Californians Can Now Keep Their Cars After Bankruptcy Without Reaffirmation
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
1w ago
New California law, effective January 1, 2023, eliminates the need for bankruptcy debtors to reaffirm car loans in order to avoid repossession. Now, you can keep your car after bankruptcy, so long as you keep the payments current, without reaffirming the debt. Until now, reaffirmation had the effect of giving up the discharge as to a car loan in order to prevent the filing of bankruptcy being a default on the loan. When simply filing bankruptcy was a default, the car could be repossessed after the bankruptcy was over, even if you’d made all of the payments. Now, filing bankruptcy alone is not ..read more
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Has Your Social Security Number Been Suspended?
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
1w ago
The latest variety of tax scam picked the wrong target when they called my fellow bankruptcy lawyer Wayne Silver. Your social security number has been suspended, claimed the caller. Having no identity is scary. What’s a guy to do without a Social Security number? It’s sad that we are reduced to needing a number to validate who we are.  But without a Social Security number, an American is virtually no body. And that’s what the scammer counted on when he called Wayne, and doubtless thousands of others. The phone message claimed that because of “suspicious activity” on his Social Secur ..read more
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How To Save Your House After Filing Bankruptcy
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
2w ago
Saving your house from foreclosure ranks high on the list of reasons people file Chapter 13. The automatic stay stops foreclosures; Chapter 13 gives you time to fix the problem. Powerful stuff. But the stay and more time, alone, aren’t enough to save the day if you run afoul of other rules, written and unwritten, about homeownership in Chapter 13. So, here’s your manual for Keeping Your Home Through Bankruptcy. Read your Chapter 13 plan The basic premise of Chapter 13 is that you continue making payments on your home loan during the plan.  Typically, you make the payments that come due a ..read more
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Understand Bankruptcy Basics Before You Need Them
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
3w ago
Bankruptcy basics are simple: bankruptcy is the legal system’s remedy for debts beyond the ability of the person who owes money to pay. Bankruptcy in the United States operates to satisfy a person’s debts to the extent possible and to enable those with debts they can’t pay to start over. It is governed by the federal law found in Title 11 of the United States Code. As federal law, it supersedes any conflicting state law.  That’s the  operation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution in action. With the exception of exemptions , it is the same from state to state. However, l ..read more
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Bankruptcy Discharge For One Spouse Yields Benefits For Non-filing Spouse
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
2M ago
Spouses don’t have to file bankruptcy together. Often there are strategic reasons for only one spouse in a community property state like California to file. So, where does that leave the non-filing spouse when creditors come calling? Community property in bankruptcy Central to this discussion is the way the Bankruptcy Code treats community property. When someone with community property files bankruptcy, all of the marital community’s property becomes “property of the estate”. Likewise, all creditors who could satisfy their claims from the community can file claims in the bankruptcy, regardles ..read more
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Bankruptcy Alphabet: H is for House
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
3M ago
In my bankruptcy alphabet, H is for house. Can I keep my house if I file bankruptcy, anxious homeowners ask. In most cases, my answer is “yes”. Should you keep the house is another question. Houses are vulnerable in bankruptcy only if there is significant equity above the total of the mortgage payoffs and delinquent property taxes, and above the homestead exemption allowable to the debtor, and above the expenses of sale like real estate commissions If the trustee can’t sell the property for enough money to pay  costs of sale, property taxes, mortgages and their arrears, and the debtor ..read more
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Stupid Moves Before Seeing A Bankruptcy Lawyer
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
3M ago
Don’t tidy up your financial affairs before consulting a bankruptcy lawyer. Your current mess may present opportunities to plan your bankruptcy for a better outcome. You may waste money or lose bankruptcy options when you make last minute changes to your situation without understanding how that situation plays out in bankruptcy. You’ll have the widest set of options for a fresh start if your lawyer sees the situation as it is today. What looks to you like complexity and disorder may look to your bankruptcy lawyer as opportunity and advantage. The high cost of financial housecleaning ..read more
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Your Vote, Your Voice
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
3M ago
Tuesday November 8th is the last time for two years you’ll get a chance to influence state and national government. If you have a choice, wouldn’t you choose to be an Influencer? Government is serious work. For it to work well, it requires lawmakers who take those responsibilities seriously. Making laws requires making choices and expressing values. The rest of us live with those choices. As a bankruptcy lawyer, I live day to day with the vindictive and creditor friendly choices the Congress made in 2005 when it amended the Bankruptcy Code. Bankruptcy law for individuals became more restrictiv ..read more
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Whopping exemption for CA 529 college accounts
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
3M ago
A substantial new California exemption snuck into law in 2021. It protects 529 college savings accounts from the creditors of parents. The exemption applies in all California collections and to California bankruptcies when the CCP 704 exemptions are selected. The eyeopener is that a parent (or other donor) can contribute the amount of the federal gift tax exclusion each year to an account for each child. That’s currently $16,000 a year. For a current client, that means he can convert his non exempt brokerage account to a college account of $16,000 for each of three kids. The money grows tax f ..read more
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Women win new protections in California exemption law
The Soap Box | Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer
by Cathy Moran
4M ago
New California exemption laws will expand protections for alimony and eliminated a barrier to filing for bankruptcy protection without the involvement of an estranged spouse. Although not limited to women, in the bulk of cases in my 40+ years of practice, it’s women who will most often benefit from these changes. Exemptions operate to define assets that a creditor cannot take to satisfy a debt. Exemptions in bankruptcy effectively exclude exempt property from the control of the bankruptcy trustee. These changes to California law were the work of State Senator Bob Wieckowski, with sponsorship ..read more
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