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Bankruptcy is not as scary as you might think

Hello, this is Jeff Kelly. Today is October the 15th 2020. And today we’re going to talk about how Filing bankruptcy is not scary. A few weeks ago, I was at a large local hardware store and I watched a young father and his three year old son walked into the store. I was in the lightbulb section, and they walked right up next to me. The Father, let go of his son’s hand, and the son slowly started to walk away now, I’m 50 years old, and I’ve helped raise five kids. And I’ve developed some kind of sixth sense where I can detect when a drama episode is about to erupt from a child. Three year old slowly walked away from the Father towards a group of Halloween decorative, which is for sale. And one of the witches had a lifelike size and a button beside it that said, press here. I bet you can guess what happens next. After the curious little boy press the button, which came to life and lent out some terrifying warnings along with some Halloween sound effects. As you can guess the little boys, a little boy belted out some shrill screams. And he was shaking with tears. His good father rush to his side and comfort him. Everything’s gonna be okay, so the good father there which is not real, she can’t hurt you. You’re safe in my arms. And much the same way. Many people are as terrified of bankruptcy as that sweet little boy was of the fake which, in my 22 years as a consumer bankruptcy attorney, I’ve seen some people do some crazy things to try to avoid the inevitable bankruptcy. Personally, I think the worst thing a person can do is drain the 401k retirement account. To make payments on credit card debt until the funds run out. Your 401 k is a protected asset. You get to keep all of it when you file chapter 7 and 99.99% of the cases. It’s frustrating to see people fruitlessly lose their retirement funds in an effort to avoid a clearly inevitable bankruptcy. Another common bad move to avoid bankruptcy is to pawn the title of a car. When you miss your payments of a title upon the title of your vehicle transfers automatically under Georgia law. And as a consequence of this automatic transfer, Chapter 13 is not going to save you from the clutches of a title pawn creditor. I want to talk a little bit now about more about this this fear of bankruptcy. My my friend Richard James has a saying that goes like this fear equals false evidence appearing real. And so what I want to address now are the most common fears about bankruptcy that are not real. The most common fear is that lawyers are scary and not easy to talk with. And this is certainly not true about myself, or the bankruptcy attorneys at my law firm. Check out our reviews on Google. And you’ll see this is true. We also have some testimonials as well on our YouTube channel. We understand we’re on your side. Another common fear is that you will never be able to get credit again after you file bankruptcy. Yes, chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit for 10 years. And Chapter 13 will stay on your credit for seven years. B

Bankruptcy and Bouncing back from Covid-19

Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is September the 16th 2020. And today we’re going to be talking about using bankruptcy to bounce back from COVID-19. Do you remember where you were when you first realized that COVID-19 was going to alter the course of your entire life? I remember the restaurant. I remember the smells. I remember the family members that were sitting with me. March 2020, was the absolute strangest month of my entire life. How do you really prepare for a national shutdown? Do you remember the empty shelves at the grocery store? I do. The past six months have seemed like such a strange, bad dream. Well, what do we do now? Lay down and give up? Well, you can’t. There’s people depending on you. We’ve got to move forward. And for many people in this country, bankruptcy is going to be a good tool to help bounce back. COVID-19 has caused massive amounts of unemployment. After it hit, over 40 million people in this country lost their job due to the shutdowns. Well, the stimulus money certainly helped. Lots of people still missed many months of mortgage payments and car payments. But the good news is that chapter 13 can help people catch up on the past due payments. Chapter 13 stops a foreclosure of your home. Chapter 13 stops the repossession of your car. This past week, NBC reported that the unemployment rate has fallen back into the single digits. For the first time since the pandemic began and that over 1.4 million jobs were added to the economy last month. Things seem to be heading in the right direction. The March 2020 shutdowns stopped almost all collection activity in Georgia. And that has now ended. Georgia courts were shut down due to the pandemic. But in mid-September, they’ve almost fully reopened and I suspect there’s about to be a huge deluge, a giant wave of garnishment orders coming down the pipe. Unfortunately, most people are going to wait until the last segment to do anything about a garnishment. Georgia garnishment law is brutal. Once a creditor obtains a judgment against you, they can take 25% of your net paycheck. The good news is that chapter 13 can stop the garnishment as soon as we get a bankruptcy case number. So I want to go over just like a you know, short example of how chapter 13 can help a family back back bounce back from COVID-19. So I want to tell the story about a young couple that I recently spoke with. To protect their privacy, I’m going to change around some of the facts. This young couple has three children and before COVID-19 hit. They both worked full time jobs after the pandemic, their local daycare completely shut down. In addition, their local elementary school also closed and moved everything online. Does this story sound familiar? With no one to watch the kids, they decided that in their particular situation, it would be best for the wife to quit her job because the husband was earning more. Then a year ago. Before all this stuff began. They both realized that the minimum credit card payments they were making were slowly slipping out of their reach into their misfortune. They heard about a debt settlement commercial on the radio that promised the moon and the sun. They call the phone number they set up a payment plan and they assumed all as well until the sheriff showed up. A few weeks ago, to their horror and dismay, the l

