We’ve written a series of blog posts answering common questions regarding advice on bankruptcy and how they impact your finances. Call (262) 827-0375

How to Cope with Bankruptcy and Divorce

When it comes to legal processes, bankruptcy and divorce are among the most stressful. The same goes for life in general. Unfortunately, the level of stress involved in filing bankruptcy can sometimes result in filing for divorce, or the other way around. What does this mean for you? It means it’s incredibly important to keep things organized so nothing falls through the cracks.

Which one first?

If you’re in a situation where bankruptcy and divorce are both on the table, saving money will likely be ideal. For this reason, you’d be smart to file a joint bankruptcy before getting divorced. Not only will this save you on court fees, you’ll also save on attorney fees. Something to note, however, is that it’s crucial that you divulge all information to the attorney you’re hiring, just as in any bankruptcy. In addition to cost savings, filing for bankruptcy before divorce will help to simplify any issues surrounding property division and debt, leading to lower costs during your divorce proceedings.

What type?

Not sure which type of bankruptcy is best for you? It depends on your financial situation and a number of other factors. A Chapter 7 will get rid of unsecured debts and can be completed in just a few months or so. A Chapter 13, on the other hand, lasts 3-5 years because it involves paying back your debt through a repayment plan.

If you’ve found yourself in a situation involving bankruptcy and divorce, a good idea is to contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney like Michael Burr to guide you through the process. Contact us to set up a free consultation today.

What To Look For In An Attorney

When you make the decision to file for bankruptcy, an important next step is figuring out who to trust to guide you through the process.There are a lot of attorneys who claim to offer bankruptcy services, but your best choice is someone that specializes specifically in bankruptcy law. Here are a few things our Waukesha bankruptcy experts recommend you consider as you make your decision.

Avoid the cheapest…and most expensive

When you’re stuck in a financially difficult situation, the last thing you want to do is spend money to fix it. There are a couple different structures for payment, including hourly rates and flat fees. When you look into payment, don’t jump for the cheapest option right off the bat. The old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true, and you may find yourself wasting money on something that doesn’t help. On the other hand, some attorneys that charge per hour for their time may drag things out in attempts to get more money.

Legal know-how

The law industry as a whole is quite broad. There’s divorce law, real estate law, corporate law, etc. In a technical sense, any lawyer can help you file for bankruptcy. Your best bet is to go with someone that has a thorough understanding and experience with bankruptcy law.

Avoid scams

Some companies may offer “quick debt relief” services, promising to rid you of your debt with a snap of your fingers. Sadly, these companies take advantage of people all too often by charging insanely high rates without doing proper work.

Our bankruptcy experts are here to help guide you through this difficult time. Call Burr Law Office at 262-827-0375 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We’ll show you why we’re the right choice for your filing.

Avoiding Bankruptcy During the Holidays

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for those on a tight budget. Sometimes it can be hard to control spending when you want to show your loved ones how much they mean to you. Christmas is generally a time of year when people hit the shopping malls and department stores hunting for the perfect gift. There are a few things to keep in mind as you venture out to keep yourself from financial trouble.

Cash Helps with Control

Especially when it comes to smaller purchases, cash helps control the amount you’re spending. It’s easier to visualize how much of your budget is going to each item when you use cash. Especially if you’re on a tight budget, setting cash aside for the amount you’re allowing yourself to spend will help you see exactly what can be spent where.

Don’t Forget Bills

As silly as it seems, sometimes people forget about their fixed expenses. Remember you still have a mortgage payment, rent, utilities, car payment, etc. Just as with budgeting for gifts, a smart idea is to set aside that money ahead of time so you know it’s covered.

Be Careful with Cards

With so many people out shopping during the holiday season, you should take extra care in protecting your identity. Debit cards don’t offer the same protection as credit cards, but it’s important to watch your spending much closer when using credit cards. It’s easy to spend more than what you budgeted for.

