All posts by J. Wrobel

Why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Chicago bankruptcy attorney Joseph Wrobel is often asked why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy. His frequent answer is, “It depends.” After the initial meeting with your bankruptcy attorney you should be advised whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney asks for certain documents and your financial statements, so they can analyze your financial status using the bankruptcy means test. The means test is a rather complicated mathematical process your bankruptcy attorney uses to determine whether your income and finances allow you to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and 13?

When most people think about bankruptcy they are thinking about Chapter 7, the full discharge and wipeout of all the bills and debts allowed to be discharged in bankruptcy. You must qualify for Chapter 7 as set forth in the means test your attorney will calculate. If you make too much money, you might not qualify for Chapter 7 discharge and you can use the option of Chapter 13 instead. While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a relatively quick discharge of the qualified debts you can eliminate, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more like a repayment bankruptcy, where you pay back a portion of your debts by making a fixed payment to the bankruptcy trustee once a month for up to five years.

If you have too much equity in your home, have assets of special value like an inherited collector automobile, or simply make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Getting immediate relief from creditors and bill collectors

As soon as either a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition is filed, you are protected under the Automatic Stay provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Automatic Stay is the law that prohibits any of your creditors or collection agencies from making any efforts to contact you during your bankruptcy. If you have a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your creditors cannot call you for the entire term of the bankruptcy, even if it is the entire five-year period while you make monthly payments to the trustee who pays the creditors.

Garnishments are also stopped by the Automatic Stay when you file a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. The threat of garnishment alone is enough for many people to decide to file for bankruptcy.

For more about “Automatic Stay,” read our article, “Examples of the automatic stay and how it operates in bankruptcy law.”

Taking up to five years to repay your debts under a Chapter 13 plan

When people desire time to get caught up on their bills, a five-year Chapter 13 repayment plan can mean financial freedom and peace and quiet when the collectors stop calling. Depending on your finances and the results of your means test, your bankruptcy attorney may be able to get you on a plan where you only repay a portion of your debts.

Keep your home and your car with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Do you have a great interest rate or mortgage deal you don’t want to lose? Chapter 13 allows you to keep your home and your equity while you repay the debts and bills you were otherwise unable to pay. This also applies to your car. If you have car payments, they can be included in the monthly payments to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee over your five-year plan. Of course, if you want a shorter plan, that may be an option for you.

When people find out about the benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, they often wish they had known so long ago. To find out more about Chapter 13, call Joseph Wrobel, Limited.  

Why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Good credit after bankruptcy

Good credit after bankruptcy

At the point you are in a bankruptcy it no longer matters what happens that led to filing Chapter 7 or 13. For purposes of good credit, what matters is what happens after the bankruptcy discharge. Many people are surprised in how quickly they can qualify for a student, car or home loan after bankruptcy. Starting with a secured credit card, people can rebuild their credit score, especially since they are no longer under the burden of debts they couldn’t pay.

Start with a secured credit card

People are shocked how easy it is to get a secured credit card. All you need to do is deposit the amount of your credit limit with the issuing bank or credit card company. Very simply, if you don’t pay your credit card bill, you forfeit the deposit. Since the bill is guaranteed, it makes sense to give people secured credit cards to fix their credit.

As you use the secured card like a regular credit card your balance and payments will be reported to the credit bureaus and your scores should rise with responsible use of the secured credit card. After a year or more of using the card, the deposit may be returned to you and the card converts to a traditional credit card.

After a few months of credit rebuilding with your secured credit card you may start seeing traditional credit offers in your mailbox and when you apply to one every three or four months or so you may be accepted more often than rejected for new credit opportunities.

Pay down your balance before the due date

Credit repair professionals helping consumers qualify for home loans after bankruptcy say to use no more than a modest amount of your total credit and pay your credit card bill every month before it is due. When paying your bill, they say your credit score can benefit from leaving a few dollars balance instead of paying the bill down to zero.

