Free Training Videos from YouTube

You may be thinking that YouTube is only for viewing videos that are personal in nature.  But one day I wanted to know how to make a form that was fillable in Acrobat software.  I went to Google and typed in the search words: How to make a form in Acrobat.

To my surprise, a YouTube video appeared in the search.  (I am so glad that Google purchased YouTube because videos now show up in the search results.)

The first video I watched had poor audio quality, but along the side were other videos that covered the same topic.  I began clicking on the alternate videos and I discovered an instructor named Jim Healy who made a set of videos that I could learn from.  To view the first video in his series, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3wf5RtVZeM

USE  YOUTUBE  TO LEARN  BASIC  COMPUTER  SKILLS

Do you need to know how to unzip files?  Type in the search words: How to unzip files. Do you need to know how to download PDF files? Type in the search words: How to download PDF files. Do you get frustrated with trying to save email attachments?  Go to YouTube and type in the search words:  How to view email attachments.

Or, perhaps you already know the basics and want to know how to add video to your website. Go to YouTube and type in the search words: How to add video to my website. Or, do you want to know how to design a web page using WordPress?  Type in the search words: How to design a web page in WordPress.

The possibilities are limitless.  And if you type in some search words and do not get the results you like, rephrase your search and try again.  Some people get frustrated when trying to locate information in the search engines and it normally is because they type in the wrong words.  There is no simple way to teach you the correct words to type in a search engine to get the results you want because you are unique and no one understands what you want more than you do.  Keep experimenting with your searches and you will learn how to type in the right search words.  This is the way we all learned: from trial and error.

ADVANTAGES  OF  USING  YOUTUBE

1.  YouTube videos are free. 2.  You can learn skills from a wide variety of different people. 3.  You have the ability to pick and choose the instructor that you learn the best from. 4.  You are exposed to other ideas, tips, tricks and shared knowledge of hands-on users. 5.  You can purchase Camtasia software and make your own training videos to share your knowledge with the world.

Life Lesson:  Remember to always give back what you take for free.

WANT  TO  LEARN EVEN  MORE  SKILLS?

We teach a wide variety of skills in the Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy training courses. Find out more or sign up at http://www.mybankruptcyschool.com

New Benefit Added to Online Bankruptcy School

View changes at:  http://www.mybankruptcyschool.com/

We are now into our third online bankruptcy school class.  Two problems I have found is that (1) some people are unable to attend all the classes for the course they registered for; and (2) with every class, I am developing new training materials and adding it to the course materials.  Since I want to make sure everyone has access to the same tools as future students, I decided to add a method of solving these two problems.

YOU CAN NOW ENROLL AT ANY TIME

Here’s how it works:

There are two components to every Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy course:

Component 1

Once you pay your registration fee you are granted immediate access to the online school where you can watch videos, listen to audios from previous classes, download all the training materials, take the class exercises and online quizzes.  This way, you can learn at your own pace regardless of when the live, instructor-led classes begin.

Component 2

The second component is the LIVE, instructor-led online classes.  We have ongoing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 classes that are offered every month.  That way, if you miss a class, you can attend any that you missed in future months when the same class is given.

IN FACT . . .

As a registered student you receive THREE MONTHS OF FREE ACCESS after you enroll in our courses.  This means that you can attend all the live classes a total of 4 times if you wish.  Plus, you have access to all new training materials that are developed for future classes since you are able to login and use the system up to ninety (90) days after your enrollment month.

GET STARTED TODAY and learn the skills you need to improve the services you provide to clients and protect the debtor in the best manner possible.  These are important skills that are rarely taught in any other legal course.  Take advantage of the opportunity to get started now.  Visit:

http://www.mybankruptcyschool.com

IRS Tax Agent Contact for Bankruptcy Clients

Tax consultants like Roni Deutch and J.K. Harris have nationwide advertising claiming to be able to reduce IRS taxes down to “pennies on the dollar.”  This is simply NOT TRUE.  In fact, the IRS often hangs up the phone when representatives like these call their office.

How did I learn this insider information?  I personally met and interviewed an IRS Agent with over 25 years of federal service working for the IRS.  And because the IRS is “federal law,” you and your client may be located in any state and the particular IRS Agent I spoke with here in Colorado Springs, Colorado will be able to help you.

