Monthly Archives: March 2017

Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy

Most debtors are not able to discharge student loan debt by either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but if an individual can prove that repaying student loans would cause an undue hardship for that individual then sometimes individuals are successfully able to get rid of student loan debt.   The Definition of an Undue Hardship   Law concerning student loans and Oklahoma bankruptcy states that any education loan guaranteed by the federal government cannot be discharged unless not doing so would create an extreme hardship for an individual. Successfully demonstrating an undue hardship however, can be particularly difficult for individuals. Courts are particularly hesitant to discharge an individual’s student loan debts. Individuals who have particularly low income or have loans from a for-profit trade school are often much more likely to obtain a discharge of student loan debt. Bankruptcy courts in the state of Oklahoma often use the Brunner test to determine whether an individual is able to discharge student loans debts. The Brunner test requires that an individual demonstrate three particular elements: (1) an individual cannot maintain a minimal standard of living if forced to repay loans, (2)  the individual’s financial situation is likely to continue for an     Read More

Automobile Exemptions After Declaring Bankruptcy

In Oklahoma Bankruptcy cases, individuals have the opportunity to protect certain assets through use of bankruptcy exemptions. Two of the most common bankruptcy exemptions are for an individual's home and motor vehicle. For individuals who wish to claim the automobile bankruptcy exemption, talented legal counsel often proves to be particularly helpful. In order to claim an automobile exception during bankruptcy, an individual must closely examine one’s finance and determine how much the individual is paying monthly. Individuals should remember that no party is permitted to take collective action regarding a motor vehicle between the time that an individual declares bankruptcy and during the bankruptcy process. As a result, an individual during this time period will have the ability to pursue all potential options for keeping their motor vehicle. Motor Vehicle Exemption In the state of Oklahoma, individuals are entitled to discharge $7,500 worth of debt on a motor vehicle. Individuals should note that Oklahoma’s motor vehicle exemption encompasses motor vehicle including cars, motorcycles, trucks, or vans. As a result, if a motor vehicle is worth $7,500 or less, an individual will owe nothing on the motor vehicle. If a motor vehicle, however, is worth more than $7,500, an individual will     Read More

Obtaining a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy

Obtaining a mortgage after declaring bankruptcy is not impossible, but the exact amount of time that individual will have to wait depends upon an individual’s credit, the type of bankruptcy for which the individual filed, and the type of loan that the individual desired.   Applicable Government Loans   There are several applicable types of government loans that individuals who have declared bankruptcy should consider, which include the following:   Federal Housing Authority Loan. Federal Housing Authority loans are federally insurance loans that allow home buyers facing financial difficulties to put down as  little as 3.5 percent of the purchase price. United States Department of Agriculture Loan. An individual who files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can apply after twelve months of successful plan payments. Veteran’s Affairs Loan. The Veteran’s Affair program’s loans are provided to veterans with several advantages including no down payment, no minimum credit score, and unlimited use of the loan program. For veterans who have declared bankruptcy.   Advice for Individuals Who Desire to Re-Establish Credit   There are some essential steps that individuals can take in order to re-establish credit, which includes the following:   Obtain a Co-Signer. Getting a cosigner for a home loan can     Read More

Forgiving Back Taxes in Bankruptcy

Forgiving bankruptcy can help individuals who have experienced tax related debt. Being subject to taxes from the Internal Revenue Service can be a particularly harsh process. Many individuals who are struggling financially can be faced with bank account levies, property liens, and wage assignments. Many individuals should remember that unpaid income taxes are often dischargeable in bankruptcy, which can make the assistance of a skilled attorney particularly beneficial. Applicable Law Regarding Release from Taxes The government has distinguished several particular situations in which individuals are able to escape debt, which include the following situation: Taxes Due Over Three Years Ago Are Dischargeable. Law in the state of Oklahoma  states that income taxes are dischargeable if the taxes were due at least year ago. For example, if an individual filed for bankruptcy in March of 2017, the individual would be able to discharge taxes prior to 2014. Taxes Must be Filed Over Two Years Ago. The taxes in question must also have been filed at least two years ago. Income Taxes Only. The only type of federal or state taxes that are dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy include income taxes. 240 Days After Tax Assessment. Additionally, in order to discharge personal     Read More

Your Second Mortgage in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If your house has decreased in value since purchase, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help remove a second mortgage through a process called “lien stripping”. Many individuals are unaware of this very important but often overlooked aspect of bankruptcy law.   How Lien Stripping Works   Lien stripping is a type of tool that allows individuals who are close to the point of mortgage exceeding the home’s value get rid of junior liens like a second or third mortgage. By lien stripping, a bankruptcy court will convert an individual’s second or subsequent debt by ordering the lender to remove its lien from the property. When a second mortgage is stripped, an individual’s debt is treated as a nonpriority unsecured debt. Individuals are not required to make payment on this debt outside of their bankruptcy. Instead, individuals will be tasked with a paying of unsecured debt through a Chapter 13 plan. Individuals must remember that a second mortgage lien will not be removed from a home until the individual has completed their  lien stripping and receive a lawful discharge from the Debt.   Situations in Which Lien Stripping May Not Be In An Individual’s Best Interest   Lien stripping is desirable     Read More

