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Automatic Payments from your Bank Account are a Bad Idea

Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly Today is December the 7th 2019. And today I want to talk about automatic payments that come out of your bank account. You know, I can understand why automatic payments sounds like a great idea. You don’t have to worry about it, just set it and forget it. But for somebody who who’s having debt problems, this is a terrible idea. And the reason why is because the creditors that are are going to push the hardest to get automatic payments coming out of your check are probably the ones that you’re not going to pay if you get into serious trouble. So, you know with things like your mortgage company, house payments, number one, but let me give you an example of one that you really don’t want to have automatic payments on. And that would be your second mortgage. If you get into serious trouble on your first mortgage, they’re going to foreclose on your house, okay? So, first mortgage top priority. Second mortgages, are they going to foreclose on your house? The answer is almost never. And the reason why is because in order for a second mortgage to foreclose on your house, they’ve got to pay the entire balance on the first mortgage first, before they can foreclose. So most situations, second mortgages, you know, we see some money owing maybe, you know, for example, $30,000 on a second mortgage, and $150,000 on the first, well, no bank in their right mind is ever going to spend $150,000 to try to recover 30 it’s just too much of a risk with respect to a house. I mean, there might be a rare situation where there’s just tons and tons of equity. It might make it attractive, but as a general rule, no. Credit card payments, medical bills, don’t do this stuff on automatic payments, I’m against that. Also, you know, even with your first mortgage, when you’re writing out a check every month or having it sent directly by your bank, you’ve got a rock solid record of a check front and back showing exactly where that money went to. I really personally prefer those. I mean, that is like solid court evidence that just can be submitted on the face. So, as a general rule, when it when we’re talking about automatic payments, it’s really a bad idea. Another thing, let’s say you, you have an automatic payment set up out of your checking account, and we file bankruptcy and we’re going to wipe this creditor out completely in the bankruptcy but they know your routing number and they know your account number. Well, you know, technically, they’re not supposed to be yanking money out of your checking account after the bankruptcy cases filed and after you tell them to stop, but you know, what’s going to happen? They’re going to do it anyway. And are you going to spend, you know, 500

Bankruptcy Means Test – Should I Worry About It?

Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is November 21 2019. And today I would like to talk about the topic of the bankruptcy means test. So what is the Means Test? Some people call it the median income test. Basically, this was like the main driver of when the bankruptcy laws were reformed way back in October 2005. I cannot believe it’s been that long ago, it seems like yesterday to me, but I remember that day. And the purpose was that, you know, Congress reformed the bankruptcy laws so that basically if you make more money than an average family of your size, then they don’t want you to be allowed to wipe out all of your debts in a chapter 7. They want you to file chapter 13. Now the philosophy is That there is closer scrutiny in a 13 as opposed to a chapter 7. I don’t know that’s necessarily true. I have found the chapter seven trustees to be just as anal and nitpicky as chapter 13 trustees. I think they’re they both guard the gate very well. You’re not going to slide anything past a 13 trustee or a chapter 7 trustee. But that was a philosophy is there is this myth out there that all these people were making great incomes and filing chapter 7 when they shouldn’t have been and the poor old credit card companies that are ripping off America by charging 30% interest or more, it was just unfair to them. So they created this thing called the median income test. Now, what I tell all my clients is is this median income test is not a product of logic or sense. It is a product of Congress. So sometimes it makes absolutely no sense, but here’s the gist. The IRS keeps statistics on family sizes, and what’s the average income and how much a average family of a certain size needs for housing and food and clothing and things like that not all of this stuff is part of the median income test. And it’s very common to hear people who potentially need to file chapter 13 or chapter 7, they go online, and they find some online median income test and they plug in their numbers and they say, Oh, crap, I’m not going to be able to do anything. There’s no hope for me whatsoever and that’s totally wrong because they don’t know what they’re doing. The the meaning income test is complicated, the numbers change and so what’s funny is a lot of the numbers that you see online are outdated and you know, the median incomes go up. As inflation goes up, the median income numbers go up and the IRS they update those at least every, you know, quarter every six months or so our software we have to get it updated to reflect these new numbers. So why not take advantage of a free consultation if you’re have debt issues, do not do not depend on something, you know, tests you found online, because there’s a good chance that it’s not going to be accurate. It makes sense to come sit down with a bankruptcy attorney. It’s a free consultation if you live in metro Atlanta or anywhere in northwest Georgia. We’ll be happy to sit down with you and and go over it. So what would we need if you think you’re going to be ov

