The Many Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

»Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Bankruptcy | 0 comments

Among the worst effects of the Great Recession of 2008-09 were mass lay-offs, underemployment, prolonged unemployment and reduced pay. These resulted to financial crisis to millions of Americans and forced majority of those affected to live a more moderate or modest lifestyle.

Doing away with whatever little extravagance millions of individuals enjoyed was not all these people had to let go, however. Due to the mounting bills and debts that they are no longer able to pay, such as mortgage payments, car loans, personal loans, credit card loans, etc., thousands also faced (and actually) lost their home or car because of repossession, while thousands of others suffered stress as they worried about their debts, and the hounding and humiliating tactics employed by collecting agencies to make them pay their debts.

There is a way, though, for debtors to pay and free themselves from debts and have a brand new start at their financial life: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 is just one of the many chapters in the Bankruptcy Code, a law that the U.S. Congress passed in 1978. Otherwise known as Liquidation Bankruptcy, Chapter 7, as explained in detail on the website of Ryan J. Ruehle Attorney at Law, LLC, “offers the near-total liquidation of all debts that an individual may hold, giving those who pursue this option the ability to start their financial life anew.”

The immediate benefit of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, once it is filed in court, is the cessation of all forms of harassing tactics used by collecting agencies (including phone calls, text messages, emails, letters, etc.). This benefit is called the “automatic stay,” “an automatic injunction that halts actions by creditors, with certain exceptions, to collect debts from a debtor who has declared bankruptcy. Under section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the stay begins at the moment the bankruptcy petition is filed.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_stay

An automatic stay also protects debtors against creditors who may: try to obtain a debtor’s property through a court injunction; request the court to issue a wage garnishment and/or bank account levy order; or, begin or continue any judicial proceedings against the debtor.

Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a court may totally free a person from all of his or her unsecured debts, which includes personal loans, credit card debts, medical bills, past due utility bills, repossession deficiency balances, business debts, personal loans (from friends, family, and employers), student loans (under certain circumstances), money owed under lease agreements (including past due rent), tax penalties and unpaid taxes (due dates of these should be more than 3 years), and collection agency accounts.

There are also debts which cannot be discharged. In fact, unless due to totally reasonable circumstances, these debts will have to be paid even after Chapter 7 bankruptcy has been declared. These debts include spousal and/or child support, taxes, debts owed to tax-advantaged retirement plans, and student loans (with some exceptions).

While Chapter 7 may truly be beneficial, a person will first have to pass a test in order to get protection from this bankruptcy chapter. The Means Test, which is an evaluation method based on an applicant’s personal income, will determine if a person is eligible to file for this chapter.

read more

Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Continues

»Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Cars | 0 comments

About five months after the manufacturers’ emission scandal erupted, the US Justice Department gave an announcement about suing Volkswagen for up to US$48 billion regarding violations of environmental laws. The lawsuits echoes the increasing number of allegations following the German manufacturers’ admittance of installing devices to trick emissions tests in a number of 2.0 liter models. Although civil lawsuits are generally settle in a much lower amount compared to the hypothetical maximum penalties, analysts claim that Volkswagen may be up to a larger expense than what was already expected.

The Volkswagen lawsuit alleged the manufacturer installed illegal devices in order to tweak emission control systems in approximately 600, 000 units in the United States. Despite Volkswagens’ shares recovering following the car manufacturer’s positive news of simple repairs, stocks are still suffering from the scandal and causing analysts to worry about its impact on the United States since Volkswagen has been struggling to make inroads; the tougher regulations may prove possible bigger fines.

The installation of illegal devices allowed Volkswagen to avoid expensive engine revamps in order to meet US standards. Aside from the 2.0 liter vehicles, the Us Volkswagen lawsuit also included a number or 3.0 liter models such as the Porsche Cayenne. Filed in behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the lawsuit alleges the German manufacturer of four counts of violation of the US Clean Air Act, altering emissions control system and failure to report the violations. Furthermore, investigation has been done regarding criminal fraud allegations on misleading consumers as well as regulators, although this criminal complaint may require heavier burden of proof.

