Category Archives: Bankruptcy Odds and Ends

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!

 

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.

August 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with 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:

  • When can a bankruptcy be removed from my credit report?
  • Will I lose my US citizenship or be deported if I file for bankruptcy?
  • If you file for bankruptcy, is every credit card you have included?
  • Can another party collect from me in small claims court if I am in bankruptcy?
  • If I file for bankruptcy, can I keep my home and my car if I was never late on those?

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.

New Credit Reporting Rules: Many may find relief from reports of tax liens and civil judgments

New rules provide credit score relief for some people who have tax liens and civil money judgments against them. Errors on consumer credit reports have been a problem for a long time and many people have incorrect information on their credit reports. New credit reporting rules take effect July 1 and change the way Trans Union, Experian and Equifax verify data regarding the reporting of tax liens and civil judgments. Now, the three credit reporting agencies must verify the individual’s name, address and either social security number or date of birth. Since so many companies omit social security numbers for privacy concerns, there may be a large group of people who will no longer have tax liens and civil judgements appearing on their credit reports. This should also help prevent future instances of information appearing on the wrong person’s credit report.

The purpose of credit reporting and monitoring

From applying for a cell phone account or utility to buying a car or home, our credit rating is used to determine where we stand on the scale of credit risk. With great credit, we present a low risk of not making our payments in full and on time. The volume of credit data and computer systems processing and sharing information open the door to error. If we do not check our credit scores frequently, someone else’s negative information could prevent you from being accepted for a mortgage loan or a new credit card. Imagine finding out your credit score was damaged by another person’s tax lien or the civil judgement entered against them.

How errors happen and how prevalent they may be

With tax liens alone, some estimates suggest that half of the tax lien information reported to the credit bureaus has ended up appearing on the wrong person’s credit report. When social security numbers are available to the individuals reporting tax liens, one missed number could cause the wrong person to receive a negative mark on their credit report.

Even if someone checks their credit frequently, or pays a few bucks every month for a credit monitoring service, the effort it can take to correct the mistake can be staggering.

How the new rules apply to tax liens and civil judgments

The rule change for reporting information to the credit bureaus about tax liens and civil judgements will require the verification of three pieces of vital information, the individual’s name, address, and either their social security number or date of birth.

By requiring three sets of identifying criteria be matched before receiving credit reporting data about tax liens and civil judgments, the likelihood of mismatches is significantly reduced.

The new rules take effect July 1. This article in USA Today has more information about the new rules and how they might apply to you.

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!

 

May 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with 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:

  • Can the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee take my IRS refund?
  • Will a prior credit counseling certificate work for my new bankruptcy?
  • How long can a creditor in Illinois file a lawsuit against you?
  • Am I responsible for my wife’s credit card debt?
  • Is it possible to vacate a dismissed bankruptcy?

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.

Using credit cards and boosting your credit score after bankruptcy

 

After a bankruptcy discharge of those pesky debts you don’t miss, your available cash flow is increased and you should have more spending power. Your credit score is a function of several variables, not a mean person sitting in judgment of you. As you have more cash flow and spending ability, the decision to extend credit to you is easier because you are more likely to pay the bills when you can afford to. Once you get new credit cards there are a few things you should do to maximize your opportunity to boost your credit score.

Your credit score is determined by a variety of financial factors:

  • Credit card utilization
  • Payment history
  • Derogatory marks
  • Age of credit history
  • Total accounts
  • Hard inquiries

When you use credit cards and are working on boosting your credit score to qualify for a new home, many credit advisors will tell you to use your credit cards but not more than 30 or 40 percent of the available credit rating. It’s a good idea to pay your fixed expenses such as phone or internet with the credit card. Since you know you must pay that bill anyways, why not build your credit?