Keep the information below for future reference and contact Mr. Dempsey if your bankruptcy client needs help with any IRS tax issues. His fees are low and he impressed me with his heart for the debtor.

Richard M. Dempsey Phone:  719-641-4448 Email:  rdemp6815@aol.com

Tell Mr. Dempsey that you were referred by Victoria Ring

PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR CLIENTS

Clients see ads on television and their minds are programmed to believe they can get their taxes reduced.  Then, they come to the bankruptcy attorney thinking the attorney can perform miracles.  To help arm you with the knowledge to educate your client, you may want to visit:

http://www.complaintsboard.com/

and type in “Roni Deutch” or “J.K. Harris” in the search box to read the many complaints filed against these two entities for tax fraud.

Laughs to Improve Communication Skills

I was going through some old computer files this afternoon and found a cute little article that I printed in one of the old notary books.  It was presented in a comical way to help you think twice the next time you send an email.  Feel free to pass it along to anyone who needs a good laugh and needs to improve their email skills.

(MY COMMENTS APPEAR IN PARENTHESES)

To give you a chuckle or two, below are some emails I received in the past that show poor email communication skills. The examples below are not intended to hurt anyone’s feelings. They are provided to help you to not make the same mistake these people did.

“I don’t like your website. What are you going to do about it?” (Walk the floors and lose sleep I suppose.)

“If your office hours are 9:00 to 6:00, what time do you open?” (Perhaps the answer might be 9:00.)

“I live about 8 miles north of the interstate. Do you know anyone here to help me?” (A doctor perhaps?)

“I’m afraid to send you an email because you might print it in your publication.” (Then don’t send one or simply state your email is confidential.)

“I forgot to give you my telephone number, but I think you would have called and told me you needed it.” (What telephone number should we have called to tell you we did not have your telephone number?)

“Can you tell me why I’m not making any money?” (Perhaps it is because you are spending time emailing questions to people that are impossible to answer.)

“When I hit the enter key on my computer nothing happens. What should I do?” (Turn the power on I suppose.)

“My fax machine has not worked in over 2 months. Don’t try to fax me anything.” (We will try to restrain ourselves.)

“I visited your website and the link didn’t work. Please tell me what to do.” (Out of 125,000 links on our website I guess I should know the exact one this person is referring to. )

Hint: If you cannot describe your computer problem, simply press the PRINT SCREEN key on your keyboard. This will copy the screenshot in temporary memory. Now, open up a new document in Word or Wordperfect; hold down the CTRL key and press the letter “V” on your keyboard. This will automatically copy the screenshot of the computer screen. You can now send this Word or Wordperfect file to someone you are requesting tech support from and they will better understand what you are referring to and help you much faster.

“I know you said the booklet I advertised in was already printed and mailed out but would you change my email address in my ad? I switched to a new one.” (What part of “already printed and mailed out” doesn’t this person understand?)

“Did you just send me an email? I don’t think I received one from you and I wasn’t expecting any.” (I still don’t understand this one.)

“Would you send me a fax between 10:15 am and 6:38 pm? I will wait for it to come.  If you don’t send it I will sue you.” (I wonder what law I would be charged with violating? I also am still wondering what I am supposed to fax this person.)

“I live about 15 miles north of Steven’s Mountain. Can I become a notary?” (Is Steven’s Mountain located in the United States?)

“Did you get my order?” (No name, address or other information was provided.)

“Do U 4see me makin $ at this?” (This person must be stuck in “chat mode.” This was the actual spelling from a “suppose to be” professional legal person.)

“Yesterday I sent you an email from the library because my computer at home is not working. Please don’t read that email. Read this one instead.” (Okay.)

Reprinted from the book: How to Start, Operate and Market a Freelance Notary Signing Agent Business, Fifth Edition, ISBN: 0-9761591-04, February 27, 2007

Cheat Sheet for Preparing Schedule B

Disclaimer: The following materials were developed by a paralegal for training purposes only.  They are meant only to be used by attorneys and those working under the direction of attorneys. Any other use constitutes unauthorized practice of law.