Because of Volkswagens’ admittance of their actions, defending themselves in court can be very difficult. What the manufacturer can do now is to negotiate lower penalties. The civil lawsuit will not prohibit the Justice department from pursuing criminal charges against Volkswagen, but the company has already issued their statement affirming they will “…continue to work cooperatively with the EPA on developing remedies” as well as cooperating with other government agencies to investigate the issues.

read more

Qualifying for an EB-5 Visa

»Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Business | 0 comments

In order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, the investor should be able to provide a minimum of $1 million worth of investment in a US commercial business. However, for those who do not have enough funds, there are certain circumstances where the amount of investment can be reduced to $500, 000. Such exceptions are given when the business where the investment is going is going to be located to a rural area or even an urban area as long as the location has high unemployment rate.

According to the AmLaw Group website, the state government will be the one who will decide whether the unemployment rate is high enough to qualify, but generally it should be at least at 150 percent of the national average. Rural areas are places that are on the outer boundaries of any city that has at least 20, 000 human population or any location that is outside of the official statistical metropolitan area. The state government will be the one who will determine which parts of the state are in high need of employment and will provide the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) the list of places that could qualify for EB-5 immigrant investments. Any location that may seem to have a high unemployment rate but is not on the list of USCIS will not accept business investment lower than the required US$1 million.

There are designated regional centers that the USCIS that are aimed in promoting the economic growth of the investment through various ways, and investors in these regional centers are not required to prove that they directly contributed new jobs to 10 US workers. They are simply required to prove that the regional centers which their investment went to was able to create 10 full-time jobs either directly or indirectly, or that the business was able to increase the productivity in the region. Because of these reasons, many immigration lawyers see regional centers as one of the most enticing ways to acquire an EB-5 visa. The important part of the investment, however, is that it should be on a well-managed regional center to avoid losing the investment and have the visa application rejected.

read more

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

»Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Bankruptcy | 0 comments

Life can be unpredictable, and there are certain situations when one find themselves in the throes of financial difficulties. Whether it’s sudden unemployment or a serious medical condition in the family, people can easily lose their capacity to manage debts and other similar financial obligations at the blink of an eye. As a result, the government offers solutions to help individuals facing issues with their finances. By filing bankruptcy, the U.S. federal courts can grant to have a person’s debt be discarded or impose a debt repayment plan that are both aimed to help them regain financial control and stability. One option specifically meant for individuals are delineated under Chapter 13 of the U.S Bankruptcy Code.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also referred to as a wage earner’s plan. When it is granted by the court to a debtor, Chapter 13 enables an individual receiving regular income to restructure their debt payments through a plan that will allow them to repay what they owe in regular installments over the course of three or five years. This new payment scheme is meant to allow for more leeway as an individual settles their debts through enabling them to make more affordable payments over a significant period of time. Unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, those who petition for a wager earner’s plan will no longer have to see their assets or properties liquidated. It also allows sole proprietors to continue running their business and use the profits they earn to meet their regular payments according to schedule.

Anyone who petitions for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also be granted by the court with an automatic stay, which is a court order that prohibits creditors from taking any sort of action with regards to the debtor’s remaining balance. This means that debtors will be protected from harassing phone calls, emails, and any other form of contact. An automatic stay will also prevent creditors from filing lawsuits, attempting to repossess or foreclose properties and assets, as well as taking any other legal action against the debtor. Other benefits of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy includes the possibility of having the total loan amount reduced and the discharging of particular debts.

According to the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., eligibility for this type of bankruptcy depends on several factors. The most important thing is to know whether one’s situation can be best helped by Chapter 13. For more information, contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in your area.

read more

What Can Personal Injury Cost You?

»Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

When people hear the phrase “personal injury”, the most common image that comes to mind is the medical expense that comes with being injured. After all, these are situations with usually obvious physical aftermaths. However, that is just the first ripple of effect – on and on, it reach can go and encompass more ground that you ever thought it could.

For example, take a car accident. There are the immediate ripples that come to light – in the form of medical expenses from the injuries as well as insurance in either repairing or replacing the damaged vehicles. However, then comes the matter of having to pay for those expenses and getting insurance companies, and the guilty party in the accident, to pay for compensation. Some car accidents can even lead to temporary or permanent disability, thereby hindering you from being able to work – rippling into the effect that causes you your lost wages.