The next step with the credit cards is setting up automatic minimum monthly payments to be made by your debit card or checking account so you never have to worry about a late payment. When you pay your bill, which is easy to do now on apps on your phone, do not pay the entire balance. It is better to leave a few dollars on your balance so that it appears you are actively using the card – once a month the credit cards send a report to the credit bureaus and if your balance is zero it may look like you are not using the card and that can damage your credit score.

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!

March 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with 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 can I keep my car when I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • How can my bankruptcy come off my credit reports but still shows up in public record searches?
  • What happens to my house if I file bankruptcy and my name is on the deed but not the loan?
  • I surrendered my car in my bankruptcy but the finance company hasn’t picked it up, now what?
  • What does it mean if a creditor has written off debt that’s included in my Chapter 13 plan?

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.

January 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with 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:

  • What happens when my cosigner files for bankruptcy and I am still making loan payments?
  • Is filing bankruptcy the best option when there is a significant lawsuit filed against you?
  • Do I still have to pay when a credit card company writes off a debt as a charge off?
  • Can my tollway fines, and other tickets be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • Can I file bankruptcy to reduce or remove past child support obligations?

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.

7 situations leading people to take advantage of bankruptcy laws

Despite our best efforts at living responsible lives, paying our bills on time and saving for the future, bad things happen to good people. Instead of being saddled with debts you cannot pay and bill collectors hounding you, consider wiping the slate clear of misfortune and getting the fresh start you need with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These laws exist to level the playing field and help people out in the face of economic disaster. Most people who are fearful of bankruptcy report that after they filed for bankruptcy, the process was easy, painless, and led to a speedier economic recovery.

The following is a list of realistic situations that lead many people to seek bankruptcy protection:

  1. Your company went out of business.

In the news, we watch reports of manufacturing facilities and companies closing their doors for a variety of reasons. Many people who may have worked for these businesses, some for most their working life, have difficulties finding a new job with similar pay and benefits. Too often people take one or two jobs to make up lost income. In the meantime, bills can go unpaid or underpaid, and when it is your mortgage that falls behind to the point of foreclosure, bankruptcy may be the only way to save your shirt, and your home.

  1. You lost your ability to do work.

Injuries happen and may be nobody’s fault. A slip and fall at home shoveling a snowy and icy driveway can be enough to put you out of work. Ideally you can seek proper medical care and find a way to keep your job. When the inability to work cripples your finances and you risk losing it all, you can save yourself with bankruptcy protection. If injured at work you may be pursuing a worker’s compensation claim or a disability claim with Social Security regardless of where you were injured. These cases can take time and you may not be able to wait it out as the bill collectors become more aggressive and the bank or landlord is threatening foreclosure or eviction.

  1. An uninsured driver hit you and caused injuries.

Despite having your own insurance policy to protect against uninsured or under-insured motorists, there can be problems when insurance companies fail to pay or do not pay enough money to sustain your financial needs if you are injured, unable to work or have significant unexpected expenses. Being admitted to the hospital can be very expensive. It can also be expensive trying to pay a high deductible for health insurance if you are forced to seek recovery for injuries on your health insurance when drivers’ insurance fails to cover expenses. Suing the person who hit you without sufficient insurance can be a zero-sum game if the person has no assets. Bankruptcy may be your only way out from behind the financial eight ball.

  1. A divorce makes it impossible to pay old debts.

When things move from I do to I want out, the financial landscape changes very quickly. If you and your spouse were already barely making ends meet, the extra money for divorce lawyers and the additional expenses of supporting a spouse with temporary alimony, as well as court ordered child support can cripple an individual’s ability to keep up with debts and expenses. Divorce may trigger a good reason to use bankruptcy to wipe out credit card debts and old bills in collections. Please understand however, you may not use bankruptcy to eliminate your duty to pay child support or alimony.

