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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Frisco bankruptcy lawyerSunday, May 9, 2021 is Mother’s Day. In too many Texas homes, the day might be a bit cloudy if financial woes hang over Mom. A great gift for any mother is for an adult child to offer to help with finances and financial planning. Though many older adults are reluctant to admit to difficulties, the numbers show a serious problem. 

Growing Anxiety

According to the Congressional Research Service, real average debt among elderly households climbed from $29,918 in 1989 to $86,797 in 2016 (in 2016 dollars). Further, “the largest growth in the share of elderly households who have any debt was for those headed by individuals aged 75 and older.” If your Mom is a senior in that 70-80 age group, chances are that she is in the 61 percent of seniors carrying debt. 

Seniors typically carry three major types of debt:

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Frisco bankruptcy lawyersIt is a common belief that being married means that you will automatically be responsible for any debt that either of you incurs. While it may be true that the property you acquire during your marriage could be considered joint assets, the same is not always true regarding debts. In fact, in most cases, you can  only held be responsible for your partner’s financial obligations if both of your names are used when incurring the debt. As a result, it is not terribly unusual for just one spouse to file bankruptcy on his or her own, leaving his or her spouse’s name off the filing. Many such situations occur when only one spouse is struggling with debt and in need of a fresh start. A qualified bankruptcy lawyer from The Page Law Firm can help you determine if filing without your spouse is the right choice for you.

Community Property

As you determine whether to file bankruptcy with or without your spouse, you need to look at the big picture. Texas is known as a “community property” state, which means that most, if not all, of the property that you and your spouse acquire during your marriage is considered to be jointly owned by both of you as the “community.” Therefore, when you file for bankruptcy—even in your name alone—you will list all of the assets that you are your spouse own jointly.

File Jointly or Individually?

The decision to file bankruptcy individually or jointly with your spouse will depend on the specifics of your unique situation. In a community property state such as Texas, it is important to consider how the filing will affect your spouse. Filing for bankruptcy together can offer a variety of benefits, including the elimination of many of your joint debts.

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Frisco bankruptcy lawyerHave you made a New Year’s resolution to get your finances in order in 2021? Maybe you lost your job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns. Or, maybe you relied heavily credit cards as you tried to make ends meet for your family, and now you are feeling overwhelmed by debt. At The Page Law Firm, we realize that the road to financial recovery may include filing for bankruptcy.

Of course, the decision to file for bankruptcy is not one that is easily made. Moreover, the days, weeks, and months following the decision can also be difficult. There may be feelings of fear or concern. Fortunately, we are here to help alleviate some of that stress by providing the guidance and assistance you need.

Start by Contacting an Attorney

While there are many steps to take during the bankruptcy process, your first should be to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Not only does this help you prevent missteps during the bankruptcy process, it can expedite the next steps. Contacting our firm can get you on your way to less stress from the creditor calls and collection letters. 

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Collin County bankruptcy lawyerThere are very few people who will be sad to see the year 2020 come to an end. It almost goes without saying that this year has been extremely tough on all of us. The COVID-19 health crisis, a struggling economy, social unrest, and so much more have left us feeling largely defeated and uncertain about the future. While it is impossible to predict what 2021 will be like, the best thing we can all do is to try to maintain a sense of positivity as we put this difficult year behind us and start to move forward.

We Are Strong

If there is a significant lesson to be taken from the hardships of 2020, perhaps it is the strength of character of the American people. We have faced challenges at the local level and as a nation as a whole, and we are still standing. It is true that we have lost loved ones, and such losses are tragic. Many of us are also now facing financial difficulties and even a possible bankruptcy filing in the near future. However, time and again in our country’s history, the American people have shown they are strong enough to overcome even the most difficult times, and we will do it again.

In fact, we are already seeing examples of it. Neighbors are helping neighbors in need of groceries. Friends and family members are keeping their homebound loved ones safe by dropping off meals, medicine, and other necessities. Even just friendly smiles—behind masks, of course—shared with strangers in a supermarket are signs of solidarity. We’ve learned how to smile with our eyes.

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Denton County bankruptcy lawyerThe calendar has officially turned over to October and today is National Savings Day. This means that we are only about eight weeks away from Thanksgiving, which, to many people, represents the beginning of the winter holiday season. Christmas, obviously, will follow just a few short weeks later. With this in mind, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you will handle the winter holidays from a financial standpoint. Without proper preparation, it is extremely easy to overspend and to find yourself using credit cards to make up for the shortfall in your budget.

Make a Budget

When you book a strategy session with The Page Law Firm to discuss bankruptcy, you’re asked to have some items on hand for the meeting. One of those items is a budget. Most of us don’t even think about how much we spend during the 4th quarter of each year.  Gift-giving is a wonderful tradition, but it costs money—quite a bit of money, if you are not careful. Before you start buying presents, create a plan that includes a maximum amount you will allow yourself to spend and make a list (checking it twice) of who will get gifts from you.  You are probably going to spend more on your children than you will on a gift for your neighbor across the street, and all of that spending should be accounted for in your budget.

