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Know the Consequences of Sending Gifts, Payments, and Transfers to Family Before Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2014 at 2:33 pm    

Fraudulent TranfersOnce you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the bankruptcy code provides a trustee to check into any assets that were transferred for up to a year before you filed. The trustee will be looking for “gifts” and “favorable payments.” A favorable repayments can show a preference in paying one debt over another.  A gift can show that a “fraudulent conveyance” was made. When a favorable payment or gift is paid to a family member or “insider”, the bankruptcy code is really harsh. Favorable payments and gifts to insiders can be looked at for up to two years before the bankruptcy was filed in most cases.  In Kentucky this can be extended to 5 years by the trustee using what is called a “strong arm” provision that allows trustees to use state law to go after preferences and fraudulent transfers.

Examples of Why You Need to be So Careful…

  1. Borrowing From a Close Relative for a Business – The borrower with the business intended to pay this relative back in a lump sum from a retirement account, but then it began looking like bankruptcy was imminent. This would create a double problem. The first problem is that exempt funds that would have ridden through the bankruptcy would have been converted to non-exempt funds. The second would be that the trustee pull that large lump sum payment back into the estate from the relative. From those reclaimed funds, the trustee would pay himself a percentage and the rest would have gone to unsecured creditors.
    Result… The retirement would be gone and the relative would remain largely unpaid (they would be treated the same as any other unsecured creditor and receive cents on the dollar).
  2. Securing a Personal Residence but Having a Considerable Amount of Unsecured Debt – Someone with considerable unsecured debt has their personal residence secured to the hilt, but they owned several acres in another state free and clear of any lien. –  It was important to this person to retain the out-of-state land because they wanted to give the land to someone else to keep it in the family.
    Result… Viewed as a fraudulent conveyance and the land would be taken and sold by the trustee with proceeds going to unsecured creditors.

These examples highlight the importance of sitting down with a northern kentucky bankruptcy lawyer practitioner who can help you with a comprehensive plan. Lawrence & Associates can provide swift legal action to help protect you and your family.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

Providing You With Debt Relief Solutions Through Bankruptcy

Regardless of the reasons that brought you to financial distress, filing for bankruptcy does not make you a bad person. In fact, the government created bankruptcy in order to help people recover from unmanageable financial problems. At Lawrence & Associates, we help our clients understand how bankruptcy laws are made to protect them and will allow for a brighter financial future.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


Tips For Filing Bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky During the Holidays

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 at 4:27 pm    

Holiday BankruptcyBelow are some thing to keep in mind this holiday Season if a bankruptcy is a possibility before the new year…

  1. Gifts –  Christmas gifts that are worth hundreds of dollars must be listed in your bankruptcy.
  2. Expensive Items Purchased –  Any items purchased to be kept in house or given away as a gift  to someone else has to be reported. Luxury items being purchased will raise red flags that could prevent you from discharging your debt. A luxury item is defined as something costing more the $650.
  3. Tax Refunds – Tax refunds are considered an asset and must be reported even if you do not know the exact amount you will be receiving.
  4. Home Equity – If you have a lot of equity in your home, it can limit the amount of exemption you can put towards your assets. Be very careful.

If you are planning to go bankrupt over the holidays, it would be good to consultant with a Northern Kentucky bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.

At Lawrence & Associates, we help our clients understand how bankruptcy laws are made to protect them and will allow for a brighter financial future.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


There’s a Lien on My Property; What Does that Mean?

Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 4:30 pm    

lien on propertyIn Northern Kentucky and surrounding areas, creditors will sometimes sue over bills such as a Chase credit card or a St. Elizabeth hospital medical bill. Usually, these creditors are trying to garnish your wages, but sometimes the creditor will decide to put a judicial lien on your property. If that happens, there can be serious consequences. The creditor can try to force the sale of your home, and while the home remains unsold  interest will continue to accumulate. The equity you’ve worked hard to build in your home can disappear unless you taken action.

