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07

Sep 2019

Announcement: What to Expect at Your Bankruptcy Hearing

Posted by / in Blog, Virginia Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

What to Expect at Your Bankruptcy Hearing

For most people, your only bankruptcy hearing is what’s called the “meeting of creditors.”  (We almost never actually have creditors show up. We can also call it your “trustee hearing.”)

Here’s a video that explains where to go, best places to park, what to bring and what questions you’ll be asked.

I’ll be there as your lawyer, but you can review this video to know what to expect.

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02

Sep 2019

Bankruptcy Towing and Storage Scam

Posted by / in Blog, Weekly Posts /

New Bankruptcy Towing and Storage Scam

Don sent me today a letter offering him a $1000 for the car he’s giving up as part of his bankruptcy. (He owes way more than the car is worth.)

An outfit calling itself Towing and Storage offers to give him $1000 to avoid “the hassle” of dealing with his car after he filed bankruptcy. Wow!  What a deal!

Don thinks this might be too good to be true.  (Here’s a copy of that letter.)

I don’t know about the specific company that contacted Don. But I do know how a towing and storage scam could, legally, “steal” the car.  Saying yes to a scam offer, could get Don’s entire bankruptcy disapproved. If what Towing and Store is suggesting is legal for them, it may not be NOT legal for Don, or for you.

A towing and storage scam might use what’s called a garageman’s lien.  Any company that works on a car, or just tows and stores it, has the right to be paid.  And if they are not paid on time, they can sell the car.  Sell the car WITHOUT having to pay off the debt to the car finance people.  Using the garageman’s lien, a towing and storage scam can transform your upside down financed car into a valuable paid for car! And keep all the money for themselves.

Towing company offers bankruptcy scam

Don got a letter offering to avoid  “the hassle” of after bankruptcy car repossession. Saying yes, could get his bankruptcy disapproved.

Meanwhile, the car finance people are waiting to get permission from the bankruptcy court to pick up your car–and of course they expect to pick it up from you. By the time everyone has figured out what’s going on, the towing and storage scam has legally sold the car. That would be one way a towing and storage scam can afford to give Don the $1000.

Do you care? 

The bankruptcy code requires you “surrender” property to the bankruptcy trustee. That does NOT mean you want to ship your furniture to the bankruptcy court, or drop off the car in the courthouse parking lot. If there’s still a payment on the car, the bankruptcy trustee does not want it. But you are required to keep the property safe until told otherwise. (Usually, at your hearing, your meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee “abandons” your car, meaning gives it back to you.)

But your discharge can still be denied, meaning you still have to pay everybody, if you “transferred, removed, destroyed…” property you are supposed to keep safe. In other words, letting a towing and storage scam pick up your car could make your whole bankruptcy pointless.  That might not come up at your bankruptcy meeting of creditors hearing. But when the car finance people look for the car, and don’t find it, they can raise a stink. 

Maybe it’s not a scam

Let’s look again at the letter Don got. It says “We will contact your lien holder immediately and arrange for the return of your vehicle.” Maybe they do arrange for the return of the vehicle. Then Don’s ahead by $1000.  And I guess everybody is happy. But if it’s a towing and storage scam, the car finance people have been cheated out of their rights to the car. And they could make Don’s bankruptcy end badly.

 

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24

Aug 2019

New Law Helps Disabled Veterans in Chapter 13 Plans

Posted by / in Chapter 13, Weekly Posts /

New Law Helps Disabled Veterans in Chapter 13 Plans

Disabled veterans facing bankruptcy, got a big boost yesterday when the HAVEN Act became law.

Disabled veterans get a break under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy law

Disabled veterans get a break under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy law

From now on, disabled veterans can’t be forced to use their veterans disability payment to fund debt repayment plans.  Here in Northern Virginia, there are many disabled veterans, who are also working. Those veteran families had been considered high income and forced into very high payment plans under bankruptcy Chapter 13. 

Now the bankruptcy court is not allowed to consider the disability pay, in calculating what these veterans can “afford” to pay their creditors.

Senator Tammy Baldwin was the chief sponsor of this bill in the US Senate.   

(I was one of the members of NACBA who lobbied for this bill on Capitol Hill earlier this year.)

I participated in a class on this new law, September 5, 2019, and kept some notes.

Here’s some detail that shows exactly what benefits are covered. 5 HAVEN Act TPM Addendum 6 Haven_Act_Faqs From USTP   And where to go to find out what benefits exactly are being HAVEN Ebenefits Mypay.

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