What is a cheat sheet? It is a tool that provides you with quick tips for different assets on Schedule B as it relates to most no-asset, consumer based, bankruptcy cases.  Use of this tool will remind you to check and reference the common information needed on this Schedule as well as other areas of the petition so that your petition is more consistent and accurate; but by no means is this material exclusive and applicable to all cases.

Cash on Hand

It is not required in all states to use the “Cash on hand” property type on Schedule B.   However, if it is required in your state, make sure the cash on hand amount you list reflects the money left over AFTER the debtor has paid their allowable expenses (rent, mortgage, car, groceries, etc.) as well as their attorney fee.

Checking, Savings, etc.

Make sure the amount for this asset reflects the money left over AFTER the debtor has paid their allowable expenses (rent, mortgage, car, groceries, etc.) as well as their attorney fee.

Also, make sure you check your state exemption allowance to ensure the debtors are fully protected. For example: if the debtor reports $1,500 in a checking account but the state exemption allowance is $500, this leaves $1,000 of unexempt equity.  This could cause problems for the debtor as well as the attorney.  Not only could the debtor lose the asset but the attorney will spend time defending the matter with the trustee and creditors.

Note:  In some states and jurisdictions, bank statements are filed as an Attachment to Schedule B when the bankruptcy petition is filed.  The bank statements are required to be current and normally in date order, spanning a period of six (6) months in most cases. Security deposits with landlords

If the debtors are renting, make sure you include the deposit paid to the landlord on Schedule B. Listing this asset does not take money from the debtor; but not listing it could throw up a red flag to the court that you may have left out additional information.

Household goods and furnishings (no lien)

Every debtor filing bankruptcy has some type of household goods and furnishings, even if it is an empty guitar case where they keep their clothes.  In addition, even if the debtor is renting a furnished apartment, he or she will have some type of household goods and furnishings such as a trash can, knives, forks, spoons and bowls, etc.  Therefore, this property type needs to always be included on every bankruptcy petition you prepare.

Household goods and furnishings (with a lien)

Any household goods and furnishings with a lien attached to them should be listed separately on Schedule B.  Then, if the debtor’s intend to keep the asset and has the income to continue making the payments, the monthly payment needs to be listed on Line 13(b) of Schedule J.

Books, Pictures, other Art Objects, Collectibles

99.9% of all debtors will have assets to be recorded under this property type on Schedule B.  Standard items I have encountered when dealing with the average no-asset case are Hummel, Tiffany, and Avon collectibles as well as family photo albums.  Normally, most of these items are exempted; but if you encounter a situation where the debtors have assets with unexempt equity, the attorney may order an appraisal to protect the debtor.

Wearing apparel

Every person filing bankruptcy will have wearing apparel.  However, debtors often do not think their clothing is worth much money and will normally write $0 as to the value of their clothing when filling out the client intake forms.  However, even if the debtor only owns a pair of sneakers, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, there is at least a value of $1.00 that is listed under this property type on Schedule B.

One good rule of thumb is to include the number of people in the household when you write the description for this property type.  For example:

Wearing apparel and personal effects for 2 adults, 1 infant and 1 teenager

Next, make sure these family members are all accounted for on Schedule I of the petition.  This also provides backup for the additional expenses you list on Schedule J for such items as baby diapers and formula, school sports expenses, etc.

Furs and Jewelry

If the debtor is married they will normally always own a wedding ring.  Therefore, the court will look for this asset to be listed on Schedule B for any married debtor.  Of course, you may encounter the rare incident where a married person has no wedding ring, but you need to make sure this information is recorded in the file before you decide not to list it on Schedule B.

Firearms and Sports, Photographic and Other Hobby Equipment

Some assets under this property type can be used to make money. If so, the asset needs moved to Item 29: Machinery, Fixtures, Equipment and Supplies Used in Business.

If the asset is NOT used to earn income; add the words “for personal use only” in the description.  Example:  digital camera for personal use only

Interests in Insurance Policies

Often, you do not know about the term life insurance policy until you get to the paycheck stubs and find the deduction from the debtor’s paycheck.  Distinguish between “term” and “whole life” policies for this property type on Schedule B.  And because “term” life insurance policies have no cash value you will leave the amount of “$0” as the market value.  However, “whole” life insurance policies will have a market value. Alimony, Maintenance, Support and Property Settlements

ONLY list this asset on Schedule B if the debtor is OWED money.  This area of Schedule B is NOT for recording alimony, maintenance and support income from an ex-spouse.  Ongoing income that the debtor is receiving for alimony, maintenance or support from an ex-spouse needs to be listed on Schedule I.  Only the arrears would be listed on Schedule B under this property type.

