Tag Archives: preparing for your future after bankruptcy

July 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 you, and when should you include a title loan in your bankruptcy filing?
  • If you owe money to a business that files bankruptcy, do you still need to pay?
  • When you need to file bankruptcy and get a new car, what is the best plan?
  • What does someone need to do to prepare for a bankruptcy case?
  • Are Social Security and pensions safe from creditors when you file for 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.

Bankruptcy Basics: Danger in Attempting Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer

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

Topics covered in this 30 minute show:

  • What happens when people try to pursue a bankruptcy case (pro-se) without a lawyer;
  • Why the bankruptcy courts treat everyone with the assumption they know the laws;
  • There is no “do-over” or reset button on final decisions by bankruptcy courts;
  • How a bankruptcy attorney can help repair some but not all of the damage.

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. 

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy Site online for more about the firm. You may also contact Joseph Wrobel for more information at (312) 781-0996 and by e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com

Bankruptcy Basics: May 2015 Bankruptcy FAQs

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 the podcast now.

Topics covered in this 30 minute show:

  • If I get sued and lose at trial and my creditor gets a judgment can I still file bankruptcy?
  • I am trying to do bankruptcy without a lawyer, do I have to include empty accounts?
  • Is a surviving spouse responsible for the credit card debt of their deceased spouse?
  • If I filed for bankruptcy in 2012. I’m behind again on bills, when can I file again?

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.

For more about the firm. You may also contact Joseph Wrobel for more information at (312) 781-0996.

Bankruptcy Basics: February Bankruptcy FAQs Part 1 of 2

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.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST NOW

Topics covered in this 30 minute show:

  • How much debt do I need to have to file for bankruptcy and what does it cost?
  • If I have a money judgment entered against me can it be removed in bankruptcy?
  • What happens to medical debts from one state in another if I file for bankruptcy?
  • How does bankruptcy affect my taxes, since I received a form 1099 from a collector?

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.

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy Site online for more about the firm or contact Joseph Wrobel for more information at (312) 781-0996.

Planning a bankruptcy in 2015? Time to get things in order.

Many people who make the decision to file a petition for bankruptcy have been thinking about it for a while. In most households, a series of life and financial events usually cause an inability to keep up with the payments on houses, cars, credit cards and so on. There are a few “last straws” that prompt people to file for bankruptcy. Wage garnishments and home foreclosures are common events that cause an individual person or married couple to declare bankruptcy in either a Chapter 7 discharge or a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy.

  1. Measuring the credibility of collector threats;

Debt collectors have very convincing threats they can use to coerce you into making a payment on a debt you owe them, regardless whether you can afford to pay them. If paying a credit card, for example, means you will be without food or power, you might not be able to afford to pay them. If the amount you owe is not significant a collector might simply call you forever. They might also sue you. Remember that large credit card companies have collectors with attorneys on file it may cost them very little to get a money judgment against you. If there is a judgment against you, the creditor may get the court to seize cash in your bank account or force the sale of assets to pay the debt. A bankruptcy could stop that creditor in their tracks.

  1. Keep your cash account balances low if you are concerned with account seizures;

If you have money sitting in your checking account to pay large bills such as rent and mortgage payments, consider converting cash into money orders or otherwise safeguard it somewhere else than cash checking accounts. If your account is seized by the court in collection of a money judgment, you may have a very difficult time persuading your creditor or court to return your cash because you had it budgeted for car or housing payments.

  1. Negotiating payment plans to avoid bank account seizures;

Even though a creditor might obtain a money judgment against you for the full amount they are seeking, they might also accept monthly payments, and so long as they receive monthly payments they might refrain from seizing your cash accounts and assets.

  1. Creating all your list of debts and collectors;

Order a copy of your credit report using a website such as Credit Karma (they advertise no fee access to credit scores and reports) and compile a master list of everyone to whom you owe money. By reviewing all three credit reports (Equifax, Trans Union and Experian) you can make sure nothing slips between the cracks. A bankruptcy petition requires a complete listing of all creditors. It is a good idea to become familiar with how credit is reported so you can later watch over it and make sure there are no inaccuracies. Many people have some sort of incorrect information listed on their credit report(s).

