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Law Office of James Keenan

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Sacramento Bankruptcy & Debt Relief Attorney

Get news, tips and information about bankruptcy filing and debt relief/elimination in Sacramento

Get Out of Debt

Debt can be crippling. Many in Sacramento are living with debt. And the situation is worsening. But how do you get out of debt? This recent news story offers tips to relieve your debt dilemma. But the options offered presume you have the money to, at minimum, pay down your debt. What do you do when you don't have the income to do that? Bankruptcy O...

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Bankruptcy Refiling

Bankruptcy refiling is a common question potential clients ask. Can you refile a bankruptcy they ask. Yes, you can refile a bankruptcy. But the effect of a subsequent bankruptcy filing varies depending on how long it has been since you last filed bankruptcy. It also depends on how the prior bankruptcy concluded. Was the prior bankruptcy case conclu...

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Bankruptcy Obligations

 Bankruptcy obligations are many. But so are the benefits. Some of the most basic requirements are to disclose all your debts. The same goes for all your assets. Listing your debts is obvious. The purpose of filing for bankruptcy is debt relief. Listing your debts in your bankruptcy paperwork is a given. It is how your creditors are notified o...

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Senior Bankruptcy Benefits

Bankruptcy may be a last financial resort for some. But it can be a good one. Bankruptcy allows you to reduce or, in many cases, eliminate your debt. At the same time, assets can be protected. This is an obvious benefit. Senior bankruptcy benefits can be even better. This New York Times article points out many of these benefits. Seniors often live ...

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Sacramento Bankruptcy Protection

Debt is on the rise in Sacramento, and it is elsewhere. In Sacramento bankruptcy protection may be an option for many seeking solutions to their financial troubles, or simply a way out. Bankruptcy is a legal option, but it is a good one for those in need. Bankruptcy will allow your to eliminate debts you cannot afford or, as put by the bankruptcy c...

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Bankruptcy Credit Repair

 Bankruptcy credit repair is a way to get a fresh financial start. The common misconception is that filing bankruptcy is nothing but a negative on your credit. It's not. Filing bankruptcy, whether in Sacramento or elsewhere, is a way to eliminate debt. That is good for your credit, as most would imagine. The issue, then, is whether it is bette...

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Bankruptcy Protection

Bankruptcy protection is often the point of filing for bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy allows to an automatic stay. That is a legal buzz word that means you are protected from your creditors when you file for bankruptcy. But protected from what? Well, everything. The bankruptcy automatic stay shields you from your creditors. This includes any efforts...

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Debt Stress Relief

Debt is stressful. It is very stressful. Anyone living with debt knows this. But debt stress relief is possible. During the Great Recession, debt was rampant, leaving millions looking for relief. Following this financial collapse, credit dried up. Though this temporarily ended credit concerns, many were left in need of credit to regain their financ...

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Payday Loan Debt

 Payday loan debt is a problem. It is a big problem. And as the payday loan industry rivals fast food restaurants in numbers, the problem is growing. Payday loans are loans borrowed against your paycheck. They can be taken against any postdated check you write. A borrower goes into a payday loan business and writes a postdated check for $350. ...

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Rising Credit Card Debt

 Rising credit card debt is a byproduct of the improved economy. According to a CBS News report, credit card debt has surpassed a trillion dollars nationwide. That's a lot. The more the economy grows, the more credit that becomes available. And with it, debt. Credit is beneficial in generating a stronger economy. It allows business expansion, ...

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Medical Debt Bankruptcy

 Medical debt bankruptcy is filing bankruptcy due to medical bills. It is more common than most might imagine. According to a recent USA Today article, medical debt is the number one cause of filing bankruptcy in America. Sacramento is no different. It is a significant factor in forcing many bankruptcies. The filing of a medical debt bankruptc...

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Credit Card Debt Forgiveness

Credit Card Debt Forgiveness

Are you in credit card debt?  If so, you are not alone.  Credit card debt is on the rise, and it is growing.  Take a look at this CNBC story to see the rise.  Credit card debt forgiveness is also increasing.  But how?  Why?  Credit card debt that cannot be repaid is a problem.  If you can't pay it you have limited options.  One of them, however, is to ask for the debt to be forgiven.  Even if only part of it.

Credit card debt forgiveness is available directly through creditors.  Asking a credit card company to forgive your debt is a simple ask.  Getting the debt actually forgiven, though, is a different issue.  This recent US News article elaborates the varied aspects of asking your credit card debt to be eliminated or reduced.

