Warning: Do Not Get Ripped Off Purchasing Federal Forms

A paralegal working for a bankruptcy attorney in Pennsylvania called today to tell me about her experience with Best Case software.  Her attorney is a registered user of Best Case and the paralegal had called them because they had to upgrade their license from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 7 and 13.

While the paralegal was on the phone with Best Case, she asked the sales person about preparing petitions for attorneys outside of her area.  The sales lady told the paralegal that she could NOT prepare Chapter 13s for any other district except the district the attorney was in.  Even if she prepared a bankruptcy petition that was not in the same district but within the state of Pennsylvania she would have to pay another $150 to $200 for the Chapter 13 Plan.

The paralegal called me because she felt something was wrong and that Best Case had misrepresented the federal forms.  She asked me how Best Case could do this; so I explained to her the scam some bankruptcy software companies are using to sell federal forms.  Of course this scam is one of those legitimate scams.  In case you did not know, a legitimate scam is one where the customer is still ripped off, but the thief operates the scam legitimately.  Best Case is using this age old scam and eventually it will harm them; but who am I to judge?

What is the Scam?

First, you need to be aware that every federal form pertaining to bankruptcy is provided free by the government because consumers have the right to represent themselves. (This is why the first form in a bankruptcy petition is called a Voluntary Petition; the petition is filed by the debtor voluntarily).

Back to the subject, you should never be required to pay for a federal form.  The bankruptcy software companies like Best Case know this; so they sell the federal forms under the disguise that their forms work with their software.  Big deal!  But they will make you think their forms are the best thing since sliced bread so they can sell them to you and laugh all the way to the bank.

The Proof

You can verify that my statements are true by viewing the FREE federal forms I provide on the Colorado Bankruptcy Training website at:

http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/links_chapter13plans.html

Every one of these forms are fillable; which means that you can open up the document, click on a line and begin typing in the information on your computer.  This is often faster compared to printing out the document and filling it out by hand.  One tip though:  Only Adobe provides software that makes forms fillable; therefore, you must download the free Adobe Reader in order for the fill-in-the-blank capability to properly work.

How To Use the PDF Version Instead of the Paid Version

Prepare the petition in your bankruptcy software as you normally would. For any forms that are blocked out (such as the Chapter 13 Plan) simply download them from the website link above.  Allow the software to still compile the data and figures for the form; but instead of spending $150 or $200 to purchase an unlock code, simply transfer those figures onto the PDF document and you are good to go.  The PDF will need to be filed separately with the court, but who cares?  For most people, spending 2 extra minutes to save a great deal of money is worth it.

Of course, if you want the convenience of purchasing an unlock code for your bankruptcy software; there is nothing wrong with that.  The part that bothers me is that software companies like Best Case are forcing law firms to believe they cannot even do a Chapter 13 outside of their district unless they purchase a $150 or $200 module of the Chapter 13 Plan.  This is a lie and I would certainly question the integrity of a company that implemented these types of sales tactics just to take money from people.

Want to Know More?

Article:  Free Chapter 13 Plans and Local Forms (explains more about the scam in more detail): http://www.chapter7and13bankruptcyblog.com/archives/139

Article: Which Bankruptcy Software Should You Purchase? http://www.chapter7and13bankruptcyblog.com/archives/145

Pass This Information Along

If the paralegal had not contacted me about this topic today, the law firm could have ended up paying out thousands of dollars for forms they can obtain free from their local bankruptcy court website.

Please pass along this information to any legal or paralegal related groups that you belong to.  Knowledge is power and knowledge in this area will prevent scams like this continuing.  Thanks for your help and support.

How to Gain Knowledge and Obtain Power in Business

Knowledge is not intelligence. Knowledge is something you obtain after repeatedly performing a skill or being trained in a skill. Knowledge has nothing to do with intelligence. You can have an IQ of 212 but you would never have the knowledge about everything there is to know.

But how do you obtain knowledge? Do you read books? Do you watch videos and attend seminars? Do you enroll in training courses? Do you communicate with people who have the knowledge you wish to obtain? The answer is YES to all four questions. But the problem is, many people don’t know how to listen, read and communicate in order to obtain the knowledge provided to them.

Here are some tips to help you increase your knowledge:

Listening Skills

1. Pay close attention to the answer a person gives after you ask them a question. Although this sounds simple to do, the problem occurs when the listener does not listen. Instead, they are contemplating what they are going to say next, or even concentrating on unrelated matters. It takes a little effort to truly listen to what people are saying and putting all your own thoughts out of your mind for a moment so you can learn from them.