  1. Meet with a bankruptcy attorney who can advise you about next steps;

In order to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy it is recommended you work with a licensed bankruptcy attorney who understands how to navigate the complex system of bankruptcy qualifications such as the means test for Chapter 7. Your bankruptcy attorney can also tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your bankruptcy case. When you are looking for a bankruptcy attorney, look for an attorney or law firm primarily focused in bankruptcy law because that experience is helpful to making sure you get a fresh financial start with the best outcome from the bankruptcy case.

  1. Create a working budget during bankruptcy and stick to it after;

Many people say that the most important credit factor about bankruptcy is what you do to protect your credit after a bankruptcy. Since the automatic stay provision of your bankruptcy stops creditors from collecting from you during the case, you will be able to apportion monthly income to keep up with important payments and start saving money for the future. Setting and sticking to a strict budget will help in building discipline and living within your means so you can avoid financial problems in the future. Just as easily, as people fall into the habit of overspending, they can learn the habit of budgeted spending.

  1. Research how to challenge negative marks on credit reports.

A bankruptcy discharge may eliminate your duty to pay certain debts, but that does not automatically wipe those debts from your credit rating. Your credit score might still be low after your bankruptcy case, and it will be necessary to let the credit reporting agencies know that a debt is no longer owed and should be eliminated from the credit report. There are agencies who work with clients, for a reasonable fee, and help update the credit agencies to reflect the results of a bankruptcy discharge order.

Most of a bankruptcy client’s anxiety can occur in the time before a bankruptcy filing. Once the information is collected and the process is underway, the client can relax and prepare for financial success with a fresh start.

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. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. onTwitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.

Mark’s story: He thought he would be ruined filing bankruptcy before 30 years old.

Mark’s story is one not too uncommon in our current economy, in which many people are still recovering from the great recession. Among the petitioners for bankruptcy relief, we are starting to see more recent college and graduate level young adults whose expectations did not pay off. While they can rarely, if ever, discharge their student debt, the credit cards and spending habits some kids develop can really hurt their future financial lives.

Live like a student while in school or live like a student after you graduate.

When Mark applied to law school, his student loan advisor gave him some good advice he regrets not taking. She told him to only take the maximum amount you need for tuition and books and consider working part time to pay for some of your rent and living expenses. Mark was not worried, he knew he would make plenty of money after law school and he was sure he would get a great associate position at the firm he was going to work at, seeing as one of the partners belonged to the same country club as Mark’s father.

Mark’s parents told him that they would pay for college but he was on his own for graduate school. Mark was used to a better standard of living, coming from a well to do suburb, and he took out the full amount available so he could maintain his standard of living and spending. With his good grades from college Mark was sure law school would be a piece of cake, since he was smart and things always came easy to him.

The best-laid plans often can and will fall apart and blow up in your face.

There were a few surprises in store for Mark as he got settled in law school and worked through first semester with his classmates, learning how to research and write, and some of the foundation of a legal education. When it came to final exams, Mark studied hard and also hung out with a few of his friends who got finance jobs after college and also lived in the city. Mark thought he did well on his final exams. As it turned out however, he finished his first semester with a 3.00 GPA, a far stretch from his 3.85 GPA he earned in college. Law school was a bit more competitive.

Moving forward a few years, Mark did not get the job he expected, but ended up with a lower paying law clerk job. He maxed out his student loans every semester to keep up with his friends with big salaries. He graduated from law school around the middle of his class. He passed the bar exam on his third attempt. He could not find a decent paying associate attorney job to save his life. His credit card bill debt was in the clouds, along with his car payment and the unsecured loans he borrowed after maxing out on his federal loan ceiling.

Bankruptcy helped Mark eliminate some of his unsecured debt to give him a better chance at having a normal financial life.

Mark’s father refused to bail him out and Mark could not even make his minimum payments. His father actually suggested he file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and hope he learned his lesson. Mark even had trouble renting an apartment because his credit report was so bad. After his bankruptcy case was over and Mark learned how to spend in his actual income bracket things were smooth sailing again. One of the important things Mark did after the bankruptcy was work on rebuilding his credit using some time-tested strategies, and he was able to buy a new car, although at a higher interest rate. Mark plans on refinancing and is saving money for a down payment on a condo.