The Temptation of Title Pawn Loans

Transcript: Hello this is bankruptcy attorney, Jeff Kelly, and today is September the 9th 2019 and to this podcast title is, “The Temptation of Title Pawns, Why You Should Resist.” Taking out a title pawn loan is as dangerous to your financial health as meth is to your physical health. There’s a reason that title pawn loans are illegal in 30 states, okay, I want that to sink in. They are illegal in 30 states. Why? Because they’re very, very bad for you. The American Centers for Addiction states that meth is one of the most damaging and addicting drugs that a person can take. Similarly, taking out a title pawn loan for your car is extremely dangerous to your financial health. Compound interest is great when it’s working in your favor. It’s made Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. Warren Buffett states, “My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest.” Oh yes, it’s great when it works for you, but what happens when it’s working against you? Terrible, terrible things. When you get a title pawn loan, compound interest is working against you in a very, very bad way.  Let’s talk about how these loans work. Let’s say you’ve got a car were $5,000 and then it’s completely paid off. Typically, I’ll see potential clients come in, and they’ll owe around $1,000 on this title pawn loan. Well, if they screw up and they let that title pawn loan expire, there’s a deadline when they got to make those payments and they, they miss the payments and violate the contract. Guess what happens? By operation of law, that title is going to transfer to the title pawn company, they own your car. It doesn’t matter the fact that you’re still driving it around, it doesn’t matter. They’ve got your title. They’re the owner of the vehicle. Very, very, very bad. The Georgia Department of law their Consumer Protection Division, states at the interest rate the title pawn company is allowed to charge is capped at 25% monthly, that’s 300% annually. For the first three months and 12.5% per month, that’s 150% annually. This means a combined maximum yearly interest rate of 187.5% interest. Oh my god! That is terrible! So, what do you do? What should you do when you’re, you’re tempted to get a title pawn? Well, I think you really need to ask yourself, “Do I really need… fill in the blank?” I’ll hear clients come in and say, “Well, the reason I did it was, we were so behind on the four-wheeler and I just didn’t want my child to lose his toy.” Well, you know what, if the choice is your kid loses the four-wheeler, or you’re going to pawn the title to your car, forget about the four-wheeler. You can’t lose your car, people lose their car, they can’t get back and forth to work. I mean, that that is losing a car is one of the most disastrous things that can happen to somebody who’s dependent upon that to get back and forth to work. You can’t get back and forth to work. You are going to lose your job. When you lose your job it just cascades. And for a lot of people I’ve seen it start with a title bond.  Personally, I think the best thing to do is, if you’re having financial troubles, take advantage of a

How fast can I file bankruptcy?

Transcript: Hello, this is bankruptcy attorney Jeff Kelly, and today is August the 27th 2019. Today I’m going to talk about how fast you can file a bankruptcy case. Now, the short answer to this question is that in most cases, we can file a bankruptcy case in about three hours, if the bankruptcy attorney has a prepared client, sitting live in the office in front of them. Now, I’ve been practicing for over 21 years, I’ve got seven offices, five attorneys and about 20 staff members. If there is any law firm on planet Earth, that can move at the speed of light to file a consumer bankruptcy case, it is us. We’ve got the people power, and we’ve got the software to get the job done.  However, the question behind the question is this. Do you really need to file a bankruptcy fast? Is it really an emergency? I’ll be honest with you, I hate filing emergency bankruptcy cases. Let me tell you why. My goal as a bankruptcy attorney is to do a fabulous job for all of my clients, for them to feel very good about what we do, to feel good about the results that we achieve, and then to go out and send all of their friends and family to us and help make my business even stronger. When you file an emergency case, I think you’re more likely to hit bumps. It’s really good to take time to think about these options to make sure you feel good about filing and that there’s no regrets after your file. So, I like to explore and sit down with somebody go through their income, go through their budget, go through all of their assets, and look for anything that might possibly blow up their case. I get it that when a creditor is coming down on you like a ton of bricks, there’s pressure, and you want the pressure to stop. A lot of people come to the office, and they think they’ve got to get a case number immediately. And the real truth is, they don’t. You know, here’s the most classic example is that a creditor is calling people on the phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, saying I’m suing you, I’m suing you, I’m going to take away everything you own, and people are people are like, “My gosh, I’ve got to do something right now!” Well, the truth is, in the state of Georgia, when somebody does file a lawsuit against you, you’ve got 30 days to respond. So it’s not like they can do anything to you tomorrow, or even the next day. You do have time to think about things. And it’s a really good thing to contemplate your options before you pull the trigger on a bankruptcy case. Let me give you an example of somebody who could make a really huge, ginormous mistake by filing a chapter 7, and that is somebody with a significant amount of equity in their house. Now, under Georgia law, a married couple can exempt a maximum of $43,000 in equity, and a single person can exempt a maximum of 21,500. Now, here we are in 2019 and real estate values have been shooting through the roof and sometimes a lot faster and a lot higher than the owners of these houses realize. So it is possible that you could file a Chapter 7 case and think your house is worth $150,000 and Doggone it, it’

