Tag Archives: Chicago Bankruptcy

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!

Are short sales worth the risks and is bankruptcy a better option?

 

When bad things happen to good people homes may fall into foreclosure. In too many cases, houses are not worth what the owner owes on the mortgage. This is common with people who bought their homes before the recession when prices were high. If the lender forecloses on the house it will be sold to the highest auction bidder. If the house sells for less than is owed, there may be an opportunity for the lender to sue and collect the deficiency judgment, or balance due after foreclosure. If the market is flooded with foreclosure homes, they could be sold off for significantly less than they would be worth in a healthier economy and real estate market. As foreclosure sales created more financial damage to many, the alternative method of short sales became more popular, giving homeowners an easier way out of their mortgages.

While short sales allow is a sale of your home to a new homebuyer for less money than you owe on your mortgage. If the lender bank agrees to a short sale deal, you may sell the house and be released from the mortgage lien and may go on your way to rent or purchase a more affordable home. While this sounds like a dream come true, there may be a few catches.

Here is a short list of considerations when you have the option to short sell your home:

  1. The lender bank and decision maker on your mortgage has no duty to accept a short sale deal. When you owe the money, you owe the money, plain and simple. The bank may be motivated to do a short sale if the market is flooded with upside down deals and the home is likely to sell under value at auction. Instead of fighting to then also collect the deficiency judgment against you, a lender may be more likely to work with you on a short sale deal, to get the house sold for fair market value.
  2. Even if the bank allows the short sale deal, they may not operate at the speed of business and it may be easier to lose buyers who cannot wait for a slow-moving lender bank. If the lender has a large volume of short sale deals, it may be even more difficult to get things done in a timely manner. Losing buyers and increased aggravation are possible in many short sale deals.
  3. Deficiencies are also possible with short sale deals. Even if you get more money for your house in a short sale, the amount you owe may still leave you short. It is a good idea to have a financial advisor assist you with your options to see what makes the most sense. If the short sale is still going to leave you high and dry, it may be better to proceed with a simpler foreclosure.

Short sales are long and complicated. There are more people involved in the transaction, more tax implications, more chances for something to go wrong. The more complicated the process, the easier it is for people to get frustrated and walk away from a deal.

Why would bankruptcy be a better option?

Depending on a review of your financial situation, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you keep your home and avoid foreclosure. If you know you are badly upside down on your home and want to get out of your mortgage regardless, a bankruptcy can help you wipe out the amount of the deficiency judgment and give you a fresh start.

Depending on what you owe, how much you own and your income, a Chapter 7 full discharge will stop your bill collectors and wipe out all your dischargeable debts. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy will allow you to pay back a fraction of your debts over a three to five-year period, which may help you stay in your home and avoid making the foreclosure versus short sale decision.

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!

 

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.

Credit repair tips: Secured credit cards, limited balances and OptOutPrescreen.com

There are many misconceptions out there about which path is the right one to financial freedom and success. One thing to always ask yourself is, “Who has something to gain by the decision I make?” If you are researching whether bankruptcy or a debt repayment plan is going to work, you will likely hear a variety of things from people with a wide range of opinions regarding the best route to a good credit score. If you have bad credit because you fell on hard times, it can be fixed. People who file bankruptcies typically qualify for conventional home loans with competitive rates within four years of filing bankruptcy. In a bankruptcy, you can discharge some or all debt you cannot repay. After the bankruptcy, when you are not suffering from all that debt, it is easy to get a secured credit card or two and follow a few credit building rules if you want to qualify for a good mortgage.

How does credit scoring work, generally?

Your credit scores all vary slightly among the three major credit reporting bureaus, TransUnion, Innovis, Equifax and Experian. While it may seem like a mystery calculation behind the magic curtain, there are a few basic rules that make logical sense. Your credit scores reflect the amount of risk a lender is taking by giving you a loan, mortgage or credit card. The better the score, the more likely you are to pay your bills and loan payments on time. If you owe less debt and don’t have a dozen minimum monthly credit card payments, you likely have the money to pay your bills – this is your DTI – debt to income ratio. You want your income to be enough that after you pay your bills you have extra spending money to save for a rainy day. If that is you, you are less likely to default on your bills and loans.