If you’re in need of a bit of help this holiday season, contact the Milwaukee bankruptcy specialists at Burr Law Office. We’ll help you keep yourself free of debt!

Importance of a Lawyer

When you make the decision to file, one of the most important things on your mind is getting through the proceedings successfully. Some people approach the situation by filing on their own, but the best way to ensure a smooth ride is by working with an experienced Milwaukee bankruptcy lawyer.

There is no rule that requires someone to hire a lawyer and, yes, it is possible to do everything on your own. However, managing your case is an extremely difficult task and is best left to a seasoned professional.

Specialization is key

Bankruptcy law is very complex. With constantly changing laws, things can get confusing even for seasoned lawyers. There are many lawyers out there who claim to provide bankruptcy services. While these lawyers are certified and have the ability to take care of your case, you’re better off with a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy and understands the ins and outs of the system.

Steer clear of scams

Too often, people find themselves in even bigger trouble than they were before they made the decision to file by using untrustworthy sources. There are a lot of companies that offer financial advising or debt settlement services and make promises they can’t keep. In order to avoid a situation like this, make sure you do your research. If they’re not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, you’d be smart to steer clear.

If you’ve found yourself in financial difficulty and are in search of a great Milwaukee bankruptcy lawyer, contact Burr Law Office today. Attorney Michael Burr personally takes on each case and works to bring you to financial freedom.

Steer Clear of Milwaukee Credit Card Debt: Tips & Tricks

Nobody wants credit card debt. Occasionally, unforeseen circumstances make it difficult to continue best practice for credit card use. The experts at Burr Law Office have the experience necessary to help those that have fallen victim to Milwaukee credit card debt. We understand the stress that goes along with debt and work with clients to bring relief. Here are some tips to consider for safe and effective credit card use.

Don’t over-charge

Credit cards make it extremely easy to make purchases you couldn’t otherwise afford. Many often charge purchases and don’t have the means to pay it off. A good rule of thumb is to only charge things you can pay cash for. In other words, treat your credit card like cash.

Don’t miss payments

Paying off you card each month in full is the best approach. If, for some reason, you aren’t able to pay it in full, it’s crucial that you at least make the minimum payment each month. Missing payments completely will set you back and has serious consequences.

Limit the number of cards you have

People often fall victim to in-store promotions for companies that offer branded credit cards. While it’s okay to have some store cards, opening too many credit cards will hurt your credit. Try to limit the number of cards you open and only open cards you really need or will benefit greatly from.

If you’ve found yourself at risk of debt, contact the Milwaukee credit card debt experts at Burr Law Office. We’ll help you settle your debt and get back on your feet, free of financial burdens.

Dangers of Debt Settlement Companies

If you are overwhelmed by bills but are not yet ready to declare bankruptcy, debt settlement can be a viable legal solution for your financial burdens. While some private debt settlement companies may promise to wipe out your debt for just a small fee, such guarantees are unfortunately simply too good to be true. Here are just a few of the pitfalls—and fees—associated with debt settlement firms.

Poor Information

Attorneys often recommend debt settlement for individuals who are heading toward bankruptcy but who do not qualify for Chapter 7 liquidation. Because each case is specific, an attorney analyzes each client’s finances before recommending debt settlement as an alternative to Chapter 13. But the employees of private debt settlement companies work on commission, which means they make money off of each client whom they guide toward debt settlement, regardless of whether it is the best option.

Astronomical Fees

Debt settlement companies may promise a low fee, but the contracts are often intentionally confusing and even misleading. Some companies will charge you a percentage of the total debt, while others charge a percentage of the debt savings plus an initial sign-up fee and monthly service charges. Even if you manage to navigate the confusing language, debt settlement services can be so expensive that it takes clients years to pay just the fees—before they even begin to pay off their original debt.

Unresolved Debt

Once your creditors discover that you are working with a debt settlement agency, they may actually escalate your account by either sending it into collection or suing you. Unfortunately, when a creditor files a lawsuit, your debt settlement company will drop you, because only an attorney is qualified to represent you in court.