It is also important to know where your holiday money will be coming from. Do you already have money saved? If not, will you be able to save enough between now and when you plan to shop?

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How You Can Help Your Dad with His BankruptcyIt can be painful to watch your parents struggle with debt, knowing how much they have supported you throughout your life. You may have relied on your parents as you were starting your young adult life, such as continuing to live with them or borrowing money. You are financially more stable, but now your parents are the ones who may need your support. For Father’s Day, it may be time to repay your parents by talking to them about how you can help with their debt problems, including the possibility of filing for bankruptcy. Supporting your parents does not have to mean giving them money. There are several ways you can help them:

  1. Figuring Out Their Financial Situation: Before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy, it will help to have a complete picture of your parents’ financial situation. Your parents’ assets and debts have been building for years, and it may be difficult to see the complete picture if your parents are unorganized with their records. You can start by tracking down and organizing records of assets and debts, which may be a mix of physical and digital records. You may need the assistance of a financial advisor to tell you what records to look for and analyze your parents’ finances.
  2. Coming Up with a Budget: Whether you choose bankruptcy or not, creating a budget will be necessary as a long-term solution to your parents’ debt problems. Your parents may need help with this if they have never been good at budgeting their finances. Go through their expenses to determine whether there is anything unnecessary that they could cut. You can also consider whether there are assets they would be willing to sell, but you should hold off on selling assets if you are considering bankruptcy. By filing for bankruptcy, your parents may be able to keep those assets and eliminate their debts.
  3. Finding a Bankruptcy Lawyer: If your parents are considering bankruptcy, they should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to learn more about the process. It is important to choose an attorney who understands the needs of people at your parents’ age and in their situation. You can offer to research bankruptcy lawyers in their area to find someone who you think would be a good fit for them. From there, your parents can contact the lawyer and set up an initial appointment, or you can even do that for them.

Contact a Denton County Bankruptcy Attorney

Discussing debt and bankruptcy may be an uncomfortable topic for Father’s Day but may lead to a better life for your parents. This could be a better gift than a tie. At The Page Law Firm, we are prepared to help your parents through the bankruptcy process while protecting their financial future. To schedule a free consultation with a Frisco, Texas, bankruptcy lawyer, call 214-618-2101.

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How to Find the Right Bankruptcy Attorney for YouWhen you are considering filing for bankruptcy, do not overlook the importance of who you pick to be your bankruptcy attorney. A good bankruptcy attorney can tell you whether bankruptcy is the right choice given your financial position and, if so, guide you through the process as smoothly as possible. Ensuring that you are able to discharge eligible debts and protecting your assets will be your attorney’s top priorities. How do you find someone who is not only a good bankruptcy attorney but the right fit for you? Keep these pointers in mind when you start your search.

Reviewing Your Options

It is easy to find the names of bankruptcy lawyers that work near you. Typing “Texas bankruptcy lawyer” into a web search engine will give you more results than you know what to do with. How do you narrow down your choices from there? First, your attorney needs to be someone who:

  • Practices the type of bankruptcy law that you need, such as consumer bankruptcy
  • Practices in the area where your case needs to be filed based on where you live
  • Has a track record of success with bankruptcy cases

Testimonials and referrals can point you towards bankruptcy attorneys who have good reputations. Talk to someone who has filed bankruptcy. If you have worked with an attorney in another practice area, ask them for a recommendation of a bankruptcy attorney. Visit online law directories and websites to see reviews and accolades that local attorneys have received.

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Giving My Own Thanks During This Holiday SeasonIn my previous blog, I discussed the reasons that people in the U.S. can be thankful for our bankruptcy laws and the many attorneys and other professionals who help them through the process. As an attorney who practices in the areas of bankruptcy and family law, I have much to be thankful for myself. The Page Law Firm would not be what it is today – a source of legal solutions for people going through difficult situations –  without my many clients, colleagues, friends, and family members. In keeping with the spirit of the season, I would like to share what I am thankful for:

  • I am thankful for my clients who trust me to guide them through their financial difficulties and towards a better future. I know how crucial it is that you get the relief you need from the bankruptcy process.
  • I am thankful for my clients who trust me to help them make decisions about their marriages and children. I know first hand how those decisions impact today and the years to come.
  •  I am thankful to those same clients who refer me to their friends and family, allowing me to help them as well.
  • I am thankful for the laughter we share and the tears we shed throughout the process. The personal connections I form with you are one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
  •  I am thankful for my fellow lawyers who refer clients to me or contact me when they have questions. I am always happy to give answers and am grateful that you think of me when your clients need help.
  •  I am thankful for my friends who have referred their friends to me, putting their trust in me and helping me grow my practice.
  •  I am thankful for my family, who continues to support me on this journey called The Page Law Firm.