Student loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is August 31, 2020. Today’s title of what I’m going to talk about is why should student loans be dischargeable in bankruptcy? I believe that it is way past time to end the economic slavery that millions of college graduates across our country suffer and make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy just like they were back in the 90s. Can you imagine the nightmare of living with a $200,000 debt that just hangs over your head increases with interest every single year? For many Americans this nightmare is their daily reality. Want to finance a house? Forget it. Want to finance a car? Forget it. How about getting a loan to start a new business? Forget it. When a dark cloud of student loan debt hangs over your head moving forward is economically impossible. Now, prior to 1976, student loans could be discharged just like any other debt. And over the years, restrictions were added. The first restriction was you had to wait five years after graduating before you could discharge student loans. Then the goal line got changed to seven years and then in 1998, the hammer was completely put down. Student Loans could virtually no longer be dischargeable in bankruptcy. As a result, if you want to go find a good summary on the internet about the history of student loans and bankruptcy, you can go to savingforcollege.com backslash article backslash history of student loans bankruptcy discharge the consequences of making student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Since 1998, the cost the cost of a college education has more than doubled in real dollar terms. Think about that doubled. When I went to college, the vast majority of college housing was extremely Spartan, shall we say? Today, most college dorms look similar to a resort, so that colleges can attract students lower them into huge amounts of federally backed debt and make millions. Most colleges now have bloated bureaucracies due to the lack of real market forces. The connection between the true economic value of a college education has been disconnected from the value that said education will produce because of the restrictions on dischargeability in bankruptcy. Many people have been sold on the idea you cannot have a successful life unless you have a college degree. It’s becoming increasingly it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for many young adults to forego college completely because of the high risk that they will never be able to repay the loans. As a result, someone who should go to college may never develop their full potential because of this artificially inflated price. Currently, the federal government keeps footing the bill for unpaid student loans, colleges get their money from the federal government whether or not a student loan a student ever repays them. Where’s the incentive to keep costs down and connected to the reality of whether or not the loan will ever be repaid? Now my argument for bankruptcy. Many famous people in US history have filed bankruptcy and gone on to do great things for the world. Henry Ford’s first automobile company did not make it. Can you imagine a world without Henry Ford? Thank goodness he was able to file bankruptcy, recover and get a fresh start. What about Walt Disney? Can

Am I liable for the medical bills of my spouse?

Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is August the 13th 2020. And today I want to talk about, are you legally liable for your spouse’s medical bills just by virtue of the fact that you’re married? And in Georgia as a general rule, the answer to this question is no. Now, this question usually arises when one spouse has suffered an extreme trauma traumatic event, like COVID-19, Corona hospitalization, cancer, diabetes, heart attack, or some other health catastrophe that forces a person to accumulate a large amount of medical debt. Earlier this year, I met with an elderly lady who for purposes of this illustration, we’re going to call her Marjorie Okay, now Marjorie, was about five feet tall, about 95 pounds, married to the same husband for over like 40 years. Supersweet lady worked so hard. And at one point in her life, she had probably at least $300,000 saved up in her 401k when her husband passed away, he had an insurance policy. But what neither one of them ever anticipated, was just the exorbitant through the roof cost of medical treatment. And he had a huge, long battle with cancer and ended up leaving behind this overwhelming mountain of debt. Now what did the sweet lady do? She did honestly what most people do, and she made payments for years and years, until there was no more money left from the 401k and no more money from the life insurance proceeds. This is tragic and horrible on so many levels. Because all of that life insurance and all of that 401k money should have been protected from her husband’s medical bills, she was not legally obligated to make those payments. We see this happen a lot and so don’t feel bad if it’s you because you’re just like everybody else if if you’ve done this, but, you know, most people delay talking to a bankruptcy attorney until like way after they need to, which is, you know, again, double ironic and tragic because we offer a free consultation, it doesn’t cost anything to come talk to us if at any point. I’ve been practicing consumer bankruptcy for over 22 years And believe me, I have seen it all. You know, again, you would not believe how many people will needlessly spend their way into bankruptcy trying to pay somebody else’s bills that they’re not legally liable for. So what should a person do? What in the perfect world you lose your spouse, somebody you love your, your your other half? What a terrible traumatic event to go through. And as a consequence of the emotional toll, it’s also the absolute worst time to make major financial decisions. So step one, I think everybody should meet with a wills and estates attorney. And, you know, I don’t practice in this area, but I know many great attorneys around here who do and I am happy to help you find one give me a call 7708818449. I’ll help you if you’re in the situation. And the purpose of meeting with an estate attorney is to determine you know whether or not the estate needs to be probated, are there any assets that do need to be used to pay any leftover medical bills. Is there an estate at all? Very important to get those quest

File Bankruptcy without leaving your home

Transcript: Hello, this is bankruptcy attorney Jeff Kelly Today is August 3, 2020. And today I’m going to be talking about how you can currently file bankruptcy without ever leaving your home. One of the few good things that has come out as a result of the covid-19 pandemic is that you can now file bankruptcy without ever leaving your house. You can even attend your court hearing via telephone now from the comfort and safety of your home. Before COVID-19 hit, you had to physically appear in one of our offices, and a bankruptcy attorney had to see you physically sign the documents. And for many people who have to juggle busy work schedules and family schedules, it was difficult at times to physically get into the office. Traffic delays used to wreak havoc on some of our sign appointments. Now because of the shelter in place concerns, the bankruptcy court allows us to file your case without you ever having to come to one of our offices. Here’s how the process works. Step one, we conduct your free initial consultation with you by phone. During this conference, we want to review all of your debts, lawsuits, assets, income and expenses with you. Our goal is to get a feel for your entire situation. At the end of this free consultation, we will clearly explain to you why chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy is or is not a good option for you. Unlike many other bankruptcy law firms, you will be able to talk directly to an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will closely analyze the specific facts of your case. In addition, we will answer all of your questions. If you decide to move forward with either chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy. We will need you to give us your social security number and your birthdate so that we can pull your credit card for processing your bankruptcy petition. If you have received any lawsuits or other bills that you’d like for us to include in your case, you can take a picture of the documents and email them to us. If you have access to a scanner, that’s even better, it might be a lot easier for you to send them to us that way. Step two, the sign appointment during this appointment, which will take about two hours on average, we will do a screen share with you so that you can go through each page of the bankruptcy petition to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. We currently use zoom to make this happen. We will also when we’re finished use a program called DocuSign so that you can electronically sign the court required signature pages. We can file your chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy case shortly after your sign appointment, so your court protection will begin immediately. We will mail you a hard copy of the bankruptcy petition after your case is filed, then we will need you to sign it with a pin and mail the documents back to us. Until October 2020, all bankruptcy court hearings will be conducted virtually over the telephone. And this is great news because this means you can currently attend your court hearing without leaving your house without having to risk any COVID-19

5 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring A Bankruptcy Attorney

Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is July 23 2020. Today we are going to talk about the five most important questions that you should ask before you decide to hire a bankruptcy attorney. There are some important questions that every consumer should ask before hiring a bankruptcy attorney. Hiring the right attorney will ensure that you get the best Fresh Start possible after completing your case. And after being a senior bankruptcy attorney in Georgia for over 22 years, I think I can offer some advice on this topic. First of all, you must ask How many years has this attorney practice consumer bankruptcy law. Of course, the longer the time the more training and experience he will have 10 years or more gives you a good probability that he’ll have specific legal knowledge to use in getting you the best outcome for your case. This specific knowledge not only relates to knowing the laws but also knowing the other lawyers judges and how they operate and being able to figure out the best strategy for your case. Secondly, you must ask, does this attorney limit her practice to consumer bankruptcy law? Do you want your attorneys caseload to include legitimising child, criminal law, handling divorces, child custody, real estate, firearms, reading wills and estates, probating estates and throwing for good measure consumer bankruptcy? I think not. Obviously, you would rather be represented by an attorney who limits his or her practice to consumer bankruptcy. Third, you must ask, how many bankruptcies has he handled? Obviously, you would rather have someone who has tried, has has filed a lot of cases ideally 500 or more. An attorney with that level of experience is gonna be much better at things such as figuring out liquidation issues in your case, you know, do you risk losing your house? Do you risk losing your car? You know, are there other assets? basically keeping keeping you out of hot water. And you certainly don’t want to get someone who just graduated from law school, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Something else you want to know is after after reviewing your case, can he or she give you specific issues on the fine details of your bankruptcy case? Like are you going to lose your house? How much is your payment going to be and how is this payment calculated? Last but not least, you must ask. Will he give you will he explained to you in detail the costs that are involved all of the transaction costs and after an attorney does a thorough job of determining what type of work is needed in your case, if he’s experienced, he should be able to get you these details. Okay, so you’re probably wondering what my answers would be to the above questions and I will lay it out for you. As I mentioned, I have over 20 years of experience in bankruptcy in Georgia. In other words, I’ve been around the block a few times. Your case would not be my first rodeo. Before I opened my practice in 2005, I worked a few years for some l

What is strict compliance in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case?

Transcript: Hello! this is Jeff Kelly, today is July the ninth 2020 and today we are going to talk about what is strict compliance in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Strict compliance in a chapter 13 bankruptcy is when your case has been placed on a period where if you miss a single chapter 13 payment your case is automatically dismissed without a hearing. Dismiss without a hearing is a bad thing because you have no time to prepare. The second your case is dismissed, the creditors are free to legally take action against you as soon as the law is as soon as the law allows. So how fast do you think a car creditor is going to come after your car and try to repossess it after your case is dismissed? Answer, as fast as they humanly can contrast a chapter 13 on strict compliance versus a case where strict compliance does not exist. Normally When a chapter 13 debtor falls behind on payments to the trustee, the hearing is set down with the bankruptcy court which gives them time to come up with the plan to make up for missed payments or in the alternative if you know your bankruptcy case is about to dismiss you could make plans for alternative transportation, when you know your car is about to get repossessed. In contrast, if a case is is on strict compliance, or chapter 13 case will be dismissed shortly after a payment is missed. All bankruptcy protection is lost as soon as the dismissal order is entered. Thank you, Lord, we do have gracious chapter 13 trustees. So during this COVID-19 crisis, the chapter 13 trustees have been extremely gracious by not enforcing strict compliance orders. But now that we are months into the crisis and people are back to work, most trustees have resumed enforcing strict compliance orders. So how does someone end up on strict compliance to begin with? Well, in some cases, the debtors attorney might agree with a trustee for a requested period of strict compliance. For example, most chapter 13 cases have what’s called an employment deduction order. That’s where they’re going to take, you know, the chapter 13 payment directly out of your paycheck every single time you get paid. So your whatever your monthly payment is, it gets prorated. You know, like if you get paid weekly, then it would be divided by four and so forth. So, some people do not want a an employment deduction in order at any cost. And because maybe they’re, you know, give an example. Maybe they’re a supervisor and they’re worried. This is going to hurt their chances for promotion. So a trustee might say, okay, fine, you can pay it directly to me every month, on the condition that you agree to one year strict compliance for the first year of the case. This way that you know saves the trustee a lot of trouble if you don’t make your payment, they can just boom automatically dismiss it without having to set it down for a hearing. So another situation where strict compliance could be added to a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is after a motion to dismiss has been filed. In some cases, you know, people miss work for extended periods, maybe it’s because of surgery, maybe, you know, the plant shut down for a short time, whatever. Your payment

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