayment plan, your debts are broken down into several categories based on the priority claim those creditors have on repayment. First, secured creditors are generally the creditors with property secured through a promissory note and security agreement such as mortgages, car loans, or any other debt concerning a physical property. These creditors can be repaid in different ways during your Chapter 13 plan period. In some cases, you will continue to pay these creditors directly rather than through your bankruptcy plan.  For instance, if you have a mortgage with Wells Fargo and you are current with the mortgage payments, you would continue to pay that debt directly to Wells Fargo.  However, if you are delinquent with your mortgage payments, you can pay the mortgage delinquency back to Wells Fargo throughout the 36 to 60 months of your chapter 13 plan rather than all at once.  Of course, you would still have to continue making your regular monthly mortgage payments to Wells Fargo but the delinquency owed before your case was filed would be paid back by the chapter 13 trustee with the payments you make through your chapter 13 plan.  Second, priority debts involved in the bankruptcy process (bankruptcy fees, for example) must also be paid in full.

 

You’ll also be required to repay certain debts in full regardless of any type of plan period, income, or bankruptcy you file for. These commonly include child support and alimony, most tax debts, and debts from personal injury or death you caused while operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

 

The rest of your debts will be considered unsecured or nonpriority debts, and these may be paid at a determined portion from 0% to 100%. The amount you’ll be required to repay to unsecured creditors in your Chapter 13 plan varies based on your disposable income, the exemptions you can claim, and the minimum amount those creditors would receive if your assets were liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

 

Overall, the amount you repay all your creditors, including priority, secured, and unsecured, depends on several financial components. Your debts and other claims you owe that factor into a Chapter 13 plan include:

 

  1. Mortgage owed and arrears
  2. Other home loans and arrears
  3. Car loans owed and loan arrears
  4. Personal property loans
  5. Debts on other property loans
  6. Alimony and child support
  7. Priority tax debts
  8. Other priority debts
  9. Death or personal injury claims against you
  10. Administrative bankruptcy fees
  11. Attorney fees

 

Some debts, like medical bills and credit card debt, may even be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. For more information about creditors, repayment plans, and filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

 

Handling Debt Sale When Filing for Bankruptcy in Worthington, MN

When an individual or business fails to meet debt obligations without excuse, they may start to experience more aggressive collection actions from creditors. If you have been struggling to make your debt payments for several months, filing for bankruptcy might be the best option to end creditor harassment and get a fresh financial start. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides the legal support you need when filing for bankruptcy in Worthington, MN and get optimal results in your case.

 

Generally speaking, when  filing for bankruptcy you’re immediately protected by the automatic stay for the period of time it takes to resolve your case. This means the creditors of the debts that will be handled in your case can’t perform any collection actions. However, things can get complicated when one of your creditors sells one of your debts while you’re filing for bankruptcy or in bankruptcy.

 

A creditor may choose to sell a debt to another creditor at any time, even while you’re in the middle of a bankruptcy case. A creditor might choose to sell the debt if they don’t want to wait for your bankruptcy case to be completed to see if it will get paid anything by the trustee administering your case. By selling your debt, they will receive a small immediate sum, and the buyer of the debt will stand in the place of the original creditor.

 

How does this affect filing for bankruptcy?

 

In most cases, the sale of a debt doesn’t affect your bankruptcy case. Whether you owe a debt to the original creditor or to a debt buyer, you still owe the same amount for that debt. From your perspective, it will be handled in bankruptcy as if there was never a sale. However, the original creditor or the debt buyer must notify the bankruptcy court of the sale so that the party in charge of the debt can receive payments in the event that you file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and are scheduled for a three to five-year repayment plan.

