What happens if I leave a creditor out of my Bankruptcy?

It depends on what time of bankruptcy was filed and if you have assets.  In a chapter 13 bankruptcy and in a chapter 7 bankruptcy where there are assets, the debt will not be discharged.  Which means you will still be on the hook to pay the bankruptcy,

In a no-asset chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debt will be discharged as long as it is one of the normal types of debt forgiven in bankruptcy like medical debt, credit cards, auto loans for reposed cars and the like.

Are Pay Day loans covered by bankruptcy?

If you have taken out payday loans, they be forgiven in bankruptcy.  The issues may arise that if the payday loans were taken our within 90 days they need to be paid back.  Any debt that arises within 90 days of bankruptcy may need to be paid back.

If you file for bankruptcy and you have post-dated checks being cashed by the Pay Day loan place you may run into an issue with the payday loan company still trying to cash your checks.  If you find yourself in this kind of situation, talk to a debt relief attorney to go over your options.

Is social Security considered income in a bankruptcy?

Social security is considered income in a bankruptcy, but it is also considered exempt.  Looking at the laws of the US for social security and disability payments we look to 42 U.S. Code Subchapter II – FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS, AND DISABILITY INSURANCE BENEFITS.

Under 42 U.S. Code § 407 exempts payments that deal with social security payments and disability payments Payments ( SSDI) from being taken by a bankruptcy trustee to pay debts in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

So if you were to get a lump sum settlement for a social security payment, a bankruptcy trustee would not be allowed to take the money in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. SSDI would also be excluded from a chapter 7 means test.  However, if you are looking to make payments in a chapter 13 bankruptcy the trustee will consider your social security income as a source of funds to fund your chapter 13.

If you need a better understanding of how SSDI would work with your specific set of circumstance, talk to a bankruptcy attorney to get a full view of what would happen if you or your spouse filed for bankruptcy.


Are taxes dischargeable in bankruptcy?

You can have income tax over 3 years old forgiven in bankruptcy.  There are 3 rules for this.

You filed your taxes. If you filed your taxes on April 10, 2015, for 2014 the taxes are able to be discharged April 11, 2017.  If you got an extension to October 15, 2015 then you would have to wait to October 16, 2018.

If you didn’t file your taxes in a timely fashion such as filing your 2014 taxes in 2017, you would have to wait 2 years.

If you received a reassessment on your 2014 taxes in the last 240 days from something like an audit, you would then have to wait out 240 days after the reassessment for the taxes to be dischargeable.  I would say read the IRS guide on bankruptcy and taxes, but it is fairly dense and not entirely clear.

If you have questions, talk to a Bankruptcy lawyer. Call us at 844-533-3367.

What is a PREFERENTIAL TRANSFER TO AN INSIDER? Or, can I sell my condo to my sister for a dollar and declare bankruptcy?

If you sell any property to someone for less than close to what it is worth (Full Market Value), and then declare bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee may view it as a Preferential Transfer to an Insider / FRAUD. An nd, pull the property back into the bankruptcy estate.

Pretend you and your sister, brother or other relative bought a condo on a beach in Florida in 2014 for $100,000. You both put in $50,000 and both own 50%.  It is now 2018, and you are thinking about declaring bankruptcy and want to get rid of the condo first.  If the condo is now worth $200,000 your sister would need to pay you $100,000 for it to be considered a full market transfer.  If she only paid you one dollar the trustee would look at it as a fraudulent transfer with you trying to avoid paying your creditors.

Now let’s say the condo flooded, and $100,000 worth of work needs to be done. The condo’s current value is $10,000, but $100,000 in insurance proceeds are coming.  The insurance money could be brought into the bankruptcy estate.  So your partner in the property could still not buy the property for $1 without exposing you to a fraudulent transfer.

Now let’s say the condo is invested with roaches, has become a crack den, and is valued at $10,000.  Now an argument could be made that selling it to your co-owner for $1 was a good deal for you.

If you have any questions about fraudulent transfers to insiders or PREFERENTIAL TRANSFER  talk to a Bankruptcy Attorney today at 844-533-3367.

My wife and I are an elderly, retired couple with 5 credit union loans from a credit union. Four Loans are not secured and one is secured against our car. The credit union is saying they are going to go after our car because we are behind on all of the notes except the car. Can they do that?

Unfortunately, Credit Unions do something called cross-collateralized. The Credit Unios will normally have wording in their loans that says something like, “Collateral securing other loans with the Credit Union may also secure this loan.” This means that even though you only have one loan that is secured by your car the Credit Union is treating all of your loans like they are securing your car.