 Deciding whether bankruptcy protection may be the answer to your financial problems requires knowing the law and how it can help you.

 Mark’s story is one that many young and seasoned people have to tell these days. What is important to remember is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and a fresh start really can put people back on track.

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. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. onTwitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.

 

You are not a bad person for discharging a money judgment in bankruptcy

Once a month Chicago bankruptcy attorney Joseph Wrobel answers frequently asked questions on the Chicago Bankruptcy Update Internet radio podcast. One of the questions on this month’s program involved the potential discharge of a money judgment. The individual wanted to know if they can file for bankruptcy and include a judgment for money ordered by a local court. The judgment is currently being repaid through a wage garnishment. Listen to September’s FAQ in bankruptcy radio show.

Here was the specific question: “In 2009, I returned a vehicle for which I could no longer pay due to death of my husband and my being laid off. The financial company sued me and is now garnishing my wages at 15%. Can I include the remaining balance and stop the garnishment in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?”

Joe’s answer based on the information provided: Yes, a judgment is just another debt that can be discharged. When you owe money to a person or company and you don’t pay them, they go to court and get a judgment against you, ordering you to pay the money or the court will allow the debtor to collect it from you with the power of the court, including actions like wage garnishments. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the individual garnishing your wages and any other bill and debt collection activities must stop and are forbidden during the bankruptcy as a matter of federal law.

A judgment to pay another is not a moral issue or punishment for failure to pay.

Many people think that a judgment for an amount of money is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. This is not true at all. While criminal courts ‘punish’ people for breaking criminal laws and causing harm to victims and society, a small claims or civil court is never punitive. The civil court could in many cases care less why the debt wasn’t paid, unless your credibility is otherwise at issue in the lawsuit. The civil court that enters a judgment against you simply applies the law to the facts presented to them. If you owe money, they can order you to pay. That is all.

When you file a petition for bankruptcy protection the automatic stay provision kicks in and the collection activity, in this case a garnishment, must stop during the time the bankruptcy case is ongoing. Your attorney, assuming you hire one, will send a notice to whomever manages your wage garnishment and it must stop. If the judgment amount is included in the list of debts to be discharged, the discharge notice will also be sent to whomever is collection on the judgment as well as with whomever obtained or now owns that judgment.

Deciding whether bankruptcy protection may be the answer to your financial problems requires knowing the law and how it can help 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. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.

Bankruptcy Basics: September Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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

Topics and types of FAQ covered in this 30 minute show:

  • What happens to a judgment from an uninsured car accident if I file for bankruptcy?
  • Can a 19 year old student loan for $12,000.00 be included in bankruptcy?
  • I am waiting for an insurance proceeds check, will  I be able to keep the money?
  • Can I include a judgment that garnishes my wages when I file for 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.

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy Site online for more about the firm. You may also contact Joseph Wrobel for more information at (312) 781-0996 and by e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com

 

Discharging medical bills in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Don and Jessica’s story

Unpaid medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Nearly two million people a year people file for bankruptcy because there is no way they will ever be able to pay their large medical debts. Next to medical bills, credit card debt and unpaid mortgages are the other leading factors causing people to seek bankruptcy protection and often a discharge of those large and growing balances. Accidents and chronic illness can come from nowhere and wipe people out financially, despite years of savings and financial planning.

Jessica always did everything right and was blind sighted by a fall during a routine medical visit.

Two years ago, Jessica (she’s a hypothetical person) went to the doctor for a routine mammogram. She was 43 years old and in perfect health until the technician operating the medical equipment made a mistake and possibly causing Jessica to stumble and fall backward, hitting her head on a table as she fell.

A week before her routine visit to the doctor, Jessica was promoted at her marketing firm and was looking forward to going out to celebrate with some friends. She never left the hospital.

Jessica’s husband Don arrived to find his wife of 18 years in the ICU, unconscious. Fearing the worst, Don was thrilled to see Jessica wake up and say his name. Confused, she asked him why she was in the hospital. He explained that she had fallen during the mammogram. She did not remember. He thought nothing of it assumed trauma blocked the memory.