Other Liquidated Debts Owing Debtor Including Tax Refund

Tax refunds and “anticipated” tax refunds would only be recorded under this property type on Schedule B if they are received (or to be received) within the next 90 days.  Therefore, recording a tax refund in this area is only required during certain months of the year.

Automobiles, Trucks, Trailers, and Other Vehicles

722Redemption.Com is an excellent resource for debtors who are in need of transportation but are unable to qualify for a loan to get a motor vehicle.  Simply refer them to this website where they will complete a short form and submit it to US Bank.  A representative will call them, discuss their case and make recommendations.  The attorney or law firm does not need to do anything except refer the debtor to:  http://www.722redemption.com

The 910 Day Rule: Do not forget that if the debtor has been making payments on their motor vehicle for a period of 910 days (about 2.5 years) or longer they may be eligible for a cram down.  In other words, the debtor may only need to pay back the market value of the motor vehicle, not what is owed on it; and the interest is normally reduced also.  This can save the debtor hundreds of dollars.

Note:  The rules surrounding 910 day vehicles are new and the law in this area is still developing.  Prior to the enactment of BAPCPA in October, 2005, there were no such rules. Therefore, when you talk with attorneys about this topic they may not have heard of it because they are not up to date as they may need to be.  You should also be aware that the rules on 910 day claims vary from state to state.

If the debtor is going to keep the motor vehicle that is in their possession, make sure to include the monthly payment under Item 13(a) of Schedule J.

Motor vehicles that have been repossessed, returned and are no longer in the debtor’s possession are NOT recorded on Schedule B.  Instead, the debt is listed on Schedule F so that it can be discharged in the bankruptcy.  Schedule B is only for assets that are in the debtor’s possession.

Office, Equipment, Furnishings and Supplies

A typical use for this property type by the average consumer is a computer and printer. If the debtor uses their computer and printer for business purposes, list it under this property type.  If they only use their computer and printer for personal use, the items should be placed under “Household goods and furnishings” instead.

If the debtor does use these items for business purposes, make sure you complete Items 1 as well as 18-25 on the Statement of Affairs as well as recording the income from the business on Schedule I.

Animals

This property type on Schedule B is only for listing animals with market values of $600 or more including animals that are used to earn an income.  If the animal is used to earn an income, that income needs to be reported on Schedule I; and if the income is considered to be a business, Items 1 and 18-25 of the Statement of Affairs needs to also be completed.

Quick Tips

Every time you encounter a lienholder and the debtor’s are going to continue paying for the asset, immediately place the monthly payment on Schedule J.  This will help you to maintain consistency and accuracy as well as having these portions of Schedule J completed when you get to this area of the petition.  (Of course, if the debtor’s are going to surrender an asset and no longer make monthly payments, the payment would NOT be placed on Schedule J.)

Debtors either OVERestimate or UNDERestaimate market values for their assets.  That is why you need to question every single figure the debtors provide to you.

It is suggested that you wait until you have finalized the petition before you select exemptions for Schedule C. This is because you normally find additional assets as you work through the petition and if there is an asset that needs to share exemptions with another asset, you will be able to distribute them for a more accurate protection of all assets.

WEB SITE REFERENCES

An excellent blog to read for good information from knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys is http://www.bankruptcylawnetwork.com/

Help When Preparing Petitions http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/prepare-petitions

Free Supplies for Law Firms http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/free-supplies

Free Office Related Supplies for Law Firms http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/free-stuff

Free Bankruptcy Training Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/MsVictoriaRing

Attorney Marketing Links http://www.bankruptcylinks.info/about/marketing-links

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How Bank of America is Contributing to (and Profiting from) the Decline of the Mortgage Industry

— by Victoria Ring and Sonya Banks

Sonya Banks and I were involved in another bankruptcy case this week where Bank of America has committed fraud and got away with it.  We are finding these types of cases more frequently, and if a little tiny business like ours is witnessing these issues, it must be going on thousands of times every day across the country.

