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.

Stop Lawsuits!

Geraci Law can help you STOP a lawsuit with a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. We can help with foreclosure, wage garnishments and judgments.

Stop Lawsuits!

Did you receive a notice about a lawsuit in the mail?  Did the Sheriff knock on your door and hand you a summons? Are you worried about foreclosure and your home?

Geraci Law can help you figure out what your options are regarding past due balances. We offer bankruptcy as an option to STOP the lawsuit.

Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a lawsuit from a creditor. Geraci Law offers FREE consultations with our experienced attorneys to help you figure it out. Filing a bankruptcy can prevent:

  • Foreclosure
  • Garnishment
  • Judgments
  • Liens against personal property or bank accounts

If you are being garnished already or if a default judgment is already entered, filing a bankruptcy can STOP any future collections. If there is a suit filed, NOW is the time to consult with a Geraci Law bankruptcy attorney. We can advise if bankruptcy is a solution to your problem.

Even if you are getting threats for a lawsuit from collection agencies, give us a call. Solve the problem before a lawsuit is filed on public record. Geraci Law is happy to meet with you via video, in office or by phone.

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.

FAQs about Debt & COVID 19

Geraci Law answers questions about debt during COVID 19.

FAQs about Debt & COVID 19

Geraci Law wants to help you answer questions about debt and collections because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.  Reviewing your financial situation with an experienced bankruptcy firm (like Geraci Law) is almost a GREAT idea if you are struggling financially.

Are the bankruptcy courts open?

Yes but there are are no in-person meetings. BUT, we are able to file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions to get the automatic stay protection. The courts are still processing filed petitions. There is no delay in case filing. Oftentimes Geraci Law can file a case the same or next day.

Can bill collectors sue me when courts reopen?

ABSOLUTELY. Governor J.B. Pritzer suspended summons service so creditors cannot serve a garnishment or citation to discover assets. Most collection agencies and finance companies are put on hold during COVID-19. Once the order ends – collectors can start to sue, garnish, and collect. Filing a bankruptcy NOW stops the future collection.

Are Geraci Law offices open?

Yes and no. Yes Geraci Law is open and ready to help. No, the physical locations are not open to protect our staff and clients. We can meet with you via phone or video. It’s the same great service – just virtually. You can schedule online at https://www.infotapes.com/Bankruptcy/OfficeLocator. All you need is a smart phone!

Where can I find more information about finances during COVID-19?

Geraci Law wants to be a resource to everyone. A great place to look is at https://www.infotapes.com/Links this includes information about debt, education, job fairs and other important resources.

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 25,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com

When Should I File For Bankruptcy?

Use Peter Francis Geraci checklist to determine if NOW is the best time to file!

When Should I File for Bankruptcy?

Below is a checklist from Attorney Peter Francis Geraci’s Bankruptcy Book. Use the checklist to review if now is the best time to file for bankruptcy.

Read more of The Complete Book on Bankruptcy by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com

  • Three or more apply to YOU, you should call us NOW.
  • Five or more apply to YOU, then you should have called us months ago.

_____My debt is over $10,000 not including a car or house.

_____My payments are over 25% of my take home pay.

_____I am frequently late on my payments.

_____I pay 20% interest on my debt.

_____I buy necessary items like food or clothing on credit.

_____I frequently get cash advances.

_____I am thinking about getting a loan to pay other loans.

_____ I have a lawsuit and over $10,000 in other debt I can eliminate.

_____Collection agencies are calling me.

_____I am “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

_____My balances are not going down even though I make payments.

_____I have been turned down for more credit.

_____Payments are more than 1 month behind on more than one bill.

_____My driver’s license is suspended because of an accident.

_____I am working but paying other debts so I can’t afford car insurance.

_____My mortgage or rent is always late, or is behind.

_____We are getting divorced and have too many bills to pay.

_____I have medical bills over $20,000 that are not insured.

_____There is a garnishment or wage assignment on my check.

_____I owe income taxes I can’t pay now.

_____My car is worth much less than I owe.

_____I have no savings.

Either way, Geraci Law offers a free consultation if bankruptcy solves your problem. Don’t wait until creditors file a lawsuit, don’t wait until your savings are spent and do not wait until a car is repossessed. BREAK THE CYCLE!

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 25,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com

What Do You Do Before You Sue?

Notice & Cure Provisions in Home Mortgages – instructions on what to do before you file a suit against your lender.

Notice and Cure Provisions in Home Mortgages – What do you do before you sue?

By Attorney Peter Francis Geraci, J.D.

