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Law Office of James Keenan

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Sacramento Bankruptcy & Debt Relief Attorney

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 Consultations to consider your bankruptcy options are always free!

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Sacramento Bankruptcy Bust

Sacramento Bankruptcy Bust

A recent Sacramento bankruptcy bust shed light on one of the basics of bankruptcy.  Tell the truth!  Filing bankruptcy is a powerful tool.  It allows you to eliminate debt you are unable to afford.  After filing for bankruptcy creditors can no longer come after you.  Lawsuits, collection letters, wage garnishments and even creditor phone calls must come to an end when a bankruptcy is filed.  Sounds good, right?  Well for those in need, it is.

But with the relief bankruptcy affords comes responsibility.  You are obligated, under penalty of perjury, to be honest in your paperwork when you file for bankruptcy.  This includes disclosing all your debts.  It also includes revealing your assets.  All of them.  A Sacramento resident who filed for bankruptcy didn't do this.  This Sacramento bankruptcy bust was revealed in a recent Sacramento Bee story.  He didn't list all his debts.  And perhaps more damming, he didn't list all his assets.

Before this man filed for bankruptcy, he acquired lots of debt.  Hundreds of thousands in credit card debt.  With his borrowed money he bought real estate.  This wouldn't be a problem if he payed the debt back.  Or even if he intended to repay the debt.  But he planned neither.  When he filed for

bankruptcy he didn't disclose his new debt or assets.  That is a crime.  A federal criminal, punishable by years in prison.  That's exactly what happened in this Sacramento bankruptcy bust.

Is this a cautionary tale?  Maybe for some.  But doubtful for most.  The message, though, is to be honest in filing for bankruptcy.  Nobody wants to be the next Sacramento bankruptcy bust.  Simply tell the truth and avoid that fate.  Contact my office for a free consultation if you are in need of debt relief and considering filing for bankruptcy here in Sacramento.  Make sure you don't become the next Sacramento Bankruptcy bust!

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Common Bankruptcy Myths

Common bankruptcy myths are many.  But they shouldn't deter filing for bankruptcy for those in need.  Why?  Because they are not true.  Bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool for those unable to afford their debts.  Your debts can be eliminated or, at the least, reorganized.  Some of the most common misconceptions of bankruptcy are laid out in this post.

Common Bankruptcy Myth:

You Must Surrender Your AssetsNot true.  One of the most common bankruptcy myths is that you cannot protect your property.  Not so.  Bankruptcy law allows you to protect your assets.  Usually all of them.  Exemption laws provide protection of your property when you file bankruptcy and, as a result, you don't have to lose everything.  As I have counseled countless clients in Sacramento, you don't have to give up your possessions when you file bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy laws let you keep your home, cars, cash and retirement.  And the list goes on.  Every case is different, as are individual finances.  But the point is you don't have to surrender your property to gain debt relief through bankruptcy.

Common Bankruptcy Myth: Bankruptcy is Bad for Your Credit

It is.  But if your debt is worse your credit can improve by filing bankruptcy.  The key to determining whether to file for bankruptcy is weighing these factors.  It is understandable that this is one of the most common bankruptcy myths.  But your debt load must be considered in evaluating your bankruptcy options.  Is it better on your credit to file bankruptcy and remove your debt?  Or is it better to avoid bankruptcy and live with  the debt on your credit?  This is the question to ask.  A Time Magazine article points out this balance.

No matter the financial need, bankruptcy can be a good option.  Therefore, don't disregard bankruptcy.  Living in debt is hard.  Often debt begets more debt.  It is a cycle bankruptcy can break.  Bankruptcy myths should not be part of your decision whether to file for bankruptcy.

Contact my office for a free consultation to evaluate your options.  You have nothing to lose, but your debt.

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Financial Stress

Financial Stress

Financial stress is, well, stressful. That is not news to millions of Americans coping with money woes. This Forbes article points out the percentage of Americans who are struggling to make financial ends meet. It is a tough task.