The idea in not using too much credit and paying it down every month is to ensure that at any given moment during the month the credit bureaus can take a snapshot of your credit usage. It is better not to max out your cards and at any given moment have plenty of money to spend and to pay the bill after you spend.

Good credit after bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

For more ideas, see Nerdwallet: How to Rebuilt Credit After Bankruptcy

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

Should I buy or rent my home?

Should I buy or rent my home?

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or someone who has previously owned a home, there comes a time you might wonder if it is better to rent or buy your home. Interest rates are scheduled to rise this year and realtors suggest this is a good time to buy. What if you are not ready to buy and cannot decided if you should buy or rent?

If you are rebuilding your credit score and hear about increasing interest rates, consider that taking an extra year or more to increase your credit score and buying power should cause you to have a lower interest rate, compared to getting into a mortgage where your credit just barely qualified for the loan. More money down can also be a benefit worth waiting to buy and renting a little longer.

The cost of home ownership in the Chicago area

While you are building equity when you own a home, there are all kinds of extra costs and expenses that can outweigh building equity. For example, if you buy an older home you may be spending money on replacing the roof, furnace, water heater, or air conditioner. If you had been renting you would have simply made a call to your landlord for those repairs.

Taxes are also an expensive part of your monthly mortgage payment, when taxes and home insurance are included in your monthly payment. That said, you can also claim a tax deduction for property taxes paid up to the new $10,000 limit.

Alternative ways to invest for retirement

Say you can afford to buy a new home but not where you want to live. Have you considered keeping your rental home in Chicago and buying a new home in Will County to lease to a renter? A new home with few needed repairs can be an excellent investment, especially in the collar counties where there is new growth and anticipated increases in future property values.

By the time you are ready for retirement you may want to go live in that home in Will County or sell it and take your equity to wherever you plan to retire.

If you have questions about making the right financial moves, regardless of whether you have had or will ever a have a bankruptcy, a consumer finance attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. is happy to help steer you in the direction of financial success.

Should I buy or rent my home?
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Chicago Bankruptcy Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: January 2018

Chicago Bankruptcy Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: January 2018

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel answers real people’s questions about their financial situations and what options they might have to fix their financial problems.

Click/tap here to listen to the podcast

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Can I still file for bankruptcy after a foreclosure sale?
  • A wrong employer was listed on my Wage Garnishment Notice;
  • What other than my wages can be garnished?
  • Will filing for bankruptcy prevent my license from being suspended?
  • I am on social security disability; can creditors sue or garnish me?
  • Can I be sued if I can no longer afford my mortgage? Can I claim bankruptcy?
  • Are reaffirmations only used in bankruptcy? Can they be requested on new loans?
Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel, Chicago Bankruptcy Podcast, wage garnishment, bankruptcy, foreclosure sale, wage garnishment notice, can creditors sue, can no longer afford my mortgage, reaffirmations, Joseph Wrobel, Chicago Bankruptcy, Consumer Credit,
Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

About Joseph Wrobel, Ltd:

Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!  Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Joseph Wrobel Limited is a small law firm of attorneys and staff experienced in consumer bankruptcy. They are not a bankruptcy law factory and you will not get lost in their office. You will be treated as a human being with courtesy, dignity, and respect.  The mission of Joseph Wrobel Limited is to have you take control over your finances through the proper use of the bankruptcy laws.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. has offices located in the Chicago-Loop, Chicago-Rosemont, and in the suburbs of Burr Ridge, Deerfield, Gurnee, Naperville, Orland Park, Schaumburg, Skokie, St. Charles and Westchester. They can represent Illinois clients in Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Kane County, LaSalle County, Kendall County and Lake County.