It depends. Individuals may consider bringing claims against their mortgage lenders under federal statutes such as the Truth in Lending Act, or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and state statutes such as the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

But, before you sue, what do you do? Read the mortgage! Many have provisions that have to be followed, or your lawsuit will be dismissed. Examples are “notice and cure”, and “mandatory arbitration”.

In Wortman v. Rushmore Loan Mgmt. Servs. LLC, No 19C2860,(N.D.Ill. Oct 16, 2019) plaintiff’s case against their mortgage service for sending them collection notices after bankruptcy discharge was dismissed. Why? Their personal obligation on the mortgage was discharged in Chapter 13, but only the personal obligation to pay the debt, not their obligation to comply with the terms of the mortgage.

In other words, a mortgage does not disappear because of a bankruptcy discharge. A mortgage servicer can send letters about filing a foreclosure suit to take the property back, and file a foreclosure suit.  All that a bankruptcy discharge does is eliminate the obligation of the discharged debtor to pay anything on the debt. It does not eliminate the other rights of a secured creditor, such as foreclosing on real estate, or repossessing a vehicle.

Not only do “liens”, or interests in property, survive discharge, but so do clauses in such lien documents and notes. That means that, if after discharge, a person wants to file a lawsuit against a creditor who still has a lien, they have to comply with those clauses.

What is a “notice and cure” provision? It says “a party who is in default is entitled to notice of the default, and a period of time to cure the default, before the other party may accelerate the contract and demand full payment, or foreclose or repossess”.

What is an “arbitration clause”? It says “if the borrower wants to make any claims against the lender it must do outside of court, in a proceeding involving appointed “arbitrators”.

Some cases hold that these clauses prohibit a lawsuit, unless the borrower first complies with them. Some cases hold that these clauses are not effective in a consumer protection lawsuit. In the Wortman case, the judge dismissed plaintiff’s case under FDCPA because the mortgage survived, and so did the “notice and cure” provision that required the borrower to give notice to the mortgage company before borrower filed suit.

So, what do you do before you sue? Read the document that established the relationship between you and who you want to sue. It may require you to arbitrate instead of go to court, or to give notice of your intent to sue. Those clauses may or may not prevent a suit, depending on what your claim is. But one thing is for sure: liens pass through bankruptcy, and so do the documents creating them, and so does the fine print in them. Bankruptcy only discharges the borrower’s obligation to make payments. If they don’t, the creditor can take action to get their property back.

This can work against mortgage lenders and car owners, but it can work in their favor also. After a discharge in either Chapter 7 or 13, a debtor can file a Chapter 13 to cure a mortgage default, even if the personal liability to pay has been discharged. The U.S. Supreme Court, Johnson v. Home State Bank, 501 U.S. 78 (1991) rule that, after discharge in bankruptcy, a debtor can file a Chapter 13 to cure a mortgage default, even if their personal liability on the mortgage was discharged.

This ability to file a Chapter 13 to cure mortgage default also works for people who are not on title to the property, but only have an inheritance interest. If mom dies without a will, an heir can file a Chapter 13 case to cure mortgage arrears, force the mortgage company to accept payments, and prevent foreclosure.

Being Sued? Call Geraci Law Today!

What is a lawsuit?   It’s a bill collector asking a court for a JUDGMENT!  Why do creditors hire lawyers to get a JUDGMENT?  lawsuitBecause then they can use the Court to COLLECT!!  First they hire the sheriff to serve you with the complaint.  If you don’t have a defense, they can then get their JUDGMENT!

How do creditors COLLECT?  First, they may record the judgment with the County you live in or have property in.  Then it becomes a “lien” or “right to collect when sold”.  That means they can sell your real estate, or personal property!!!  Serious!

Next, they can ask your bank or employer to turn over your money or paycheck!  Whooops!

How can you stop a lawsuit or judgment?  Pay them!  If you can’t pay them, get a free phone mini-consultation with Geraci Law.  Chapter 7 can eliminate debt. Chapter 13 can consolidate it into an affordable payment plan. Geraci Law will review your BEST option to stop the creditor action. We know you might be nervous or embarrassed. Don’t be. Geraci Law is here to help. We do not judge – we STOP judgments from creditors.

Hwoman happyere’s an example showing how Geraci Law can help…“I came in to this office worried and scared because of the amount of debt I was in and the possibility of law suits consuming my life. When I arrived I was greeted and immediately felt welcomed. I was a bit unprepared and nervous but Geraci Law made it a simple and smooth process! They were very understanding and did not judge or condemn me for what was going on. Geraci Law simply offered words of encouragement and explained my options to help! I’m so glad I came!!

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 20,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

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