Let me explain this area of fraud, which also involves a very important lesson in bankruptcy.

A debtor and his wife (for sake of example we will call them Phil and Jill) filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy two years ago and surrendered their home.  When the bankruptcy was discharged, Phil and Jill began looking for a rental to move into.  Before moving out of their home they received a call from their lender, Countrywide (later purchased by Bank of America) who offered them a debt work out so they could continue paying the mortgage.

But little did Phil and Jill know that unless they signed a Reaffirmation Agreement, the lender could foreclose at any time.  The phone call from Countrywide proposing a debt work out was nothing more than Countrywide buying time and profiting from Phil and Jill.  (Note: Of course, Countrywide or Bank of America has no record of these conversations.)

Phil and Jill continued to make the monthly payments as they agreed to with Countrywide/Bank of America.  Two years went by; Jill receives an Intent to Accelerate Sale by registered mail informing her that the house will be sold in thirty days.  Jill immediately calls the bank who has no record of the debt work out call from two years ago.  Although they do have records of her payments to them, they still claim they have the legal right to foreclose whenever they want because she never paid their LATE FEE from two years ago.

Phil and Jill contact a bankruptcy attorney and the attorney hired Sonya Banks and I to research the issue and see what could be done to help them.  What we found was shocking.

LESSON IN BANKRUPTCY

The following information is provided by Attorney Ginsberg, who writes in his response to the debtor:

In most cases, when you take out a mortgage loan, you are signing two different types of agreements.  The first type is a promissory note whereby you personally agree to make the payments.  The second type of obligation creates a property lien, meaning that you, as the owner of the property, pledges that property as collateral for the loan.

When you file a Chapter 7 and receive your discharge, your personal obligations are extinguished.  However, a Chapter 7 discharge does not eliminate the mortgage company’s lien against your property.  If you reaffirm your mortgage, you are actually reaffirming the promissory note and your personal obligations to pay.

IMPORTANT FOR BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS

As a bankruptcy attorney it is important to advise your clients of this issue when they are filing bankruptcy.  If the debtors are going to keep their home, advise them NOT to accept deals made over the phone with lenders.  Instead, have them sign a Reaffirmation Agreement to protect the lender from coming back years later and suddenly taking their home like they did to Phil and Jill.

You may want to prepare a handout that is provided to all clients who retain your legal representation that provides them with this important information.  Also, you may want to inform the debtors that they need to check to see if any LATE FEES have been accessed by the lender during the bankruptcy process; as this is what caused the foreclosure for Phil and Jill.

THE HOOK, LINE AND SINKER

You may be wondering, like Sonya and I were, HOW could a mortgage company do this? What grounds could they have to do this to homeowners who had paid their mortgage payment on time every month and were never aware of any pending LATE FEE from two years ago?  We discovered that when Phil and Jill filed their Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition they were one month behind in payments.  But they caught up the back payment before their 341 Meeting and thought everything was okay.  However, the lender added a LATE FEE for the missed payment and never told Phil and Jill about it.  (How convenient.)

When we discovered this information, we called the attorney, who in turn had Jill call Bank of America about the issue.  Bank of America told her that every monthly payment they made for the past two years was going to interest and penalties and now they owe over $6,000 in late fees.  According to their records, the $1,800 mortgage payment was all going to fees and interest.  It is so amazing how greedy and deceitful banks look at this situation and actually get away with fraud.

Example: I loan you $100.  You said you would pay me $50 for 2 months on the 30th of the month.  At 12:01am on the 30th, I add on a late fee of $25.  I do not tell you. When you pay me $50 this month, $25 goes to the late fee and $25 goes to principle.  But you are now in arrears of $25 on your regular monthly payment so I get to add on another $25 late fee.  Now, when you send in $50 next month, you are no longer making a monthly payment.  Instead, you are simply paying me late fees and penalties.  This is exactly what Countrywide and Bank of America did to Phil and Jill and conveniently never told them until they decided to take their home and sell it on the courthouse steps.

MY THOUGHTS

This type of fraudulent activity is going on all across America which is why I titled this article: How Banks Are Contributing to (and Still Profiting) from the Decline of the Mortgage Industry.

