A Brief History of Bankruptcy in America

Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Procedure, Corporations, Did You Know?, Lawyering, Regulation, Trustee

My clients often ask me in fits of frustration: how did bankruptcy get to be like this? And I then have the chance to tell them about the storied history of bankruptcy! Usually, they ask this question out of rage at the sheer number of documents they’re asked to produce, but I take it as an opportunity to share the joys of tax law (that is not sarcasm, I love what I do).
But I figured we can all benefit from learning something about the history of bankruptcy. So, I wanted to share with you all some of the greatest developments. What follows is a brief history laid out by the major laws that we’ve created surrounding bankruptcy.

Are You A Consumer or A Non-Consumer Debtor?

Abuse, Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Procedure, Pre-Bankruptcy Planning

When filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California, it’s important to know if you’re a consumer or a non-consumer debtor. If you’re a consumer debtor, then you need to meet the Means Test, an income threshold you cannot go above and still qualify for a chapter 7. If you’re a non-consumer debtor, then you do not need to meet the Means Test; how much you earn may, but won’t necessarily, disqualify you from filing for Chapter 7. So what? Most everyone would prefer a chapter 7 to be free and clear of their debts without going through years of repayment first. Read more »

What Happens to California Homes with IRS Liens in Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Procedure, Pre-Bankruptcy Planning, Tax Liens

Many debtors in California file chapter 7 bankruptcy with a home that has an IRS tax lien on it. What happens in these cases? If the IRS has a federal tax lien on real property in California prior to a bankruptcy being filed, then that lien will survive bankruptcy. In other words, debtors cannot use bankruptcy to escape an existing federal tax lien on a California property, despite the fact that California bankruptcy law allows chapter 7 filers to take up to $678,000 in equity in a primary residence through bankruptcy. Read more »

How Long Does A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take in Thousand Oaks?

Asset Protection, Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Procedure, Pre-Bankruptcy Planning

My clients often ask: how long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy take? The short answer: it depends. It depends on how quickly the client organizes their information and documents; it depends on whether it makes sense to postpone filing to protect some assets that would be otherwise taken; and it depends on the Bankruptcy Trustee. I rarely have a bankruptcy take less than 4 months or longer than 8 months. The average is 5-6 months. Read more »

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Basics

Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Procedure

For individuals (rather than businesses), there are two types of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows debtors to wipe out most existing debt, but there are strict income thresholds to qualify. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debt repayment agreement for higher-income people, that may or may not result in some of their debt being discharged at the end of the five year repayment plan.  This blog overviews the basics of Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. Read more>>