 

A debt sale may affect you if the debt in question is discharged or scheduled to be discharged. Because the selling of a debt included in a bankruptcy is an act that is in violation of either the automatic stay injunctive provisions of 11 U.S.C. §362 or the discharge injunctive provisions of 11 U.S.C. §524, you may need to take action if this occurs. For example, presume you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and your credit card debt was discharged in the process. Presume further that, soon after, you’re contacted by a creditor who claims they bought one of your debts and is attempting to collect payments. In this case, you should provide the creditor with a copy of the Notice of Bankruptcy Filing that was issued by the bankruptcy court when your case was commenced.  If your bankruptcy case has been concluded, you should provide the creditor with a copy of the Discharge Order that the court issued.  If the creditor continues to harass you and continues collection activities, you may be forced to contact your bankruptcy lawyer and sue the creditor in bankruptcy court.

 

The sale of a debt will often not concern you as a filer and is simply business between creditors. To learn more about this process and to receive legal support when filing for bankruptcy in Worthington, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

Understanding Assignment and Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

Businesses struggling with unmanageable debts have a range of options for debt relief at their hands. While debt consolidation and debt management plans are popular options that’ll keep a debtor’s overall credit in good standings, there are often situations when these debt relief options only act a bandage instead of a true healing process. When you’re unable to pay your debts and don’t have any way of increasing your income in the next few years, filing for bankruptcy is your best option. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the legal advice and assistance you need to successfully file for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

 

Bankruptcy is designed to help both debtors and creditors out of a sticky situation, but some creditors may try to dissuade you from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and instead liquidate your business outside of court with an assignment process.

 

ABC

 

Assignment for the benefit of creditors (ABC) is an option for business debtors to privately sell assets and return the value of those sales to creditors. When creditors are awarded these sales, they’ll release debtors from payment obligations. This option might be a way to avoid attorney fees and court proceedings, but the process overall is more beneficial to your creditors than to you.

 

Why is Bankruptcy Better?

 

Filing for bankruptcy, despite its effect on your credit, is a better option for business debtors than ABC for a number of reasons:

  1. In bankruptcy, creditors are forced to allow asset liquidation for all dischargeable debts, but in an ABC, they can choose to forgo approval of discharge on debts higher than the secured collateral value. For example, if you owe $5,000 on an auto loan, but the car is only worth $4,500, the creditor would not have to discharge the debt in an ABC.
  2. Unincorporated businesses are not protected during an ABC against creditors seizing the business owners’ personal assets. This means you could be forced to liquidate your personal car or other property in an ABC. In bankruptcy, however, the debts and the assets of incorporated and unincorporated businesses are generally not involved with the liquidation of one’s personal property.
  3. Personal collateral guarantees and other forms of personal security interests on business debts are not removed in an ABC as they would be in bankruptcy. This means if your property was used to secure a loan, creditors can force you to liquidate that property even if it’s not connected to your business in other ways. Bankruptcy allows for exemptions to prevent you from losing your property even if it’s tied to your business debt.

 

ABCs have their benefits, but most of those benefits inure to your creditors. Filing a bankruptcy is the most effective way to remove debt with minimized liability to you and your property. To learn more about the advantages of filing for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN and to find out how we can help, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

 

Categorizing Creditors When You File for Bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN

Almost all U.S. citizens hold one or more forms of debt in their day-to-day financial obligations. This includes anything from mortgages to credit card debts, and most individuals find ways to work those debts into their budgets. If you’ve found yourself struggling to do this, however, you might consider bankruptcy. If you choose to file for bankruptcy, Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal support to help you navigate through the process when you file for bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.

If you have debts, the individuals, companies, or organizations that loaned you those debts are your creditors. Even with personal loans from family members or employers or friends, the lenders are considered your creditors until those debts are fully repaid. When you file for bankruptcy, the status of your creditors is determined based on the type of debts you owe to them.

This categorization of creditors can impact how your debts are repaid in bankruptcy. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this means one creditor may not collect a higher return over another creditor. In a Chapter 13 plan, this categorization of creditors determines the percentage of debt you will repay throughout your repayment period.

