All items from Northern Virginia Bankruptcy Attorney | Robert Weed

Saw three couples this month who needed to file bankruptcy, because they were getting sued–garnished in one case–by the second mortgage after a short sale.
It was surprising that they were surprised.   At the peak of the crisis, for or five years ago, second mortgages would take what they could get at a short sale and let the rest of it go.  But they don’t often do that anymore.  (At least not without intense negotiation.  I’ve seen it once in the last year.)
And usually they make you sign that you KNOW that you still owe the money.  So, where’s the surprise?
Sadly, some real estate agents are less than candid about what to expect from the second mortgage.   Here’s a link to a guy who calls himself Virginia Short Sale Advice.    A lot of what he says here is really good.   Including why a short sale is better for your credit than a foreclosure.

Posted 1 year 33 weeks ago

This is a story about how Bank of America violated the bankruptcy discharge, hacking off Gus and Nikoleta, and me.  (I’ve changed the names of Gus and Nikoleta–all the rest of this is true.)  And then hit Gus and Nikki for a “foreclosure fee” while they were current.  And then did it again.
Gus and Nikoleta came to see me in 2009.
Gus and Nikki had been through tough times and they were behind on the mortgages.  They had a first and a second, both with Bank of America.  They were fifteen thousand behind on their first mortgage and Bank of American was about to foreclose.
We put them into a chapter 13 bankruptcy.  The had five years to pay the bankruptcy court fifty thousand dollars–catching up the first mortgage, knocking the second off the house, and paying off their car, and a little something to the rest of their creditors.   (I explain how that works, here.)
In early 2011, Gus lost his job–he used his thirty five thousand dollars severance to pay off the chapter 13 early!  (Pretty gutsy–he was hopeful he could get work again soon.)
After the Chapter 13 bankruptcy was paid and closed in May 2011,  Bank of America misbehaved.   Calling Gus and Nikki day and night, trying to collect that second mortgage that had been knocked off by the Chapter 13.

Posted 1 year 34 weeks ago

Did you put off filing bankruptcy until after somebody got a judgment against you?
Pre-bankruptcy judgments are liens on property you own before the bankruptcy.  (Sometimes they can be removed;  sometimes they can’t.)   But they do NOT become a lien on property you buy after the bankruptcy.

Your pre-bankruptcy judgments are not a lien on your after bankruptcy house. Not legally.

At least, not legally.
The purpose of bankruptcy is a new start in life and a clear field for the future.   Many people bounce back from bankruptcy and become home owners in a few years.  Later when they go to sell that new home, those pre-bankruptcy judgments sometimes rise from the grave.
Not legally.  But they do.  Like zombies.

Posted 1 year 37 weeks ago

If you file bankruptcy, you need to send in proof of your income.  For most people, that means your pay stubs.   Section 521 of the Bankruptcy Code requires people to send in at least two month of their “payment advices“–meaning pay stubs–received from your “employer.”
What if you are self employed?   You don’t get a pay stubs and don’t have en employer.  Do you dodge that requirement?

If you are self employed, you need to send in your income statement, or "profit and loss"

Well, no.   The Bankruptcy Rules, Rule 4002, requires “evidence of current income.”   Around here, the bankruptcy trustees want to see what they call a “profit and loss.”
What is that?

Posted 1 year 38 weeks ago

Here’s an email I got on Friday, March 15 2013.
I started the bankruptcy process with your office in 03/2012 and stopped the process.  That was a wrong decision!!!  My house is scheduled for foreclosure on Monday 03/18/13 and I have tried working with Wells Fargo to postpone the sale.  NACA and Senator Mark Warner’s office also joined me to work with Wells Fargo but they are slow to give me a decision.  Can you help me stop the foreclosure?
That is an easy problem to fix, but not so easy on a Friday afternoon, before a Monday foreclosure.    I do emergency bankruptcies when I’m able to, but that Friday I was already booked up.

Bankruptcy should be a last resort. But it should NOT be an emergency. We offer a two part, two hour free consultation. But if you wait until Friday before a Monday foreclosure, bankruptcy lawyer Brian Madden may be able to help you.

