We’ve written a series of blog posts answering common questions regarding bankruptcy in Wisconsin, and how it can impact your finances. Call (262) 827-0375

How to File for Bankruptcy

Waukesha bankruptcy adviceMany people find themselves in difficult financial situations and come to a point where they need to decide whether or not bankruptcy is the right option. The best thing to do in this situation is schedule a complimentary consultation with Attorney Michael Burr. He will help guide you through the entire process of how to file for bankruptcy, catering to your specific needs. Here are a few quick bits of information that can help you determine if you should move forward.

You won’t lose everything.

It’s a common misconception that filing for bankruptcy means you’ll lose everything. Depending on your particular situation, you are allowed to exempt a certain amount of property. You cannot, however, hide possessions or “sell” things to family or friends in attempts to keep them. There are serious penalties for such actions, as they are considered fraud. An experienced Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney, like Attorney Michael Burr, can explain how to properly list your assets to maximize your exemptions.

There are multiple types of bankruptcy.

Depending on your situation, you may only qualify for certain types of bankruptcy. Chapter 7, or “straight bankruptcy,” is quite difficult to qualify for. More common is Chapter 13, or “wage earners bankruptcy,” which reorganizes your debts into a repayment schedule. In order to qualify for bankruptcy, you will be required to complete a means test which determines your eligibility.

Work with a lawyer.

New bankruptcy laws in 2005 have made it much more difficult to file for bankruptcy. While it’s not required by law, it is highly recommended that you work with a lawyer when filing. Milwaukee Bankruptcy Attorney, Michael Burr, has over 20 years of experience in bankruptcy law and truly cares about his clients. At the very least, we recommend scheduling a consultation to learn why working with Attorney Burr can help save time, money, and pain.

These tips are by no means legal advice and should be considered a guide as to whether or not you should inquire further about how to file for bankruptcy with Attorney Burr. At Burr Law Offices, we want to give you the fresh financial start you’re looking for. Contact the best bankruptcy lawyers Milwaukee us today to schedule your consultation.

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!

A Basic Overview of the United States Trustee Program

The mission of the United States Trustee Program is to safeguard the integrity of the federal bankruptcy system by monitoring the conduct of all parties and overseeing related administrative tasks. In addition, the United States Trustee Program facilitates compliance with laws and procedures by investigating cases of fraud and abuse. To safeguard the integrity of the federal system, the United States Trustee Program frequently works with attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and various law enforcement agencies.

History

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 established the United States Trustee Program. The United States Trustee System Fund collects fees from individual parties and businesses filing for bankruptcy protection in order to fund the United States Trustee Program. The main purpose of this government agency is to regulate the process, ensuring that parties filing petitions comply with federal code.

Structure

The Attorney General appoints the United States Trustees and Assistant United States Trustees. At the head of the agency is the Director of the Executive Office, who provides managerial and administrative support to individual U.S. Trustee Offices in the states as they enforce and implement federal laws.

Duties

The United States Trustee Program supervises the liquidation and reorganization proceedings outlined in Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 petitions. In particular, the office appoints an individual trustee to monitor estates and to review the applications for signs of fraud or abuse. The individual trustee also ensures that an estate is properly administered and that the professional fees associated with the case are reasonable.

Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney Michael Burr provides affordable services. Our mission is to help you gain a fresh financial start and to find relief from overwhelming debt obligations. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at (262) 827-0375.

Bankruptcy Consequences: Skipping Payments

Many people avoid filing despite increasing debt because they are afraid of how the process will affect their credit score and ability to rebuild their finances. However, not filing for bankruptcy with a lawyer when you no longer have the ability to pay your debts can have dire bankruptcy consequences.

Wage Garnishment

One of the first steps your creditors will take when you neglect to pay your debts is to garnish your wages. The maximum amount that can be garnished from you paycheck is usually 25 percent of your disposable income if it is greater than 290 dollars, or any amount greater than 30 times the federal minimum wage. While tips are generally not garnished, your wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, and pensions can all be garnished until your debt is paid.

Liens and Levies

A lien refers to the legal claim over your property by the government or a specific creditor. A levy, on the other hand, refers to the actual seizure of property in order to satisfy a debt.  Individuals who fail to pay their debts without filing for bankruptcy may face one or both of these penalties. In the event that a levy is put in place, your creditor has the right to repossess and sell property that you own, such as your car or home—as well as property that is yours but held by another party, such as your bank accounts, retirement accounts, dividends, and even the cash value of your life insurance policy.

Foreclosure

Individuals who fail to pay their mortgage for a prolonged period of time may face foreclosure, a process in which the rights to your property are taken away and the property is sold in order to satisfy unpaid debts and liens.

