Protect Assets before Filing for Bankruptcy

Before a Geraci law attorney files a case, we analyze the client’s assets, and whether those assets are “exempt” from creditors or not. Read more to see protection that could help you! Need to review your options? Call 800 CALL PFG for a free consult or set online @ https://www.infotapes.com/Bankruptcy/OfficeLocator

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci titled, “Protect Assets before Filing for Bankruptcy.” This focuses on rent prepayment as allowable in some states to protect otherwise exposed case from creditors. Read more articles by Attorney Geraci at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles

Before a Geraci law attorney files a bankruptcy for a client, we always analyze the client’s assets, and whether those assets are “exempt” from creditors or not. Each state has laws called exemption laws. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code also has exemption provisions. These exemptions state what property is “exempt” from attachment and liquidation by your creditors.

Exemption planning is perfectly permissible! One way to claim an exemption is to convert “non-exempt” property into “exempt” property. This should NOT be done to hide money from creditors, or without the advice of an attorney, but some “exemption planning” has been approved by both state courts and bankruptcy courts. “Homestead” exemptions are usually thought of as protecting real estate, but in some states, when filing an Illinois bankruptcy or an Indiana bankruptcy, personal property such as a trailer used for a residence, or prepaid rent, are permissible exemptions under those states “Homestead Exemptions”.

In some states, such as Florida, exemption planning is forbidden when it comes to personal property. :

Florida Statute 222.30  Fraudulent asset conversions.— (1) As used in this section, “conversion” means every mode, direct or indirect, absolute or conditional, of changing or disposing of an asset, such that the products or proceeds of the asset become immune or exempt by law from claims of creditors of the debtor and the products or proceeds of the asset remain property of the debtor. The definitions of chapter 726 apply to this section unless the application of a definition would be unreasonable.

(2) Any conversion by a debtor of an asset that results in the proceeds of the asset becoming exempt by law from the claims of a creditor of the debtor is a fraudulent asset conversion as to the creditor, whether the creditor’s claim to the asset arose before or after the conversion of the asset, if the debtor made the conversion with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud the creditor.

There has to be the requisite intent. “[A] debtor can convert non-exempt assets to exempt unless he is motivated to make such a conversion by an actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud his creditors.” In re Jennings, 522 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir. 2008)

But if you are lucky enough to own real estate, or a trailer, that is your primary residence in Florida, (your “homestead”) you CAN transfer cash or sell that $40,000 classic car that would be taken in a bankruptcy, and pay down your mortgage on your homestead property. FLA does not have a blanket prohibition against exemption planning.

1.      222.30 does not apply to the homestead in FL. See Havoco of Am. Ltd. v. Hill, 790 So.2d 1018 (Fla. 2001) and In re Chauncey, 454 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2006)

 2.      There has to be the requisite intent. “[A] debtor can convert non-exempt assets to exempt unless he is motivated to make such a conversion by an actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud his creditors.” In re Jennings, 522 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir. 2008)

So, in Illinois and Indiana Geraci Law lawyers think about renters: Is there a homestead exemption for prepaid rent or security deposit?

Illinois     Yes – 735 ILCS 5/12 901

Indiana      Yes – IC 34-55-10-2(c)(1)

Wisconsin   No for homestead, but  Yes under wildcard

FL     No for homestead Florida Constitution Article 10 § 4 and Florida Statutes Annotated § 222.01 through § 222.05 but yes under wildcard

US    Yes, arguably because same language as Illinois and Indiana

Illinois: 735 ILCS 5/12 901: Every individual is entitled to an estate of homestead to the extent in value of $15,000 of his or her interest in a farm or lot of land and buildings thereon, a condominium, or personal property, owned or rightly possessed by lease or otherwise and occupied by him or her as a residence, or in a cooperative that owns property that the individual uses as a residence.

Indiana: IC 34-55-10-2(c)(1): Real estate or personal property constituting the personal or family residence of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor, or estates or rights in that real estate or personal property, of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). The exemption under this subdivision is individually available to joint debtors concerning property held by them as tenants by the entireties.

Florida: 222.05  Setting apart leasehold. Mobile home on leased land is exempt.

Federal: 11 U.S.C. (d) The following property may be exempted under subsection (b)(2) of this section:

(1) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $15,000 [$20,200 effective 4-1-07. Adjusted every 3 years by section 104.] in value, in real property or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.

 Wisconsin 990.01 (14)  Homestead exemption. “Exempt homestead” means the dwelling, including a building, condominium, mobile home, manufactured home, house trailer or cooperative or an unincorporated cooperative association, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for its use as a home, but not less than 0.25 acre, if available, and not exceeding 40 acres, within the limitation as to value under s. 815.20, except as to liens attaching or rights of devisees or heirs of persons dying before the effective date of any increase of that limitation as to value.