2. Maintain eye contact with the speaker. This is a good exercise to get into a habit of doing because it will help you to become less distracted or keep your thoughts from wondering.

3. Avoid the human tendency to jump to conclusions about what is said before the speaker has finished. Instead, you should listen closely even if you think you know what the person is going to say. Think of yourself as a news reporter with unbiased views and gathering as much information as possible so you can write a detailed report later. Once you have fully understood and absorbed what the speaker is saying, you can form your own opinions at that time. But forming an opinion while the speaker is talking does not allow you to absorb knowledge.

4. Make sure you understand the entire concept before offering any advice or suggestions to others. Sometimes people are so eager to show their enthusiasm that they offer suggestions without realizing the speaker would prefer that they listen rather than give advice. This is not to say that suggestions and solutions are not important. Of course they are, if they are offered at the appropriate time.

5. Stop everything you are doing and give the speaker your undivided attention. It is nearly impossible to concentrate on what someone is saying if you are doing something else. You may be able to take in the gist of what it being said, but you will never absorb all the details. Details are the meat and potatoes of knowledge and should never be missed.

Reading Skills 1. When you read a paragraph make sure you can repeat the meaning of that paragraph before you read any further. It is natural for your mind to wander as you are reading a training manual or other reading material. But you need to train yourself to read and understand every paragraph before you move on to the next. This does not mean that you will gain all the knowledge from that paragraph – just that you understand what the writer is saying.

2. Read with an open, unbiased mind until you fully understand what the writer is conveying. You are trying to obtain knowledge that you currently do not have. If you allow your own biased opinions to clutter up your mind while you are trying to obtain that knowledge, you will get little benefit from the knowledge the writer is giving to you.

3. Always read a book with a yellow highlight marker in your hand. Use it to highlight sentences, paragraphs and sections that stick out as important to you. This way, you can go back through the book and immediately find all the highlighted areas during your second review.

Telephone Skills

1. Organize your thoughts before making the call. No one appreciates a telephone call from a person who takes forever to get to the point. Garbled requests for information can only have one result – failure. You need to organize your thoughts before making the telephone call so you can get right to the point and resolve the issue. If necessary, write down a list of the questions you need to ask or what information you need to obtain; then refer to it when you make the telephone call.

2. Do not put a caller on hold for longer than 1 minute. If you discover you cannot answer the question or solve the problem during the time the caller is on hold, offer to call them back as soon as you have an answer. Then remember to call them back. Most people will wait for you to call them back if you promised to do so. If you still are unable to get the information to help them within 1 hour after promising to call them back, call them anyway and explain that it will take longer than expected. Then, give the caller an expected wait time for you to get the information or solve the problem.

3. Take notes during the telephone call. When someone calls you, train yourself to write down the name of the person and any other notes pertinent to the conversation. This way, you can refer to the person by name during the rest of the conversation and record important information you will use when you hang up the phone.

4. End the telephone call appropriately. Normally the person who calls should be the one who ends the call. But if the caller continues to talk forever and you need the call to end, be professional. Wait for a pause and say something like: “I am sorry to interrupt but I have another appointment. Perhaps we can talk later but thank you again for calling.”

5. Return all your calls promptly. A hectic and demanding schedule is no excuse for failing to return a telephone call. Have you ever tried to reach someone repeatedly by telephone, only to have them call you back several days later and tell you they had been so busy they could not call you back? If so, you can imagine how a customer or client will feel when you do the same to them.

Business Email Communications

1. Use the subject line of an email message to inform. The importance of an email is often determined by the subject line. Keep the subject line brief and specific. Make sure it relates to the subject matter of your email. If not, the receiver might accidentally delete it or mistake your email as spam or an unsolicited advertisement.

2. Treat emails like business letters. It is better to be more formal than casual in business email communications. You want to make a good impression.

3. Include a signature line. Nothing is more annoying than receiving an email from someone you want to contact but they provide no name, title, company, telephone number or website information. Do not rely on people being able to reply to your email as their only means to contact you. Often, email can bounce (due to internet glitches) through no fault of your own and your email is never received.

4. Never shout at people by using uppercase letters. Typing in uppercase letters is considered CYBER SHOUTING. As an alternative use asterisks to emphasize words, such as: Please contact us “no later” than Friday.

