Bankruptcy Means Test Basics

Bankruptcy Means Test Basics

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Bankruptcy Means Test is the Chapter 7 Qualification Test. However, if you do not qualify for a 7, it is also used to determine the amount of your chapter 13 plan payment. Additionally, it determines the duration of you chapter 13 plan.

If your income is above the median income your chapter 13 payment plan must last for 5 years.  If below then only 3 years.

You can always file a chapter 13 which is often a much better idea than a debt consolidation. A chapter 13 is a type of debt consolidation however, you as the consumer have the upper hand.  You have the power.

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Reaffirmation Agreements

REAFFIRMATION AGREEMENTS

A Reaffirmation Agreement is a new promissory note to keep paying on an old contract for the purchase of goods where the lender can repossess or foreclose the goods.  Because you have signed a security agreement the lender has the right to repossess or foreclose if you do not pay for it.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges your personal obligation to pay the loan, or in other words, you no longer have to legally pay on the note.  However, the lender still has a lien on the object(s) in question. Jewelry, refrigerators or large appliances, and most notably cars can be repossessed in this way.

What a reaffirmation agreement does: It allows you and the lender to agree that you may keep the goods so long as you continue to pay for them.  When executing a reaffirmation agreement with the lender sometimes the lender will reduce the balance owing, the interest rate or both.  As a result the payment and term can be reduced.

Nowadays most lenders will not reduce the interest rates and balances on cars.  Home mortgages never do.  You can often reduce the balance and interest rates on appliances, jewelry, computers and motorcycles.

If you do sign a reaffirmation agreement, you will have 60 days to change your mind and rescind it.  Rescissions must be in writing, served on the creditor and preferably filed with the court.

MORTGAGES

You would never reaffirm a mortgage.  Never.  Seldom but sometimes a mortgage lender will tell a client that the client’s post bankruptcy mortgage account would show up as good credit on their credit report if the client had just done a reaffirmation agreement.  It’s all the bankruptcy attorney’s fault that the client’s credit is not better than it is right now because he didn’t tell the poor client to reaffirm the mortgage.

Most mortgage companies will not do this to you, just a few.  Ones that do are unscrupulous and are aiming to get you to sign your life away.  They want you tied to that mortgage through the reaffirmation agreement come hell or high water.  If they can just do that, then if you foreclose, maybe they can sue you.  If you are in a worse position later, maybe you have to short sell, and when you do, they will ask you to pay them back sometimes, $10,000 to $50,000 in order for them to approve the short sale.

No, we don’t know what will happen, but I have a client right now who is being sued by a lender, his former first mortgage, who asked him to sign just such a promissory note in order to approve his short sale.  Fortunately for him, he did not do a reaffirmation on his mortgage during his bankruptcy.  Therefore, his mortgage company cannot in fact stick him with the debt, but for some reason they think that they can.  Wrong, they cannot.  We will be suing them soon for violating the Bankruptcy Discharge Order.

Because we do not have a crystal ball, and because the length of the term of a mortgage is so long, we NEVER sign a reaffirmation agreement on a mortgage.  This is the industry standard.

CARS AND VEHICLES

Legally, WITHOUT a reaffirmation agreement the lender can repossess your car, even if the car payments are current.  However, at this writing, the only companies who do are Ford Motor Credit & Jaguar Credit & California Coast Credit Union.   I cannot promise that other companies will not change their policies and begin behaving like Ford.

WITH a reaffirmation agreement, as long as the payments are current, then they cannot take the car just as before the bankruptcy.  However, just as before the bankruptcy, if you get behind in payments they will take the car AND sue you for a deficiency balance.

If you get behind, WITH or WITHOUT a reaffirmation agreement, they will definitely repossess the car.  So, the thing to do is to ask yourself, is the economy getting better or worse?  Answer:  Worse, my business is constantly picking up.  Everyone who comes in tells me that the business they work for is dropping off.  Fewer orders, fewer sales, employees are being let go.

So, if you just keep making the payments and don’t worry about it, you have a great probability of nothing changing, and eventually once the vehicle is paid off, they will still have to give you the pink slip.

If you sign and file a reaffirmation agreement, and then change your mind, you have 60 days to do so in writing and it must be in writing, signed and filed with the court.

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Bankruptcy Attorney David Nelson

Temecula Bankruptcy Attorney David NelsonTEMECULA BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY DAVID NELSON

I have been a Bankruptcy Attorney since the very beginning. Having graduated in the top 15% of my class I passed bar the first time and in June of 1994 I opened my law office.  Back then there was a recession and it was just natural to open a bankruptcy practice.  I saw a need and was able to fill it.