ANALYSIS:

Illinois: By plain language, a debtor’s interest in a lease can be claimed as homestead as long as they are living there.

Indiana: Under IN law, a leasehold can be considered an interest in real property or an interest in personal property, but the exemption applies regardless. See In re Coffey, 339 B.R. 689 (Bankr. N.D. Ind 2006)

Federal: debtor’s interest in real or personal property used as a residence under homestead: also can be exempt under federal wildcard

Florida: Homestead is principal residence, must be real estate of something live in on land, like a trail that is owned, whether on land owned or leased. But exemption planning adding to homestead is allowed and can be exempted.

Wisconsin: Prepaid rent can’t be exempted under Homestead definition limited to “the dwelling” no language like Illinois and Wisconsin.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

How to Save Inherited Property from Foreclosure

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci with instruction on how to stop foreclosure on an inherited property. Read more articles written by PFG at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles.

At Geraci Law, we sometimes have a client whose relative died, and they are an heir. For instance, Son is Mom’s only heir, Mom passes away, but Mom’s house is in her name, she left no will, and she had a $40,000 mortgage with payments of $600 a month.

Son obviously wants to get the title changed into his name, so he will have to file a lawsuit in Probate Court to get an Order Declaring Heirship and Distribution of the Estate.  This may take 6 or 8 months. In the meantime, Son finds out that the mortgage is a year behind, and the mortgage company his filed a foreclosure. 

Son wants to prevent the mortgage company from foreclosing, force it to accept a payment plan on the arrears, and force the mortgage company to accept payments on the mortgage going forward, since he does not want to pay it off. Son wants to keep paying Mom’s mortgage because he can’t refinance until the Probate Court transfers the property to him.

Good news. Son can file Chapter 13 to propose a payment plan on the past due mortgage payments, and force the mortgage company to accept his payments on mom’s mortgage in the future. 

One way to get the title to the property in Son’s name immediately, if there are other heirs who do not want any part of the property, would be to get all the heirs to sign an affidavit of heirship, identifying all the heirs and stating that they all agree on the transfer of the property to Son, and have them each sign on a warranty deed from them to Son. Then, record the affidavit of heirship at the recorder of deeds, and then record the deed.  Son now not only has an “equitable inheritance interest” that would enable him to file Chapter 13 regarding the property, but also title interest. Assuming Mom had no other property that required Probate, his problem is solved!

Many mortgages contain a “due on sale clause” stating that if the borrower dies or files bankruptcy, the full amount of the mortgage balance becomes immediately due. That clause is not enforceable, because of a provision in the Garn-St. Germain Act of 1982 12 U.S. Code § 1701j–3.”Preemption of due-on-sale prohibitions” which exempted inherited property from having a “due on sale” clause enforced. The Act does permit acceleration of a mortgage when property is sold, but not when a person dies and the heirs want to make the mortgage payments.

The other situations where a “due-on-sale clause’ can’t be enforced are when a home equity loan or other lien is placed, when a surviving joint tenant takes title, on transfer to a spouse or child of a co-owner because of divorce and the spouse or child will life in the home, or when a borrower transfers property into an inter-vivos living trust.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Are You Ready For a Fresh Start in 2021?

Geraci Law can help you take back control of your finances. Filing for bankruptcy could give you a fresh start in 2021.

2020 is over (finally) and everyone is ready for a new and better year. But what are your options if you have debt you can’t afford to pay? Are you paying minimums only to use the credit again because your cash is gone?

Geraci Law can help you take back control of your finances. Filing for bankruptcy could give you a fresh start in 2021. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy could discharge or eliminate obligation to debt balances like credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, etc. You could keep things like your house and car – the only thing to lose is the debt!

Filing a bankruptcy could change your life for the better. It’s the elimination of the sleepless nights and worry about how and who is getting paid. Geraci Law is the firm to help you accomplish that goal. We’re here to help you figure it out.

It all starts with a phone call. Geraci Law attorneys are available by phone and offer same day meetings and case filings! You could improve your credit score, start saving money and put yourself in a better position in the future.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Do You Live in a Bankruptcy Assistance Desert?

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci titled, “Do you live in a Bankruptcy Assistance Desert?” You can read more articles by Attorney Geraci at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles.

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci titled, “Do you live in a Bankruptcy Assistance Desert?” You can read more articles by Attorney Geraci at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles.

Do you live in a “Bankruptcy Legal Desert”? According to the American Bar Association’s 2020 Profile of the Legal Profession, you may. 40% of America’s counties have less than 1 lawyer per 1000 residents, and some have way less.

And it gets worse depending on what you need a lawyer for. An article in the Indiana Lawyer journal says “simply having lawyers in a county doesn’t guarantee they are available to the public”, because many work for governments or corporations.