5. Skip the fancy decorations. Vivid colors, flashing symbols of bouncing smiley faces (better known as emotions) should never be used in business communications. These types of effects should only be reserved for personal email, not business email.

6. Keep your email very brief. Writing long emails about how you emotionally feel about a situation does not get your email read. But do not be too brief either. Provide the business with all the pertinent facts so they have enough information to look up your records and resolve the issue the first time. However, if your email is longer than 2 paragraphs, pick up the phone and call the company to resolve the issue.

7. Remember that no email is private. Every email you send passes through 1,000s of servers before it is delivered to the recipient. Additionally, every email you send is likely to be achieved on 1,000s of computers who make it a point to back up their customer’s email data. If you are angry and exhibit irrational behavior in an email, chances are it will come back to haunt you one day.

8. Avoid mood mail. Email messages that convey strong emotions can be easily misunderstood. Never send an email when you are angry. Take time to cool down, count to 100, then go back and re-read your email and edit it before clicking the Send button.

9. Proof every email before sending it to a business. It pays to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation before clicking the Send button. Getting in a hurry does nothing but cost you more time in the long run.

10. Respect the privacy of others. When you send an email that you also want sent to other people, use the BCC (blind carbon copy) function instead of the CC (carbon copy) function. This way, when the person receives your email, there will not be a long list of other email addresses at the top; and they don’t have to scroll down through the list to get to the email message.

11. Be very cautious when you use the “Reply All” button on your email program. If you receive an email that was sent to a multitude of people, hitting the “Reply All” button will send your reply to everyone. Unless you want this to happen, do not use this feature.

12. Do not be a pest. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours after sending an email, either send a different email explaining why you are following up or pick up the phone and call the company.

13. Never send an attachment unless you have permission to do so. Most email servers today will automatically strip attachments because they can be considered spam. Unless the company has specifically requested that you send an attachment, never send one.

14. Think twice before sending jokes, chain letters or funny messages. Just because you may think something is funny or cute does not mean the person receiving it will feel the same way. In fact, they may even find them insulting. Do not risk your reputation.

15. When posting a response to a message board, remember that your email is forever edged in stone. Many people forget that when they post a message to a message board, that message is archived forever. The main website that archives every web site that has ever been in existence is The Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/

Summary

I sincerely hope that you have read this entire article and will use it to improve your communication and listening skills. When you do, you will find that your knowledge will increase and you will become a better asset for the attorneys and business associates you communicate with on a daily basis.

Victoria Ring, CEO Colorado Bankruptcy Training.Com http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com

Major Addition to PACER

Just a few minutes ago I heard about the new CASE LOCATOR function that is now available inside PACER.  This new Case Locator will allow you to search for court records in ALL district, bankruptcy and appellate courts.  The Case Locator replaces the U.S. Party/Case Index and provides enhanced search and display capabilities.

With the new Case Locator, you will now be able to:

* Request lists of cases for a specific date range by court type * Conduct searches based on chapter, discharge date and dismissal date for bankruptcy cases * Access case information for the Judicial Panel on multidistrict litigation * Choose result formats including HTML, delimited text and XML which can easily be imported into other software programs for study and analysis * Change the sort order of the results displayed * Conduct refined searches within the results of the previous search

Time Savings News when Preparing the Bankruptcy Petition

Although PACER provided us with the ability to do a nationwide search using the old U.S. Party/Case Index, we were extremely limited in our search capabilities.  With the new Case Locator you will save 50% or more in time.

For example: When preparing a bankruptcy petition you should always do a nationwide check to find out if the debtors have any unresolved legal matters in the court system to ensure all assets and liabilities are included in the filing.  Now, instead of receiving a long list of results to sift though you can now do a more refined search within a specific date range and get more precise results.

This is only one small example of the benefits the Case Locator will provide to our lives.  I urge you to give the Case Locator a try for yourself and find out how it can make your job easier.

Visit the Case Locator at: http://pcl.uscourts.gov

Summary

I, for one, am very excited to see the upgrade.  Not only will it help attorneys and their staff when preparing bankruptcy petitions, the upgrade will save the entire court system a great deal of time.  This allows us to devote more of our time to the growing workload of consumers filing bankruptcy petitions.

Do You Need Help Preparing Petitions?