At Burr Law Office, we are committed to helping all our clients regain their financial footing. To find out how you can affordably discharge your debts through bankruptcy or satisfy your creditors through debt settlement, call our office today at (877) 891-1638 to set up a free consultation with attorney Michael Burr.

Tips for a Successful Chapter 13

Before getting started with a Chapter 13 Milwaukee bankruptcy, it’s important to know a few things about the process and how to make it work for you. If everything is done correctly, accurately, and in a timely manner, the process can go quite smoothly.

Filing for Chapter 13 requires you to make a promise to yourself (and the courts) that you will change your habits when it comes to handling your finances. The process requires that you live with a strict budget during a three to five year period, which can be very difficult. Sticking to the changes will help you come out of the bankruptcy with a fresh start. Here are a few tips that will help your bankruptcy go well.

Budget

The single most important part of a successful Milwaukee Chapter 13 bankruptcy is creating and sticking to a budget plan. The bankruptcy cannot work if you don’t make your payments. Your budget will likely be a reality check of sorts for you. You must stay committed to making your payments and not fall behind. Doing so will make the process much easier in the long run.

Communication

Another important aspect is effective communication. You will likely receive mail, e-mail, or phone calls from your attorney, trustee, or creditors. It’s important that you tend to these and not ignore them. Ignoring these contacts can only complicate and lengthen the process. If creditors are harassing you, it could mean they are unaware of your filing for Chapter 13. If that’s the case, you need to contact your attorney and get things straightened out.

Paperwork

There is a lot of work that goes into preparing and completing paperwork for your bankruptcy. It’s extremely important that you gather and organize all of your financial records and obtain any missing pieces. It is critical that the paperwork be completed honestly, accurately, and thoroughly. The paperwork is difficult and can be frustrating at times, but your attorney will work with you.

Having a successful Chapter 13 Milwaukee bankruptcy requires hard work, persistence, and sacrifice. Throughout the process, you will likely become smarter with your finances and come out with a fresh new outlook on financial planning. The process is tough, but effective. If you’d like more information about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact bankruptcy lawyer Michael Burr at Burr Law Offices to schedule a free consultation.

Money Management Tips for Recent Milwaukee College Graduates

college money managementDuring college, many students are forced to live on limited incomes, relying solely on money from their student loans or financial rations from their parents. Once college graduates secure their first full-time jobs, they may suddenly find themselves with more monthly income than they are accustomed to having. It’s important for any recent college graduate to effectively manage his or her new finances in order to avoid going into severe debt.

Know your credit score

As soon as you borrow money from a lending institution that reports to a major credit bureau, you have established a credit report. Home loans, student loans, and most credit card agencies report to the three major U.S. credit bureaus. In addition, any unpaid utility or medical bills can be reported to a credit agency if the bills are handed over to a collection agency. How you use your credit and pay back your obligations will be used in the calculation of your credit score. It’s important to periodically review your credit score and look for any mistakes to ensure that you are on the right financial track.

Use debt sparingly

You should never borrow an amount of money that you aren’t able to pay back. If you have never had a credit card before, begin by just taking out one credit card. You can also build up a favorable credit score by taking out a secured credit card, which you pay for in advance. You will need to start repaying any federal student loan debt, including Stafford and Perkins loans, six months after you stop going to school.

Live frugally

Even though you might have more income than you were previously used to, it’s important to limit your spending habits. As a young adult, you should be building up savings and emergency funds, not spending your entire monthly paycheck on shopping, morning coffees, or expensive dinners.

If you are facing financial difficulties, Burr Law Office can help. Attorney Burr offers affordable bankruptcy services and will work with your unique financial situation to find your best debt resolution option. You can schedule a meeting by calling (877) 891-1638.

Tips to Avoid Financial Troubles During the Holidays

As you head into the holidays, it’s important to keep a close eye on your financials and spending habits. Many people tend to go a bit overboard because of parties and other obligations and find themselves in trouble after the holidays have ended. Milwaukee bankruptcy Attorney Michael Burr has a few tips to help keep your spending under control this season.

