As long as the deceased is the sole person responsible for the credit card, the credit card debt falls on the estate to be paid through assets after going through probate. The remainder of the assets are then distributed according to the deceased’s will or state law if no will was written.
If there is a co-signer on the credit card, however, responsibility for the debt falls to the co-signer–in addition to or in place of the estate. Fortunately, a second cardholder who is not a co-signer and merely an authorized user is not liable for the credit card debt. But due to community property laws, a spouse may still be held responsible for debt even if they are not a co-signer on the credit card.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all assets go through probate. As CreditCard.com puts it…
Some items, such as IRAs, 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, and insurance, typically pass to whomever you’ve named as a beneficiary, which is one good reason to keep those designations up to date. In many cases, those assets aren’t considered part of the estate.
Since these assets don’t go through probate, the executor can’t use them to pay estate bills.
The loss of a loved one is hard enough without having to worry about debt. Make sure your loved ones finances and will are in order. Contact me or visit our West Covina office for a free consultation! David Lozano is dedicated to making things as easy as possible for you and your loved ones!
What should you do if your small business starts to accumulate debt? (West Covina attorney David Lozano offers professional advice to small business owners!)
I talked a little bit about small business bankruptcy in a previous blog–Bankruptcy for the small business owner. Today I want to stress the importance of seeking professional guidance as soon as financial difficulties arise. Small businesses often struggle to compete with corporate businesses or other small businesses in the same region. When your business starts to show signs of falling behind, contacting a professional adviser may stave off future debt and bankruptcy.
A business runs on the incoming revenue from its clients and customers. If several clients happen to be slow on making payments within the same time frame, it can be devastating, especially for a small business. Also with the high prices of many commodities and supplies that businesses use, the struggle to make a profit can be daunting from quarter to quarter!
At the first sign of trouble, it is a good idea to seek professional advice about how to proceed. And if your business is going through a period of slow sales and is struggling with debt, Chapter 11 business bankruptcy may be the solution! Restructuring the business’s financial affairs and payment schedule can give you just the break you need to catch your breath and get your business back on track! Contact me or visit our West Covina location for a free consultation.
Southern California bankruptcy attorney relates the story of the character played by Ben Affleck in the film, The Company Men, to average men and women facing the loss of a job
Ben Affleck, a native of our own California, recently starred in The Company Men, alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and Kevin Costner. The film tells the stories of three men named Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck), Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones), and Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) who are businessmen at the GTX Corporation but lose their jobs due to corporate downsizing. The drama is meant to reflect the economical state the US was going through in the late 2000s.
In the film, Bobby Walker discovers the hardships of losing his six-figure job. Walker’s golf club membership is canceled, and he is forced to sell his house–located in the beautiful suburbs–and his new Porsche. Unable to find work anywhere else, Walker reluctantly turns to the house building job his brother-in-law, Jack (Kevin Costner), offers him. The film accurately portrays the struggle that many Americans go through when they find themselves unexpectedly unemployed.
Walker, fortunately, was able to get back on his feet in the end thanks to help from his family. For people who cannot catch a break as Walker did, bankruptcy attorney David Lozano offers his services! The Law Offices of David Lozano can help you cope with the loss of a job and prevent foreclosure! Had Walker gone to a bankruptcy lawyer, he may have been able to keep his home and Porsche! Contact me or visit one of our Lancaster, West Covina, or Ontario locations for a free consultation!
Many times when people are faced with impending debt, they start looking for shortcuts to save money–using coupons and sales to buy groceries and other necessities, making sure to turn off all lights and appliances when they are not being used, or letting a few bills slide in hopes of catching up on the payments later. The first two are great ways of saving money! The last one can often land you in deeper trouble than you were in before!
When you have fallen noticeably behind on your utility bills, utility companies will shut off your utility. Fortunately, there are some requirements that utility services must follow before shutting off your utilities. The power cannot be shut off on days when the utility office is closed, which includes holidays! If there are members of the household whose health is dependent on a power supply, a utility representative must visit the house before the utilities are disconnected. Utilities services must also notify recipients before the utilities can be shut off.
I also have good news, courtesy of SignOn San Diego!
In reaction to stories from around the state that people were being cut off because the bad economy had made it difficult for them to pay their bills, the California Public Utilities Commission told utilities they had to take steps to prevent needless cutoffs.
In particular, the commission said power companies, including San Diego Gas & Electric, must give people at least three months, and up to a year, to get their bills up to date.
But what about people who have already had their utilities shut off and are seeking debt relief? More good news! “The bankruptcy laws require the utility company to restore the service of any utility that was terminated prior to the filing. A bankruptcy filing prevents the utility company from terminating an individual’s service.”
That’s right, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy provide debt relief and can restore your utilities! You simply need to pay a security deposit within 20 days of filing to ensure your utilities stay on. Contact me or visit our Lancaster office for a free consultation! Bankruptcy attorney David Lozano is dedicated to keeping you debt free and powered up!
The lesser known downside of foreclosure (Ontario attorney David Lozano is looking out for you and your neighbors!)
As a bankruptcy attorney I advocate preventing foreclosure to individuals who would like to keep their home despite the financial trouble they are going through, as I expressed in a few of my previous blogs–Do you have questions about foreclosure and how to prevent it?, Do you want to avoid foreclosure in Southern California?, and Want to keep your home, car, and personal possessions despite your debt? Apart from losing your home and having to find a new place to live, foreclosure has another downside.