Personal injury cases can get even more complicated than even that as according to the website of lawyers Crowe & Mulvey, sometimes the guilty party at fault is a large corporation with many resources – and often, individual people or parties find themselves intimidated by the prospect of having to go against such a large entity when there is already much suffering and stress over something that they did not ask for. People who take the route of not taking legal action against circumstances of personal injury (an umbrella term for many other similar situations e.g., medical malpractice, unsafe premises, etc.) are often uninformed or unadvised of the rights and privileged that are justly theirs to claim.

In truth, personal injury should cost you nothing due to the fact that it has already cost you so much. Time, heartache, and effort that was never your fault in the first place can only be compensated in the best way possible – and this is only achievable through the expert handling of a professional who knows his or her way around this field.

read more

Saving Family Farmers and Family Fishermen from the Debt Crisis

»Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Bankruptcy | 0 comments

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, then hiring a good lawyer to first learn about anything you need to know regarding bankruptcy, its different chapters and these chapters’ specific advantages and disadvantages, will definitely be a very good start. Afterwards, you and your lawyer can proceed to evaluating your actual financial situation to see if you really need to file a bankruptcy case and, if yes, then which specific chapter will help you best.

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding where debtors (individuals or business firms) declare their inability to further pay their overwhelming debts, and creditors are either ordered to forgive debtors their debts or are paid by debtors through the liquidation of (debtor’s) certain assets and properties or through a restructuring of the payment scheme to monthly payments extending from three to five years.

Forgivable debts include only those which are dischargeable, such as personal loans, medical bills, and credit card bills. There are also the non- dischargeable debts, which include mortgage, court fines, student loans, and child support among others.

There are different chapters in the US Bankruptcy Code, each designed to address an individual’s or a firm’s financial situation. One of these is Chapter 12 bankruptcy, which is specifically designed for family farmers or family fishermen, to enable them to recover from unmanageable debts.

Family farmers or family fishermen, according to the Bankruptcy Code, may refer to an individual, an individual and his/her spouse, a partnership or a corporation. To be eligible, however, the debtor should, first and foremost, have a regular annual income (though the law makes an allowance for those with seasonal income. This is just to make sure that the debtor will have enough, regular earnings to pay the debt.

Other conditions required by chapter 12, include:

  • At least 50% of the farm or fishery is owned by the debtor
  • With regard to the amount of death, 50% should be due to farming (for family farmers) and 80% should be due to the commercial fishing business (for family fishermen)
  • Gross income that came from farming or fishing operation (for the previous tax year)must have been more than 50%
  • The total debt owed does not exceed $4,031,575 for farmers and $1,868,200 for fishermen (these amounts are based on the website of the United States Courts: http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Chapter12.aspx. Other sites differ in figures with the US Courts, as well as with each other)

Having a clear understanding of what bankruptcy really is about and how it can really help individuals and businesses regain stability in their financial future can be better understood through the website of Ryan Ruehle with address: www.ryanruehlebankruptcy.com/.

read more

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Over-assessment of Self despite Incompetence

»Posted by on Dec 22, 2013 in Health | 0 comments

The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

Psychologists call this the Dunning-Kruger effect, a centuries-old mental condition wherein unskilled individuals experience illusory superiority, failing to recognize the fact that they really are incompetent. The name was coined by Cornell University psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who conducted a series of tests in 1999, which involved undergrad psychology students, in the areas of logic, humor, and grammar.

Many other tests were conducted between 2000 and 2012, some of which centered on sensitivity and skills, like playing tennis or chess, driving a vehicle, and reading comprehension. After results of the tests were given to the students, they were asked to assess themselves and, as expected, the results of the assessment were identical – poor performers always thought highly of themselves, as well as believed that they were better than anyone else.