You should consult a Debt Attorney to go over your situation to see what makes the most sense for you and your wife.


I am a senior and defaulted on my HELOC (home equity line of credit). What are my options to avoid foreclosure?

If you have defaulted on your home line of credit or a reverse mortgage you have several options.

  1. Work out an agreement with the bank.  This may sound complicated, but many times banks have programs to help get you back on your feet after a bout of financial trouble.
  2. Refinance. This is sometimes available, and we even know businesses that will work to purchase your note from your bank to then refinance to you.  Instead of doing a short sale, the business will negotiate with your bank for a short pay off.
  3. Declare bankruptcy to buy time.  A chapter 7 should only be used if you do not have enough equity in your home that would make the chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee want to sell your home.  After the bankruptcy, you always have the choice to reaffirm the debt.
  4. If you are just looking to get caught up on payments, you could file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy and begin to make payments to the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee to pay off your HELOC or reverse mortgage.
  5. You also always have the option to sell your home if you have equity.  You can cash out and downsize if that makes sense for your situation.

Talk with a Foreclosure Defense attorney near you to go over all of your options.

My mother passed away after I filed for bankruptcy. Does her estate become part of my bankruptcy?

If your mother, father or anyone else passes away and leaves you something within 180 days of your filing for bankruptcy that item may be pulled into the bankruptcy estate for the trustee to pay out to your creditors.  However, you may still be able to exempt portions of it.

Anything that passes by:

  1. Bequest, devise, or inheritance;
  2. As a result of a property settlement agreement with the debtor’s spouse, or of an interlocutory or final divorce decree; or
  3. As a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or of a death benefit plan.

Can be pulled into a bankruptcy estate by a bankruptcy to pay your creditors. The same is also true of insurance proceeds or settlements for accidents that happened prior to the filing of the bankruptcy.

There is also the possibility that the will includes a Spendthrift trust clause that will keep the assets out of your bankruptcy estate. If you are worried that your kids may be forced to file for bankruptcy or get divorced, a spendthrift trust is one way to protect assets. If you have questions talk to a Wills and Trust attorney to go over your options.

Talk to a bankruptcy attorney if any of these things have happened to you, to go over your options.

I was paying my car loan through a chapter 13 for 2 years, and had to convert to a chapter 7. Can I file a chapter 13 again?

Yes, you can file a chapter 13 after a chapter 7.  This is jokingly called a chapter “20” 13+7… Maybe it isn’t the funniest joke, but it shows that this is such a common occurrence that attorneys and judges joke about it.  Under a chapter bankruptcy 13, you may be able to cram down the value of your vehicle to only pay what it is worth and not what is actually owed.

However, if you are in the situation named above as having a chapter 13 that converted to a chapter 7, and if you make too much money you may actually have to pay the interest owed on your vehicle under the original contract as if the chapter 13 was never originally filed.  Talk to a bankruptcy attorney to go over your case-specific questions and see if a “chapter 20 bankruptcy” is right for you.

Can I file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if I make too much money?

There are exemptions to the Chapter 7 means test.

  1. If the majority of your debt is business related, you can avoid the chapter 7 means test.
  2. If you are on active duty in the military, you can avoid the chapter 7 means test.
  3. There is a second prong to the chapter 7 bankruptcy mean test.  If you have enough deductions in qualifying categories you can also file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The easiest way to find out if you qualify is to talk to a bankruptcy attorney.  I know it can be scary to share your story, but on a daily basis, my firm helps people like you to file for bankruptcy.

Is there a bankruptcy attorney near me?

We have legal offices in Jersey City, Hackensack, New York City, Brooklyn and Freehold, NJ for our attorneys to meet clients in person. However, this is 2018. If you are looking for debt relief, many of the aspects of filing a bankruptcy case can be handled over the phone, via the firm’s website, email and/or fax. Sometimes we will not meet clients until the first meeting of Creditors with the Bankruptcy Trustee. (If you are worried about going to court, most bankruptcy chapter 7 cases and chapter 13 cases only involve one meeting with a bankruptcy trustee that lasts 5 minutes. There is plenty of other things our lawyers do to ensure you only have that one meeting. A chapter 13 plan will last for 3 to 5 years, but you should only have to meet the trustee one time unless something out of the ordinary happens.)