For what it is worth, I am outraged over the fact that lenders can get away with doing this to homeowners.  In fact, it just so happened that Phil and Jill had paid on their home for 18 years.  They had raised their children in the home and they were emotionally attached to it.  But does a lender care?  Of course not.  They wanted to treat Phil and Jill like renters for the past two years until they got ready to make some quick cash.  Then they turned over and foreclosed with no notice whatsoever because of a one month late fee that accelerated to $6,000.   This is insane!!

I suppose that Phil and Jill could have hired an attorney to help them fight the fact that they were never notified of a one month late fee that was imposed when they filed bankruptcy.  But does Phil and Jill have the money to afford an attorney right now?  Of course not.  They were faced with less than 30 days to move because Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state.  Phil and Jill had no choice but to temporarily move into a hotel which removed their son from his school district.  Their lives are essentially a mess right now; all caused by the greed of Bank of America.

And Bank of America gets many more perks and benefits than poor Phil and Jill will ever get:  (1) They have received thousands of dollars in interest fees for the past 18 years from Phil and Jill so they already made their money on the house; and (2) They can foreclose on the property, sell it for any amount and any remaining balance will get reimbursed by their insurance; plus (3) Bank of America was one of those banks that received bail outs from the taxpayers, promised to help the country get back on its feet by granting small business loans, yet had to be forced by the government to comply, which they never fully did.  (Hint: If they tell one lie, they will tell a million more.)

I was raised to treat people the same way I wanted to be treated.  When I went to school, we called this the Golden Rule.  But for some reason, people who are running banks like Bank of America (and many other thieving, malicious and greedy banks across America) enjoy hurting people and throwing homeowners out of their home.   The entire country is in too great of a financial crisis to do this to homeowners; especially those who have demonstrated honest, loyal and faithful payment histories.  These actions will only lead to larger financial problems for the country and therefore is not a win/win situation; just a one sided greedy one for these types of banks.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIGHT BACK?

For those of you who can remember back twenty years ago; banks did not do these kinds of things to homeowners.  Banks had a respect for homeowners because they were the backbone of their business.  But when banks did not get their way with imposing the Means Test and forcing more people to file a Chapter 13 back in 2005, they found other legitimate (but fraudulent methods) of getting more money.  At this point in time, I believe the only banks you can trust are the banks who did NOT receive benefits from the government bailout money.   (Although a bankruptcy judge told me a few months ago that he strictly deals with cash because he said this is the only way to control your money. Unfortunately, this is often hard to do in the digital society we live in.)

Therefore, you may want to consider finding a local credit union or neighborhood bank and transfer your business there.  You could begin by opening up a free checking and slowly transitioning your business to the new bank.  This is what I did.  I had a Wells Fargo account for my company and found a local neighborhood bank to do business with.  It took about two months, but I now have everything transferred over to the neighborhood bank account and there has been no disruption in my business or personal banking.  To find neighborhood banks in your area, look in your printed or online Yellow Pages.  To find a credit union in your area, visit:

http://www.creditunion.coop/cu_locator/quickfind.php

MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE TODAY. CONTINUE WORKING TO PROTECT THE DEBTOR(S) IN THIS COUNTRY.  GOD BLESS YOU.

What to Do When a Debtor Wants to File a Chapter 7 but the Means Test Qualifies Them for a Chapter 13

— Victoria Ring, Colorado Bankruptcy Training

For those of you just entering the field of debtor bankruptcy, this article will be very helpful to you because it addresses a very common problem that occurs when working with debtors.  The common problem is that debtors want their cake and eat it too. This statement may sound a little harsh but allow me to explain:

I am finding that many new attorneys entering the bankruptcy field do not have the training to screen their clients before sending us the petitions for input.  One of the easiest methods for an attorney to screen their clients is to find out how much equity is in their home before taking the case. During the intake it only takes a minute or two to find out approximately how much the debtors owe on their mortgage.  Then, while the client is still in the office, go to a computer and do a search on www.zillow.com.  Although Zillow is certainly not a court authority by any stretch of the imagination, it will tell you immediately the approximate amount of unexempt equity the debtor may have.