Help Is Here for Those in Need

Whether you are struggling to keep creditors at bay or have decided to divorce, you should know that you will not be alone in facing your challenge. At The Page Law Firm, we advise clients on whether filing for bankruptcy is the right solution for their debt problems and, if the answer is “yes,” guide them through the completion of the process. For those seeking a divorce, we provide compassionate legal support for sensitive issues such as child custody and try to create an amicable process whenever possible. To schedule a free consultation with a Frisco, Texas, bankruptcy and divorce lawyer at The Page Law Firm, call 214-618-2101 today.

Using Exemptions to Protect Your Assets During BankruptcyPeople who file for bankruptcy have several exemptions at their disposal to protect their properties from seizure by creditors. Texas residents can use either the federal property exemptions or the Texas property exemptions, but not both. Many residents choose the Texas exemptions because they are considered more favorable. With Texas’ property exemptions, bankruptcy filers may be able to keep valuable assets, such as their homes and vehicles.

Homestead

Texas’ Homestead Exemption provides broad protection for the primary residence of a person filing for bankruptcy. A home of any value may qualify, as long as the property is:

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Why You Should Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Collin County bankruptcy attorneyI recently read an article on forbes.com about bankruptcy, and it has been niggling in the back of my mind ever since. The author is not a bankruptcy lawyer, but there he is on the Internet pontificating about the three most important things you need to know about filing for bankruptcy.

He noted that bankruptcy isn’t free, saying that this is a “surprise” to many people. I’m not sure why anyone would have an expectation that filing for bankruptcy would be free. People don’t go to the store and expect to get their groceries for the week for free. They don’t go to the hospital for surgery and expect the surgeon and the hospital to thank them for coming in and provide services for free.

The article goes on to say that most lawyers charge by the hour. While this is true for many lawyers, it is not necessarily the case for consumer bankruptcy lawyers. Most charge a flat fee, which is typically a small percentage of the debts that are discharged and the assets that are protected. Furthermore, unlike other areas of the law, there is oversight of the fees that bankruptcy lawyers charge, because those fees are disclosed as part of the bankruptcy filing (in two different places) and must comply with the local rules of the bankruptcy court.

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Collin County bankruptcy lawyerBefore a debtor can file for bankruptcy, they must complete a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session with an approved provider. Sadly, most simply see this as a part of the process when, in fact, it is a prime opportunity. In fact, for some, the pre-bankruptcy counseling session could be exactly what is needed to avoid filing for bankruptcy. However, even when that is not the case, debtors stand to learn a lot about their financial future. Learn more about how to make the most out of your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session, and discover how an experienced attorney can assist you with the bankruptcy process.

What Happens During Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling?

Although pre-bankruptcy credit counseling sessions may vary slightly in their curriculum, all include an analysis of your current financial situation, a discussion on what alternatives may be available to you, and a personal budget plan. Debtors may be asked to complete these elements of the course over the phone, in person, or online. Once the debtor has completed the course, they should be issued a certificate of completion. (Note that debtors should not be charged an additional fee for their certificate of completion.)

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Should I Be Afraid of the Numbers 3, 4 and 1?

Frisco, Texas bankruptcy 341The short answer…absolutely not!  

So what are those numbers, and what do they mean to a person who has filed for bankruptcy?

341 is actually a section in the Bankruptcy Code (the federal law that covers bankruptcy) and the shorthand term for the first meeting of creditors in a bankruptcy case. Don’t get fooled by the word first. In fact, don’t get fooled by the word creditors either. In a consumer bankruptcy case, there typically is just one meeting, and by and large, the creditors don’t attend these meetings, with the possible exception of a disgruntled former spouse.  

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Frisco bankruptcy attorney

Before a debtor can file for bankruptcy, they must complete a certified credit counseling course. What is this required course, why do you need it, and how can you make it work to your advantage? The following information explains and provides some important details on how an attorney can assist you through the bankruptcy process.

What is Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling?

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Frisco bankruptcy lawyerOnce you have decided that bankruptcy is the right option for you, you must then decide which type of bankruptcy you would like to file. In some cases, the decision is based on your circumstances. In others, it is a matter of personal preference. Learn more about the types of bankruptcy available to individuals and small businesses, including how to determine which one may be most appropriate for you, with help from the following information.

The Basics: Chapter 7 versus Chapter 13

At first glance, all forms of bankruptcy might appear the same. However, there are some distinct differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges most forms of secured debt, meaning the debtor is no longer responsible for them. Another major difference is how assets are retained during each bankruptcy process. For example, if a borrower is making payments on a vehicle, the creditor may still repossess the car if a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed. In Chapter 13, the debtor may be permitted to keep the vehicle if they continue to make the agreed upon payments.

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National Association of Consumer Bancruptcy Attorneys State Bar of Texas
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