When you are seeking debt relief by filing for bankruptcy having an experienced attorney with a practice near you is convenient so you can visit the attorney’s firm to meet the attorney in person. A law firm location near you makes it easy to contact an attorney for advice by visiting the attorney in his personal office. We value your privacy. So, the initial free consultation can be handled with a phone call or you can contact an attorney by email with all of your questions.  Bankruptcy is not always the legal help our clients need to manage their debt.  We understand you are seeking debt relief from your creditors which could mean anything from stopping a foreclosure or eliminating personal credit card debt. We have lawyers with years of experience practicing bankruptcy law to provide you with the best services related to your case. We what to protect your rights, and we have multiple attorneys that practice law in New Jersey and New York providing a variety of services. We want to ensure all of your rights are protected and that all areas of your needs are covered. All rights reserved.

My house is being foreclosed what should I do?

Whether you are in a Tax Lien foreclosure or a Foreclosure on your mortgage you have different timelines in the foreclosure process. What options you have to save your home is entirely dependant on your uniques situation.  Talk to an attorney today. Even if you do not think you can afford an attorney, you need to understand the timeline for foreclosure. Do not face the possibility of losing your home to Foreclosure by yourself.

We save homes. Let us help you save yours.

FREE NO OBLIGATION STRATEGY SESSION WITH AN ATTORNEY –TALK TO US FOR FREE. Go over all your options. Work out a strategy to save your home, or stay in your home as long as legally possible. My office is well versed in Foreclosure law, Bankruptcy law, Credit Repair, and Land Lord Tenant Law in New Jersey. Ask me how to save your home. Or, how to stop a Sheriff Sale. Or, evict a non-paying tenant. Or, how to make money with your property while in foreclosure. Or, anything else you want to know.  I focus on saving homes.

DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS IN COURT – Don’t be pushed around by your lender. Every step you take today means more time in your house to work out a solution. If you do not answer the complaint, you can lose your home in 180 days. Do not believe people that say it takes years to foreclosure in New Jersey. If you answer the complaint the wrong way, you may give up defenses that you should raise to save your home.

  • MODIFY YOUR HOME LOAN – If you qualify, you can reduce your payments, decrease your interest rate, and in the rare case reduce what you owe on the principal of your mortgage.
  • DECLARE BANKRUPTCY, but ONLY if that is your best option. Bankruptcy can be used to force a bank to review your loan for modification even if you have been denied a loan modification in the past.
  • SELL YOUR HOME TO PUT MONEY IN YOUR POCKET OR EXPLORE A DEED IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE: Even if you are underwater and no longer want your property, there are ways to avoid a foreclosure on your record.
  • Work with a company that will try to buy your mortgage from your bank: This may sound like a long shot, but we work with investors that want to work with you to buy your mortgage and give you a no interest loan while they help you rebuild your credit.

Call me NOW at (844) 5-DEFENSE – 844-533-3367 to go over ALL YOUR OPTIONS, or email me at Info@FocusedLaw.com.  I will work with you to save your home.

How do I stop a Sheriff Sale?

There are several ways to stop a sheriff sale in New Jersey.  As a right, the defendant can apply for a 28-day extension with the sheriff.  This will only postpone the sale.  There are other scenarios where it is possible to go to the judge with an emergent motion to stop the sale.  An Order to Show Cause is a tool that allows a judge to make a decision the same day or set an expedited timeline to rule on the issue. This process can be used for almost all emergency matters.

If you are considering bankruptcy, both a chapter 13 and chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop the sale. However, if you have had a bankruptcy dismissed in the last 180 day or are barred from filing a bankruptcy you may have issues that need to be overcome.

Sheriff Sales in New Jersey will cause the home to be either sold to a third party at the auction, or the bank will become the owner at the auction.  So if an adjournment of the sale is not possible, bankruptcy may be the only way to save your home.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy will only delay the process of the sale. And, if you have equity in your home the chapter 7 trustee may try to sell it to satisfy what you owe to all of your creditors.

A chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to begin a payment plan to pay back the arrearage (missed payments) on your loan to your bank or loan servicer and even request a Loan Modification in bankruptcy.  If you have been turned down int he past, bankruptcy can give you another chance at the bank agreeing to loss mitigation options such as loan modification, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, a short sale or regular sale if you have equity.

Talking to an attorney prior to making any decision is normally your best option.

What are my rights?

Anyone charged with a crime has certain legal rights. You have the right to remain silent when questioned. You do not have to say anything about the facts of your case. If you do, your statements can be used against you in a court of law including during your trial. You have the right to the presence of an attorney during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Practically speaking, the appointment of lawyer for a defendant who cannot afford an attorney usually does not occur until the first court appearance. You have the right to be considered for bail except in murder cases.