For example: I had a case today for a California debtor who had just divorced. There was $200,000 of equity in the home.  Since the debtor was divorced, he only had to claim $100,000 of this equity.  Under the 704 California exemptions, the debtor was provided with a healthy $75,000, leaving him with $25,000 that was UNEXEMPT.  Was the debtor happy about the $75,000 exemption?  Of course not.  The debtor was angry because he wanted to keep the $25,000 plus have all his debts excused.  Although most debtors may not realize it at the time, in reality they are being unfair and asking the attorney to commit fraud by making this selfish demand.

Unfortunately, most of the new bankruptcy attorneys that I work with do not understand the bankruptcy law well enough to properly advise their client.  Instead, they accept the case, have the client fill out the intake forms, pay the fees and send the paperwork to my team.  We input the petition and discover the problem with the equity in the home.  By this time, the attorney has invested his or her time, the debtor has spent several hours gathering information and we have worked inputting the case.  When we discover this problem we alert the attorney, the attorney talks to the client and the debtor decides not file bankruptcy.  The attorney is forced to refund some of the money because the attorney did not know how to properly explain the advantages to the debtor of filing a Chapter 13 instead.  In fact, if the attorney had called to discuss this case with me, I could have taught him how to turn this unhappy client from a Chapter 7 to a positive Chapter 13 because I deal with these issues all the time.

For example, this particular debtor had $38,000 in Schedule F debts and $25,000 of unexempt equity in his home.  The debtor did not want to surrender his interest in the property because he wanted to make sure his ex-wife and children had a home to live in.  This is admirable, but the court and creditors look at numbers because they are not emotionally tied to debtors. New attorneys must learn these types of skills so they can help the debtor understand why it may or may not be to their advantage to file bankruptcy at this time.

But for the particular debtor in our scenario, it would have been to his advantage to file a Chapter 13.  First of all, we could have proposed a 100% Plan which would have more than likely protected the $25,000 of unexempt equity.  Secondly, the Chapter 13 would have eliminated $73,000 in interest charges over the 5 year Plan period, the debtor would have paid off his student loan in full as well as the unpaid personal income taxes from 2002.  By presenting these positive factors to the debtor, the attorney may have saved this case and never had to refund money.  Plus the debtor would be happier once he understood the advantages.

(Note:  A key to good marketing is to point out advantages for the client.  If you can show a client how much money you can save them and how, they often will do whatever is necessary to comply with your requests and invest their time and money making it happen.  This is what makes a happy client and this is what generates referrals.)

But in this case, the attorney did not call to discuss the matter with me.  He simply told the client that he would have to pay $25,000 or lose his home.  This naturally scared the debtor to death and he decided not to file. Who can blame him?

It amazes me when things like this happen; and they happen quite frequently.  In fact, it may be shocking to you also.  I hope so, because I want this article to be shocking enough to help to prevent this from happening to you.  Also, please understand that this article is not intended in any manner to provide legal advice.  I am not an attorney and I am not trying to predict what a bankruptcy court to do by writing this article.  I am simply trying to help you understand the concept of fairness so you will know how to better deal with situations exactly like this in the future.

I wish you the best of success and encourage you to continue learning and working hard to protect the debtor; but in a fair and balanced way.

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Video: The Difference in New Designer WordPress Videos

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This 2-minute demonstrates exactly how our designer WordPress themes are different from all other free themes out there. Understand the difference.

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If you enjoy my short videos specifically designed for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/MsVictoriaRing Click on SUBSCRIBE at the top of page

Video: Announcing New Designer Series for WordPress Themes

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This 3-minute video shows you how to download our New Designer Series of WordPress Themes and install them in WordPress.

DO YOU ENJOY MY VIDEOS?

If you enjoy my short videos specifically designed for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/MsVictoriaRing Click on SUBSCRIBE at the top of page

Video: Means Test Training

If the video does not automatically appear in the area above, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojn-TWS6aAA

This is an 8-minute excerp from our Means Test training class. This video provides you with great tips and information but it also lets you experience the type of online classes available to you through MyBankruptcySchool.com.

DO YOU ENJOY MY VIDEOS?

If you enjoy my short videos specifically designed for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/MsVictoriaRing Click on SUBSCRIBE at the top of page