If credit card debt forgiveness is offered, there is a catch.  The IRS.  Whatever credit card debt is eliminated is deemed income by the IRS.  You will receive a 1099 for whatever amount of credit card debt you can be reduce or eliminate.

Beware, too, of all debt consolidators.  They are often scams.  Credit card debt forgiveness  in this manner, as such, is rarely worthwhile.  The cons outweigh the pros.

Bankruptcy, therefore, may be a better option for credit card debt forgiveness.  Bankruptcy is a negative on your credit.  It can, however, eliminate your debt, and that is a positive.  It's tax-free, too.  Forgiveness of debt through bankruptcy is not a taxable event.  If you discharge debt in bankruptcy there is no tax to pay.  It's also not a scam like many debt consolidators.  It is a reliable option for those unable to pay their debt.

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Too Much Credit Card Debt?

Too Much Credit Card Debt?

Do you have too much credit card debt?  If so, you are not alone.  Credit card debt recently surpassed one trillion dollars for US consumers.  That's a lot!  An ABC news story depicts the deepening American debt load.  What, then, to do?

The simple solution is to pay credit card debt off.  Budget solutions suggest paying down higher interest rate creditors first.  That's well and good.  If you can afford it.  But if you have too much  debt you may not be able to afford it.  That's why you may be in debt in the first place.

Borrowing more money to pay off too much credit card debt is another way out.  But it really isn't a way out.  It is a just digging deeper into debt.  Whether you borrow against your home or take out new loans to pay off older ones, you may be only worsening the problem.

More income is another silver bullet for too much credit card debt.  But that, too, is a limited option.  Most Americans are on a fixed income.  Static income in not just for seniors.  Anyone earning a salary knows that.  Most people earn what the earn.  Raises are not enough for those living with too much credit card debt.

Bankruptcy may be the best option for those trying to manage too much credit card debt.  Bankruptcy may eliminate your debt while allowing you to protect your assets, including your home.  It may actually improve your credit  since, after all, elimination of debt is a big benefit on your credit.

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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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Debt or Discharge?

Debt or Discharge?

Debt or discharge, that is the question. But what does it mean?  Simply put, its a decision.  It's a decision whether to live with debt or without it.  Discharge is the end result of a bankruptcy.  When you file bankruptcy, here in Sacramento or elsewhere, you  have debt.  Likely a lot of it.  Enough debt to prompt you to file for bankruptcy.  But, again, why?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that can eliminate your debt.  The end result of a bankruptcy filing is a discharge. Here is an explanation of it from the Sacramento bankruptcy court. A discharge is a legal order from the bankruptcy court.  It orders your debts no more.  Hence the title of this blog being debt or discharge.

Before you get the discharge, you must complete the bankruptcy filing process.  It's not too difficult to do with legal guidance.  But it must be done right.  Otherwise, no discharge.  Then your debt or discharge question is answered for you.  Some of the basic components of a bankruptcy filing are listing your creditors and assets.  You have to put down everyone you owe money.  Even if is Aunt Edna or Uncle Charlie.  Everyone must go onto the list, or schedules in bankruptcy.  Including your assets is an obvious one.  Bankruptcy law allows you to protect, or exempt, your property.  But you have to list it.  

When the bankruptcy filing process is done, the judge orders orders a discharge.  Poof, no more debt or discharge dilemma.  Maybe this is an oversimplification.  But maybe it's not.  The point is you have a choice choice.  There are several facts that lead to debt.  And there are several factors that can lead to a discharge.  Each debtor is different.  But all have options.

Contact my office for a free consultation to evaluate your options.  

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Sacramento Bankruptcy Basics

Sacramento Bankruptcy Basics

Sacramento bankruptcy basics is a primer post for those considering filing for bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy can be a hard decision.  A really hard one.  But bankruptcy can bring relief.  Lots of it.  The most basic equation for those thinking of bankruptcy is debt.  More debt than income.  That is the common denominator for bankruptcy filers.  So, if you have more debt than you can afford, bankruptcy should be considered.  Not because you want to.  Since you have to.

But bankruptcy is not that bad.  What many fail to consider is the benefits of bankruptcy.  Namely, it eliminates debt.  Many in Sacramento are living with debt they cannot pay.  Something needs to be done.  But what?  The first Sacramento bankruptcy basics evaluation should be whether your debt is growing.  If it is, that's a sure sign you have more debt than you can afford.  And it's also a sign your debt is likely to get even bigger.  Borrowing to pay off borrowed money is a common phenomenon.  It is unsustainable, though.  Something will eventually have to give.