Much of the advice given out to counter financial stress often involves debt elimination or reduction. That’s a good way to go. If you can. The reason so many are struggling with debt is they don’t have the income to pay it down. That’s why they are in debt in the first place.

Bankruptcy is a way to eliminate debt when you cannot afford to pay it back. Bankruptcy is normally considered a last financial resort. And it should. But for those who can not pay their debts it is their only resort. It is also a way to eliminate not just your debt, but the financial stress that accompanies it.

Debt is a big source for financial stress. There’s no doubt about that. But financial woes are not just about money owed. Financial stress can cause a mindset of dispair. A feeling of not being able to get out from under. Money problems can stress not only your finances, but other parts of your life. Relationships, friendships and work bonds can all be stressed when finances are unstable.

Bankruptcy can eliminate your debt. And it can eliminate the emotional baggage that goes along with not being able to repay the debts you owe. Bankruptcy is not as bad on your credit as many believe. That’s because there is an obvious benefit to your credit through bankruptcy. It eliminates your debt. That is good for your credit. And it usually counters the detrimental aspects of filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool. Bankruptcy can eliminate your debt. More importantly, it can eliminate the stress that goes along with the debt you owe.

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Sacramento Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy Myths Exposed

Sacramento Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy Myths Exposed

Over the next few weeks and posts, I will expose some of the major bankruptcy myths out there. The first, and often the most common, is that bankruptcy is a financially irresponsible move. Or that it is financially irresponsible to incur more debt than you can afford to repay. This US News report reflects many of these myths.

The reality is that most debt discharged, or eliminated, through bankruptcy, is tied to medical treatment, bills and living expenses. Rarely are debts discharged through bankruptcy perceived as financially irresponsible. That’s because they’re not. It’s a myth.

The cost of living has increased. And it has increased at a much faster pace than in years past. Just ask a college graduate with student loans, the uninsured ill, or underemployed parents trying to provide. Debt has become a necessity of American life. And that is definitely no myth.

What, then, to do with the debt? The credit card industry has tried to portray and perpetuate the myth that filing bankruptcy on your debt is financially irresponsible. But why? They don’t want there debts discharged is why. Debt you can pay is one thing. Debt you can’t repay is another. Bankruptcy is about what to do with that debt you cannot afford to repay.

And if you cannot repay your debt now, you’ll be even less like to repay it later. Debt grows more commonly than it shrinks if you cannot afford to pay it. Often incurring new debt to repay old debt becomes a way of life. When you run out of Peters to pay Paul, though, something has to give.

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Ides of March

Ides of March

According to Wikipedia, the Ides of March marks the date Julius Cesar was slain by his own. The assassination marked the end end of one Roman empire and the beginning of another.

The term ides of March means, literally, only the 15th of March. But the meaning of the term signifies much more. Beware is likely the most popularly accepted term to coin the concept of the Ides of March.

When it comes to debt, beware is often overlooked. Too frequently debt plays too intimate a role in our daily lives. And so with it goes the cost. The costs of debt to consumers can be crippling. And often it is. What, then, to do?

Popularized concepts to control the costs of debt often involve prioritizing and paying down your debt. Picking the most expensive creditors to pay first is another idea that supposedly helps. TheImage result for ides of marchre are other alternatives out there to dealing with your debt. At least those that are part of the popular culture of debt relief. But beware of the Ides of March!

Paying down your debt. Paying one creditor first, faster than the others. And paying sooner rather than later. They are all options to get your debt under control. But as the Ides of March may warn you, these suggestions all involve paying. And often paying more, faster.

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Bankruptcy Bad Idea

Bankruptcy Bad Idea

Bankruptcy affords you protection from your creditors and the elimination (or reduction) of your debt. But along with the benefits, bankruptcy comes with restrictions and responsibilities. One limitation is the amount of property you can protect in a bankruptcy. As discussed throughout this website, you can exempt your property when you file bankruptcy. Though there are limitations on the amount and type of property you can protect. Bankruptcy law mandates you disclose all your assets in your bankruptcy filing. Applying exemption laws you can then protect your property. Many, if not most, consumers can protect all they own. Not disclosing all the property you have, though, is a bankruptcy bad idea.

