• Is This the Right Time to File for Bankruptcy?

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    In these tough economic times, many folks are worried that they might not make it. It is pretty normal these days to worry about foreclosures, repossessions, and creditors bothering you. Bankruptcy might be a good option for you, but is it the right time to file? Let’s assess the situation and see where you stand.

    How’s Your Financial Health?

    There’s always an emotional aspect of financial trouble. For this reason and others, people tend to hide their heads in the sand, denying that there’s a problem. Here are some telltale signs that you should seek some professional help to bring your finances under control.

    • You keep getting calls from bill collectors
    • You are having trouble making minimum payments on your credit cards
    • Thinking about your finances makes you feel out of control or scared
    • You’re not sure exactly how much you owe
    • You are using credit cards to pay for everything, including food, household supplies, and gasoline
    • You’re thinking about debt consolidation

    Reasons to File for Bankruptcy Now

    • You might have an immediate need to file bankruptcy to avoid financial disaster. Do any of these apply to you?
    • You have been unemployed for a long time, and are not eligible for unemployment
    • You are about to have your car repossessed
    • You are having your wages garnished
    • You’re facing eviction from your home
    • Your mortgage holder has started foreclosure proceedings
    • Your prospects are good for starting a higher paying job… you might want to file while your income still qualifies you
    • You are getting ready to move to another state that has less favorable exemptions for bankruptcy
    • You are expecting a windfall in the future, but not immediately

    As you see, there are many factors to consider when you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy. This is why getting sound legal advice from a lawyer is a good idea. Bankruptcy laws can be complicated and difficult for the average person to navigate.

    Planning is Essential – Timing is Everything

    In some cases, it makes sense to delay filing for bankruptcy if you can hold things together for a while, and do not have a crisis. Sometimes you need to file to get immediate relief. Either way, it requires advance planning and a good lawyer who will help you understand your best strategy, based on your current situation. Some reasons you may want to take a closer look at your options are:

    • You are moving to another state that has more favorable bankruptcy exemptions
    • Your job position is changing, and you will be making less money
    • You’ve repaid a debt to a relative within the last year
    • You have recently (within the last year) purchased luxury goods
    • You are waiting to receive a large income tax refund

    These are just a few reasons why you need to plan your filing properly and discuss with your attorney how to address these issues. Bankruptcy is not a simple action. You need help and guidance if you want the best result from your bankruptcy case.

    Mummert Law has many years of experience handling bankruptcy cases for clients. Call today, and let’s see what course of action makes sense to you.

  • Bankruptcy – The Automatic Stay

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    With the global pandemic of COVID-19, many people are having a hard time staying afloat. Others see a looming disaster in their finances coming down the road. One of the benefits of claiming bankruptcy now is the Automatic Stay, which can help you avoid action against you by creditors. Let’s take a look at some of the immediate problems that can be solved by the automatic stay.

    What is an Automatic Stay?

    Once you file bankruptcy, creditors are required to stop the action to collect the debt. This means that they cannot bother you on the phone, send collection notices through the mail, evict you, initiate a lawsuit against you, contact your employer to garnish your wages, turn off your utilities, or seize your bank account. If a creditor does continue to contact you after the filing Bankruptcy, they can be found to be in contempt of court and may owe you money.

    How Does an Automatic Stay Affect Your Mortgage?

    One thing of which you must take note… if you want to keep your house, you must continue to pay the mortgage. If you don’t pay, your mortgage company can petition the court to lift the automatic stay for them to start/continue the foreclosure proceedings. This action does not happen immediately and can buy you some time to work things out with your mortgage company.

    In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should be able to either catch up on payments in a hurry or work something out with your mortgage holder. If you are filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be allowed to put the past due payments into a 60-month payment plan as well as seek a loan modification.

    What Does an Automatic Stay Do If You’re About to be Evicted?

    The automatic stay will temporarily halt the process of being evicted. If the Landlord has not obtained a judgment for possession, you can save your tenancy. You will need to take immediate action on whether to assume or reject the lease, as well as how to catch up on past due payments. So, if you only file for bankruptcy, it will only delay your eviction, and not prevent it entirely unless you properly plan for it.