Don’t let outstanding debts increase your risk of repossession, foreclosure, or other bankruptcy consequences . Get the legal representation you need by contacting the Burr Law Office at (262) 827-0375. You can also set up an FREE initial consultation by visiting us online.

A Breakdown of the Bankruptcy Process

Bankruptcy can help solve a number of financial problems by stopping wage garnishments, foreclosures, repossessions, lawsuits, and harassment by creditors. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy differs from Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filing process for both types is very similar.

Filing and Credit Counseling

When filing for bankruptcy, a debtor begins by filing a petition, schedule, and statement of financial affairs with the bankruptcy court. The schedule includes a listing of all creditors, property, monthly income, and monthly expenses. The filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335, while the filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $310. However, debtors must complete a court-approved credit counseling course via telephone, internet, or in person before filing for either type. These counseling services typically charge a fee between $25 and $75 based on which counseling course is taken.

Automatic Stays and Financial Management Courses

Once the filing has been completed, an automatic stay is placed on all of the debtor’s property and assets, including bank accounts, savings accounts, homes, and other personal property. An automatic stay prevents creditors from contacting the debtor in any way, putting an end to creditor harassment. After the automatic stay is in place, debtors must attend a 341 meeting with a trustee who is appointed by the bankruptcy court before participating in a court-approved financial management course. This course is similar to the credit counseling course.

Discharge of Debts

After the financial management course is complete, debtors will receive discharges wiping out most of their debts. However, some debts will still remain after the bankruptcy process is complete. This includes IRS or state taxes, student loans, secured debts, alimony, and spousal maintenance or support payments.

It is important to meet with a bankruptcy attorney prior to filing for bankruptcy. An attorney will help you understand what you can expect during the process and may also accompany to your 341 meeting to protect your legal rights when working with a bankruptcy court trustee. For more information on your Milwaukee bankruptcy options, contact Burr Law Office at (262) 827-0375. Or if you’re bored and want to learn about the history of bankruptcy, click here.

Bankruptcy Tips & Advice

While financial hardship is something everyone strives to avoid, it’s becoming an everyday reality for many. Filing for Waukesha bankruptcy may be the best option for resolving unmanageable debt. But what exactly is bankruptcy and how does it work?

This video can help you get a basic understanding of what bankruptcy is. You’ll learn about why it may be a good option for you, how your debts are managed during bankruptcy, and what happens to your assets. One of the best ways to determine whether or not bankruptcy is right for you is by speaking with an attorney. At Burr Law Office, you can schedule a free consultation with no strings attached – there’s no obligation to move forward with filing if it’s not your best option.

Attorney Michael Burr wants what’s best for you. If you don’t qualify  or don’t want to file for bankruptcy, he can offer you sound advice on alternative options that will help get you back on track and debt free.

If you’re looking for an affordable Waukesha bankruptcy attorney who can help you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then contact Burr Law Office. Our attorneys specialize in helping clients just like you recover from financial hardship. Call (262) 827-0375 for a consultation or visit us online.

What is An Automatic Stay?

Bankruptcy law can be incredibly difficult to understand for the layperson. If you’re filing for bankruptcy, then you are most likely juggling a lot of concerns and obligations. The specialized vocabulary of bankruptcy law can only add pressure to the situation.

Read on for more information about understanding bankruptcy law and contact an experienced attorney for expert knowledge and advice.

Why file for an Automatic Stay?

You’re probably unfamiliar with the concept of “Automatic Stay,” which can be explained to you in detail by your bankruptcy attorney. Automatic Stay represents relief to those filing for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

What does it mean?

According to the United States Courts’ glossary, an Automatic Stay is “an injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.” This means that creditors (with a few exceptions) cannot act to collect debts from the debtor for a certain period of time. The Stay’s purpose is to give debtors some time to figure out their situations and to establish a repayment plan, without the added pressure for resolution from the creditor.

Who can benefit from an Automatic Stay?

Automatic Stay is incredibly helpful to U.S. businesses, as it does not stigmatize business failure. The United Kingdom, for example, does not offer this period for businesses or individuals to sort out their financial situation or negotiate with creditors.

For help filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, call the dedicated Milwaukee bankruptcy experts at Burr Law Office. Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated and challenging process, and an experienced attorney who can help you efficiently navigate the process is invaluable. Call Burr Law Office at (262) 827-0375 for more information.