Jessica suffered short term memory loss and was unable to do her job. She tried going to work but kept making mistakes and her firm had to let her go due to her injuries. Unable to earn an income, Jessica’s ongoing therapy for her head injury sent her in and out of doctors offices and hospitals because things started getting worse and other symptoms suggested there was more going on than the doctors thought.

Don and Jessica saved for retirement and her accident wiped them out.

When Jessica’s insurance was maxed out and she had trouble getting new insurance at the time, and Don didn’t have any insurance through his carpet installation job. She and Don turned to their savings. It went quickly. Don picked up extra labor work and barely had time to see his sick wife. Needing to pay up front for certain procedures and medications, other bills were not getting paid. Don’s phone was constantly ringing with collectors on the other end, or the hospital, every 10th phone call. Don no longer recognized his life.

Jessica started getting better and although she couldn’t go back to work due to permanent memory loss problems, her other motor skill and respiratory symptoms were improved. Trying to move forward with their new life together was difficult, especially when Don could barely afford to take them out for dinner.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is Don and Jessica’s best option.

Jessica learned that she qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She also learned that even though she would not be liable for the medical bills after discharge, the collectors would go after Don for those payments. Jessica and Don are going to file a joint husband and wife bankruptcy petition so the massive medical bills go away for good, for both of them. Worried about the incredible payments, Don didn’t even realize that filing for bankruptcy will also stop the phone from ringing off the hook. The automatic stay provision will prevent anyone from contacting him or taking action to collect certain debts, such as the medical bills for anything incurred prior to the filing date of the bankruptcy.

Jessica also worked it out with the hospital so that she could continue treating with her regular physician and found a private program to help with her medication. Don and Jessica are hopeful that they will have many good years together and they are adjusting well to their new life after the accident. A lawsuit has been pending for over a year and they are hopeful a settlement will help them pay for future expenses if and when Don can retire. A situation that seemed hopeless is starting to look up.

Even tragedy can be overcome with a sense of purpose, some planning and the right professional help.

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. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.

 

Ask an anonymous bankruptcy question for our radio show!

Do you have questions about bankruptcy and have a specific situation that causes you to believe bankruptcy protection might save the day? Once a month, Joseph Wrobel appears on the Chicago Bankruptcy Update, an Internet radio show/podcast as he teaches basic bankruptcy concepts while answering real questions about bankruptcy from real people.

If you have a bankruptcy law question for attorney Joseph Wrobel, you can send him an e-mail at josephwrobel@chicagobankruptcy.com and he will read it on an upcoming episode of the Chicago Bankruptcy Update. Please write “radio show question” in the subject line so your question can be included.

Important Disclaimer:

Please understand a few disclaimers: (1) answers to questions read on the show do not constitute legal advice; (2) asking a question to be answered does not create an attorney/client relationships; (3) the radio show is for education and entertainment purposes only.

Joseph Wrobel takes his time to appear on the Chicago Bankruptcy Update for many reasons, mostly to help you, the person who may need bankruptcy information, gets the real information you need without a “sales pitch.” Joseph Wrobel has been an active bankruptcy attorney for more than 40 years and has seen just about everything. As a result, he quickly thinks of the types of situations that are challenging in bankruptcy law.

Joseph Wrobel is changing how people look at bankruptcy. Do not be afraid of taking control.

Attorney Wrobel also knows that too many people are afraid to admit financial defeat, afraid to talk to a lawyer, and afraid of losing their home, car and possessions. There are many instances in which people will not lose everything, will not have to worry, and will be able to start over fresh, without all the debt and harassment from creditors.

If you want to stop the phone calls, wage garnishments and get a better financial attitude, take Attorney Wrobel’s advice and ask the real questions so you can get the real answers. The only bad questions are the questions never asked.

We hope you join us and share your hypothetical question for an upcoming radio show episode.

At Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., we all hope you enjoy our monthly radio show and share it with other people you know might be too shy or ashamed to ask for help. Together we can make a difference.

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. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’sFacebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. onTwitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.