Choosing an affordable college

Choosing an affordable college and creating an employable foundation is a key to success. In 2017 there is one thing that seems certain and that is change. The rise and fall of professions and the volume of applicants for certain jobs can put a college graduate in a rough spot. Especially if you have a specialized education in a competitive and sometimes saturated market, it can be difficult to compete with others who have even more education and connections. The concept of earning a degree and being due a job in your field is yielding the right of way to making smarter and arguably safer choices and choosing an affordable college.

Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel earning a degree and being due a job in your field is yielding the right of way to making smarter and arguably safer choices with your time and money.
Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel

Will the career you are going to school for exist in 20 years when you are still paying off student loans?

Consider careers in nursing versus computer programming. While the programmer may be easier to train in new IT careers, the specialized degrees may not be as valuable in the future, especially when you consider technology and how quickly things change. For tech lovers choosing an affordable college, there are many local community college programs offering certificate programs in the foundation skills a tech industry worker needs to be able to continue learning and training on new technology as it develops.

Nursing, however, will always be necessary. For anyone committed to a nursing career, the time and money spent on a reputable college nursing degree may be worth your resources. That said, what if you decide down the road that nursing is too stressful, and you want to make a career change. Ask yourself what your base education is worth in other careers and industries and will you need to go back to school for more education and training?

Do you need to work full time, or can you take more time to pursue your education while keeping food on the table? Choosing an affordable college sounds like a smart idea. 

When some people go to school full time they take on extra student loans to pay for housing and living expenses because they are not working during college. While some students are living on their parent’s support and have the luxury of not working and not taking additional student loans, they not be better off if they do not maintain a job and work ethic while in school. For many students, the flexibility of part-time and online course alternatives makes it easier to work and go to school. It may take longer to finish your education, but you can help pay towards your tuition while you are going and will have significantly less student loan debt when you graduate.

Know what you are getting into when you take financial aid and student loans to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Have you ever read the fine print when buying a car? You may nod your head and just sign on the dotted line. When you do this with student loan financial aid packages you might be putting yourself in the path of a bad deal and significant consequences if for some reason you are unable to make your regularly scheduled loan payments.

We recommend reading this CNBC article, How to pick a college that won’t leave you with a mountain of student loan debt to read some of the alarming facts and figures that might prompt you to play closer attention to what may seem like free money at the time.

At Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., we want everyone to take control of their financial future and success by sharing smart financial information and helping people working to reach their financial goals.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Chicago Bankruptcy Q&A Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: November 2017

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.

Chicago bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show: Use this link to listen anytime.

  • What happens when a corporation I sued filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • Do I have to include my paid for automobile in my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • What happens when my car loan co-signor files for bankruptcy?
  • What happens if a bankruptcy lawyer does not file my bankruptcy petition?
  • I missed my date to file a bankruptcy claim, what happens to my rights?
  • In bankruptcy can I pay for the value of my car instead of what I actually owe?
  • How will my ex-husband’s bankruptcy affect my home if he’s on the mortgage?
  • Can a family member loan me money for a down payment if I am in Chapter 13?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Filing bankruptcy: Eliminating medical bills

 

There are several options for filing bankruptcy and eliminating medical bills. When bad things happen to good people the financial consequences can be suffocating. Especially when it is not your fault, you should not have to be stuck with unpayable debt and non-stop collector harassment. Medical debt collectors may sue you and garnish your wages, creating additional anxiety and burden to anyone already struggling with money.

eliminating medical bills
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

You can make the phone calls and lawsuits stop when you file a petition for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After your bankruptcy, there are great options to boost your credit and put yourself in the best place to make and keep more money and enjoy financial freedom.

How medical debt collectors seek money judgements and wage garnishments

Mary, a single mother of three was severely injured in a car crash that was not her fault. The other driver did not have insurance and had no assets. Mary was stuck paying for hospital and medical bills for her emergency care, surgery and rehabilitative care that over many months. Mary could have paid cash for a new home for money she owed in medical bills. The medical bill collectors hired a lawsuit and served Mary with a lawsuit and she was facing a potential wage garnishment. Luckily Mary’s employer kept her job for her when she was able to get back to work but Mary wanted to keep her pride and avoid the embarrassment of having her wages garnished and losing that much more out of her paycheck.