Posted 1 year 39 weeks ago

Tommy needs to file bankruptcy.
We’ve been holding off  filing his papers for several months.  Why?  Before he talked to me as his lawyer, Tommy had pulled $40,000 out of his 401k.  That was a problem–as long as it was in his 401k it was safe.   But once it hit his bank account, the court, or his creditors, could grab it.  (Virginia law allows Tommy, or most people, to protect $5000 in the bank.)
We spent almost three hours in two meetings planning for Tommy to use that money.  Use it for things he needed, perfectly legal things that won’t be questioned.  Things we can spell out on his court papers.
At the second meeting Tommy showed me an “asset notice” that had been sent to him by the bankruptcy trustee in his ex-wife’s Sue’s bankruptcy   What’s this about?  We looked it up in the court’s computer.

Posted 1 year 40 weeks ago

Bankruptcy gets you out of debts you don’t want, but not stuff you don’t want.
It doesn’t force the finance company to tow your car.  Or the timeshare people to foreclose the timeshare.  And it doesn’t make the bankruptcy court take anything.
Sue got a bad car loan and a bad car from a “buy here, pay here” car dealer.  The car is a 1999 Oldsmobile and it doesn’t run.  Sue still owes $6590.  Before, the dealer called Sue day and night, demanding payment, and threatening to garnish her and repossess the car.

Fling bankruptcy does not force the finance company to tow that junk car that won't run. Bankruptcy gets you out of debts. It does not get rid of stuff nobody wants.

Sue WANTED him to repo the car–because she can’t afford to fix it.  But he never does.  He knew it wasn’t worth much when he sold it and he now knows it’s not worth towing away.

Posted 1 year 41 weeks ago

Before bankruptcy, I tell my clients to stop the automatic withdrawals to those internet payday loans.  They always find it’s so hard to get their banks to help.  Today’s  New York Times says the same thing.  The Times says that’s because the banks love those overdraft fees.

Banks will verify your signature on a check to match your signature card. But electronic transfers just sail through.

Probably the most important job of a bank is to make sure nobody takes money out of your account, unless you okay it.    They try to do that on paper checks, by comparing your signature on the check with your signature card.

Posted 1 year 42 weeks ago

After bankruptcy, you might get a call or a bill on a debt that was discharged in your case.  Trying to collect a discharged debt during or after the bankruptcy is a violation of the bankruptcy stay–while your case is open–or bankruptcy discharge, once your case is closed.
Don’t get upset, but do take action.
Most judges don’t want to hear about problems “that could be fixed with one phone call,” so I have a benefit of the doubt policy–three steps.
Step one:  Tell the creditor you filed bankruptcy.  You want to say, I filed bankruptcy; you cannot contact me, call my lawyer, Robert Weed, at 434-993-5101.  You can say that on the phone, or write it on the bill and mail it back.  That solves most of these problems.
Mistakes happen and most of these contact are just mistakes.  Don’t be paranoid, but do keep notes!
Step Two:  If you get a second contact, email your paralegal.  Let them know that you told the creditor to call us and now you’ve gotten another contact.  If it’s a letter, scan and email the letter if you can.  If it’s a call, the phone number and person’s name if any.

Posted 1 year 43 weeks ago

Bank of America wouldn’t fix Ed and Ann’s credit reports after bankruptcy.
Our disputes were ignored, so we sued.  The judgment was ignored, so we’re garnishing.
Here’s the whole story.
Two years ago, in February 2011, Ed and Ann checked their after-bankruptcy credit reports.  They were surprised to see, at two of the three credit bureaus, their paid-in-full Bank of America accounts were showing “discharged in bankruptcy.”
That was making it harder for Ed and Ann to get back to good credit.  Over the next year, in March, and April, and August, Ed and Ann wrote to the credit bureaus to get the Bank of America accounts fixed.
No luck.
In January 2012, we sued.
We sued the two credit bureaus, Trans Union and Experian, and also the bank.  The credit bureaus then fixed the credit reports, but the bank just ignored us.

Posted 1 year 44 weeks ago