Posting pictures of property you did not disclose in a bankruptcy filing on social media is a really bad bankruptcy bad idea. Rapper 50 Cent may have put himself in this spot. Recently he posted on social media pictures of him surrounded by piles of cash. 50 Cent is in an active bankruptcy case now. If he did not disclose this money in his filing, he may be in big trouble. This news story explains his potential legal predicament.

If 50 Cent had this money when he filed for bankruptcy and disclosed it, no problem. If he didn’t, problem.

If this potential bankruptcy bad idea befalls rapper 50 Cent, he wouldn’t be the first to so fall. Nor would he be the first celebrity to run afoul of the bankruptcy law. Former major league player Lenny Dykstra served time in prison for failing to disclose all his property in his bankruptcy filing. Here is the CNN story portraying his plight.

The message for all is to disclose in your bankruptcy all the property you have. You likely can protect what you have. But no matter, you must list it all. When you sign your bankruptcy paperwork, you do so under penalty of perjury. Lying about what you have–or don’t have–is a bankruptcy bad idea!

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Sacramento Bankruptcy: What is a Bankruptcy Conversion?

Sacramento Bankruptcy: What is a Bankruptcy Conversion?

Bankruptcy conversion is changing the chapter of your bankruptcy filing after you have already filed. Types of bankruptcy are organized by chapters of the federal law that created them. Though there are many types of bankruptcy chapters, the most common for consumers are Chapter 7 and 13. Other areas of this website address all of the differences between Chapter 13 and 7 bankruptcies. But for this issue, suffice it to say that you repay at least some of your debts in a Chapter 13 (bankruptcy reorganization), but none in a Chapter 7 (bankruptcy liquidation).

If you file for one type (or chapter) of bankruptcy and, later, decide to do another before your case is complete, you can convert your bankruptcy. This means that you change your case from one form of bankruptcy filing to another without having to refile your case. Much of the information in your new bankruptcy chapter will have to be provided after you convert. But you won’t have to refile another case to do it.

Refiling a bankruptcy often comes with a penalty. To prevent people from filing too many bankruptcies, particularly in quick succession, Congress imposed restrictions on later filings to inhibit them. If, for whatever reason (and there can be many), you do need to refile a bankruptcy, it can be done. Usually, too, there is no penalty for doing so, especially if the cases are spread broadly over time. But if someone files bankruptcy 3 times in year, there likely would be problems. By being able to convert your case, you eliminate possible problems with future bankruptcy needs.

Converting your bankruptcy can also save you money. Instead of having to refile a brand new case with a brand new filing fee, you only have to pay a conversion fee, which saves you hundreds of dollars.

Most importantly for a conversion, it gets you where you want–or need–to be. For example, if you are in the midst of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization and can no longer afford your plan payments, you may need to convert to a Chapter 7 liquidation. Bankruptcy conversion laws allow you to do this. Loss of a job or other financial obstacles that can prompt a bankruptcy filing can also prompt a bankruptcy conversion.

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Payment Plans Welcome

Payment Plans Welcome

No matter the cost of a client’s bankruptcy, payment plans are welcome. There is no interest, late fees or minimum amounts due. Pay what you can, when you can, no matter the time it takes. Bankruptcy attorneys cannot be owed money by clients when filing their cases so, whatever fees are owing, must be paid before a bankruptcy is filed.

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Experience Matters

Experience Matters

10 years ago the bankruptcy laws changed and, when they did, they imposed limits–and penalties–on refiling bankruptcy cases. It is vital your bankruptcy filing is prepared, filed and prosecuted properly. Make a mistake and you may not be able to file again with full bankruptcy protection.

Whether you hire my office or not, hire an attorney with experience who knows bankruptcy!

