Archive for July, 2013

Case Shiller Home Price Index Shows Rising Prices For May 2013 — Logan Utah Real Estate Tends to Be Behind the Curve

Case Shiller Home Price Index Shows Rising Prices For May 2013Real estate prices are up in major U.S. cities as detailed below.  Northern Utah always seems to be behind the trend by about six months.  Our highs and lows are less pronounced than the rest of the country.  A local realtor told  me that prices have not risen appreciably in Cache Valley yet, although new home construction costs have increased by three to four percent.  Inventory is lower in some categories of housing.  If the housing recovery continues, it should help some home owners that are upside down in their homes.   In any case, we love helping people save their…

The Basics: More of the Simple Chapter 13 Case in Utah

Even a simple Chapter 13 case can do some very special things.   Some of the Simple Benefits of Chapter 13 Even in a simple Chapter 13 case, you could: 1) catch up on your mortgage arrearage and have up to 5 years to do so, while continuously being protected from foreclosure; 2) possibly “strip” off a second or third mortgage from your home’s title; 3) possibly do a “cramdown” on your vehicle loan(s), reducing both your monthly payments and the total amount paid for your vehicle(s); 4) pay that portion of back income taxes that can’t be discharged, while being…

The Basics: The Simple Chapter 13 Case in Utah

A simple Chapter 13 case can accomplish ONE special thing better than a Chapter 7, or could even accomplish MULTIPLE things better.   Chapter 13 is the Bankruptcy of Special Powers Consumers file a Chapter 13 case either because they do not qualify under Chapter 7 or because of the significant advantages Chapter 13 provides over Chapter 7. In 2012, less than half as many Chapter 13s were filed as Chapter 7s, but that is still a lot of cases. According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, 366,532 Chapter 13s were filed last year.  Since about 35%…

The Basics: The Simple Chapter 7 Case in Utah

A simple Chapter 7 case protects you from all collections, discharges all your debts, lets you keep or surrender your collateral, and keep all (or most of) your other assets.   Chapter 7 is the Bankruptcy of Choice Consumers file more than twice as many Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases than Chapter 13 cases. In 2012, out of about 1.2 million bankruptcies, 816,000 were Chapter 7s and 363,000 were Chapter 13s. That’s 69% vs. 31% of the total. “Straight Bankruptcy” in a Nutshell In a simple Chapter 7 case, you would: 1) protect yourself and your assets immediately from all of your…

The Basics: Bankruptcy as a Moral Choice

You usually DO have a moral obligation to pay your debts, but sometimes you may have a higher moral obligation NOT to.   The Human Side of Bankruptcy Deciding whether or not to file bankruptcy on behalf of a big corporation is a “business decision,” a weighing of economic costs and benefits. But because YOU are so much more than a business, as YOU think about filing bankruptcy, a question comes to mind that has very little to do with dollars and cents: “Is it the right thing to do?” Our important choices are often moral choices. We choose between doing…

The Basics: the Bankruptcy Discharge of Debts

“Discharge” is the permanent legal elimination of debts.   Both Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” and Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts” are designed to finish with a discharge of your debts. A discharge provides you with permanent relief from your debts by making any further collection efforts by your creditors illegal. Most Chapter 7’s do finish with a discharge of all or most of the debtors’ debts. Chapter 13’s are more challenging—they require complying with a schedule of payments lasting usually 3 to 5 years. A successful completion of the plan usually results in the discharge of all or most of your…

The Basics: Protection of Your Assets

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of the time you can keep whatever you own. These 10 bullet points will help you make sense of this.  
  • Property exemptions are not at all as straightforward as they may seem to be:  This is not a “just-check-the-boxes” kind of task. There’s much more to it than just casually matching assets to exemptions. The exemption categories might sound straightforward about which of your assets they would cover, but very often they are not. For example, do the home contractor tools and equipment from a former business qualify under the “tools of

The Basics: Protection from Creditors

Filing bankruptcy in Utah immediately protects you and your property from just about any kind of collection attempt by your creditors.   The part of federal bankruptcy law commonly referred to as the “automatic stay” protects you from your creditors during a bankruptcy case. What the Law Says A bankruptcy “petition… operates as a stay, applicable to all entities.” In other words, a bankruptcy filing itself acts to stop all creditors. (See Section 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code.) But WHAT does it stop your creditors from doing?
  • Suing you, or continuing a previously filed lawsuit
  • Enforcing a previously obtained judgment

The Basics: the Bankruptcy Code

If you start looking into bankruptcy, you hear about different “Chapters” and “code sections.” They are all part of the Bankruptcy Code.   Putting the Constitutional Power into Practice The Constitution gave Congress the power “to establish… uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”  (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4.)  But Congress then had to write those laws. That has been easier said than done in our history. For most of the 19th century there was NO federal bankruptcy law in effect at all because there was so much disagreement about some of the…

The Effect of One Spouse’s Bankruptcy Filing on a Pending Divorce Case

If one spouse files bankruptcy while a divorce is pending, that filing will not stop most of the divorce case.   When a spouse files a bankruptcy case, that act itself immediately imposes the “automatic stay” that stops all collection actions against that spouse by creditors. But it also stops “the commencement or continuation… of a judicial, administrative, or other action or proceeding against the debtor…  .” Section 362(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code. That makes it sound like the bankruptcy filing and its automatic stay would put a stop to a pending lawsuit to dissolve the marriage. But the automatic stay…