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Massachusetts Bankruptcy Summer News

There will be a new Bankruptcy Judge in the Worcester Bankruptcy Court.  Attorney Christopher J. Panos, formerly of Partridge Snow & Hahn in Boston, will be installed as the judge in Worcester.  Judge Panos will replace Judge Hoffman, who will be moving to Boston; Judge Hoffman will be replacing Judge Hillman in Boston, who is retiring.  Judge Panos has a long history of representing clients before the Bankruptcy Court and undertaking litigation in the state and federal courts.

Consumer Bankruptcies Filings Are at Low

The filing of consumer bankruptcies has declined to an eight year low.  Filings for the first half of 2015 are down 11.6% over last year’s first six months, according to Fitch Ratings.  Estimates are that the number of bankruptcies filed this year will be below one million; this will be only the fourth time the numbers are this low in the last two decades!

Why?  The reasons given include so many bankruptcies during the Great Recession, the lowest unemployment in years, and improved health care coverage.

How To Keep Safe After IRS Data Breach and Identity Theft

Many of our clients are asking how to protect themselves following the hacking of the IRS computers and filing of tens of thousands of false tax returns.  The IRS is helping and they suggest the following:  use multifactor authentication for all sites where you have to enter personal information; change your passwords frequently; monitor your credit by checking your credit reports regularly; you can even have the credit agencies freeze your credit if you suspect fraud.

Sure, this puts the burden on you, the consumer. But that is the unfortunate consequence of technology:  the consumer must stay on top of more and more each year to keep pace with the advances in technology!

Pro Se Debtors Bankruptcy Clinic at the Bankruptcy Court

The Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court is offering a new clinic to aid low and moderate income folks who want to file for personal bankruptcy without an attorney.  The clinic http://www.mab.uscourts.gov/mab/pro-se-debtors-bankruptcy-clinic will be staffed by volunteer attorneys who will answer questions to all who qualify and attend.  The locations are Boston, Worcester and Springfield.  Basic questions such as qualification and which petition to use will get most consumers over the hurdle of how to file.  The volunteer bankruptcy lawyers will advise on what debts can be discharged, how to keep your personal property exempt, how to file a homestead to keep your home exempt, and how to obtain a discharge in bankruptcy.

Using this wonderful new resource will help hundreds of folks who can’t afford an attorney, or don’t want to use one.  In our office we have helped many folks who simply need advice on one or two points in the completing of the bankruptcy petition and schedules.

Note, there are also non-attorney Petition Preparers who can help you outside of the Bankruptcy Court.  Be careful, as these well intentioned folks are not attorneys, cannot offer legal advice and are simply there to fill are there to simply fill out the Petition and Schedules with your information.  An attorney may well be worth the money for the professional advise you would get.

Attorney Neil Burns Offers Free Bankruptcy Consultation

Call our office for a free initial bankruptcy consultation.  After 30 years of representing clients in Massachusetts, we can give you the answers to most questions and, if retained, help you through the bankruptcy process efficiently, quickly, and get you the “fresh start” that the law provides.  Call for a free consultation:  617-227-7423