Is it a Sin To File Bankruptcy?

Book. Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and Today is July 1st, 2019. Today I want to talk about, “is it a sin to file bankruptcy?” We actually got this question from a potential client this past week. I’ve been a bankruptcy attorney for, gosh, over 21 years now. So, do I believe that is a sin to file bankruptcy? Absolutely not. Of course, it’s not. What a lot of people are really shocked to find out is that our entire bankruptcy system was actually inspired by the Bible. If you don’t believe me, go check it out yourself. Deuteronomy chapter 15 talks about this thing called the Jubilee where all the debts got wiped out every seven years.  Now personally, I believe that God did not want Israel to be a nation of economic slaves. So, there is a safety valve here called the Jubilee. Well, this country was founded by people who did read the Bible and I believe they were inspired to create a bankruptcy system. And they believed in it so strongly that it’s actually written into the United States Constitution. It’s been there since the beginning, because these guys did not want to have a nation of economic slaves. And it makes sense. If you’re going to allow people to charge high interest rates, or if we’re going to allow interest to be charged at all. You got to have a safety valve and that safety valve is the bankruptcy system. Now, a lot of people who complain and moan and groan about our bankruptcy system have no clue how it actually works. They think it’s just some magic wand that somebody just waves or a button they press, and all their debt just magically goes away. Well, that Not the case. Okay. The bankruptcy system is, there’s a lot of checks and balances in this. When someone files bankruptcy, you have to produce your tax return to the trustee for them to verify your income. You also have to produce paycheck stubs showing how much you make, you have to sign court documents listing all of your assets, the value and the debts before you can get a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy. And if somebody has, you know, this huge, ginormous house, and they it’s worth a ton of money are they going to be able to file bankruptcy and wipe out their debts? Well, of course not. In Georgia, the maximum for a married couple, it’s $43,000 of equity. If somebody has more than that they’re not going to be able to wipe it out. So it is a good system because there are checks, there are balances.  And another point that I want to stress is If we didn’t have a bankruptcy system, what would this country look like? Well, first of all, people would not borrow money, people wouldn’t be willing to take risks to buy houses and business and so forth. That would be very, very bad for this econo

Why am I getting so many letters in the mail from bankruptcy attorneys?