Regarding credit cards, there is a similar calculation of how much credit you have and how much you use. The information on your credit report indicates how high your balance may be and the amount of your credit limit you use. A significant portion of your credit score is an equation of how much credit you have available and how much you use. People looking to get into a new mortgage are often told to never use more than 20 percent of the available balance on a credit card. So, if you get a credit card with a $300 limit, don’t charge more than $60 a month. Always make the payment on time but do carry a small balance instead of paying it off in full – because if the credit card company is reporting zero balances it looks like you have credit cards you are not using and that can hurt your score.

You can always get a secured credit card even if you don’t qualify for a regular credit card yet.

Secured credit cards are easy to obtain. Most local banks offer them. You pay a $200 deposit, for example and your secured card will have a $200 limit. You can use it to pay a small monthly bill or two, like Netflix, every month, and you are now boosting your credit score. If you fail to pay the credit card bill, the company cancels the card and you forfeit the deposit. If there are more charges you can be on the hook for them as well and a collector will hurt your credit score and call and harass you until you pay up. If you are working on credit to apply for a mortgage, use the same rules that apply to conventional credit cards, and always keep your balance due somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the available balance on the card. Again, avoid maxing out the card, even if you pay it off every month in full or always make the minimum payments on time. Just like the debt to income ratio, your available to used credit is important to monitor.

The easiest thing to boost your credit may take only five minutes on OptOutPrescreen.com.

The credit bureaus encourage consumers to be educated about credit offers and opportunities with good interest rates. As your credit score starts rising you will start receiving pre-approval letters in the mail. The credit reporting companies share your improving credit information with these companies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the federal law that imposes rules and restrictions on credit companies. The law gives you the right to “Opt Out” of receiving credit offers. Did you know that taking advantage of your opportunity to opt out can raise your credit score, by 25 points in many cases?

Why does Joseph Wrobel Ltd. care about your credit score?

Our Chicago bankruptcy law firm has been around for decades and we have a solid reputation. We don’t put people into bankruptcies simply to earn a fee and move clients through a big law factory like some of the big bankruptcy firms. Instead, we focus on teaching potential clients about the options they have and how they can best fix their finances. We know that the bankruptcy will show up on your credit score and it may take a little while to be approved. What matters is not the bankruptcy or what lead to it, what matters is what you do after the bankruptcy. Following simple credit use tips and maintaining control over your finances can help you get back to a very good credit score much quicker than you realize. While we are not a credit score repair business, we do know a few things and have credit repair professionals who can help.

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!

November 2016 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 I file Chapter 13, will the judge go over the credit card statements?
  • Can you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in another state from where the debt came from?
  • If I declare bankruptcy for my medical bills, will my wife be accountable for my bills?
  • What can I anticipate as the amount of Chapter 13 payments on a certain amount of debt?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy before an inheritance check comes in?

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.

PODCAST: September 2016 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 I stop a debt consolidation and file bankruptcy instead of continuing to make payments?
  • As a foreign resident in the U.S., can I also file for bankruptcy protection without being citizen?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy to discharge personal tax liability to the state in which I live?
  • I am facing an eviction and worried about the money I may owe, should I file for bankruptcy?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy if a creditor threatens to revive a money judgement against me?

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.

Can my college transcripts really be withheld if I owe the school money?

At various times in life we may be asked to produce our college transcripts for a new job or an application to a program or further education. This issue arose in a question covered in the Chicago Bankruptcy Update podcast series where real questions are asked and answered by Chicago bankruptcy attorney, Joseph Wrobel. The individual seeking guidance needed a copy of their college transcript and the school refused their request, stating that an outstanding amount of $3,000 was still owing for tuition.

In this case the individual seeking their college transcripts filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge. The short answer to the question as to whether the school may withhold the transcripts is a function of the automatic stay provision in the Bankruptcy Code.

When you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay provisions protect you from collection activity.

The automatic stay takes effect when the petition for bankruptcy is filed with the bankruptcy court. The automatic stay provision prohibits creditors from engaging in collection activity while a bankruptcy case is active and until the case is over. While Chapter 7 discharge cases can be completed in a matter of months, a Chapter 13 reorganization case, involving payments to the trustee to catch up on debts, can be structured with three to five years of scheduled payments, thus the automatic stay is effective for a longer period of time.