You Prepare The Petition, We Review Before Filing http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/petition_review.html

Petition Preparation – Specializing in Chapter 13s http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/petition_preparation.html

Debtor Bankruptcy Services http://www.bankruptcy-paralegal.com/debtor.html

Bankruptcy Attorney Tools

Free Bankruptcy Attorney Tools http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/free.html

Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars http://bankruptcyattorneyseminars.com/

How to Start a New Bankruptcy Practice http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/new_practice.html

Can Debtors Prioritize Debts in Bankruptcy?

Typical Scenario:

Debtor borrowed money from a friend or relative and has been paying them back on a monthly basis.  When the debtor files bankruptcy, they may or may not list this debt in the intake.

The problems this issue causes:

1.  If the debtor is filing a Chapter 13, the debtor will be using all of their disposable income to make their Chapter 13 Plan payment.  This means there will be no money left over to pay the friend or relative.

2.  If the personal loan is included in the Chapter 13 Plan, the friend or relative will be notified of the bankruptcy like all the other creditors.  The friend or relative will be required to file a Proof of Claim and they will be treated as an unsecured debt if no collateral was required for the loan.

3.  If the debtor qualifies for a Chapter 7, the personal loan from a friend or relative (which is normally unsecured) will be discharged in bankruptcy.  Although not obligated by law to do so, after the bankruptcy is discharged the debtor can make payment arrangements with this creditor or any other creditor to repay discharged debts.

What happens if the debt is not reported?

First of all, it is unlawful for the attorney, non-attorney or debtor to withhold any debt or asset information from being listed on a bankruptcy petition.  Secondly, the debtors sign a document within the bankruptcy petition that states they have accurately reported every debt they owe.

Thirdly, if the bankruptcy case is a Chapter 13, not providing for the debt will not provide any money to pay it.  This is because all disposable income is disbursed to paying the creditors.  If the creditor (friend or relative who loaned the debtor money) is not listed in the petition, there will be no money to pay them.

Can the personal debt be reaffirmed?

If a debt is unsecure, a Reaffirmation Agreement is worthless.  Suppose I borrowed $500 from you and said I would repay you.  What happens if I do not pay?  Unless I gave you an asset that you could repossess, there is nothing you can do except file a lawsuit and hopefully win a judgment, which may or may not be collectable.

Therefore, if the debtors sign a Reaffirmation Agreement on an unsecure debt, but they do not honor their agreement; there is no asset that can be taken.  Signing a Reaffirmation Agreement on the debt owed to the friend or relative will do absolutely nothing to the priority of the debt or help to assure the debt is paid differently from the other debts in the same class.

Can the debtor prioritize the debt?

Absolutely not.  Only the bankruptcy court can make the determination of the priority of debts.  If the debtors want to pay back their friend 100% of the money they loaned them but only offer the credit card companies 25% in the Chapter 13 Plan, do you think the credit card companies may be a little upset?  Of course they would, and the attorney can count on an Objection to the Chapter 13 Plan being filed against them.  This delays confirmation as well as creating more work for the attorney.

But this scenario happens quite often. If this situation happens to you, do not think it is rare.  Every bankruptcy attorney has encountered this same scenario and it much more common than you may think.   In fact, I remember encountering these same problems back in the early 1980s.  It is common for debtors to borrow money from family and friends prior to filing bankruptcy.  Of course most of them feel obligated to pay back the family or friend, which is also morally correct.  However, placing a creditor as priority above another creditor is considered an act of fraud and is never to be offered as an option for the debtor.

Suggestion for attorneys when faced with this situation.

Be honest and tell the debtor what may or may not happen concerning the debt owed to their friend or relative.  As provided for above, treatment of the debt will vary depending on whether the debtor is filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

Also, remember to point out the positive points of the Chapter 13 Plan. For the attorneys that I prepare petitions for, I give them a summation that they can share with the debtor.  For example:

1.   2008 Toyota RAV4 crammed down from $28,078.97 to the market value of $16,375.00; thus saving the debtors $11,073.97.

2.   Interest rate on 2008 Toyota RAV4 was reduced from 14.5% to 2.0%.

3.   Due to the reduction in the amount owed on the 2008 Toyota RAV4, the monthly payment was kept the same but the length of the loan was reduced from 59 months to 35 months; thus paying the car off earlier.

4.    The televisions sets were proposed as EXEMPT since they are household items. Therefore, the payment of this debt was removed from the Chapter 13 Plan.  If the creditor does not object, the debtors will NOT have to repay the $4,200.00.