Depending on what you need an attorney for, it may be a real problem. You may have to drive for an hour, or even longer, to the location of an attorney that is able to represent you in a specific matter.

Take bankruptcy, for instance. Outside of major cities, there are usually only 1 or 2 lawyers who practice consumer bankruptcy law. And often, they don’t do much of it, only a case here and there, and may do only Chapter 7 cases, not Chapter 13 repayment plans which are at least 1/3 of bankruptcy filings nationwide.

One reason is, once you get away from the “big city”, there aren’t a large number of bankruptcies, because the population is thinner. In sparsely populated areas, there may not be any lawyers for any particular kind of matter. The lawyers in those counties, therefore, don’t get the experience of an attorney who practices exclusively in bankruptcy court.

They may be excellent lawyers, but your options are very limited, both by the lack of lawyers, and the lack of lawyers who actually practice bankruptcy law. It used to be even worse for bankruptcy, because the bankruptcy courts are Federal courts, and usually only located in downtown office buildings in the largest cities, such as Orlando, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Milwaukee.

Chapter 13 trustees for an entire region of millions of people may be 2 hours away from those living outside the downtown areas. Lawyers, as well as clients, had to waste an entire day traveling to court, standing around waiting for a hearing, and getting back to the office or home. But not any more!

What happened? COVID! Lawyers and courts discovered Zoom, and learned how to keep the courts running remotely, or “virtually”. Geraci Law was providing remote, or “virtual” bankruptcy services to its clients for years. Geraci Law bankruptcy clients enjoy the Geraci Law “Client Corner” client portal, and can set virtual or office appointments, message their attorney, sign and upload documents, and even attend bankruptcy hearings, remotely, on their cell phones!

This means that if you live in a rural area, or even in a big city, you don’t have to battle rush hour, find a sitter, take a day off work, or drive an hour to find a bankruptcy lawyer.

All you need is your cell phone or computer. Geraci Law is available to help you virtually! Use the Geraci Law Office Locator at www.infotapes.com to find a virtual or physical Geraci Law office near you. Get your basic information by going to www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com and using the Search tool. You’ll find the answers to the most often-asked bankruptcy questions, before you call to become a Geraci Law client, and get debt-free!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Happy Thanksgiving from Geraci Law!

Have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving from All at Geraci Law. If you need us, call us at 800 CALL PFG (800.225.5734).

Have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving from All at Geraci Law. If you need us, call us at 800 CALL PFG (800.225.5734) We are open on Friday and Saturday for calls.

Great information at www.infotapes.com – you can learn about Geraci Law, bankruptcy, debt consolidation, and MORE!

New Infotapes are released – check them out at here!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Geraci Law & COVID 19

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci about our firm’s COVID practices. We work extremely hard to protect staff and our clients. Read more PFG articles at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles.

Geraci Law has always advocated flu shots! Before COVID-19, we had a nurse come in to provide free flu shots to everyone who wanted them. By doing this, we reduced staff illness quite a bit. While there is no vaccination yet for COVID-19, we are taking all the precautions to keep our staff and client safe. Everything from sanitizer to rubber gloves, two desk shields, masks, sanitizing wipes, special packets for client so they have their own pen and mask when they come to the office, and the list goes on.

Geraci Law has over 100 attorneys and staff helping clients file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The secret to protecting them from COVID? High tech remote working capability and strict compliance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations. Let’s take “high tech” first!

How is Geraci Law “hi tech”?  Geraci Law is one of the few law firms in the country that writes its own computer software. We have programmers on staff that work full time exclusively for Geraci Law. We maintain our own servers. This capability allowed us to disperse our staff to remote working immediately when COVID-19 hit. Our staff is been working from home, or from one of our 30 physical locations, since March 17, 2020. We had been prepared for this, because we have been doing remote consultation since Desert Storm.

Hi tech involves video conferencing, virtual document signing, and of course the ability to communicate on the Internet. Geraci Law has an exclusive client portal called Client Corner. From the very first time a client contacts us, even before the consultation, they can upload their documents so that whether it’s a virtual or office consultation, our attorneys can give accurate advice based upon your documents, instead of guessing. You can upload your documents 24/7 , send messages to your Geraci Law attorneys, print copies of your documents for yourself, fill out documents, and sign and transmit them, all without leaving your easy chair. All you need is a cell phone. That helps you stay in your COVID-19bubble, and also save a ton of commuting time.

What about precautions?

The most important aspect of all of this is to limit the damage from COVID-19. At this point more than half of our consultations, remotely, so you we can get back to his close and normal life as possible, without risk of spreading infection. Geraci Law is proud of the way our staff and clients have modified their work and home lifestyles to help everyone get through this crisis.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Does Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy Ruin My Credit?

Bad credit can’t be ruined by getting out of debt. Bankruptcy gets you out of debt. No debt = better “credit”.