How to Avoid Harassment from Creditors

If you are receiving constant harassment from credit collectors or credit collectors, the behavior can be particularly unnerving. Credit collectors might even use abusive language or threaten criminal charges if dets are not properly paid. In these types of situation, the assistance of a skilled attorney can prove to be particularly helpful. The Role of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act Both federal and Oklahoma state law protect individuals from creditor harassment. One example of federal law that protects consumers is the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act which prohibits credit collectors from certain types of conduct. Passed in 1977, the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act prohibits debt collectors from harassing or threatening debtors. The Act also prohibits creditors from disclosure details about the debt to an individual’s friends or family. Individuals are able to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if such behavior occurs. Additionally in the state of Oklahoma, individuals can file complaints against abusive or harassing creditors with the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office will then contact a creditor and send a copy of a complaint as well as a cease and desist order if a creditor continues such abusive or harassing behavior. Certain     Read More

What Happens in a Debt Collection Lawsuit?

If you are in serious financial trouble and unable to pay off your debts, avoiding them is the last thing you want to do. Failure to make your credit card payments, car payments, house payments, or other monthly payments will result in debt collection procedures. From phone calls to collections letters, and repossession to wage garnishment, collectors will take any number of measures to collect what is owed to them. The first step they will take, however, is to send your debt to a debt collection law firm. As soon as you learn that your debt went to a collection firm, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Jim A. Lyon Law Firm right away to learn more about your legal options. Once Your Debt is Sent to a Collection Firm... Once your debt is sent to a debt collection law firm, you will be notified in writing that you have 30 days to pay off your debt or to dispute it. The firm will give you instructions on how to do either or. The notice may also inform you that if they do not receive a response, a civil lawsuit will be filed against you. If you receive a letter from a debt     Read More

Medical Debt in Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy

Healthcare is increasingly in cost and a growing number of individuals in the United States lack adequate health insurance coverage. Sometimes, individuals file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in an effort to eliminate medical debts. All individuals who are interested in filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy for this reason should understand some of the key details about this particular process. The Classification of Debts in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Not all debts are viewed in the same manner by the government. Instead, some debts are classified as more important than other types of debts. Secured debts including motor vehicles or homes occur if a credit has a lien on an individual's property can repossess or foreclose on the property if an individual fails to make payments. Unsecured debts are not secured by a piece of property and include two subdivisions, priority debts and non priority debts. Priority debts are usually incapable of being discharged by bankruptcy and are paid before many other debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Nonpriority debts do not receive special treatment are the last type of debts to get paid when an individual files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Medical debt is treated a non priority debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Even in the event     Read More

Navigating complex probate issues

Will your family go through the probate process after the death of a loved one? In probate, a person's assets are valued and distributed to heirs, debts are settled, and property ownership rights passed to the intended beneficiaries. In some cases, the probate process is smooth, if not time-consuming. Certain estates involve more complex factors, such as out-of-state property holdings, and it may take longer. Complex probate issues can be frustrating and overwhelming, and if you find yourself in this situation, you may benefit from an Oklahoma lawyer who can protect your rights and resolve these matters in a prompt manner. When probate involves oil and gas properties If you inherited oil or gas property or mineral rights to property, probate will be a bit more complicated. It is critical to work with a lawyer who can protect your rights and ensure that you receive the royalties to which you are entitled. There are important questions that require answers, such as: Where is the oil or gas property located? Is the property in question directly addressed in the will? Does the oil and gas company currently hold royalty money in suspense? If the property is located outside of the deceased's home     Read More

The Role of Property Ownership After Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

By Jim Lyon of Jim A. Lyon Law Firm on Saturday, December 31, 2016. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individual to maintain ownership of property in exchange for repayment of at least some of an individual's debts. The reason why Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals to maintain ownership of property is because Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for individuals or married couples who are earning at least some income and who are able to repay a portion of their due debts over a period of time. Surrendering Property Ownership When an individual files for bankruptcy, individuals must fill out a Statement of Intention which tells creditors what the individual plans to do with the property. While individuals can choose to keep the property and pay for it, Chapter 13 bankruptcy code allows a bankruptcy filer to resolve a debt by surrendering property. When individuals surrender property in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the individuals should make sure to transfer property quickly to avoid facing additional debts and fines from the city.Individuals should note that even if they have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the title to property will remain in an individual's name until the title to the property is transferred. Because     Read More