Why am I getting so many letters from bankruptcy attorneys? Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly. It is May the 10th 2019 and today I want to do a quick podcast here on “why am I getting so many advertisement letters from bankruptcy attorneys”.  So, the number one reason that you’re getting so many letters from bankruptcy attorneys is because you’re being sued in your local court. My law firm, and most bankruptcy law firms, do a lot of direct mail marketing. If a creditor sues you in your local court, that’s public record, and we get access to that and we send out letters to let you know that we can help you. And my law firm, we offer a free consultation for anybody wants to come in and go over their income and their budget and see if we can come up with a plan to deal with whatever the situation is. I would encourage anyone who thinks they are about to be garnished to give us a call at 7708818449 to see put a stop to it because you don’t want to ignore the problem. Ignoring the problem is the absolute worst thing you can do.  Here’s what’s going to happen. Usually after you start getting those advertisements pretty soon the sheriff is going to come out. And the sheriff is going to serve you with some papers. And on these court papers it’s going to have the name of the creditor that’s suing you, and maybe somebody that you don’t recognize. But if you if you read closely, you’ll see in there that the creditor that you don’t recognize probably bought the debt from somebody that you do recognize, and there will be a description in there. There’s the name of the attorney who filed the lawsuit, their phone number, and all this stuff is important information.  Now, if you fail to take any action at all, what could happen is a garnishment could end up coming out of your paycheck. And Georgia is brutal when it comes to garnishments. In the state of Georgia, you can take 25% of a person’s paycheck. That’s a lot of money. So, for example, let’s say you make $2,000 a month, a creditor is going to be able to take 25% of that. That’s $500. That can be really tough paying rent and putting food on the table when somebody takes that big of a chunk out of your paycheck. So, don’t let that happen. But the other thing they can do, they can also garnish your checking account. And that’s even more brutal, because they’re not limited on how much they can take out of your checking account. They can take the full debt straight out of your account. We’ve seen people before where their entire checking account is just gone. Again, that’s a huge disaster.  Now, a lot of people ask, “When is it too late to file?” The answer is it’s never too late. Give us a call as soon as you can. And let’s see if we can put a stop to it. Let’s see what we can do. Again, that phone number 7708818449. And it is Jeff Kelly. We’ve got offices located in Douglasville, Marietta, Kennesaw, Dalton, Rome, Cartersville, and in Dallas, Georgia. I’ve got a I’ve got a great staff. We’ve got good reviews online, check us out at www.kellycanhelp.com. Thank you.

Stop Car Repossession in Georgia

Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and today I would like to talk to you about stopping a car repossession in Georgia. Whenever you file a Chapter 13, your creditor is barred from repossessing your car. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your your car is protected by what’s called the automatic state. Now, just last week, I was meeting with a client who said, Hey, I, you know, I can’t file on my car, because I signed a contract that said that I can’t file bankruptcy on it. Well, here’s the truth about that situation. Number one, you cannot sign away your constitutional rights. So it really doesn’t matter what your contract says. If you file chapter 13, your car is protected. Secondly, whenever you file any type of bankruptcy case, you have to list all of your dads and all of your assets. So you cannot pick and choose which ones you’re going to listen Lift everything. And we again, we do not need the permission of the car company to protect your car. Now, it’s very important that you get a case number before that car is repossessed if you got a bankruptcy case number, and they come and repossess your car anyway, the car company is setting themselves up to get sued. Your bankruptcy attorney can file what’s called an adversary and car company can end up having to pay damages. Now, let’s say you’re in a situation where your car has already been repossessed. Well, if you live in Georgia, you really need to go see a bankruptcy attorney as fast as you can. Because typically you’ve got about 10 days to get it back. Now in Georgia, for your car creditor to be able to sue you for any type of a deficiency. They’re going to have to send you what’s called the 10 day letter. And in this letter is going to Say, Hey, we’re going to auction this car off on this date. And after that, we’re going to sue you for the difference. So typically, when a car gets repossessed, the creditor is going to hang on to it for 10 days. So they will be able to set themselves up so they can come after you later. So if the car creditor is still in possession of the car, and you file and get a bankruptcy case number, then you’re going to be able to get the car back. Now, you know, sometimes we have issues with these little by here pay hears and they say no, no, you know, I read somewhere that I don’t have to get the car back because I got it before you filed well. That’s not true. They’re still gonna have to get the car back. So we’ve had situations before where, you know, we’ve heard this from buy here, pay here, and then the car creditor says, I don’t have an attorney. I don’t want an attorney and I don’t care what you say I’m not going to do anything. You don’t get the car back. So we found the adversary, well, you know, then we call him up and say, Look, we’ve got a lawsuit now what are you going to do about it

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – What is it and how can it help me?