Shop with a plan.

Just as you bring a list when you grocery shopping, it’s important to make a list when buying gifts. Before you go to any stores, decide how much you are able to spend on each person and stick to that amount. It’s helpful to jot down a few gift ideas, too. If you find yourself wanting to purchase things that aren’t on your list, hold on to them but give yourself time to look around and really think about whether or not it’s a necessary purchase. Note: Don’t forget about extra expenses like wrapping materials, host gifts, etc. when making your list!

Retail isn’t the only place to shop.

In this day and age, there are tons of opportunities to find lower prices on gifts for the holidays. Don’t feel as though you need to purchase every gift from the mall or other retail stores. Many sites offer free shipping and other discounts during the holidays.

Pay in cash as often as possible.

The biggest mistake people make during the holidays is racking up enormous charges on their credit cards that they aren’t able to pay back after the holidays. Try to pay for as many purchases with cash as you can. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying cash and don’t have a debit card, use one credit card and keep close tabs on your purchases by writing each one down.

Don’t wait until the last minute.

Rushing to the store the day before (or worse, the day of) a party can cause you to impulsively buy the first thing you see. When you don’t have time to think about your purchase, you’re more likely to overspend or convince yourself that the cost is not important. Plus, if you’re an online shopper, waiting until the last minute will generally lead to massive shipping fees to get things on time.

The best advice we can give is to make a budget plan and stick to it. There’s no need to go out of your means to impress anyone. Enjoy the holidays with friends and family and keep your finances in check. Our Milwaukee bankruptcy team at Burr Law Office is here to answer any questions you may have about shopping during the holidays!

Don’ts: Things Not To Do Before Filing for Waukesha Bankruptcy

If you find yourself in a situation where filing for bankruptcy is your best option, there are a few things you should keep in mind before doing so. Due to the fact that your debts will soon be reorganized and put into someone else’s control, it’s important that you abide by rules and regulations associated with bankruptcy. The last thing you would want is for new problems to arise. Here are a few helpful tips to consider, from Waukesha bankruptcy lawyer Michael Burr.

Don’t: Acquire new debt.

Creditors may attempt to object to a discharge if you’ve increased your debt within up to 90 days before filing. They may argue that it’s a case of fraud, saying that you acquired the debt with no intention of paying it back. Additionally, you shouldn’t cash out or take loans from your 401(k), pension, or any other retirement plan or take out an equity line of credit against your home. Doing any of these things can cause issues in your bankruptcy.

Don’t: Provide inaccurate, dishonest, or incomplete information.

Completely the paperwork for a bankruptcy filing must be taken very seriously. Lying or providing falsified information can lead to serious consequences in addition to putting an immediate stop to your bankruptcy filing. Be sure to provide all information correctly and do not hide any information.

Don’t: Skip filing your income tax returns.

Filing for bankruptcy is, in essence, impossible if you haven’t filed all of your income tax returns for at least two years prior to filing. These documents play a very important role in determining your earnings and asset holdings. Be sure to provide all tax related information to your Waukesha bankruptcy attorney before proceeding.

Don’t: Lie about or hide assets.

It is very important that you do not hide any assets in a bankruptcy filing. Some people may be tempted to sell or transfer assets in hopes that they will be protected during your bankruptcy proceedings. If you do this, there is a strong chance that you would be denied a discharge and could face criminal charges. There are exceptions to this, of course, in that some people sell things hoping to help pay off their debts on their own. The important thing to note if you’ve done so is to let the trustee know. They’ll generally ask if you’ve sold, transferred, or given away any assets up to a year before filing.

Nobody wants to be presented with issues in addition to what they’re already dealing with. If you’ve already done one of these things or want to learn more things to avoid before filing, talk with Waukesha bankruptcy Attorney Michael Burr. He can help you determine the best solution for your situation and get you on the path to being debt-free.