These are the types of creditors involved in a bankruptcy case: 

  1. Secured: Any debt that involves a tangible property (i.e. mortgages or car loans) is considered secured, and the lenders of those debts are secured by that property, even in the event of a bankruptcy filing. Chapter 7 secured creditors will take back any collateral that secures their claims. In a Chapter 13 repayment plan, the secured creditors are generally repaid the present value, plus reasonable interest, of the assets securing their claims.
  2. Unsecured: Virtually every other type of debt not involving a property is an unsecured debt, and the creditors of those debts are also unsecured in repayment if you file for bankruptcy. For example, credit card debts, personal loans not involving property, medical bills, and certain older tax debts are all unsecured. The creditors of these debts will often only receive small partial repayments in a Chapter 13 plan and, often, will not receive any payment in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
  3. Priority: Priority creditors are, in fact, unsecured creditors much like credit cards or medical debts. However, for certain public policy reasons, the drafters of the bankruptcy code wanted to make it much more difficult to discharge or get rid of these debts.  Some examples of priority creditors are unpaid employees of the debtor, spouses with unpaid child support or alimony, or children of the debtor with certain unpaid obligations, tax debts, and criminal court fines and restitution awards.

These creditors are involved in most bankruptcy cases. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers protection and counsel throughout your case. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 today for more information about filing for bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.

Exemption Basics in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN

Whether you file for liquidation bankruptcy (Chapter 7) or reorganization bankruptcy (Chapter 13), a bankruptcy estate – a legal entity that is separate and distinct from you, the bankruptcy filer – will be created by operation of the bankruptcy code.  All of your property will essentially be dumped into the bankruptcy estate and, for a time, the bankruptcy estate will actually own the property.  However, Congress did not want people to emerge from the bankruptcy process completely destitute and with no ability to reorganize their financial situation.  While there is a risk that one may lose some assets when one files for bankruptcy relief, such a situation is the exception rather than rule.  Most people go through bankruptcy and retain all of their assets.  Congress allocated various value allotments called “bankruptcy exemptions” that people can assert and absorb most or all of the property back out of the bankruptcy estate.  Depending on your situation and the exemptions you claim, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you understand how your exemptions work and what role they play when you file for bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN.

 

When exemptions come into play during your bankruptcy case, you may use them to protect your value interest or equitable interest in your assets from liquidation.  There is a common misunderstanding that one gets to keep a car or a house, etc. in bankruptcy.  It is much more accurate to say that one gets to protect or keep an equitable interest in an asset.  For instance, if you own a home worth $200,000 and the mortgage loan is $150,000, your equitable interest is $50,000.  It is this $50,000 that you would protect with the applicable bankruptcy exemption.  The applicable bankruptcy exemption would not make the underlying mortgage go away and you would still have to pay it or the mortgage lender could initiate foreclosure proceedings against your house.  Every individual filer has access to the bankruptcy exemptions in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.  As indicated above, the policy goal of bankruptcy is rehabilitative and the intent behind the bankruptcy code is not to leave a bankruptcy filer completely destitute.  Rather, the intent is to allow a person some property with which to reorganize one’s financial situation and move forward free of debt entanglement (other than those debts one actually wants to retain).

 

In Minnesota, a bankruptcy filer can choose either the exemptions provided under Minnesota state law or the exemptions provided under the federal bankruptcy code.  Whether one elects one or the other depends largely on how much equity or value one has in one’s homestead.  Again, equity is the value of an asset in excess of the debt owed on that asset.  For instance, presume again that one owns a home worth $200,000 and that one owes $150,000 on the subject mortgage.  One, therefore, has $50,000 equity.  One would protect this equity with one’s homestead exemption.  The homestead exemption under the Minnesota state exemptions is $390,000 for a homestead that is located in a city/town and $975,000 for a rural homestead or farm.  The homestead exemption under the federal bankruptcy code is $23,675.  In this example, given the $50,000 equity figure, one would want to use the exemptions provided under Minnesota state law where one could protect the full $50,000.  If one were to choose the exemptions provided under the bankruptcy code, one could protect only $23,675 and the bankruptcy trustee administering one’s case could sell the house, pay off the $150,000 mortgage and pay the bankruptcy filer the exemption claim of $23,675 and use the rest to pay one’s creditors.

