Bankruptcy

Drake briefly worked for one of the largest bankruptcy law firms in the nation. At this position Drake was astounded by the level of greed and excess at this firm and realized there was not much difference between creditors and big bankruptcy firms. Both were driven by nothing but the bottom-line and neither cared about how it affected the consumer and everyday people. More than once Drake watched as the big bankruptcy firms put on a big show and convinced potential clients to pay thousands of dollars when bankruptcy couldn’t provide them with the relief they sought and then sold them on something they didn’t need. The big firm would also treat people as commodities and, after receiving initial payment and giving them their “packet,” ignore their clients’ calls unless the clients called during the restricted, designated hours during the middle of their work day. Even when they could get through, they were put on the phone with “an attorney” that they barely knew, had never met, and whose entire knowledge about the case came from computer generated notes from various other attorneys that the client may, but probably didn’t, know.

Drake Shunneson will not treat you like a commodity the way some firms will. I provide you with highly personal assistance during your difficult time and want to help you obtain a truly fresh start. I will not provide you with something you don’t need and, if I don’t think bankruptcy is right for you, I will clearly tell you so. I will not lecture you, call you names, or question your integrity. All fees will be explained to you and you will get a WRITTEN CONTRACT for my services. I will not restrict when you can contact me or ignore your calls and will do my very best to be available to you. I will be the lead attorney who will handle your case and will explain why, if needed, any other attorney will work with me on your case. If I can’t help you with your case, I will tell you AND I will recommend another attorney that is right for you.

Be wary of attorneys that claim to have hundreds of thousands of hours of experience, have federal court licenses and “never close.” Every bankruptcy attorney, in addition to a license to practice law, must have a federal license to file bankruptcy petitions in federal court. Attorneys also are all required to provide competent representation to a client by having the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary to represent his clients. Any firm trying to sell you based on these attributes is really trying to sell you on the idea that they will provide, at least, the bare minimum representation as required by the law. Also, just because they are open, doesn’t mean they are open to discuss your case during those hours.

If your debts are becoming overwhelming and you are worried about losing your home, car, wedding rings, or other valuable belongings, then you need to consider bankruptcy. It is my goal to help you deal with these bad debts by providing you with a thorough analysis of your particular situation. It is my goal to help you eliminate debt through the various “chapters” of the bankruptcy code.

In most cases, it is my goal to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for my clients. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as “debt elimination,” “fresh start,” or “total bankruptcy.” It is usually the optimal outcome for my clients for the following reasons:

I. Credit Card and Other “Unsecured” Debt is Eliminated

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will completely eliminate virtually all bad debt. It is usually the optimal outcome for clients as it allows for individuals with large credit card debts, medical bills, check cashing loans, or other “unsecured” debts to be eliminated.

II. You Can Keep Your Car and Home

You can keep your car and home by signing another contract with the lender (called “reaffirming” your debt). Very likely the lender will agree to the new contract since it will let them keep making money off of you for the foreseeable future since you are prohibited from filing for bankruptcy again for a long period of time. So long as you are up-to-date on the payments (or can become up-to-date), and have enough income to keep paying these loans, then the bankruptcy laws allow for you to keep your home and car. Chapter 7 allows for you to eliminate other debts to free up the money you need to keep your home and car. Of course, whether this is allowed is very specific to your case and you need to contact a bankruptcy attorney immediately for an analysis.

III. Mortgage Loans and Car Loans Can be “Discharged”

Contrary to what many believe, Chapter 7 bankruptcy also allows for you to get rid of car loans and mortgage loans. Chapter 7 discharge not only allows for you to get rid of bad debt, but it allows for you to return your home, or car, to the bank, not owe any monies for past due payments AND not owe the lender for any FUTURE debts. For those seeking to surrender their home, or car, to the bank and stop paying high loan bills, Chapter 7 is the best solution. If you know your financial condition won’t let you keep paying the mortgage, or car loan, the best solution is to get rid of your large debt!

IV. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Stops Creditor Action

Under the bankruptcy code, after filing a petition in the bankruptcy court nearest you, the Court will issue a “automatic stay.” This will automatically stop your creditors from taking any other actions against you. This includes any lawsuits, phone calls, threatening letters, or calls to your work. There are even penalties in the law prohibiting them from contacting you for any reason. In more than one bankruptcy case, I have personally stopped creditor lawsuits, released garnishments, and obtained additional funds for my clients that creditors had previously barred them from accessing.

V. Chapter 7 Is Based On Your Income

In order to obtain Chapter 7, you must pass a “means test,” that looks at your income over the last six months. The basic concept is that you can’t make more than your stat’e “median” income, or have a significant amount of disposable income, for several years. You are also risking losing your home, or car, that you thought you could keep. This is why it is vital that you not file a bankruptcy on your own and obtain the assistance of another attorney to help you through the process.

VI. Documents You Will Need to File Bankruptcy

Federal Bankruptcy Law requires that attorneys have sufficient information to file a bankruptcy. This entails providing the Court with proof of certain information when filing a bankruptcy. Although this is merely a guide, we always request the following information prior to your first meeting with an attorney (but will work with you as you obtain this information if it is not readily available):

  1. Copies of all bank account statements for the past six months (savings, checking, CDs, etc.); and
  2. Paystubs for all jobs from the past six months; and
  3. Federal and State Income Tax Returns (or transcripts) for the previous three years.

After your initial meeting, we will need to obtain more information to complete your Bankruptcy Petition. This information will include:

  1. For anyone with income other than paystubs, proof of the gross amounts received each month (ie self-employed should provide a profit-and-loss statement for each of the last six months [as well as information on officers/directors/employees/agents/tax filers/business tax returns/business debts, etc], pensions, rental income, etc); and
  2. All spouse’s information, including name/address/employers even if you are not filing with him or her;
  3. All information you have about expenses (ie medical bills, tuition bills, utility bills, receipts on usual expenses, charity, etc.).
  4. Real Estate and Car Documents including appraisals, deeds/titles, bills, closing statements if recently purchased, lease agreements, etc.
  5. Proof of anything you own of value (ie insurance policies, stocks/bonds/annuities, pensions, checking account balances, inheritance, amounts you plan to receive in a lawsuit, etc).
  6. Anything you have given away, sold, or otherwise changed legal title from your name to someone else’s in previous four years (ie property, value, when transferred/given away, who you gave it to, what it was transferred for, etc).
  7. Lawsuits and big debts (need to know everything about lawsuits and big debts so that we don’t accidentally miss something).
  8. Copies of anything you owe the government or that was obtained through the government (ie student loans, alimony, child support, pet licenses, tax debt,

Drake Shunneson devoted to giving you a fresh start, while protecting important property, in the face of overwhelming debt. He can help you through this difficult time in your life. Please contact him at (815) 385-6840 or Email him at drake@dlfirm.com to discuss what he can do to assist you!

Notice:

The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problem. This article, by itself, does not create any attorney-client relationships and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of any Law Office or any other individual attorney, entity, or individual.