It is not clear what the long-term ramifications are following the historic coronavirus pandemic. What is an unfortunate consequence is that many folks in Massachusetts may need to consider filing for personal bankruptcy. Attorney Neil Burns recalls that when the federal bankruptcy laws changed in 2005 there was a dramatic increase in Chapter 7 filings. When the Crash of 2008 happened, Attorney Burns and his firm filed all too many bankruptcies for families in the months and years thereafter. In each wave of bankruptcies, the “fresh start” law was proven helpful.
Not generally. You must insure each property as a typical homeowner’s insurance policy or apartment policy insured that property alone. However, and there’s always an exclusion or interpretation based on the facts of the case and the specific policy, sometimes it’s the negligence of the homeowner that is the issue, and that may trigger insurance coverage at another property or elsewhere.
In the 34 years I have been practicing bankruptcy law in Massachusetts, we have been informing clients that their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are generally exempt from creditors in bankruptcy. As are 401ks, Keogh plans, and so forth. You simply declare on your Petition and Schedules what your retirement accounts are, provide documentation as to the balances, and the bankruptcy trustee considers them exempt from your creditors.
The number of seniors coming to our office for consultations for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcies is rising. After 33 years of practicing bankruptcy law in Massachusetts, I have antidotal evidence of trends in filings. After the 2008 recession, we had a huge rise of middle age and middle-income folks who came in and just could not afford their mortgage payments. They defaulted on home loans, were forced to move out, but got a Fresh Start, under federal bankruptcy law.
Personal bankruptcy lawyers in Massachusetts are entrusted with their clients’ personal information and access to their financial assets. Some attorneys also have clients’ monies in their Massachusetts IOLTA (Interest On Lawyers Trust Account) accounts. We must have the absolute highest integrity when working for our clients in this capacity. We have a fiduciary responsibility.
It’s that time of the year again. The IRS requires that everyone that earns above a certain amount must file a tax return. The rule of thumb is that if you earn above $10,000, you need to file a tax return with the IRS; and a state tax return too. But others may need to as well – those that have had taxes withheld from their paycheck beyond what they owe, for example.
First, as the baby boomer generation is now starting to retire, one unfortunate statistic is that the percentage of bankruptcies filed by seniors is increasing. Folks over 65 made up 8.3% of all consumers filing for bankruptcy protection in 2009, when the percentage was 7.8 in 2006. About 10% of the seniors who filed for bankruptcy were retired.
When you file for personal bankruptcy, all lawsuits are stopped or “stayed”. However, with secured debts, such as mortgages or car loans, the lender, or creditor, can file to get permission from the Bankruptcy Court to lift the stay to recover the debt.
Just over ten years ago, on October 17, 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act became law, and amended the federal bankruptcy requirements in many fundamental ways. Folks still call us up and ask about the changes and what the differences are.