What is Chapter 13? An Overview

Every person’s precarious financial situation is different from the next; therefore, the chapter used by each individual varies widely. If you’re considering bankruptcy, it’s important for you to know the types. The question is…what is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 offers additional benefits for people who are at risk of foreclosure and have a steady income. For more information on how Chapter 13 bankruptcy works, check out this video. If you think bankruptcy may be your only viable option, then you need a legal expert to guide you through the bankruptcy process safely and properly.

Attorney Michael Burr is an excellent resource when it comes to the bankruptcy process. If you’re looking for an experienced, trustworthy attorney, look no further. If you’ve found yourself in financial stress contact us. Attorney Burr will help get you back on your feet once again.

Burr Law Office specializes in helping clients get through the bankruptcy process successfully while protecting their property. For more information on our legal services, visit Burr Law Office online today. Looking for a Chapter 13 attorney in Milwaukee, call Burr Law at (262) 827-0375.

Tax Help: What is Chapter 7?

Have you found yourself in financial distress? You’re not alone. Perhaps you’ve experienced unexpected medical costs, lost your job, been too generous to friends and relatives, gotten divorced, or simply mismanaged your money.

You may wonder…what is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and do I qualify? Those questions are asked by many people in Milwaukee and across the United States every day. More and more Americans are finding debt relief by filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In fact, in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, which includes Milwaukee and the surrounding area, over 6,000 Chapter 7 filings have been made between January 1 and September 30 this year.* For ⅔ of American’s it’s due to “medical issues —either because of high costs for care or time out of work.”** Whatever your particular reason, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be the solution you are looking for.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, also known as Liquidation Bankruptcy, erases your debt entirely, with a cuople of exceptions. The whole process takes between three and six months. You will be able to keep all of your personal property as long as its value fits within the bankruptcy exemptions you are entitled to take. You will also be able to keep your car and home as long as you are not behind on your loan payments. For instance, you will retain your car if you need it to get to work. The experts at Burr Law Office can help you by protecting the things you truly need and at the same time eliminating your debt so that you can begin again with a clean slate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbsLyAJudvI
There is no minimum or maximum amount of debt needed to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is an income status requirement, though. Your income needs to be equal to or below Wisconsin’s median income based upon your family size.*** The exemptions allowed should be clearly understood as well. Usually, when spouses file together in Wisconsin, each spouse can claim the full amount of the exemption (informally called “doubling”) as long as each spouse has an ownership interest in the property.

Chapter 7 is designed to help honest, well-intentioned borrowers who are in financial trouble. How does Chapter 7 bankruptcy work and what happens to your debt after you file? In the following video, a CPA will explain everything you need to know about this common form of personal bankruptcy, how you can file for it, and what happens to you after you file.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you need the best legal representation available to help you through the tumultuous and stressful process. Attorney Michael Burr and Burr Law Office can help give you and your family a fresh financial start.

You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn whether or not bankruptcy is your best option. Each case is handled personally by Attorney Burr from start to finish. Call today to start your journey to financial freedom!

*www.wieb.uscourts.gov
**Lorie Konish, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/11/this-is-the-real-reason-most-americans-file-for-bankruptcy.html
***www.statista.com

Terminology: What is Bankruptcy?

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it is vital that you understand the process. To help you gain an understanding of the different aspects of bankruptcy, take a look at this list of terms:

Automatic Stay

An automatic stay is the first thing that happens in any bankruptcy case. As soon as the bankruptcy filer submits his petition to the clerk of the court, the automatic stay begins, and creditors can no longer take any action against him. Wage garnishments must cease, and creditors cannot contact the debtor to discuss payment of debt. The stay lasts throughout the bankruptcy process.

Discharge

After the bankruptcy process is complete and creditors have received as much payment as possible, filers receive a debt discharge releasing them from responsibility for their unsecured debts. Creditors can no longer attempt to collect these debts from the bankruptcy filer.

Unsecured Debt

Bankruptcy will discharge unsecured debts, or debts not tied to property. These include personal loans, credit cards, and medical bills. During the bankruptcy process, filers will pay as much of these debts as possible, then be released from responsibility for them at the end of the process.

Secured Debt

Secured debts are tied to property, like car loans and home mortgages. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer has the option of discharging these debts and forfeiting the property or reaffirming the loan and continuing to pay it. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filers must make up any missed payments and stay current on new payments, or they will risk losing the property.

Means Test

This evaluation of a bankruptcy filer’s income determines whether he is eligible to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To file Chapter 7, a debtor must have income below a certain level, which varies from state to state, or have very little disposable income.

If you’re considering bankruptcy, you need experienced Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney to make sure you understand your options. Call (262) 827-0375 to schedule a free consultation with Burr Law Office.