  1. An investment or business deal failed.

Television shows about greedy swindlers and crooks show us how easily some people can lose their life savings in failed investment deals and scams. Whether the loss is a result of a swindler or simply an investment that failed to produce returns, your banks and creditors want their money and are not likely interested in your excuse of a failed business or investment deal that prevents you from keeping up with your bills. Bankruptcy may be the best option for you to eliminate debts you cannot repay after a financial loss.

  1. Missed and late payments affected payment arrangements.

In many payment arrangements, there is an acceleration clause stating that if you miss a certain number of payments during a period, you may be responsible for paying the full amount due. Collection companies may file suit against you to obtain a money judgment and try to seize your assets or garnish your wages. Depending on your finances and the amount you owe, a bankruptcy can stop this type of collection activity when you qualify for a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.

  1. You are sued and found liable for a wrong you cannot afford to right.

In a similar situation to a failed payment arrangement, a lawsuit and money judgment entered against you can also involve attempts to collect the amount of the judgment using asset and income seizures. When people are sued, the role of the court is to decide whether the plaintiff is owed money and how much. If you are the defendant and are sued and lose, all the plaintiff has over you is a court judgement. While that judgment would allow them to collect on the judgment, you have every right to get rid of it using bankruptcy. The court knows you have a right to use the bankruptcy laws and there is nothing a civil court judge can do if you chose to seek relief through bankruptcy laws.

When you for bankruptcy protection, the Automatic Stay provision kicks in and the collectors must cease and desist the phone calls and collection activity. You have an initial court appearance at the Notice of Creditors meeting and after that, most wait for further instructions, if any, from their bankruptcy attorney. The process can be accomplished in only a few short months in many cases, making bankruptcy one of the more efficient legal processes.

To learn more, call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. to learn how we can help you. (312) 781-0996.

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!

 

5 ways to save money as business activity picks up now that the elections are over

Business and the economy generally, tend to slow down during election cycles. People are not spending as much money in retail stores and they seem to not make large purchases when the media tells them various reports about the state of the world and our country. It is also common for employers not to be hiring as many new employees during the tail end of an election cycle. Why does everything slow down? Humans do not like uncertainty. In a world of uncertainty, the natural reaction is to hold onto what you have and wait out the doubt. When the dust settles, and it always does, business and the economy picks up again and people have more money.

Here are a few things you can do to have a positive attitude to lead to new financial success:

  1. Apply for a new job.

Even if you are doing well, you can look for a job that makes more money. The most employable people are the ones who are happily employed. Of course, keep your job hunt quiet, don’t jeopardize your current position. If you are unemployed, remind yourself that the election is over and companies are going to start hiring again. Keep a positive attitude and you will find the perfect job you love.

  1. Start your own business.

While you keep your primary job, find a way to make some new money with a side business, assuming your employer allows it. You could do something as simple as making bird houses in the garage and sell them online. There are all kinds of work from home small business opportunities that require little to no startup money or inventory.

  1. Refinance your home.

There are more and more new finance companies finding new and creative ways to refinance your mortgage and save some money. When it comes to refinancing, we often assume the answer will be negative or it will take too much time and hassle. It is a good idea to ask your friends on social media for referrals to financial professionals who can help you work on refinancing.

  1. Do a credit cleanup.

There are credit repair companies, not to be confused with debt consolidation companies, who use sophisticated methods to dispute zombie debt and incorrect negative information on your credit reports. For less than the cost of a vacation, you can pay a professional to help boost your credit score so you can save money and have the credit available when you need it.

  1. Renegotiate your utilities.

You never know when your electric companies, cell phone and Internet providers have special deals. All you must do is call and ask a customer service person if there is any way you could save money on your bill. Sometimes people end up paying late and end up with increased rates and never realize it. The more you talk to the people at the utilities, the better you can learn how they charge and how you can save money.

When we focus on thinking positively and taking small steps towards financial success, we can start achieving our goals. Sometimes it is slow making progress, but when you set reasonable goals and start seeing results, it reinforces your willingness to keep at it, until you have whatever you want in life.

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!