 

The analysis regarding one’s property and the applicable bankruptcy exemptions needed to protect it can be highly nuanced and exceedingly detailed and whether one chooses the exemptions provided under Minnesota state law or those provided under the federal bankruptcy code depends on one’s unique circumstances.  For more information about how exemptions can benefit your situation when you file for bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200.

When and Why a Business Might Be Subject to Involuntary Bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN

In the majority of situations, a bankruptcy case is a voluntary legal process. However, Congress put provisions in the bankruptcy code so that it would be a fair process for both the filer and creditors involved in a case. While most cases of bankruptcy are set into motion by the choice of the filer because of accumulated debts and difficulty in meeting financial obligations, there are times when creditors can force a bankruptcy case upon the debtor. If you are facing involuntary bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you through the process with legal advice and assistance.

Involuntary bankruptcy occurs very rarely, but it’s legal for creditors to file bankruptcy proceedings against their debtors. In most situations, involuntary bankruptcy is forced on businesses, but on some occasions, involuntary bankruptcy can be filed against an individual.

When Involuntary Bankruptcy Occurs

The bankruptcy code includes provisions that protect creditors against debtors who may refuse to pay their debts despite having viable assets which could be used to pay creditors. If a debtor isn’t paying debts to their creditors but has assets that could be used to repay creditors, it’s possible for creditors to file an involuntary bankruptcy against that debtor. Small businesses find themselves forced into involuntary bankruptcy more often because businesses typically have more assets than individuals.

If you own a small business and aren’t paying your debts but own a large amount of assets, your creditors can, sometimes, legally force you into bankruptcy. Because most individuals have significantly fewer assets compared to businesses, filing an involuntary bankruptcy is often unhelpful for creditors because the possible return to the creditors would be far less than the cost of forcing an individual into bankruptcy.

How It Works

If your creditors know you have assets but are refusing to pay your debts, they can file a petition to the bankruptcy court against you, requesting forced bankruptcy action.  Usually, three creditors must be required to do this.  If an involuntary bankruptcy is filed against you and if you don’t respond within 20 days, the bankruptcy court will allow creditors to go forward with the involuntary bankruptcy action. If you do respond, you’ll have a hearing and a chance to defend your situation. If you’re forced into involuntary bankruptcy, the process after that will be similar to a voluntary bankruptcy case.

If your creditors have threatened or have begun the process of petitioning your involuntary bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help. For more information about our bankruptcy lawyers and your case, contact us at (507) 387-7200 today.

Scams, Frauds, and Traps in the Path of Those Searching for Debt Relief in Worthington, MN

Credit repair, debt relief, debt consolidation, and debt erasure are all tempting ideas to those seeking reprise from their financial struggles. Unfortunately, most of the offers that you see advertisements for or receive by phone, email, and mail are fraudulent. The rise in credit card debt over the last 20 years in combination with several dips in the economy from 2001 onward has significantly increased scammers’ prospects of taking advantage of those in debt. If you are struggling financially, Behm Law Group Ltd. provides legal support for bankruptcy proceedings and information about debt relief in Worthington, MN.

Promises to repair credit debt or erase bad credit are frequent claims of scammers in the world of debt and bankruptcy. While these scams and frauds are dangerous situations to fall into, there are some situations where legal and legitimate debt relief is possible.

Recognizing Fraud 

Because the majority of companies or organizations promising credit repair and debt erasure are fraudulent, there are often clear signs of the traps these scammers want you to fall into. The most obvious signs of fraud include:

  1. Withholding information about your legal rights or failing to provide legalized, clear-cut terms
  2. Requiring an upfront fee or an initial payment before services are provided
  3. Pushing you to dispute your credit report in entirety
  4. Encouraging you to take on a new credit identity

What these scammers do is illegal, and taking part in any of their proceedings may leave you subject to indictment and force you into legal proceedings for debt fraud. Find out more details about credit repair fraud and companies offering illegal services here.