Transcript: Hello, this is Jeff Kelly and tonight I’m going to talk to you about chapter 7. What is it? And how in the world can it help you? Many people like to refer to chapter 7 as the Fresh Start provision of the bankruptcy code, because it basically allows you to wipe out all of your debt and get a fresh start. And a chapter 7, what we do is we want to show the court that you were unable, based on your budget to pay the debt that currently hangs over you. Approximately 90 days after we file your chapter 7, you’re going to be granted a discharge, which means that you’re no longer liable for that debt. Usually, one of the first questions I get is how much is this going to cost and the total charge for filing a chapter 13 in my office right now is 1400 dollars. This cost includes your filing fee, the attorney’s fees, but in both your classes that are required by the bankruptcy code. Well, chapter 7 may be simple in theory, there’s a lot of different factors to consider. For example, not every kind of debt can be discharged. And chapter 7 debts that arise from drunk driving, or you know, some type of intentional action, it’s not gonna get discharged student loans, child support, post petition homeowners associations, fees post petition timeshare fees and tax debts that are less than three year olds, three years old are not going to be discharged. Also, if you have a secured debt that you know, that’s tied to collateral, like a car note or you know, house and, you know, you’re going to have to reaffirm that debt if you want to keep that property, okay? Now, what is a reaffirmation agreement? That’s a contract when you when the creditor basically says this, hey, even though I’ve listed this car in here, I’m going to give up my rights. And we’re going to treat the debt for this car as if we’ve never filed So in other words, you keep making your car payments. You keep making your house payments. Does a creditor have to let you reaffirm the debt? No, there’s nothing to back code that requires them to do so. But they’re crazy if they don’t. The reason they’re crazy is because when you reaffirm the debt, you are liable for the whole thing. And you can’t file bankruptcy again for eight years. So if something goes wrong with that car, for example, it turns out to be a lemon A few months later, you’re on the hook for the entire amount. Furthermore, if if they’re going to repossess your car, you know, shortly after you reaffirm it, you know, then they get to sue you for the difference. Whereas if they say no, all they get is the car. Okay. Will the chapter 7 trustee kind of my house, if I file bankruptcy? The answer that question i

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – What is it and how does it work?

Transcript: Hello, my name is Jeff Kelly. I’m a bankruptcy attorney from Rome, Georgia. I’ve been practicing consumer bankruptcy for approximately 14 years. I’ve got office located. My main office is located in Rome, Georgia. I’ve got satellite offices located in Dalton, Cartersville in Dallas, Georgia as well. What I’d like to do in this podcast is talk about chapter 13. What is it? And how could it possibly help you? Many people like to refer to chapter 13 bankruptcy as the catch your breath provision of the code is designed for people who have money to pay back their creditors but who just can’t do it all tomorrow, like the creditors are demanding when creditors are making those harassing phone calls, threatening letters, Chapter 13 stops all that 1013 gives you time to catch your breath while you while you pay your creditors. Chapter 13 can stop foreclosures, it can stop garnishments, lawsuits, and repossessions of your car. You do not need the permission of your creditors to obtain chapter 13 bankruptcy relief. Okay. Now the first step you need to do if you’re thinking about meeting with the bank attorneys make a list of all your debts. Every debt you have in the world, a lot of people ask, Well, can I pick this one? Can I leave this one out? Now list them all. You mean with your bank attorney? They’re on your side. Give them the full picture. Okay, the next thing you need to do is make a list of your assets. What do you own? How much is it worth? What do you owe on it? And then get as many paycheck stubs as you can because your bankruptcy attorney is going to want to go through your income and your budget and see you know what, what type of monthly payment could you afford what would work What wouldn’t work? Once they come up with the plan payment, this chapter 13 payment is going to cover all credit card debt, medical debt finance companies and car notes and IRS on your mortgage. If you have any Some cases people pay back IRS debt through chapter 13. Okay, in a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, the credit card companies and all of the unsecured creditors are barred from collecting any interest. So this is a huge benefit of chapter 13. So, for example, let’s say you owe $10,000 in credit card debt and you’ve got an interest rate of 25%. So some are even higher. But let’s say it’s 25%. You’re going to be paying about $2,500 a year just in interest alone. But if you enter chapter 13, you’re not paying any more interest at all zero, zilch nothing on future credit card debt. A lot of people will ask, you know, am

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