Act Quickly for Your Best Results

For most consumers, filing a bankruptcy is the best way to stop a credit card or medical bill lawsuit in its tracks. If you can, contact an attorney as soon as the complaint is filed, if not beforehand. This gives us the maximum amount of time in which to prepare for the bankruptcy and the best ability to prevent the lien in the first place. Once a lien is filed in Northern Kentucky, it is much harder to discharge the debt. Rather than being unsecured, the creditor with the lien on your property is potentially secured. Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy lawyers have the ability to strip some judicial liens based upon your equity in your property and the exemptions applicable to you.

Avoid the hassle of creditors and their liens! A free consultation  with Lawrence & Associates will help you decide what action to take.  We can also work together to stop foreclosures, repossessions, and lawsuits.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Tips On Getting Rid of Your Small Business’s Debt

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 1:50 pm    

small business bankruptcySmall businesses are the lifeblood of any community, and Kentucky’s staggering number of small businesses – over 70,000 – is no exception. Unfortunately, opening, operating, and succeeding in a small business is difficult.  It is no secret that most small business (between 50% and 90%, depending on who you ask) fail in the first few years they are open. The failure of a small business can be devastating to a family, and the effects can linger for many years.

Is the Debt Yours or Part of the Corporation?

In the Northern Kentucky area, one of the most significant, lingering effects of a small business is the debt incurred to open the business. If you do not incorporate your small business, then any debt you take on belongs to you as well as the business. Even if you do incorporate your small business, many creditors will make you co-sign for your business in order to get a start up loan. In either event, closing the business does not eliminate the debt. The creditor simply turns to you, the business owner, with an expectation of full payment.

Should Your Small Business Stay Open or Shut Down?

Dealing with a business’s out of control debts initially comes down to one major decision: Should the business stay open, or is it time to shut it down? This is usually a decision for the business owner and perhaps an accountant or bookkeeper to make, since they know the business better than any outsider. If the small business will stay open, then a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is probably the best way to restructure the business’s debts while the business continues to operate.  The Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Attorney can help you with the process of filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

If You Decide to Close the Business, Is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy the Best Option?

If it is time to close the small business, then the best way to deal with the debts may first be to take the value of the assets or equipment the business owns and determine if they can be sold for an amount sufficient to pay the debt.  If not, then a consumer bankruptcy – either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 – may be the best option for most Kenton County, Kentucky residents.  If it looks like you will have to file a bankruptcy, it is very important that you speak to a Fort Mitchell Kentucky bankruptcy lawyer before disbursing any assets of the business. You might be surprised at what you can keep during a bankruptcy, and your attorney may be able to help you reduce secured debts significantly by negotiating asset transfers with secured creditors.

Delaying a Decision Is Usually a Small Business Owners Greatest Mistake

A bankruptcy of any kind, whether Chapter 7, 11, or 13, is generally a scary prospect for a small business owner. It almost always follows hard times, where money has been tight and stress has been high. However, delay is a small business owner’s greatest enemy whenever the business is failing and a change needs to be made.

Avoid the hassle of creditors and the confusion of following the bankruptcy laws on your own! A free consultation will decide which bankruptcy to file.  We can also work together to stop foreclosures, repossessions, and lawsuits. Lawrence & Associates Bankruptcy office is located in Fort Mitchell, KY.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Client Being Hassled by Student Loan Lenders

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 4:57 pm    

Student LoansThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client from Erlanger, Kentucky contacted us to file bankruptcy because of her student loans. Her student loans were in default and she was getting hounded day and night by the lender. She knew that student loans were not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and she didn’t know what to do.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates analyzed our clients  debt and realized that her student loans were the only non-dischargeable debt. We further realized that she could pay the student loans off within five years with reasonable monthly payments so long as her other, dischargeable debts did not continue eating into her monthly disposable income. We filed two bankruptcies for our client, the first was a Chapter 7 that discharged her medical bills, credit card debts, and payday loans. The second was a Chapter 13 filed after the Chapter 7. In the Chapter 13, the only debt was the student loan and we forced the student loan lender to accept a repayment schedule that lasted five years. While in the bankruptcy, our client could not be hassled by the student loan lender so long as she made her monthly payments.

