Archive for 2009

‘Tis the (Tax) Season

The holiday season is almost over and January 1 is the official start of tax season.   For people considering bankruptcy, it’s also a time to start getting those 2009 tax returns promptly.  I’ve written about this important subject before, and it’s worth bringing it up again on the eve of tax season.  Here’s why. (more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

Christmas 2009: Light and Darkness

In 2006, I shared my most cherished memories of Christmas Eve.  And today, while reading it again, I was brought back to some very happy times.  Admittedly, it was not always happy.  Like everyone else, my family saw some very difficult times, and not every Christmas Eve was spent in laughter and joy, fueled by a cheese platter that had been left out far, far too long.  But even in the most difficult of times, even when in times of what felt like unending darkness, there is something good to be found.  A goodness that can last for years to come. (more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

Means Test Not Required in Converted Case

If you file chapter 7, you need to complete Form 22A, the Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation.  But if you file a chapter 13, and then convert the case to chapter 7 are you still obligated to file the Means Test form? A Massachusetts Bankruptcy Judge has ruled on this important issue (In re Guarin, 09-42294 JBR).

(more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

Under Water, Walking Away & My Two Cents

Over the holiday weekend, there were a number of press reports about a discussion paper, Under Water and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing CrisisReportedly Brent T. White, an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law advocates that homeowners who are underwater (meaning, the outstanding mortgage balance[s] is more than the value of the home…is now, or in some cases, will ever be) should simply walk away from their obligations and not look back without feeling a bit of guilt.  Obviously this all got my attention, but before I took to this here blog and declared “You Have Got to be Kidding Me!” (which at first glance seemed like the most expedient way to address it), I opted to read the discussion paper (rather than just the abstract).  Before you click the link below, pour yourself a fresh cup of tea.

Here’s my take:

(more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

What Does a Good Bankruptcy Attorney Do?

I’ve compared my role as a debtor’s attorney as similar to that of a boy scout.  My job is to help my debtor client cross the road without getting hit by the bus.  A big part of that job is done while preparing.  In essence, I get behind the steering wheel of the bus and I ask myself “if I were trying to run over the debtor, what would I be looking for first?”  Perhaps a better, and far less macabre way of looking at how I do my job is this: when preparing my client’s case, I pretend that I am trustee and I ask myself: what has my client told me or shown me that would send up a red flag.  What could make my client’s life even more difficult than it already is?

(more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

When the Ex Files Bankruptcy

The relationship is over, but there are still lingering issues that hold you together.  Perhaps it’s child support, health care, property distribution or other matters.  If your ex files bankruptcy, it is very important you understand your rights and your responsibilities – as well as your options.

(more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

Black Friday Approaches

As I see the toll that this economy continues to take on my clients, I find that my own views of holiday shopping are changing.  As stores close, as companies lay-off and cut back, and as friends and family struggle, I am doing what I see my own clients doing:  reevaluating what’s really important.  So while the media increasingly reminds us that we are just days away from the start of the 2009 holiday season, here are some tips that could help you through next year, could help you even more if you think you need to seek bankruptcy protection – and could help you stay out of trouble if you’re already in bankruptcy.

(more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

Lending to Unemployed: Frankly, There’s Got to be a Better Way

Yesterday I tweeted about Barney Frank’s idea of giving unemployed homeowners access to low interest loans.  The theory is that it help fills a gap in the Obama Administration’s plan to address foreclosures caused by unemployment.  I think this is a bad idea (and a bit of mid-term election posturing).  And I think there’s a sounder way to help unemployed homeowners. (more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

Security Clearances & Bankruptcy

Occasionally, clients will ask me about whether their security clearance is at risk if they file for bankruptcy protection.  This came up yesterday when I came across a comment from a reader who expressed real concerns over his fear of losing his clearance if he filed.  Why?  The simple reason is this: no security clearance = no job. Yet the answer to the question is not an easy one to paint with one large generalized brush.  But I’ll do my best.

(more…)

  • Share/Bookmark

November 11: Today We Remember

“Today we remember and honor the past service of America’s veterans, and today we renew our commitment to meet the challenges of America’s future for which they gave so much. Almost two centuries ago, Daniel Webster said in his dedication of the monument at Bunker Hill: ‘There remains to us a great duty of defense and preservation, and there is open to us also a noble pursuit to which the spirit of the times strongly invites us.’

“My fellow Americans, on the brink of a new century, we stand before broad, new vistas of hope and progress. But if we are to realize our hopes for that future, we must ensure that America remains the world’s strongest force for peace and freedom, for security and prosperity. We must strengthen and expand the alliances that have brought us thus far. We must continue to reduce the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.

“We must confront the violent conflicts rooted in ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds that so bedevil the world today. We must stop the global scourges of organized crime, drug trafficking, and especially terrorism. We must build an open trading system for the 21st century, and we must stand with all those who stand for democracy and universal human rights. I cannot help but note on this day that in our time for the first time in the entire history of humanity on this planet, more than half the world’s people live in democratically-elected governments because of the example and the force and the power of the ideas of America, and the sacrifice of America’s veterans.

“Let me also say that as we meet the challenges of the next century, our unity as a people will be as it has ever been, our greatest strength. The silent white rows of crosses that surround us mark the final resting place of men and women of all services, all ranks, all races, all religions. They stand as stunning evidence that our founders were right: We are all equal in the eyes of God. That is something we must continue to practice until we get it right. It is something we must teach our children, and it is something we must continue to teach to those troubled areas of the rest of the world, where people still insist on killing over their differences. Our American veterans buried here came from different walks of life. They served our nation in different places and in different ways.

“Yet, all were united by a love of country, belief in freedom, and opportunity, and responsibility, and their faith in America’s future. As we commemorate this day of reverence and respect, let us also remember this unity of spirit that has guided our nation forward from its beginnings. No words can repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who have stood up for our freedom, but we can honor the memory of our veterans best by remaining the best kind of Americans we can be and keeping our nations strong and secure, one nation under God, to fulfill the vision of a better world that so many of them, our veterans, gave so much to create.

“Thank you and God bless America.”

President William Jefferson Clinton
Arlington National Cemetery
November 11, 1996

  • Share/Bookmark