5.  Plan Summary: Monthly payments: $643.00 Length of payments:  60 months Unsecured Plan Percentage: 38%

Do you need assistance with your Chapter 13s?

If you are an attorney seeking attorney-quality work for preparing your Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions, consider the virtual paralegal services of Victoria Ring and Michael Misenheimer.  For more information visit

http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/petition_preparation.html

Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars

Most attorneys are already aware that there are very few training options available for bankruptcy attorneys pertaining to Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy petitions. In law school, the focus is mainly on Chapter 11s and business-related filings.  Not only is consumer law often overlooked in law school, but until recently, bankruptcy was not an area of law that carried much weight or prestige.

In the past, attorneys and their staff had no option except to be trained either on the job (through the trial and error method of making mistakes) or from experienced people who had the time to train them.  However, because of the record number of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions being filed today, bankruptcy is booming.  Therefore, the option of learning by trial and error or being taught by experienced people is an option not readily available to most law firms today. In addition, bankruptcy courts in every state spend a great deal of time finding and fixing errors caused by new and inexperienced attorneys and their personnel.  All of this combined will waste time and money which is why many courts are becoming more strict with their procedures.

But there is a very bad side to this issue also.  Some attorneys have actually been sanctioned and either paid high restitution fees or lost their license to practice law simply because the attorney and the staff were not properly trained and repeatedly filed inaccurate or fraudulent petitions.  Some of these attorneys became paralegals and continued to work inside law firms and others will get out of the profession altogether.

This problem needed fixed and it needed to be fixed fast!!

In a sincere effort to help address these problems, Victoria Ring (the developer of the virtual bankruptcy assistant industry) and Michael Misenheimer (a certified paralegal who is entering law school this Fall) have joined forces.  They have developed a dynamic training curriculum that has literally transformed business for bankruptcy attorneys nationwide.  Together, Victoria and Michael are able to provide bankruptcy attorneys with the skills they need to streamline their practice and increase profits for their law firms.

Keeping costs to a reasonable $275 per person, an attorney can easily afford to attend with their staff and everyone will gain from the knowledge that both Michael and Victoria teach.  Unlike typical seminars and workshops, Michael and Victoria take a different approach to training by making their seminars unique and unlike others you may have attended in the past.

For example:

1.  The information taught in the Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars is NOT taught in any other seminar, workshop or training program. This is because the materials have been personally compiled from many years of working in the field as well as advanced training from attorneys, judges and trustees.

2.  The Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars are causal, relaxed and interactive. In fact, attendees are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the ongoing discussion.  This type of atmosphere promotes a higher level of learning.

3.  Networking is one of the prime goals of the Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars.  In fact, in previous seminars, long-lasting business relationships have developed just from attending.  This is because the Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars place great emphasis on working together and feeding off the knowledge of everyone present. This results in an atmosphere that helps to promote maximum retention levels.

4.  All attendees receive a wealth of information in the form of handouts that they can use to take back to the law firm and immediately put to use.

Bankruptcy Attorney Seminar Overview

The Bankruptcy Attorney Seminars are structured to cover TWO days (Friday and Saturday.)  Attorneys and their staff may attend either day or both days and save $100.  A single day registration is only $275 per person with discounts when two or more are attending from the same law firm.

Day 1 of the Seminar (Friday)

* Bankruptcy petition preparation skills and tips to make your job faster * Demonstrations of how to propose mortgage cram downs and strip downs * Tips for improving your Chapter 13 Plan preparation skills * Techniques to help you reduce deficiency notices after the bankruptcy petition is filed * How to work better with creditors as well as how to better protect the debtor

Day 2 of the Seminar (Saturday)

* Client intake interview tips to help reveal information that could make or break a case * Procedural and operational techniques to maximize office efficiency * Methods for turning free consultations into paying clients * Easy to understand web page development suggestions * Marketing your law firm via the internet and social networking

To find out more about these seminars, visit http://www.bankruptcyattorneyseminars.com

Summary of April 23-24 Bankruptcy and Marketing Seminar

I just returned from the Bankruptcy Training and Marketing Seminar, held at the Best Western Airport East Hotel in Hapeville, Georgia; a suburb of Atlanta.  Eight people (including two attorneys) attended the Marketing Seminar portion on April 23 and Nineteen people (including five attorneys) attended the Training Seminar portion on April 24.