How bankruptcy stops medical debt collectors in their tracks with the Automatic Stay provision

One day, Mary accepted the reality that the accident and medical bills were not her fault. The freedom from harassment by collectors sounded like music to her ears. Having the lawsuit go away meant Mary would be able to sleep at night. When she filed for bankruptcy, Mary had the protection of the automatic stay provision in bankruptcy, which orders that all collection activity must stop during the bankruptcy.

Read our article for more: Examples of the Automatic Stay and how it operates in bankruptcy law.

Qualifying for Chapter 7 discharge or Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization

Mary had no idea there were options and more than one type of bankruptcy. She learned that Chapter 7 was the traditional bankruptcy she was looking for. Because she did not have too many assets or too high an income, she was able to qualify for the full discharge of all her debts allowed by the bankruptcy code. She also learned how she could have entered a Chapter 13 repayment plan and pay back a smaller portion of her medical bills over several years, which could have also helped her get back on track and stop the harassment and collection efforts.

Read our article for more: How is Chapter 7 different from Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

What would you do with the worst car loan known to man?

A young professional recently learned he had one of the worst car loan deals in history when he found out some extensions on his loan pushed the loan maturity date farther into the future than he expected.

The companies who make loans when others might decline the buyer

When people have struggling credit, or are financing a vehicle with considerable negative equity (they owe more than their trade is worth) there might be fewer options for conventional financing. Alternatively, there are companies who will make the loans to people who otherwise might not be approved. Unfortunately for the buyer, the companies who make the higher risk loans are not always the most honest and ethical.

The fine print and details in the terms of car loans is confusing, especially the information about how interest is calculated and how much of the payments are applied to the principal balance of the loan. Too often people need the new vehicle so bad that they are willing to sign just about anything to get the deal done and the keys in their hands.

Here’s what to watch out for if you have a high-risk car loan:

  • When do you make your payments?

Your car loan servicing company to whom you make payments can tell you exactly when you are supposed to make your payment. If you make it early, you could run into fines if that makes the next payment not made early occur more than 30 days after the first payment. Sounds confusing? There are all kinds of deadlines and time frames to watch out for to make sure your payment is made and received on time and the most amount of money possible, if any, is applied to the principal loan balance.

  • Allowed payment skips adding payments later:

Beware of the option to skip a payment this month and add it to the end of the loan. When you do this, you may be paying fees and interest that totals to a large amount of money many times more than your monthly payment. People who found out the hard way expected their loan payoff date to be very different than what the loan servicer was then saying. The way they calculate interest when you extend your payments is what can cost you so much more money.

  • Dealing with foreign-owned loan companies:

Many people believe they will be able to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Better Business Bureau or a local attorney to help them with a problem they are having on a difficult car loan. If the company is foreign and not based in the U.S. you may have fewer options as to who can do something to help you. In some cases, you may be at the mercy of the foreign company who owns your car loan.

The young professional we mention at the beginning of this article encountered all the problems listed above and wonders if he is stuck paying a $20,000 car off to the point it becomes more than $40,000 worth of payments? How is that possible? It happens too often.

Bankruptcy may be an option if he wants to consider the impact of the bad car loan considering his entire financial picture. The bad deal might be an inconvenience, or it might be a deal breaker to the point a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy looks rather appealing.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Podcast: October 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answers with Joseph Wrobel

Joseph Wrobel is a Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney
Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.

Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • How soon after filing bankruptcy can my divorce be finalized?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy to get rid of medical bills I cannot afford?
  • On Social Security Disability, can I have my bankruptcy fees and costs waived?
  • I am on the deed of my mother’s house and she is going to file bankruptcy, if she were to die, what would happen to the house?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.