The Result

Our client is currently paying off her student loans and is otherwise debt free! If you or someone you know is struggling financially, give us a call. We’re here to help. Lawrence & Associates Bankruptcy office is located in Fort Mitchell, KY.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Husband and Wife in Northern Kentucky Get Released of Their Credit Card Debt

Posted on Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 1:53 pm    

credit card debtThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our clients, a husband and wife, were getting sued by credit card companies. They had been making payments, but the interest rate were so high that their payments only went to the monthly interest on their cards. They were afraid to file bankruptcy because they were afraid they’d lose their house and their car.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates helped them file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and made sure they didn’t lose any property. The credit card debt – which would have already been paid back if it would have had normal interest rates – was wiped clean.

The Result

Our clients received a fresh start and then began living their lives without the constant fear of a lawsuit hanging over their heads.

If you are going through tough financial stress, call Lawrence & Associates’ Fort Mitchell, KY office to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our highly experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Hiring an Attorney: Tips On Getting the Best Lawyer For Your Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, or Workers’ Compensation Case

Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 3:58 pm    

finding an attorneyIf you’ve never worked with an attorney before, it can be intimidating to pick up the phone and call. As a layman, there’s no good way to compare one attorney’s services to another because each client’s case is unique and many variables (such as the random selection of a jury) can make similar approaches in similar cases yield wildly different results. Thus, choosing an attorney can feel like taking a complete shot in the dark. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure that you are choosing the attorney that is right for your unique situation.

See What the Bar Association Has to Say

In Kentucky, all attorneys are required to be members of the Kentucky Bar Association in order to practice law. Not all states have this requirement, but even states that lack it generally have local or regional bar associations. Attorney reprimands and disciplinary actions are matters of public record. Has the attorney you are interested in hiring ever had a bar complaint, or been reprimanded? Contact the Bar Association to find this out!

See What the Attorney’s Former Clients Have to Say

Confirming that your attorney has no black marks on his or her record only confirms competence. What about excellence? The internet is a referendum of public opinion on law firms just like other professions and business. While my experience has been that law firms typically have fewer online reviews than comparably sized businesses, reviews do still exist. Check out Avvo.com, which should have a profile on your attorney complete with peer endorsements and client reviews. Yellowpages.com and the various search engines’ local business listings are also good sources of information.

See What the Attorney Has to Say

Call the attorney and ask for a free consultation. Most attorneys will give one, depending on the area of practice. In personal injury, workers’ compensation, or bankruptcy, a free consultation is almost guaranteed. In other fields, like family law, you can usually get one but not always. Use the free consultation to gauge the attorney’s confidence and the depth of his or her knowledge. You should also feel free to bring up whatever concerns you have to the attorney and expect an answer that satisfies your concerns. If the attorney can’t give you that, you might want to keep looking.

See What Your Gut Has to Say

You’re an adult with plenty of experience in meeting new people and sizing them up. If you’re reading this article to prepare for a first meeting with an attorney, odds are you have a lot of common sense. Don’t leave that common sense at the attorney’s front door. If the attorney seems honest and feels like someone you can work with, use him or her. If not, move on. There are plenty of us out there.

Just like everyone else, attorneys have good days and bad days. Those of us that have been doing our jobs for a long time are sometimes guilty of going too fast and assuming new clients are more familiar with what we are saying than they really are. Occasionally, even the most seasoned attorney will get a curveball question during a consultation and have to say, “I don’t know, I’ll have to look that up for you.” But good attorneys are polite on their bad days, take the time with their clients to explain things fully, and follow up their “I don’t know” with “I’ve got that answer for you.”

If you’re looking for a lawyer in Kentucky or Ohio, Lawrence & Associates has a long record of success in personal injury, bankruptcy, and workers’ comp cases.

Contact Us in Kentucky: (859.371.5997) or Ohio: (513.351.997) for a Free Consultation


My Car Was Repossessed Right Before Filing a Bankruptcy…. What Should I Do?