April 23 – Marketing Portion

Due to the small number in attendance, the eight people received more hands-on training compared to larger seminars we have had in the past.  In fact, I personally prefer working with a smaller group when I teach marketing because I can individually address specific concerns and give precise direction so that the attendee can go home and put ideas into action immediately.

One of the main points I always make in my marketing seminars is to teach people to wake up every morning and say: What can I do to make money today?  Instead, many people begin their virtual business day with negative comments, like:  I do not feel confident. I am afraid to advertise. It is too soon for me to make a website, etc.  I found out a long time ago that the ONLY way to be successful is to think thoughts that will make you successful.  If you begin each day by asking yourself, What can I do to make money today? … you will find that you begin looking for ways to make money.  This line of thinking will make you successful.  The other line of thinking will make you unsuccessful.

Clay Holland also spoke at the Marketing portion of the seminar.  He explained, step-by-step, everything he did to become a successful virtual bankruptcy assistant.  Clay is excellent at relating to other virtual bankruptcy assistants (VBA) because he had absolutely no prior legal experience before he became a VBA.  I, on the other hand, was trained in the law firms and received my training from attorneys, judges and trustees.  This is why Clay can relate much better to the VBAs and he is doing a tremendous job managing 713Training.

At the Marketing seminar, two attorneys flew in from Chicago, Illinois. These attorneys had been very successful at building their law firm in a market saturated by bankruptcy attorneys.  They contributed a great deal to the marketing round table discussion and everyone learned from their knowledge also.  This is one reason I always try to conduct the training seminars in an informal type of format.

Throughout my legal career, meetings became second nature for me.  Some meetings would be boring because only one person would talk.  I do not care how interesting a person is; if one person does all the talking and does not interact with their audience, anything they say becomes boring after awhile.  This is why I pattern all my seminars on interaction.  The result provides attendees with a much better understanding and comprehension versus a long, boring lecture.

April 24 – Bankruptcy

Nineteen people were in attendance for the Bankruptcy portion of the seminar, including five attorneys.  We began the day by having everyone introduce themselves and briefly describe their knowledge of Chapter 7s.  Because I customize every seminar to the needs of the audience, this feedback allows me to address specific topics that will provide the best level of training for those in attendance.  Since everyone in the group already had a basic knowledge of Chapter 7s, I was able to immediately move into training the overall conversion from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13 as well as cover cram down and strip down training.

Michael Misenheimer spoke for a few minutes about how the foreclosure process works.  Then he opened the floor for questions.  Pamela Starr provided an insight into the corporate side of her own personal experience and Michael opened the floor for questions and addressed specific issues relating to debtor and creditor bankruptcy; which he has a vast amount of experience in.

Summary

We would love to meet you at a future Bankruptcy Training Seminar. For more information and to view the calendar of upcoming events, visit: http://www.bankruptcyattorneyseminars.com

New – Bankruptcy Training Seminars

The first TWO bankruptcy attorney seminars has been scheduled. I just launched a new website which you can review and register for these seminars at:

http://www.bankruptcyattorneyseminars.com/ Thank you for your continued support and faith in my training services. I strive to continue working to provide the much needed education to debtor bankruptcy attorneys nationwide.  I hope to see you at an upcoming seminar.

Update from Victoria Ring

CONVERT MORE CLIENTS

I have been talking to several attorneys this week in regard to tools they need to help them be more productive in their law practice.  One of the major problems I kept finding was that attorneys are having difficulty converting client interviews to paying clients.  Several attorneys told me: I do 5 to 6 interviews a week but the clients never come back and retain me to do their petitions.

This is a very common problem for many attorneys; even though it sounds strange in a world where bankruptcy is the major booming field within the legal system.  So, why are some bankruptcy attorneys swamped with work and other bankruptcy attorneys are barely getting 1 or 2 clients per month?  The answer lies in the benefits you can provide to your potential clients based upon their unique circumstances.  Once you are able to evaluate their needs in an efficient manner, you will be able to know what these unique circumstances are and use this knowledge to your advantage when discussing price options with your clients.

And because every bankruptcy petition is unique and different, every client will have a unique set of circumstances they need help with.  This is why I developed the Initial Intake Form Package which is aimed at putting more money in your pocket and less time providing free consultations.  To find out more or to order, visit:

http://www.coloradobankruptcytraining.com/products_intakeform.html

UPCOMING CALIFORNIA WORKSHOP

As you may already know, I am scheduled to speak at the Bankruptcy and Marketing Seminar to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23 and 24, 2010.  After I return, Michael Misenheimer and I are planning a two-day training workshop for attorneys and their personnel in Los Angeles.

