Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Bankruptcy, the Homestead, and Trusts

The Massachusetts bankruptcy law now allows personal residences held in a trust to be protected under the Massachusetts Homestead statute.  It is important to note that the law gives $125,000 in protection to all residents, with or without filing a Homestead in the Registry of Deeds.  The law gives $500,000 in protection to properly filed Homesteads.  This 2011 law, as it affects trusts, is now being reviewed and challenged in various ways. Read more

Bankruptcy, Stress and Consequences for Youth

According to US Courts, there were 9,576 personal Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filings in 2013 in Massachusetts.  Those people got a “fresh start” under the law.  Unfortunately, they might have received something else alongside.  While it was often noted that there were a number of folks who filed for personal bankruptcy that had mental health issues, including depression, now there is evidence of physical health issues as well.  Read more

Social Security And Bankruptcy

Is Social Security considered as an asset in bankruptcy? No. Your Social Security income is not considered an asset. Social Security is not factored into your Means Test either. Even if you have built up a huge “asset” of prospective Social Security payments, the Bankruptcy Court is not interested in your expected future Social Security payments. Read more

33 States Find Errors in Experian Credit Reporting

The State of Mississippi filed suit last month against Experian last month and that case was moved to federal court today.  The lawsuit alleges that Experian Information Solutions knew of errs on consumers’ credit reports yet failed to correct those errs.  The lawsuit alleges that various errs have affected millions of Americans.  Those affected have been folks who are seeking employment, credit, bank accounts and tenancies. Experian has allegedly incorrectly named consumers as potential terrorists on their credit reports. Read more

CLARK ET UX. v. RAMEKER, TRUSTEE Landmark Supreme Court Case

Are IRS retirement accounts protected in bankruptcy? In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court said that IRAs that are inherited are absolutely “not retirement funds” and are therefore not exempt in personal bankruptcy.  The Supreme Court reasoned this because:

1.  The debtor likely never invested any monies in the account;

2.  No matter what the age, holders of inherited IRAs must begin withdrawals immediately (unlike regular IRAs when the withdrawals can be delayed until age 70 and ½;

3.  The holder of an inherited IRA can withdraw all of the monies, and pay the tax but no penalties, while the holder of a regular IRA would pay a penalty if withdrawing all of the monies prematurely.  Read more

Can I Save on Legal Fees and File For Bankruptcy with a Paid Preparer?

Of course, however, why do this?  A paid bankruptcy preparer has a very limited scope.  A lawyer, on the other hand, will know if you need to file, will present you with various options, and knows where he or she doesn’t know the law so will protect you by researching what to do.  A lawyer will charge a fair amount and is regulated by the state board of bar overseers.  A lawyer will sign an affidavit on the Bankruptcy Petition and Schedules as to what he or she charged, and will inform you of any problems to anticipate. Read more

Massachusetts Bankruptcy is Down and Medical Debt is One Reason

Will the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) reduce bankruptcy?  A recent study undertaken by the Chicago Federal Reserve bank showed that Massachusetts bankruptcies are down 20% because of the Massachusetts health care law (aka Romneycare).

Apparently, the US is unique in the developed world in that medical billing is a leading cause of bankruptcy filing.  It is not clear that this was ever true in Massachusetts, however.  Nevertheless, the fact that bankruptcies are down, is good! Read more

Notes for Consumers Regarding Retirement

With 2013 tax filing just around the bend, we are writing to remind clients to keep retirement planning at the forefront of their tax planning agenda.  First, be sure to max out any and all retirement accounts you can for 2013.  Clients should be aware that many companies match 401k contributions; that they may also be eligible for Roth IRA contributions; and that there are various penalties for withdrawing funds from these accounts.  Furthermore, if you are over 50, you may be entitled to increased savings thresholds. Read more