September, 2011 | Iowa Bankruptcy Attorney

Honesty is the Best Policy when Filing Bankruptcy

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Do not lie your way through the bankruptcy process. If you get caught, you are in a messy situation.

Do not think that bankruptcy laws only exist to protect the debtor. They do, but they were also designed to protect the creditor. It is a two-way street and you need to remember that should you find yourself needing to declare bankruptcy. There is no doubt that it is a tough personal decision and the urge to lie to make things seem worse than they are might motivate some filers. Big mistake. Things like that always get discovered later.

Many people do not realize that bankruptcy is a legal proceeding, and as such it is under the wing of the U.S. Constitution and its bankruptcy laws. Those laws were written to protect creditors and debtors, and to allow an honest person or business a way to work out of a bad financial situation and to start all over again with no debts encumbering them. Why be honest when telling a little white lie might make you look better when you file? It’s called fraud, and it is illegal and subject to criminal prosecution. This is just what you do not need on top of your bankruptcy.

Some debtors lie because they are ashamed of the financial mess they find themselves in and feel people will think they are lazy or immoral. These days, declaring bankruptcy is something many people have been forced to do because of the poor economy. There is no shame in that. People can find themselves facing bankruptcy because of an unexpected divorce, a foreclosure, medical bills that are overwhelming, or health issues. In other words, life happens and part of life these days is the reality of bankruptcy as it is a tool to help you get out of a bad financial mess. It is just a fact of life and happily, there really is life after bankruptcy.

Keep in mind that you have two options when you have to or are forced to declare bankruptcy – Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In its simplest form, Chapter 7 is the liquidation of your assets and is usually the fastest way to go bankrupt. In fact, Chapter 7 is typically called the no-asset route to bankruptcy largely because many Chapter 7 filers do not have any non-exempt property for a trustee to sell.

For Chapter 13, the wage earner’s plan, the debtor gets to create their own repayment plan based on their regular income. It usually is repaid over three to five years but no longer. There are some rules about state median incomes, and these need to be checked with a competent Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on Honesty is the Best Policy when Filing Bankruptcy .
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Old Bankruptcy Law Challenged by Ford Credit

Posted by: Admin User

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 forever changed the way courts handle repossessing a secured asset. Recently this new law was affirmed by the courts.

Creditors have to have some guaranteed protection to ensure if someone goes bankrupt on them, that they have recourse to collect some or all of their outstanding money. Things got easier for creditors after 2005, when the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) changed how courts handle repossession of secured assets.

Just recently, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld that law in Hall vs. Ford Credit Motor Credit Company Inc. No. 103370. In a nutshell, their finding indicated that a debtor “must” reaffirm their vehicle if they want to keep it, even if they were keeping current on all of their car payments.

Things didn’t used to be that way. At one time, when a debtor filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and owned a vehicle that was used to secure a loan, the bankruptcy code offered that debtor three options: give up the vehicle; redeem it by paying the loan; or, reaffirm the debt and stay liable to the creditor after the bankruptcy discharge.

And then, there was a fourth option – thanks to case precedent – that said that a debtor who was current on a secured debt at the time of filing a bankruptcy could keep the property without redeeming or reaffirming the debt. Now, the BAPCPA makes things crystal clear. There are consequences for not redeeming or reaffirming when the debtor is current on payments. Ending the automatic stay or removing the collateral from property now comes into play, and the creditor’s remedies are provided by state law.

Now, more about the story of Hall vs. Ford Credit Motor Credit Company Inc. No. 103370. Mr. Hall was from Kansas and had financed a Ford with a loan in 2006. He always kept his loan current, but filed for Chapter 7 in 2007, approximately nine months after buying the car. Hall’s bankruptcy tore away any liability he had for his car and he would not reaffirm.

After the automatic stay was lifted and he was discharged, Ford Credit initiated the repo process to reclaim the vehicle even though Hall was current on his loan. He chose to sue Ford Credit, so he could keep the car on the grounds that he was currently up-to-date on payments and “not” in default. Ford wasn’t happy with that turn of events and challenged his claim, indicating they were under the impression he wasn’t going to be paying for his vehicle or live up to any other clause in the original contract. Ford won in the lower courts and the plaintiff carried on to the Supreme Court of Kansas.

In essence, the court indicated that they affirmed the lower court’s decision, but issued a warning that they disagreed that the debtor’s Chapter 7 established that the prospect of getting money, performance or realization of the vehicle (collateral) was significantly impaired. They further stated that circumstances which existed when debtors filed for bankruptcy may indicate they “would” continue to perform under the installment contract. In other words, don’t judge a debtor by his bankruptcy.

In plain English, this decision indicated that Ford Credit had proved its initial case that it had evidence of a compelling nature that they had received significant impairment of the prospects of payment. Hall lost his battle, and Ford’s interpretation of Hall going bankrupt prevailed, meaning he’d likely not pay Ford what he owed them was acceptable, but not in “every” case.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on Old Bankruptcy Law Challenged by Ford Credit .
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