I’m an expert in the field of bankruptcy.  Since 1994, I have been passionate about getting my clients out of the troubles they find themselves in.  Certainly many of us might think that if we’d just planned better, we would have been able to avoid the challenges facing the country right now.  While it might be true, it’s probably more accurate to say that there was no way to plan our way out of the whole economy crashing down on us.

I’ve seen first hand the blessing that Bankruptcy can bring to individuals and families.  Think about this for a moment:  What is it that you fight about the most?  Is it too much money, “Dang what are we going to do with all these 20s honey?”  No, it’s the lack of money.

But what if we could cut the arguments in half?  What if we could at least take the arguments from: which debts do we pay this month with the little bit of money we have? and transform those to: how do we set up a savings for the little that we have?  That’s what Bankruptcy can do for you.

If you could start the day knowing that your credit cards, medical bills, repossessed cars, 2nd mortgages, and so on were all going to just disappear, how would you feel the rest of the day?

Wouldn’t you treat your spouse better?  Wouldn’t you be kinder to your children and co-workers?  Wouldn’t you have a better marriage, family, career?

I’ve probably saved more marriages than most marriage counselors over the same time period. You don’t need to know how to talk to each other about money, you must do something about it.

What if you could go back to paying your tithing or your favorite charity again?

Do something about it.  Make the Call Right now to set the Appointment that will change your lives.  Call 800 FILE AWAY or 800 345 3292, call right now.

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YOUR HOA MAY SUE YOU EVEN AFTER YOUR BANKRUPTCY

YOUR HOA MAY SUE YOU EVEN AFTER YOUR BANKRUPTCY:

THE BANKRUPTCY CODE SPECIFICALLY ALLOWS IT!  The Rule is that you can eliminate your personal liability to pay your Home Owner’s Association up to the date that you file your case.  But what happens AFTER?

YOUR HOME OWNER’S ASSOCIATION CAN SUE YOU IF:

FILING BANKRUPTCY STOPS FORECLOSURE, BUT YOU MUST STILL EITHER WORK OUT A LOAN MODIFICATION OR SETUP A CHAPTER 13 PAYMENT PLAN IN ORDER TO STRIP OFF THE 2ND AND CATCH UP YOUR FIRST. IF ALL GOES WELL YOU WON’T THINK ABOUT YOUR HOA, YOU JUST CONTINUE TO PAY IT.

IF THE ABOVE DOESN’T WORK OUT, YOUR AIM MUST BE FOR A SHORT SALE to avoid a Foreclosure after Bankruptcy.  Doing a Short Sale will take the Home Owner’s Association into account as part of the final deal and that will be that.

But if you end up with a Foreclosure after Bankruptcy . . .

FORECLOSURE AFTER BANKRUPTCY:

If you know that you can’t pay a Chapter 13 payment (YOU MUST CONSULT A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY TO BE SURE, NEVER ASSUME ONE WAY OR THE OTHER WITHOUT A CONSULTATION FIRST), & if you cannot pay your 1st, you are going to lose your property.  So, File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Your 2nd or HELOC will no longer be able to sue once your Chapter 7 has discharged.  You can stay in the property a bit longer while saving up to move. You could get a couple or even several extra months Rent-Free! But if you don’t do a short sale, you will eventually have a foreclosure.

Your HOA will be able to sue you from the date that you filed your Bankruptcy until the day your property is foreclosed.  I have seen this more than once, a couple assumes that a short sale is on track, and then it doesn’t go through.  Meanwhile they have not been paying the Home Owner’s Association fees.  Probably they haven’t paid for a year prior to filing the bankruptcy so they are out of the habit of paying it.  Once the bankruptcy took place, they still didn’t pay because they couldn’t afford to, or they assumed that the short sale would take care of it.

But if you don’t pay, and there’s a foreclosure, you’re going to owe all HOA fees and assessments from the day that you filed until the day that you no longer owned the property. Because they banks don’t want to pay the HOA fees either, I have seen them take a couple years to actually repossess a house, especially if the family has already moved out.  $150/mo in HOA fees plus special assessments, attorney’s fees and costs adds up pretty quickly.

SO CONTINUE TO PAY THE HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION FEES UNTIL THE PROPERTY IS SOLD OR FORECLOSED.  If you don’t want to pay the HOA Fees to the HOA because you expect a short sale to take care of it, put the HOA Fees into a savings account just in case the short sale doesn’t go through.  If it doesn’t go through you just pay them.  If it does go through, you have a small savings account to use as moving money, or maybe replacing your appliances.

Bankruptcy Attorney David Nelson

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