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci explaining filing a bankruptcy could actually IMPROVE your credit score. Read more articles written by PFG at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles.

Most people filing bankruptcy have bad credit scores. Most are below 600. That is bad credit.

Bad credit can’t be ruined by getting out of debt. Bankruptcy gets you out of debt. No debt = better “credit”.

Studies have shown that your credit score goes up after bankruptcy discharge.  Take my 2 hour debtor education course if you want to improve your credit.  Go to http://www.pfged.com   

If you can get a house and a low interest rate on a vehicle, you probably don’t even need bankruptcy relief. 

But, if you can’t afford to pay your creditors, but you have a good credit score, you probably don’t have good credit, you have good debt!  Soon or later, the credit bureaus are going to notice you’ve maxed out on credit and your credit score is going to fall.  

Bankruptcy does not generally ruin your credit more than it is already. Many people say to me, “I’m current on all my cards. I have good credit.” Then I find out that they have been getting cash advances on one card and using that money to pay the other charge cards. That is borrowing money when you cannot repay it. If you do that, you may not have good credit.  

Credit is the ability to borrow money. Lenders look at several things about you if you want to borrow money. First, they look at your ability to repay it. If you have a lot of bills to pay now, you probably can’t afford to borrow more, because you won’t be able to repay it.

Second, the credit bureaus look at your history of repayment. If creditors reported you slow-pay, or have lawsuits, garnishments or repossessions, you already have ruined your credit history. Getting rid of your bills in a bankruptcy may improve your situation. You will have no bills to pay, or maybe just one or two. You will then be able to try to save a little money. Also, you can’t file another bankruptcy until six years have passed. Many lenders will allow you to re-establish credit, because now you have a better ability to repay.

The third main factor that a lender looks at is the security or collateral given for the loan. You may need more money down than in the past.

At Geraci Law, we want to make your life better.  So if we think you don’t need bankruptcy relief, we tell you.  Take our free 20-minute credit counseling course at Infotapes.com, or our 2 hour Debtor Education Course at pfged.com for more information. 

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Answers to Almost Every Question About Bankruptcy

Did you know Attorney Peter Francis Geraci wrote a book? It’s called the “The Complete Book on Bankruptcy.” His book answers almost any question you may have about bankruptcy.

Did you know Attorney Peter Francis Geraci wrote a book? It’s called the “The Complete Book on Bankruptcy.” His book answers almost any question you may have about bankruptcy.

The best part? The book is FREE and available online. You can click https://www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com/ to read the entire book and learn about the differences of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

His book answers questions like:

What happens to my credit score if I file bankruptcy?

Will My Employer Find Out if I File Bankruptcy?

What can bankruptcy do for you?

When Will Creditors Stop Bothering Me?

Bankruptcy and Divorce, Alimony, & Child Support

Bill Consolidation Scams

Chapter 13 Debt Repayment Plans

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at http://www.infotapes.com. Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you. Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law? Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews since November 2016!

More NEW Infotapes Available!

Attorney Peter Francis Geraci recorded NEW Infotapes available to watch at http://peterfrancisgeraci.com/Infotapes.html! You can learn about debt and your bankruptcy options.

Attorney Peter Francis Geraci recorded NEW Infotapes available to watch at http://peterfrancisgeraci.com/Infotapes.html! You can learn about debt and your bankruptcy options. Geraci Law’s motto is helping clients change their lives for the better.

Plus – who does not love the Infotapes? Now you can see the Infotapes live with host PFG! New Infotapes cover topics including:

-Can You File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?

-How Does Bankruptcy Filing Work?

-What Problems Can Bankruptcy Solve?

-Homes & Bankruptcy

-Governmental Fines, Uninsured Accidents, or Driver License Suspensions in Bankruptcy

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

New Debt Relief Videos featuring PFG!

A new feature on our web site features educational videos about debt from Attorney Peter Francis Geraci. You can see all for FREE at http://www.peterfrancisgeraci.com/infotapes.html

A new feature on our web site features educational videos about debt from Attorney Peter Francis Geraci. You can see all for FREE at http://www.peterfrancisgeraci.com/infotapes.html

You can watch vides to get answers to the following questions:

  1. When Should I File Bankruptcy?
  2. How Does Bankruptcy Filing Work?
  3. What is the Right Time to File Bankruptcy?
  4. What Problems Can Bankruptcy Solve?
  5. Can you File Without Your Spouse?
  6. Will you Lose Anything If you File Bankruptcy?
  7. What Happens if You’re Divorced and Need Bankruptcy?
  8. How to Find a Cheap Bankruptcy Attorney?
  9. Is Bankruptcy Bad?

PFG commercials could be considered legendary. If you want to watch Geraci Law commercials, you can find videos here!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.