How do I file a complaint against my lawyer?

In most countries, particularly civil law countries, there has been a tradition of giving many legal tasks to a variety of civil law notaries, clerks, and scriveners.These countries do not have “lawyers” in the American sense, insofar as that term refers to a single type of general-purpose legal services provider; rather, their legal professions consist of a large number of different kinds of law-trained persons, known as jurists, some of whom are advocates who are licensed to practice in the courts.It is difficult to formulate accurate generalizations that cover all the countries with multiple legal professions, because each country has traditionally had its own peculiar method of dividing up legal work among all its different types of legal professionals

Who makes the decisions about my case?

In a criminal case you decide whether to: go to trial or plead guilty, have  jury trial or a bench trial, testify or maintain your right to be silent. In a civil case your lawyer should consult with you before making any settlement decision.

What if I cannot afford a lawyer?

If you are involved in a criminal case, in most circumstances you may have a lawyer appointed to you if the court decides you cannot afford a lawyer. You might also have the right to a court-appointed lawyer in some civil cases that involve the loss of a civil liberty such as a mental health commitment or loss of parental rights.A lawyer referral service is typically offered by state and local bar associations as a public service. The purpose of a lawyer referral service is to increase access to justice by referring members of the general public to lawyers in private practice or to legal aid organizations or agencies for a nominal fee. Increasingly, the public is turning away from these services.

Am I going to be kicked out of my house after foreclosure?

If your home was foreclosed, and you are not paying rent to the new owner there is an almost 100% chance that you will eventually be removed from your home.  Depending on your situation, you may have options to stay in your home.

If you are a tenant with a valid lease, normally you will be able to continue under the lease with the new owner if you continue to abide by the lease. However, if the owner purchased the property with the intent of making it his or her home.

To quote the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Codes and Standards. Landlord-Tenant Information Service, GROUNDS FOR AN EVICTION BULLETIN

“The landlord may file for eviction, if the owner of a building with three residential units or less seeks to personally occupy a unit, or has contracted to sell the residential unit to a buyer who wishes to personally occupy it and the contract for sale calls for the unit to be vacant at the time of closing. A Notice to Quit must be served on the Tenant at least two months prior to filing suit for eviction. No legal action may be taken until the lease expires.”

For more information of your rights as a tenant living in a foreclosed property, either call an attorney or read the TOOLKIT FOR TENANTS LIVING IN FORECLOSED PROPERTIES  by the New Jersey Public Advocates office.

Remeber that the new owner is also responsible for your security deposit. Don’t believe the new owner if he tells you to get your deposit back from the old owner.  (See N.J.S.A. 46:8-20 and -21).

What if I was the owner prior to Foreclosure?

If you were the prior owner, your rights to stay in the property are much less protected than a tenant.  After the sheriff sale, there is a 10-day period where you have the option to redeem the property by paying the sheriff what is owed to the bank.  Most people do not have the money to do this, however, in that period you are technically still the owner of the property until the full auction price is paid and the sheriff deed has not been delivered. However, after the sheriff deed has been delivered, the new owner can move to evict you from your former home.

You can attempt to get cash for keys from the new owner to move out. You are not guaranteed anything by law, however many times new owners will give a token amount of money so you do not destroy the property and agree to leave by a certain date as not to force them to evict you.

You as the former owner may have a half a year or more living rent-free in some cases. This is not guaranteed to happen but on rare occasions, the bank may buy the property back and not move for a Writ of Possession right away.  In these situations, people sometimes are not evicted until the bank sells the home as an REO (Bank owned Real Estate). Normally at the conclusion of a New Jersey Sheriff’s Sale, judgment for possession is entered while simultaneously, a Writ of Possession is issued. The Sheriff then has thirty days to serve the Writ of Possession on you as the former owner.

The Actual Ejectment Date

After the Sheriff serves the Writ of Possession on you, you are given twenty days to move. On the twenty-first day after service of the Writ of Possession, if you and your family have not vacated the premises, the buyer or the attorney for the buyer calls the Sheriff’s Office to schedule the actual eviction. The Sheriff will then assign a date for the eviction, which is usually no sooner than 30 days from the date the judgment was entered. The new owner will schedule a locksmith at the time set by the Sheriff for the lockout. There are other ways to delay the actual lockout date by going to court and asking a judge for additional time.

Now you understand why some new owners offer you money to move.

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