 Legal Debt Relief

Bankruptcy is almost always an option for those struggling with unmanageable credit card debt or debts accumulated from a variety of sources. Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you throughout the process of filing for bankruptcy, but even throughout bankruptcy proceedings, there are ways to begin improving your credit slowly but surely. Approved credit counselors can help you understand how your debt was accumulated and how to avoid such situations in the future.

If you’re worried about your financial situation and have been tempted by the calls about credit repair and debt erasure, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 for information about bankruptcy and debt relief in Worthington, MN.

The Case for Discharging Student Loan Debt in the Mankato Minnesota Area

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been examining how to discharge student loan debt in the Mankato, Minnesota area. Bankruptcy is an option in specific circumstances, but does not always apply to every student. So, how are you supposed to know whether or not your case is valid?

This week, we’ll take a look at a few cases of student loan debt that arrived in bankruptcy court. Although some were more successful than others, each of these cases offers an important look into the world of discharging student loans through bankruptcy:

  1. Case One: This case involves a telemarketer working for $8.50 per hour. At fifty years old, barely making enough to get by, this person was released from their student loans through bankruptcy because they were trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt.
  2. Case Two: A part-time cellist and music instructor came to bankruptcy court after years of attempting to pay student loan debt. This person was denied their claim because, despite their college degree, they had chosen to accept low paying work. The courts ruled in this case that the individual could be capable of earning more money.
  3. Case Three: A married couple obtained a discharge through bankruptcy because they were both working part time jobs and paying private school tuition for their children. The courts ruled this couple could follow a future repayment plan for their student loans.
  4. Case Four: Generally speaking, if the borrower attended a school deemed fraudulent, or if their education was not ultimately beneficial to them, the courts often rule to discharge the borrower’s loans through bankruptcy.

There are a number of ways in which student loans can impact people in the Mankato, MN area. Whether you’re trapped beneath your student loans, or curious whether or not you may have a bankruptcy case, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. are here to help. Give us a call today.

Knowing When and How to File For Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

Filing for bankruptcy may be a daunting task in New Ulm, MN, and knowing how and when to do so can be overwhelming. The attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. will help you with your bankruptcy process by making it flow smoothly and easily.

The timing for when you file for bankruptcy can be an advantage or detriment to the bankruptcy process. For instance, there is a popular belief that one can splurge with a large amount of money right before filing for bankruptcy and not have to pay it back.

This is simply not true.

The money will have to be paid back and, in addition to that, the legitimacy of the bankruptcy claim may be questioned. Our attorneys will inform you whether you qualify for bankruptcy and which bankruptcy option is best for you.

There are two ways one can file for bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN. The first is voluntary and the debtor chooses to file for bankruptcy. The second is when a debtor is forced by a court order to file for bankruptcy.

How to file for bankruptcy depends on the type of debt you have. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we assist with filing for Chapter 7, 12, and 13 bankruptcies. Since Chapter 12 is for fishermen and family farmers with a regular annual income, most people choose Chapters 7 or 13.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not allow the debtor to repay their debt using a payment plan. Rather, the debtor’s non-exempt assets are sometimes sold in order to pay some of their debt.  While much of the analysis would depend on the value of property and the amount of debt, if any, against that property, some non-exempt property may include a second home or car, family heirlooms, or an expensive musical instrument. A person eligible for Chapter 7 does not have an income to pay off or materially reduce over time the debts that have accrued.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors with a regular income to repay all or a portion of their debt based on their income. The debtor will repay the debt for the next three to five years. This process can be a tad more complicated, but the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. will make the bankruptcy process easier and understandable.

Knowing your options during your bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN will help make for a smoother process. The professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. will take you through the process and thoroughly inform you every step of the way.