The problem, however, is not only the fact that incompetent people fail to realize their own incompetence; high achievers believe that others are just as good as they are, failing to realize that they are actually more gifted and competent than others. Dunning and Kruger do not consider the latter case a serious issue, though, since they know that these people will understand and appreciate more their capabilities if told about their real abilities. While with regard to the poor performers, the two experts saw how they openly recognized and acknowledged their incompetence when trained further about certain skills.

read more

Discovery of a Nontoxic Medical Treatment

»Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Health | 0 comments

Recently, a Kansas State University biology professor, Govindsamy Veddiyappan, discovered a breakthrough in treating the common human fugal pathogen, Candida albicans. After noticing that the herb, Gymnema sylvestre, was a common remedy used by diabetics in developing countries, he studied it on a microbiological level. His research showed that Gymnema sylvestre is a nontoxic compound that can curb the virulent properties of the fungus.

Candida albicans is a fungus that can be, most commonly, found in the mouth and intestines, when overgrown; it is often an agent in the progression of genital and oral infections. Organ transplant patients, HIV/AIDS patients, cancer patients, and other people with compromised immune systems are more likely to suffer from infections involving a Candida albicans surplus.

One of the most important implications of Vediyappan’s discovery is that the herb treats the body in a way that doesn’t compromise other cells. For people with weaker immune systems the non-toxic property of gynemic acid compounds is extremely valuable since it doesn’t compromise their heathly cells. It is important to note that Vediyappan and his team are not the first to discover that gynemic acid compounds are nontoxic. They are, however, the first to discover that gynemic acid compounds are effective in blocking the harmful fungal transition of Candida albicans.

read more

How-To Remove Cigarette Odor from Carpet

»Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Home Improvement | 0 comments

Keeping your carpet clean is not the easiest task. You have to clean surface spots, dirt, and spills, as well as remove unwanted odors that may have attached themselves to your carpet. Some odors are easier to remove than others, such as those from pets or food. However, cigarette smoke tends to sink deeper into carpets, making for an unpleasant odor. Of course, cigarette smoke odor can be bypassed by not smoking in your home, but there are techniques that can help remove the lingering smell.

To begin removing cigarette odors, you are going to need baking soda, and a lot of it. Baking soda is often used in refrigerators or sports bags, and is beneficial because of its natural odor absorbing abilities. Start by spreading an ample layer of baking soda over the areas of carpet you wish to remove odor from, paying very close attention to the areas where the smell is coming from. Once that layer is applied, use a bristled, stiff brush to spread the baking soda equally and allow it to sink deep into the carpet. Let the baking soda sit for awhile, perhaps overnight, and the following day you just need to vacuum until the baking soda is removed. As the baking soda disappears, so should the cigarette odor.

If you smoke inside of your house, this task should be performed fairly often so that the cigarette odor does not set too deeply and linger in your home. You may not mind the smell, especially if you’re a regular smoker, but visitors may feel differently. It may not always be possible to fully remove odors from your carpet, so if you want to avoid the trouble or have a backup plan, then contacting an Austin carpet cleaner can be beneficial.

read more

Compensation for Workplace Injuries is Real and Obtainable

»Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Workplace Accidents | 1 comment

Workplace accidents can be devastating for victims and their families. At best, the accident may result in minor discomfort and time off work. At worst, a workplace accident can cause debilitating injuries or death, leaving the worker and relatives without a source of income to support them and a host of medical bills.

Workers who suffer accidental injuries or occupational illnesses are eligible to receive workers’ compensation from their employer. Such compensation pays for medical bills and supports the workers if their ability to work has been hampered by the injury.

A significant number of workplace accidents result in injuries like slips, trips, and falls. A report from the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index showed that slips, trips, and falls were the second leading cause of workplace injury in 2005. Slips and falls, which can cause serious injuries ranging from broken bones and lacerations to brain injuries, account for nearly $6 billion in direct costs for employers and workers annually, according to the website of The Seegmiller Law Firm.

Surprisingly, a majority of fall-related injuries occur when workers fall from same-level surfaces. The risk of falling is greatly increased when employers do not take proper care of their facilities and fail to take sufficient safety precautions to protect their workers. The Occupational Safety & Health Organization publishes regulations that require workplaces to be orderly and organized and have safe, non-slip surfaces.

According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, slips, trips, and falls, along with other workplace accidents, can be prevented with the proper materials and supervision. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you should seek immediate medical attention, then determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation to defray the cost of your injury. If you are not eligible for workers’ comp, then a lawsuit might be your best bet of recuperating your losses.

read more