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Month: February 2018
Vehicle ownership and Chapter 13 bankruptcy

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: February 28, 2018

If they have a steady stream of income, debtors in Mississippi may use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay off their substantial debts. They will have three to five years to use their disposable income to resolve their debts. If individuals currently have a vehicle or would like to purchase one during any stage of the bankruptcy process, this still can be achieved. However, there are some factors that have to be considered.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers who possess a vehicle before they file a petition may keep their vehicle except in certain cases. If the payments for the vehicle are extremely costly, the court may prevent the debtor from including the payment when calculating their disposable income. The expensive payment may be considered unreasonable as filers are only permitted to retain living expenses that are necessary and sensible.

Debtors who have an upside down auto loan and purchased their vehicle at least 910 days before submitting a bankruptcy petition may opt to cramdown the loan for the bankruptcy process. This allows the loan to be reduced to the amount of the vehicle’s cash value. The excess amount is included with the unsecured debts.

For debtors who are not current with their vehicle payments, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays most collections, including repossession of the vehicle. The payments in arrears may be included in the bankruptcy plan, and if the debtors make the remaining payments, they may be able to retain ownership of the vehicle.

Individuals who have substantial debt may consult a bankruptcy attorney about their legal options. A lawyer may advise individuals how a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may apply in their case if they have a regular income. People may be advised of how a bankruptcy may help them have a fresh financial start by reducing interest and stopping creditor harassment.

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Most bankruptcy filings come from individuals

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: February 20, 2018

Federal bankruptcy laws provide people in Mississippi with a possible path to a fresh start when they experience financial hardships. Data from 2015 collected by revealed that 97 percent of the 844,495 bankruptcy filings from that year arose from individuals seeking protection from creditors.

The two most common forms of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The flier’s incomes and debts determine which form applies. For those who qualify within the terms of Chapter 7, they could achieve a court judgment that discharges some or all of their unsecured debts. The law exempts certain assets, like a primary residence or retirement account, from liquidation during this process. Nonexempt property, however, must be sold to pay creditors.

Under Chapter 13, a person develops a payment plan of three or five years. This form of bankruptcy generally applies to people who have a regular and reliable source of income. They also have the chance to protect more assets under Chapter 13 if they can meet the obligations of a court-approved payment plan. Upon the successful completion, many remaining unsecured debt balances will be discharged. Another option is Chapter 11, but this is for people who have debts higher than the amounts allowed under Chapter 13.

Problems like a medical crisis or job loss can lead to severe financial challenges, and people who find themselves in this type of a situation often do not know where to turn. They might find it advisable to meet with an attorney who can describe the bankruptcy process in more detail.

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I can’t pay my taxes. What should I do?

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: February 16, 2018

You tried to be responsible. You gathered all of your financial documents, and you filed your tax return before the deadline. However, when you finished, you discovered you’re on the hook for a lot more money than expected—more than you have in the bank.

What do you do? Do you have to take out a loan to pay off your taxes? Or ask your family and friends for help?

Fortunately, the IRS offers some options to help you out—but only if you’ve already filed your required tax returns. If you’ve missed the filing deadline, then the below options are unavailable to you, and you should contact an attorney experienced in IRS debt to help you come up with a solution.

If you owe $10,000 or less:

You can apply for a Guaranteed Installment Agreement. This is an agreement under which the IRS allows you to pay off your tax liability in monthly installments over a three-year period. To qualify for this agreement, you must have a clean tax record over the past five years—i.e., you’ve filed your tax returns each year, you’ve paid any taxes you owe and you haven’t entered into another tax installment agreement.

If you owe up to $50,000:

Even if your tax liability is under $10,000 but you need more than three years to pay it off, a Streamlined Installment Agreement could be a good option for you. Under this agreement, you can pay off your liability in monthly installments over a six-year period. Note that for tax liability above $25,000, tax payers must submit payment via payroll deduction or direct deposit.

Regardless of your tax debt situation, talking to attorney with in-depth knowledge in this field can be an extremely valuable first step to resolution.

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What U.S. cities have the highest credit card debt?

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: February 14, 2018

If Mississippi residents are like most Americans, they have some sort of credit card debt. In fact, data from the Federal Reserve shows that U.S. credit card debt exceeded $1 trillion in 2017, which is the highest in history.

recent study by analyzed financial data from America’s 25 most populous metropolitan areas. It then ranked each city by the amount of credit card debt its population carried and its debt burden in relation to its median income. The study found that the top five cities with the highest average debt are Washington, D.C., Dallas-Fort Worth, New York, Houston and San Antonio, which have debt averages ranging from $7,442 to $7,070 per person. The next five cities on the list are Baltimore, Atlanta, San Diego, Seattle-Tacoma and Denver, which have debt averages ranging from $6,985 to $6,720 per person.

To determine each city’s debt burden, the study calculated how long it would take a person to pay off the city’s average credit card debt while earning the city’s median income. The study found that the cities with the heaviest debt burdens are San Antonio, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Houston, Los Angeles and Dallas. The cities with the lowest debt burdens are Seattle, Washington, D.C., Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco. It would take someone living in San Antonio, the city with the highest debt burden, 22 months to pay off their debt. Meanwhile, someone from San Francisco, the city with the lowest debt burden, could pay off their debt in just 13 months.

Some people have difficulty paying off their credit card debt. When this happens, bankruptcy may be the best option. Individuals facing financial challenges might benefit by discussing their situation with a bankruptcy attorney.

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New report provides update on bankruptcy filings in Mississippi

On Behalf of O’Brien Law Firm, LLC

Posted on: February 9, 2018

The United States Courts recently released an update on the rate of bankruptcy filings in the United States. The report focuses on a 12-month period, spanning from January 1 of 2017 to December 31 of 2017. Bankruptcy filings for the calendar year were down by 0.7 percent.

Although the rate of filings decreased, the report notes that this was the smallest decrease since 2010. The report also states that the overall number of filings was the lowest since 2006.

Importance of bankruptcy data

It is important to point out that many people still seek financial relief through bankruptcy. In 2017 there were 765,863 individual petitions for bankruptcy relief filed with the court.

The national trend did not hold true for every state in the country. There were a reported 12,398 filings in Mississippi in 2017 and 12,246 in 2016. This translates to an increase in bankruptcy filings in the state of 152.

Chapter 7 most frequent form of relief

The vast majority of these filings involved a petition for relief under Chapter 7. 486,347 filings under this chapter were reported.

Chapter 7 is a popular option due to the fact that a successful petition can result in the discharge of qualifying debts. Examples of financial obligations that often qualify for discharge include medical bills and credit card balances.

Putting together a successful petition can be a difficult task. The applicant must include various information, including financial records and a complete application. The applicant must also pass the means test.

Data can help ease the way for others in Mississippi struggling with debt

This data shows that if you are struggling to manage debt in Mississippi, you are not alone. An attorney experienced in these matters can help you overcome the hurdles that may make it difficult to move forward with a petition for relief through bankruptcy. Contact a lawyer experienced in debt relief solutions for Mississippi clients to discuss your options.

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