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 1:35 pm    

repossessionAct Quickly, You May Be Able to Get Your Car Back

If your car is repossessed before you file for bankruptcy, you might be able to get the car back by filing for bankruptcy; however, you must act quickly! Generally, once the car is sold at auction, you won’t get it back. Therefore, you should contact a Kenton County Bankruptcy attorney as soon as your car is repossessed. Legally, if you have nonexempt equity in your car, the lender must return the car because it is part of the bankruptcy estate, and the repossession is considered to be an illegal preference. In practice, however, car loan lenders generally won’t return the car without an order from the court, which usually means you’ll need help from a Northern Kentucky bankruptcy attorney. Once you have the car back, you’ll still have to either redeem the car or reaffirm the contract in order to keep the car.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Also Allow You to Get the Car Back

If you were considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy anyway, and do so quickly you may be able to keep your car. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can repay any car loan arrears through your Chapter 13 repayment plan. So, if you can make your regular car note payment and your plan payments, you’ll be able to keep your car. The automatic stay applies to Chapter 13 too, so you should be able to stop any pending repossession sale.

Beware: If You Can’t Afford the Payments, Getting the Car Back May Not Be Your Best Option

Sometimes, getting your car back once it’s been repossessed is not the always the best option. Often, people are willing to accept any terms to get a vehicle back because they need the car, for example, to get to work. However, if you owe significantly more than the vehicle is worth and know you will have trouble keeping up with the payments in the future, you might want to contact an attorney and discuss your options.

If you or someone you know is facing repossession or has recently had his or her vehicle repossessed, contact Lawrence & Associates in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky today to get the help that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Need a Status Update On Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Check Online or Call Your Attorney

Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 2:33 pm    

Bankruptcy UpdateChapter 13 Bankruptcies last for 3-5 years in almost every case so it’s common for the debtor to want to check its status.  Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often a straightforward affair. Most of the work is done on the front end, especially for the debtor. You gather your paperwork, let the lawyer generate the documents, show up to a few meetings and one court hearing, and then wait for the discharge in the mail. Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a much longer and more involved process. Debtors want a status on the bankruptcy during that time, to make sure the payments he or she is making are actually doing what they are supposed to do.

Call Your Attorney to Get an Update

If you want a status on your bankruptcy, don’t be afraid to call your attorney to get an update. Your attorney is paid to counsel you not just at the time of filing, but also throughout the bankruptcy. If you have questions or a problem with your Chapter 13, your attorney should be able to help you with that even if you filed the bankruptcy years ago.

Check Your Status Online!

You can also get a status on your bankruptcy online. Go to www.13datacenter.com and set up a free account as a Debtor. You will be asked some background questions to verify your identity, similar to the kinds of questions you are asked when you look up your credit report. Once your account is created, you can see all the payments you’ve made to the trustee and where those payments have gone.

Typically, you’ll see payments made in the following order…

  1. Fees your attorney did not charge up front (but which should be disclosed in the contract)
  2. Secured claims such as a car loan
  3. Any mortgage or tax arrearage
  4. Unsecured creditors such as credit cards.

As a rule, you should see car loans, taxes, and mortgage arrearages being paid in full, if you are near the end of your bankruptcy.

Call Your Attorney First Before Contacting the Chapter 13 Trustee Office

You can also get some information from the Chapter 13 trustee’s office, although calling the Chapter 13 trustee should be an option of last resort. Generally, if the Chapter 13 trustee has to step in and start answering questions about how the bankruptcy case is being handled, the attorney isn’t doing a very good job. Make sure you call your attorney first!

At Lawrence & Associates’ Kenton County office, we’ve helped hundreds of people get a fresh start from crushing debts. Our attorneys take care to communicate with each and every valued client so that there is no confusion as to how a bankruptcy will operate. 

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Husband and Wife in Northern Kentucky Avoid Foreclosure on Their Home

Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 4:02 pm    

foreclosure noticeThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent Bankruptcy case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our clients, a husband and wife, got a foreclosure notice in the mail. They had worked really hard to get their house and even harder to get the mortgage modified after they both got laid off a few years ago. Now it looked like all those efforts were for nothing, because the bank was coming to take the house away.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates helped our clients file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, with a five year repayment plan to get their mortgage caught up. Their monthly payment was something they could afford to pay, and the bank was not allowed to foreclose on their house.

The Result

Our clients kept their home and are still living there to this day!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

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