The school’s refusal to tender the college transcripts is a collection activity. If the student does not pay the outstanding tuition, the school may refuse to offer the transcript. If, however, the request for the transcripts is made during a period when the automatic stay is active, the school is prohibited from collection activities and would be required to turn over the transcript.

You may be able to obtain a discharge of your duty to pay a debt, but the creditor may still want payment and in this case, can continue withholding the transcript, even after bankruptcy.

As soon as the bankruptcy case were to end and the automatic stay naturally terminates, the school could resume the position that they will not tender the transcripts until payment is made. Understand that the bankruptcy discharge may have the effect of terminating the school’s legal right to collect the debt, the debt still exists insofar as the school may still want the debt repaid before they tender the transcript.

A word to the wise: it is a good idea to keep copies of academic transcripts just in case a situation like this were to happen to you. While most people never plan to file for bankruptcy protection, financial emergencies and other bad things can happen to good people.

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!

 

July 2016 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 NOW!

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Must all my debts be included in my bankruptcy filing?
  • What are some of the dangers of filing bankruptcy without an attorney?
  • Ex-husband filed for bankruptcy, am I stuck with the debt?
  • How can I keep my house if I file for bankruptcy protection?
  • I am newly married, can I file for bankruptcy and not include my wife?

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.

Taking the sting out of bankruptcy: You may be surprised how liberating it can be

There are many people who consider filing for bankruptcy for a while before they finally decide it is time to go ahead. Some of the common fears people have is that everyone will find out about the bankruptcy and shun them or talk behind their back. In all likelihood, the people you think may be doing so well may also be considering a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. It is important to remember that a bankruptcy does not mean failure – a bankruptcy means you are smart enough to take advantage of the law to protect you and give you a fresh start. People may be hesitant to file for bankruptcy because a friend told them incorrect information about the trustee coming to take and sell everything they own; this is a false myth. Credit scores are another concern many have, and they fear they will never get credit again, when in reality many lenders may look more favorably on you after you no longer are buried under a mountain of debt. While it is not the most common topic of conversation, many will tell you the relief they experienced after they filed for bankruptcy and got the mountain of debt and creditors off their back.

People are not likely to find out about your bankruptcy unless you tell them.

In years past, there may have been a more negative stigma to bankruptcy and small town newspapers published names and cases, possibly for the benefit of any creditors and providing them notice. In reality today, there are so many bankruptcy filings, especially in major cities like Chicago, that the newspaper would be massive if bankruptcy filings were posted. Unless you decide to tell people, your friends and neighbors will never know you filed for bankruptcy protection. There is a federal bankruptcy website where you can look up your own bankruptcy information and it will appear on your credit report and on background checks. Do now worry however, as more people have bankruptcies than you may realize and they still find new jobs, buy homes and cars.

It is not an immoral or unethical decision to take advantage of financial laws like bankruptcy.

Say you are sued by a creditor and they obtain a court judgement against you for $50,000. Yes, you can list that money judgment in your bankruptcy and wave goodbye to paying that off. For many people, the threat of a judgment being collected by wage garnishments and asset seizures is enough for people to decide to file for bankruptcy. Some people worry that the judge or court may be mad at you, but that is of no concern. A money judgment is just a court order to pay someone. The obligation to pay a debt can be discharged in bankruptcy – the whole point is to eliminate debts you cannot afford to pay so you can have a fresh financial start.

You can keep your car, house and belongings despite filing for bankruptcy.

There is a qualifying financial test called the Means Test and a bankruptcy lawyer can review your financials and advise you whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge, the traditional bankruptcy most of us think about, or a Chapter 13 reorganization, in which you can make payments to catch up on your debts over a three to five-year period. If your vehicle is financed, you can sign a reaffirmation agreement and keep making payments despite the bankruptcy. You are allowed to keep a certain amount of equity in your home and personal belongings and assets up to a certain exemption value, despite filing for bankruptcy.

One of the best things about a bankruptcy filing is that by law, the automatic stay provision of the bankruptcy laws kicks in when you file your petition for bankruptcy – creditors and collectors must stop all collection activity and they can no longer call you while you are in bankruptcy. The stress relief of the automatic stay provision alone may bring you to a major sigh of relief.

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 best credit repair options.      

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!