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Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

This is a common question clients ask. The answer is yes. Though you can file another bankruptcy any time after your prior bankruptcy case is closed, your bankruptcy protection ability to eliminate your debt may be limited. An 8 year span between filings offers the most options to refile. But you can still eliminate your debt–or most of it–filing another case less than 8 years since filing your last case.

Every case is different. And this is an area that professional legal advice is a must. If redone wrong, you may not be able to discharge your debt, get bankruptcy protection or worse. If you have filed bankruptcy before and need to file again, contact me for a free consultation.

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Bankruptcy: can my employer discriminate against me for filing?

Bankruptcy: can my employer discriminate against me for filing?

No. An employer cannot discriminate against you for filing bankruptcy. Federal law protects an employee’s right to file bankruptcy without retribution, discrimination or retaliation. You cannot be fired, demoted or put in jeopardy of your job for filing bankruptcy. You are safe!

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Bankruptcy payment plans

Bankruptcy payment plans

Most clients in Sacramento who need to file bankruptcy cannot afford to pay it in one lump sum. That’s fine. My office has always accepted payments made over time to pay for a bankruptcy.

There are no minimum fees, deadlines, interest or other charges associated with payment plans. Pay as you can, when you can. The bankruptcy cannot be filed until the bankruptcy is paid in full, but you can take as long as you need to pay it off.

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Evening and weekend appointments for free bankruptcy consultations

Evening and weekend appointments for free bankruptcy consultations

If you need an evening or weekend appointment to meet for a free bankruptcy consultation, that can be arranged. Call me today at (916) 448-6923 to see what your debt relief and bankruptcy options are.

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Sacramento bankruptcy court link

Sacramento bankruptcy court link

In addition to the information provided in my website, it may be helpful for some considering bankruptcy, as well as those in an active bankruptcy, to access the court’s website. Bankruptcy is part of the federal court system which, for Sacramento, is in the Eastern District of California.

Click here for the court’s website.

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Don’t bury your head in the sand: bankruptcy can help you

Don’t bury your head in the sand: bankruptcy can help you

As is reflected throughout this site, bankruptcy is often a far better option than living with debt. It is better for your credit, financial standing and peace of mind. This CNBC video may help in your decision whether to file for bankruptcy.

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Sacramento bankruptcy coverage area

Sacramento bankruptcy coverage area

Sacramento bankruptcy filings cover a broad area from the Oregon boarder to Fresno County, from the San Francisco Bay to Lake Tahoe. It’s a big area. Click here for a link to the district map for the Eastern District of California, the court covering Sacramento and the large surrounding area for bankruptcy filings.

All areas of Sacramento county are included within this filing district including, but not limited to, Arden Arcade, Carmichael, North Highlands, Rio Linda, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove and Rancho Murieta.

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How to find the best bankruptcy lawyer in Sacramento who is right for you

How to find the best bankruptcy lawyer in Sacramento who is right for you

Selecting the best bankruptcy lawyer to overcome your personal debt problems can be complex. Who is the best attorney for you is the question to be asked and answered in the process. Whether you narrow your potential choices through Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter or some other search strategy or referral, whoever you choose must be right for you. And only through personal interaction and communication with a prospective attorney can this be accomplished.

Ask questions, discuss your situation and be comfortable in your choice. The attorney-client connection is a relationship that must be right for you.

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It’s a wonderful life (even if your finances aren’t)

It’s a wonderful life (even if your finances aren’t)

One of the greatest movies ever, It’s a Wonderful Life, drove it’s production company into bankruptcy after the film’s initial financial failure. Frank Capra, the creator of this cinematic classic, rebounded and found future fortune from the timeless tale this movie told.

If you face financial stress, remember that it can be overcome and, as Clarence said, “remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.”

May your Christmas and holidays be blessed!

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Bankruptcy filing for fresh financial start for 2016

Bankruptcy filing for fresh financial start for 2016

Get a fresh financial start for the upcoming new year! Bankruptcy can be a valuable tool to eliminate your debt. Learn more by scheduling a free consultation. Here are some bankruptcy basics courtesy of the federal court system.

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