Recently in — Bankruptcy and the Holidays

Resolutions for 2014

According to Parade.com, the top most common New Year’s Resolutions are:

1. Lose weight

2. Improve finances

3. Exercise

4. Get a new job

5. Eat healthier

6. Manage stress better

7. Stop smoking

8. Improve a relationship

9. Stop procrastinating

10. Set aside time for yourself.

I would like to add another one to this list.  Like many people, you may have a legal issue that you just don’t know what to do about.  You may be facing financial difficulties.  You may have a small business you would like to get set up properly.  You may have divorce or custody issues.  You may have been contacted by the IRS, but don’t know how to respond.  So here is resolution number 11: Start 2014 off with greater knowledge and understanding of  your legal issues.

Take advantage of a free consultation with an attorney at The McKellar Law Firm, PLLC.  Don’t put off until next year what could be done today with a simple telephone call to our firm.

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Thanksgiving for Bankruptcy and Consumer Protections

If you are living with financial difficulties, the holiday season can feel especially overwhelming.  This Thanksgiving, however, there are still things to pause and be thankful for.  A few of these include:

  • Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy), which allows a debtor the pathway to release from certain specified types of debts.  The discharge of debts permanently prohibits creditors from contacting a debtor or taking collection action on discharged debts.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established in 2010 to handle consumer complaints, promote financial education, and enforce federal consumer financial laws.
  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits a debt collector from using obscene or profane language, threatening you with violence or harm, calling you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., contacting you at work if you request they stop, contacting you directly if you have hired an attorney, and many other protections for consumers.
  • The automatic stay that goes into effect as soon as you file a bankruptcy petition.  The automatic stay stops most debt-collection activity. During the stay, most creditors cannot file suit or pursue a suit already filed, contact you via telephone or mail, and usually must stop wage garnishments.
  • Attorneys at the McKellar Law Firm, PLLC who offer free consultations regarding many areas of the law including bankruptcy and debt defense.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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What Black Friday Means to Your Bankruptcy

The holidays are just around the corner.  In fact, I noticed at least one store rotating in their Christmas displays in even before Halloween.  Knoxville consumers have been barraged by advertisements for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.  

Be careful with your spending if you are in financial trouble or considering bankruptcy.  Debts owed to a single creditor totaling more than $500 incurred within 90 days prior to your bankruptcy for “luxury” goods are presumed to be nondischargeable.  Now the word luxury is subject to different interpretations, but it would be safe to say that many Christmas presents and deals advertised for Black Friday would fall under that category of non-essentials.

So what should you do if you are tempted to spend, but know that you are already having trouble making ends meet?  If you plan to file bankruptcy in the near future, don’t wait until after the holidays to get more information.  Sometimes just knowing what your options are can ease your worries and allow you greater freedom to focus on family and blessings.  If you are facing financial stress, why delay?  Make an appointment for your free consultation to discuss bankruptcy with a Knoxville attorney at the McKellar Law Firm, PLLC.

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Black Friday & Bankruptcy

Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.  This time of year, it seems like there are dozens of incentives to overspend.  If you and your family are already facing financial difficulties, and maybe even contemplating filing bankruptcy, this time of year can be particularly stressful.  Many people may be tempted to hold off until after the holidays — after they have bought just the right gift for every one on their list.

But buyer beware.  The Bankruptcy Code (11 USC 523(a)(2)(C)(i)(I)) prohibits discharge of “consumer debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $500 for luxury goods or services incurred by an individual debtor on or within 90 days before the order for relief under this title.”

Plainly speaking, you will not be able to run up your credit card balance this holiday season and then expect that you will be able to eliminate that debt through bankruptcy in January.  Shopping on credit could mean that even at the end of a bankruptcy, you may still be responsible for those debts.

The bottom line: look for ways you and your family can have a meaningful and responsible holiday season, and don’t put off making an appointment to discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney.

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