Debt consolidators are commonplace.  Their pitches are good.  But their impact is bad.  Consolidating your debt is a ding worse on your credit then bankruptcy.  Plus it doesn't eliminate your debt.  Here is a news story revealing the problems.  Sacramento bankruptcy basics should always include avoiding these companies.  This is not a scare tactic.  It is a fact.  Having third parties pay your debt, if that even happens, is worse than bankruptcy on your credit.  And if some of you debt is eliminated, it is taxed.  Debt discharged, or eliminated, in bankruptcy is not taxed.

As a final Sacramento bankruptcy basics point, I invite you to evaluate your bankruptcy options.  You can go to the Sacramento Bankruptcy Court to gather information.  Or you can contact my office for a free evaluation.  All you have to lose is your debt!

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Can I Discharge my Student Load through Bankruptcy?

Can you discharge student loan debt? Maybe. Ordinarily student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Meaning that student loan debt cannot be eliminated through a bankruptcy filing and discharge. Other types of debt can be discharged, or eliminated, in bankruptcy. But not student loans. Usually, that is. Student loans are on the rise. The ...

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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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Dischargeable Debt

Dischargeable Debt

Dischargeable debt. What does that mean? Debt needs no definition. But dischargeable does. Dischargeable debt is debt that can be discharged by law. This means that the debt is eliminated. Normally this is done though the filing of bankruptcy. And once discharged, the debt can no longer be collected upon.

The reason people file bankruptcy is that they cannot afford to repay their debts. Filing bankruptcy allows their debts to be discharged. When a bankruptcy case is completed, a discharge is ordered. This means he bankruptcy judge issue an order. The order declares the debt is legally discharged. This means it is no longer owed. But only dischargeable debt can be eliminated. Or discharged.

Most forms of debt are dischargeable. But some are not. The most common forms of debt that are dischargeable include credit card debt, medical bills, car repossessions (or surrenders), foreclosures, past-due rent, social security and unemployment overpayment, and more. These are all types of dischargeable debt. They can all be eliminated through the filing of bankruptcy.

Some debts, though, are not dischargeable. Certain types of taxes are not dischargeable. For example, sales tax and employee withholding are types of debt that may not be dischargeable. So even if you file bankruptcy, you may not be able to eliminate these debts. There are forms of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy for example, where you can provide repayment plans for these debts. But none that eliminate them.

Income tax and student loans may be dischargeable debt. Stress on the may. Income tax can be discharged through bankruptcy. But the taxes must be old enough. There are other restrictions, too. But typically income taxes more than 3 years old can be discharged in bankruptcy. Student loans are another maybe. Typically student loans are not dischargeable. Even if you file for bankruptcy. But is you are in a hardship situation, as this US News Report & World Report article points out, you might be able to eliminate your student loans.

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Medical Bill Relief

Medical Bill Relief

Medical bill relief is a much needed commodity for many American consumers. This is especially so for surprise medical bills, as this Fortune Magazine article reports. The reason medical bills can cause such financial chaos is simple. Medical bill are expensive. Really expensive. And it is only getting worse.

Much of the need for medical bill relief is related to healthcare insurance changes. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), millions of Americans’ medical insurance plans changed. The changes typically involved higher costs and fees. With the increased costs came decreased coverage for many. This resulted in medical bills. Medical bills consumers thought were covered by their insurance. But they weren’t.

Ambulance bills, once considered covered by insurance, no longer were for many new medical insurance policies. An extra $1,500.00 for an unanticipated health emergency could soon result in a financial emergency. Medical bill relief for many became a must.

Medical bills are rarely welcomed or invited. But collection efforts for medical bills can be some of the most aggressive. Collection companies often contribute to the problem facing many in need of medical bill relief. Expensive medical bills are a problem. A big one. Pressure to pay these bills can be bigger. Lawsuits often result. Perhaps even a bigger problem.

What, then, can be done? Paying them is an option. But not a good option for most. Not paying them can leave you in peril. But this is the only option for too many. Bankruptcy may be the only option. But it is a good one. Medical bills are unsecured debt. This means they can be discharged in a bankruptcy. Discharged debts are eliminated. You are legally relieved of these debt. This is a big benefit to those in need of medical bill relief. Bankruptcy may not be anticipated. But neither may be medical bills.

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