    When Your Car is Going to Be Repossessed, Can an Automatic Stay Help?

    Filing for bankruptcy will stop the repossession process, but once again, only temporarily. Similar to delaying a foreclosure on your home, when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to bring your auto loan current in short order. You may be able to redeem your car for its current fair market value in Chapter 7. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to pay post-petition arrears over time, but you will also need to make your regular car payment too. You may also be able to reduce the principal on your car loan if you meet specific requirements.

    Wage Garnishment and the Automatic Stay

    Once you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay will stop wage garnishment, if you have any garnishment orders in place. You may also be able to get back money that was garnished 90 days before filing for bankruptcy.

    Will the Automatic Stay Help with Lawsuits for Debts?

    The lawsuit will be stopped when you file for bankruptcy under the automatic stay.
    An automatic stay is only part of the bankruptcy process. The first step if you are considering filing for bankruptcy is to seek legal advice. With your lawyer, you will be able to evaluate your position, and they will work with you to determine your best course of action.

    There are good reasons for and against filing bankruptcy. Legal advice can help you determine if bankruptcy is a good option, whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and if this is the best time for you to file.

    Contact Us Today at Mummert Law if you need help learning more about filing for bankruptcy in Maryland.

  • Estate Plans… The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer to Help You

    Imagine this… if you can. Your life is just beautiful. You’re working, spending time with friends and family. The farthest thing from your mind is estate planning. Everything’s going so well! Then, out of nowhere, something happens to upset the status quo. At first, it might be no big deal. Then, it starts to spread and affect other areas of your life.

    With the pandemic of Coronavirus on our doorstep, more and more people are wondering, “What if?” In this article, we will explore options and ideas for having the peace of mind that comes with estate planning.

    Do You Have Your Basic Documents Completed?

    There are three essential components to estate planning that apply to everyone, and these documents must be completed first as part of any estate plan.

    Your Last Will and Testament

    This document sets into writing how you intend or desire your estate to be distributed upon your death. Careful planning will prevent unnecessary drama at the time of your passing. If you should die without a will, the state will decide how your estate will be handled.

    Power of Attorney

    With a power of attorney, a “principal” (the person granting power of attorney) assigns these rights to an “agent.” It’s essential to understand the distinction between two different types of powers of attorney. A limited power of attorney assigns an agent and gives them the ability to act for the principal only in certain circumstances. A general power of attorney allows them to conduct ALL business transactions for the principal. In Maryland, written powers of attorney are considered “durable,” which means they remain in effect even if the principal is no longer able to make decisions on their own.

    Advance Medical Directives

    This particular power of attorney designates someone to act on your behalf when it comes to making medical decisions for you when you are unable to. Typically, a medical professional, or a group of professionals, will make a judgment when the advance medical directive is in effect.


    Planning Your Estate Online… Do You Need a Lawyer?

    Many lawyers, including this office, offer estate planning via video conferencing apps. If you are uncomfortable leaving the house, we can help you to assemble the necessary documents by discussion over a teleconferencing app, and prepare them to your specifications

    When you are planning your estate online instead of in person, you might think it makes sense to use an online estate planning software. It may be tempting to save a little money and go this route. However, there are many aspects of estate planning that you will miss if you decide to take advantage of this option.

    What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Lawyer for Estate Planning?

    Once your estate planning is complete with your attorney, you have the peace of mind that everything is in place should the worst happen. Completing a form online may leave you thinking, “I guess it’s okay.” Consider the following advantage of hiring a lawyer to help you.

    You Can Ask A Lawyer Questions

    Unless you’ve done this several times before, you’re likely to have a lot of questions. These can be answered on the spot during a meeting with an attorney.

    A Lawyer Will Know and Be Able To Explain Alternative Solutions

    If you have no idea of the alternatives, how can you be sure that you’re making the right decisions? An attorney can explain different options to you so that you can consider your best course of action.

    A Lawyer Can Explain any Legal Terms You Don’t Understand

    When you’re dealing with legal documents, it’s not unusual to get overwhelmed with all the legal terminology. Getting an explanation of legal terms in everyday language can help you from misunderstandings later.