All items from Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer

3713942772_39deeab9cf_zIf the mortgage company provides your property insurance, you are not in good hands.
No matter how much time it saves you.
Your lender is not a good neighbor when it comes to insurance.
When your insurance lapses
Somehow my client let her homeowners insurance lapse.  She wasn’t worried about it, she told me, because the mortgage lender had gotten insurance on her home.
She was content she said to let the lender take care of that complication in her life.
Only the complication wasn’t being “taken care of” because the lender’s force-placed insurance didn’t protect my client or her interest in her home.
Lender protects only themselves
Normally, you pick out an insurance carrier to insure your home and the risks that property owners have.
Your mortgage requires that you insure the property and name the lender as an additional insured.  That way, if the house which is part of the collateral for the loan burns down, the lender gets all or part of the insurance proceeds to make up for the loss of the structure.



Posted 2 days 15 hours ago

341 notice annotated_Page_1You’re looking at bankruptcy official form B9.
It arrived in your mail because someone has filed bankruptcy and listed you on the schedules of a newly filed bankruptcy case.
Most likely, the debtor owes you money or you have an open claim of some sort against the bankrupt.
Your rights against the debtor have just changed.
Bankruptcy law, federal law, is now prepared to upend the debtor/creditor relationship.
You need to find all the information crammed into this single page so you can determine what, if anything, to do next. (Double click the image and you’ll get an enlarged version; hit the back arrow to come back here.)
1.  Who’s filed bankruptcy?
The name of the person  who filed the bankruptcy case and their mailing address is number 1 on our notice.  Any fictitious business names or prior names would appear here as well.



Posted 1 week 13 hours ago

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Getting immediate protection from your creditors heads the list of goals for most bankruptcy filers.
But, if this isn’t your first bankruptcy case, do you get that protection?
What the automatic stay does

The Automatic Stay (or “Stay”) protects the bankrupt consumer from continuing collection actions by his or her creditors.  All creditors are required to cease all actions intended to collect a pre-petition debt from the Debtor.   See 11 United States Code section 362.
The stay  (1) halts a foreclosure sale, (2) stops and eviction, (3) stops an ongoing lawsuit, and (4) gives the Debtor some ‘breathing room’ and allows them to reorganize their financial affairs while under the protection of the bankruptcy court.



Posted 1 week 3 days ago

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Got private student loans?
I’ve got good news and bad news.
Bad news first.
Private Student Loans Inflexible
Private student loans have no built in mechanisms for deferment and forbearances, like government-backed loans do.
There are no income based repayment plans, as there are with federal student loans.’  No “outs” for disability or schools that close and leave you stranded.
No discharge in bankruptcy.
So, regardless of what life hands you, you have to pay according to the terms of the note.
But I promised you some good news.
Private Student Loans Must Play By The Rules
The promising news is that private student loans are hardy different in the eyes of the law than credit cards.  That makes them subject to all the rules about collection that apply to any other debt.
One of those rules is timeliness.  Lawyers call it the statute of limitations.
The rule essentially says that a creditor who isn’t being paid must sue within a fixed period, or lose the right to use the courts to enforce its debt.



Posted 1 week 6 days ago

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I thought the lien stripping ship had sailed.
We are finally climbing out of the worst of the Great Recession and California real estate values are recovering.
Turns out, I was wrong.
It’s not too late to reduce your mortgage debt by tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, if you live where real estate prices are recovering slowly.
It doesn’t require a loan modification, a cooperative lender or a government program.
It requires only the right mix of property values and junior mortgages, and a willingness to file Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy permits a homeowner whose first mortgage and any delinquent property taxes total more than the property’s value to eliminate any HELOC or junior mortgage.



Posted 3 weeks 1 day ago

watch out for fraud
One of the hazards in today’s society is becoming the victim of credit card fraud. It can happen in many ways.
Here are six all-too-successful scams identified by the banking industry:
Phony Data Breach 
You get a text message, claiming to be from your credit card company, alerting you that your card is blocked because of fraudulent activity following a data breach. The text asks you to call a phone number to verify your account information.
Be skeptical of these messages, especially if they request credit or debit card data or personal information like your name, address and social security number, or ask you to link to another website or Web page.
Your credit company does not need to ask you to verify information- they already have it.
Mail Fraud
You get an official looking letter from your credit card company asking you to provide your account number or other personal information in a reply envelope or by dialing a number.
Don’t respond.



Posted 3 weeks 2 days ago

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Bankruptcy’s means test is a paper tiger in the San Francisco Bay Area. Really!
You can see why few Bay Area residents are kept from the bankruptcy chapter of their choice by the means test when you compare the latest median income figures  used in the means test with the allowed cost of rental housing.
To review:  Congress  in 2005 tried to write a universal formula to confine bankruptcy relief to those who “needed” it. Bankruptcy judges were to be stripped of discretion in favor of a formula that would be universal.
Those whose average income in the past six months exceeded the median for their state would have to show that they had less than $200 a month left over after subtracting some standardized allowances for food, clothing and housing and their actual projected expenses for other allowed costs of living.
The cost of housing in the Bay Area stands this formula on its head.



Posted 4 weeks 15 hours ago

Lawsuit concept.Being served with papers in a collection suit doesn’t generally help your critical thinking process.
In fact, that surge of adreneline seems to blur the eyes and fog the brain.
So when you scan the papers and see a date, months down the road, you exhale and set the problem aside for another day.
Serious mistake.
The date you picked out is the date set for a case management conference in the Superior Court.
Your answer to the complaint is due 30 days after you are served.
No date is typed out because the clerk issuing the California summons can’t know when you’ll be served with the complaint.
The summons form has a summary of what you have to do to defend yourself printed on its face.  Here’s a blank California summons.
The case management conference is only meaningful if you’ve filed an answer and laid out what’s in dispute in the lawsuit.



Posted 4 weeks 2 days ago

soldier shield mediawikiIncorporate to protect yourself from the debts of your  business, shriek the ads.
That’s the theory of incorporation:  create a separate legal entity in the form of the corporation.
Let that entity incur debt and expose itself to other risks.  If it fails, the personal holdings of the owners of the corporation are safe.
But, in the real world, most big ticket debts that a corporation might incur require the guarantee of the owner.
So if both corporation and owner are liable for the business debts, what has incorporation gained you?
You’ll be surprised.
Incorporate to protect the business
But, consider the same move, incorporation,  for the opposite reason.

Incorporate to protect the business from the owner’s debts.

A sole proprietor and his business are one and the same in the law.
When the proprietor has a tax problem or there’s a judgment outstanding against him, all of the business cash and assets are exposed to that debt.
The business bank account can be levied for the owner’s back child support or a judgment against the owner for unpaid magazine subscriptions.



Posted 5 weeks 2 days ago

John_Hancock_Signature-wikimedia-public-domain
John Hancock knew how to sign his name- so large that King George could read it without his glasses.
But most small business folks who do business as a corporation are clueless when it comes to signing contracts on behalf of their corporation.
When they sign their name, without more, on the line that says “Owner”, they may have made themselves personally liable for the obligations in the contract. Fotoliafishhook © johnsroad7-cropped
Signing just your name likely defeats the very reason that you incorporated your business.  You’ve just put yourself personally on the hook.



Posted 5 weeks 3 days ago