Topics will include marketing, law office operations as well as training on strip downs and cram downs, which is a very popular topic in California.  In addition, I plan to present materials that will help attorneys market their law firms online.  As I told one attorney, just submitting your website to a search engine or two, is nothing.  That is why I developed the marketing links for attorneys to help them get started.  This list is free and available at:

http://coloradobankruptcytraining.com/links_marketing.html

Do you know of a meeting room we could use for the workshop?

We are currently looking for a meeting room to hold the training workshop; however, Los Angeles is so expensive.  If you have a meeting room where we could hold a two-day workshop you and your law firm employees can attend free.  Please email me if you can help us:

victoriaring1958@gmail.com

JOIN US IN ATLANTA http://www.713training.com/products/Bankruptcy-Petition-Training-Seminar.html

Michael Misenheimer Opens New Creditor and Debtor Service Company

Michael Misenheimer, an experienced paralegal with over 10 years experience in bankruptcy has recently opened a new service for both creditor and debtor bankruptcy attorneys. Michael’s services include:

Foreclosure Services Creditor Services Collection Services Debtor Services

If you are a VBA and your attorney needs assistance with creditor matters, please refer them to Michael.  If you are an attorney, you may consider the services that Michael provides.  Not only is he experienced, reliable and professional, he is also entering law school in the fall to advance his legal career.

Visit Michael’s website at: http://www.bankruptcy-paralegal.com

Michael Misenheimer has been highly recommended by Victoria Ring, founder of the virtual bankruptcy assistant industry.

Potential Problems for CoSigners and CoDebtors When a Bankruptcy Petition is Filed

As you may be aware, cosigners and codebtors are people (or companies) who are obligated to pay a debt if the client does not pay it.  Therefore, when a client decides to file bankruptcy and that client owes a debt where a cosigner or codebtor is involved, it could potentially cause a major problem to develop.

This is why it is extremely important to obtain precise information about any cosigners or codebtors the client(s) have that are associated with their debts.  And to be certain you (or your attorneys) protects the client(s) in the best way possible, the attorney may need to review the contract that was signed regarding this debt.  You will need to find out:

1.   Was the debt secure or unsecure? 2.   Were the client(s) the primary or secondary client(s) on the contract? 3.   Were any items used for collateral no longer in the possession of the client(s), or that the client(s) are surrendering in the bankruptcy?

After obtaining the answers to each one of these questions the attorney will need to find out if this client qualifies for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Both Chapters treat debts somewhat differently but you need to verify the facts before the attorney can advise the client(s) properly.

Let me give you an example:  An attorney discussed a case with me that he was working on.  A lady had stopped by the office to ask about a debt she cosigned on a $27,000 credit card with her nephew.  The nephew was filing bankruptcy and he wanted to know how this would affect his aunt who was not filing.

If the nephew files a Chapter 13 and has enough income to pay back his unsecure creditors 100%, this issue could possibly be uneventful.  The debt could be paid in full through the Chapter 13 Plan which is filed with the bankruptcy petition.

However, a problem could occur if the nephew does not have enough money left over to pay the unsecured creditors 100%.  He may only have enough income to propose a 50% Chapter 13 Plan. What will happen to the remaining 50% that will not be paid through the bankruptcy?

One of the more interesting features of Chapter 13 law is something called the COCLIENT(S) STAY.  Set out in Section 1301(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, the CoClient(s) Stay disallows collection action on consumer debt against co-client(s) or the person filing for bankruptcy.

A TYPICAL SCENARIO

A client files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and includes a debt owed to TV Centers of America for a new television.  The clients mother cosigned the loan for her son.  The clients Chapter 13 protects the mother from collection efforts for as long as the client remains in the Chapter 13 and continues making the payment to the trustee.

However, the obligation of the coclient(s) do not disappear.  If the client repays a consumer debt at 30 cents on the dollar in the Chapter 13, the clients cosigner will be liable for the remaining 70% after the bankruptcy case is discharged.   But, during the time the client(s) are in a Chapter 13, the coclient is protected.   Often in these cases, client(s) will establish special payment CLASSES in their Chapter 13 Plan to pay co-signed debts in full to protect the co-client(s).   In other situations; such as when the cosigner is an exspouse, the co-client(s) may be left exposed.

WOULD YOU LIKE MORE INFORMATION LIKE THIS?

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