All items from Shenwick & Associates

By Tara Siegel Bernard
Six months after his wife learned that she had a rare vascular disease of the brain,
Frank, now 66, lost his job as director of sales of a telecommunications company.
His wife, to whom he had been married for 36 years, died just two months later.
He was still grieving when he learned that he had kidney cancer. The tumor
was operable, but the exam brought to light a long list of other serious problems,
including a pulmonary embolism and a heart-rhythm disorder.

That was in 2009, in the depths of the recession, and finding a new job was
difficult. Two years later, after struggling to pay medical bills not covered by
insurance and other debts, Frank filed for bankruptcy. But that did not erase the
giant pile of federal Parent Plus loans that he had taken out to help put his three
children through college. Since he could no longer work, Sallie Mae, the loan
servicer, ultimately suggested applying for a disability discharge, which would
cancel the debts.

He qualified, and last July, his loans, which had ballooned to $150,000 in
forbearance, were wiped away. “I felt like a Buick had been lifted off my
shoulders,” said Frank, who lives in upstate New York.

Posted 24 weeks 2 days ago

By James B. Stewart

Anyone who wonders why law school applications are plunging and there’s
widespread malaise in many big law firms might consider the case of Gregory M.

The silver-haired, distinguished-looking Mr. Owens would seem the
embodiment of a successful Wall Street lawyer. A graduate of Denison University
and Vanderbilt Law School, Mr. Owens moved to New York City and was named a
partner at the then old-line law firm of Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer &
Wood, and after a merger, at Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Today, Mr. Owens, 55, is a partner at an even more eminent global law firm,
White & Case. A partnership there or any of the major firms collectively known as
“Big Law” was long regarded as the brass ring of the profession, a virtual
guarantee of lifelong prosperity and job security.

But on New Year’s Eve, Mr. Owens filed for personal bankruptcy.

According to his petition, he had $400 in his checking account and $400 in
savings. He lives in a rental apartment at 151st Street and Broadway. He owns
clothing he estimated was worth $900 and his only jewelry is a Concord watch,
which he described as “broken.”

Mr. Owens is an extreme but vivid illustration of the economic factors roiling
the legal profession, although his straits are in some ways unique to his personal

The bulk of his potential liabilities stem from claims related to the collapse of

Posted 33 weeks 2 days ago

By NATALIE KITROEFF Stacy Jorgensen fought her way through pancreatic cancer. But her struggle was just beginning.
Before she became ill, Ms. Jorgensen took out $43,000 in student loans. As her payments piled up along with medical bills, she took the unusual step of filing for bankruptcy, requiring legal proof of “undue hardship.”
The agency charged with monitoring such bankruptcy declarations, a nonprofit with an exclusive government agreement, argued that Ms. Jorgensen did not qualify and should pay in full, dismissing her concerns about the cancer’s return.
“The mere possibility of recurrence is not enough,” a lawyer representing the agency said. “Survival rates for younger patients tend to be higher,” another wrote, citing a study presented in court.

Posted 36 weeks 6 days ago

Posted 46 weeks 2 days ago

By After her husband died, Mary Veronica Santiago fell behind on her bills, and the creditors began to call.
So two years ago, she took refuge in bankruptcy, hoping to have her debts wiped away. But far from providing a fresh start and peace of mind, the Chapter 7 filing thrust Mrs. Santiago, 79, who lives in the East Village, into the center of a case that bankruptcy lawyers say poses a major risk to her and the millions of other New Yorkers who live in rent-stabilized apartments.
The issue, pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is whether a rent-stabilized lease can be treated as an asset in a personal bankruptcy, just like a car or a piece of land, and used to pay off creditors.

Posted 47 weeks 2 days ago

By The dentist set to work, tapping and probing, then put down his tools and delivered the news. His patient, Patricia Gannon, needed a partial denture. The cost: more than $5,700.
Ms. Gannon, 78, was staggered. She said she could not afford it. And her insurance would pay only a small portion. But she was barely out of the chair, her mouth still sore, when her dentist’s office held out a solution: a special line of credit to help cover her bill. Before she knew it, Ms. Gannon recalled, the office manager was taking down her financial details.

Posted 48 weeks 2 days ago

Posted 1 year 3 weeks ago


    As offshore accounts draw greater scrutiny, some financial advisers are having their clients use a special trust as an alternative strategy to shield their assets from potential lawsuits.

    So far, 15 states allow the creation of domestic asset protection trusts, which safeguard securities or other assets of the owner. In the past, they weren't widely used and few states allowed them.

    One big driver of the trend is that offshore accounts--commonly used to ward off creditors--have grown less popular amid an ongoing Internal Revenue Service crackdown. The tax agency, which also contends the accounts help wealthy Americans evade taxes, has beefed up reporting requirements as well as penalties for violators.
    Increasingly, some advisers are having more discussions about domestic asset protection trusts as a matter of course with any client who owns a business, works in a high-risk profession like medicine, or worries that a child may wind up in a divorce.

    "We have been seeing a lot more of them," said Edward J. Mooney, managing director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

    Posted 1 year 5 weeks ago

    Posted 1 year 6 weeks ago