Boarded-up windows and a yard that has fallen into disrepair doesn’t make for a pretty sight on a tour of the neighborhood. Oftentimes the property value of the houses surrounding the foreclosed house suffer due to the state of the neglected house. That’s not all though! Foreclosed houses might not draw people in the market for a house, but they do draw some attention–from criminals! According to Foreclosure Link To Abandoned Houses And Crime, California ranks second in the national foreclosure rate at a ratio of 1:88.
No one wants to see crime in their neighborhood! In order to avoid an increase in crime and prevent foreclosure, contact me or visit our Ontario office for a free consultation! Together we can find a way for you to keep your house and get a fresh start!
Wondering what to do about the home when going through divorce and bankruptcy? (Los Angeles attorney David Lozano offers his help to divorced couples!)
Not too long ago I wrote about how divorce is one of the three leading causes of bankruptcy–along with medical bills and the loss of a job–in Wondering what you should do when dealing with divorce as well as bankruptcy? (Los Angeles attorney David Lozano offers his advice!) And earlier in the year I wrote a blog entitled, Does filing bankruptcy lead to divorce? Today I’d like to discuss situations that may arise when going through divorce and bankruptcy.
Married couples who are considering or have already gotten a divorce sometimes find themselves in a fix when it comes to what to do about the home. Oftentimes neither spouse can afford to keep the house or apartment on their own. In cases like this, couples may end up living together out of necessity, staying at opposite corners of the house or on separate floors as much as possible. Couples will even try to avoid filing bankruptcy by putting their home up for sale, hoping to make enough money to pay off the mortgage, so that they can buy new homes. Many times the couple is forced to dramatically lower the price of the home to avoid foreclosure, even settling for a price far below the retail value.
In a situation like this, I urge couples to contact me or visit one of our Lancaster, Ontario, or West Covina office locations for a free consultation! With the help of a bankruptcy attorney, the couple may have better luck getting the house sold at a fair price or keeping the house, if they so desire!
Wondering what a creditors meeting is? (Lancaster attorney David Lozano is here to answer all your bankruptcy questions!)
Filing bankruptcy is just the first step in the bankruptcy process. There is also a 341 meeting–or creditors meeting, which usually takes place 20 to 40 days after you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. At this meeting, you and your attorney discuss your financial situation with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. You are asked questions under oath about your income, assets, and debt to verify the legitimacy of your bankruptcy claim.
A 341 meeting must be held to give creditors a chance to dispute your bankruptcy claim. While you, the client, are required to be at this meeting, attendance is optional for creditors. At the meeting, creditors may request that a specific debt not be discharged if they feel you have the funds to pay the debt. In the majority of cases, however, creditors choose not to attend.
I like to assure my clients that a 341 meeting is just part of the standard procedure when filing bankruptcy. The purpose of the meeting is simply to get you, your attorney, trustee, and creditors on the same page. It is not an inquisition and as your bankruptcy attorney, I will be there to assist you in answering questions and guiding the proceedings when necessary. Contact me for a free consultation or stop in at our Lancaster office. It is my goal to make your bankruptcy experience as stress-free as possible!
A while back there was an article in a Sapurstein & Associates newsletter about a tax ruling concerning the tax deduction for a mortgage that centered around a couple and their son. After filing for bankruptcy some months prior, the couple was looking to take out a mortgage but didn’t qualify due to their credit. Since the couple was still rebuilding their credit score, their son took out the mortgage using his credit score.
Everything went smoothly, but when tax time rolled around the question became who should receive the tax deduction for the mortgage? Although the mortgage was under the son’s name, his parents were the ones actually living in the house, making the mortgage payments, and maintaining the house. The tax court finally ruled that the parents were the equitable owners and gave them the tax deduction.
I am always happy to see things work out for people who have gone through bankruptcy. It is stories like this one that reinforce what I tell my clients everyday–bankruptcy is a new beginning! Although there may be a few stumbling blocks along the way, small setback can be overcome! Contact me for a free consultation and get started on your own new beginning!
Will everyone know when you file bankruptcy? (Ontario attorney David Lozano wishes to put your mind at ease!)
A big concern I hear from my clients when they come in for a free consultation is who will know that they have filed bankruptcy. Truthfully, there are only a limited number of people who may be notified when you file bankruptcy.
Creditors will be made aware of the fact that you have filed bankruptcy. This is a standard procedure that gives creditors the opportunity to dispute the claim. Employers may also be notified depending on the circumstances of your bankruptcy case. Members of your household, for instance a spouse, will be notified even if their finances are separate from yours. Public records are kept by the Federal Court that require specific information about the bankruptcy case in order to gain access to the records.
Less people than you think will be notified when you file bankruptcy. This means that unless you share the information with your friends or other family members, they will be none the wiser! Drop by our Ontario location for a free consultation!
Wondering what you should do when dealing with divorce as well as bankruptcy? (Los Angeles attorney David Lozano offers his advice!)
Along with the loss of a job and medical bills, divorce is one of the most common contributing factors that lead to bankruptcy. Divorce settlements don’t always leave one or both parties with enough to sustain themselves. Many times people are left without a house or car and are sometimes required to pay for child support or alimony.
When it comes to filing bankruptcy due to divorce, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. Only existing debt that has been incurred prior to filing is affected by the bankruptcy claim. So if the divorce hasn’t been finalized, you will be held responsible for all expenses that come up after filing bankruptcy. Another fact to be aware of is that some payments will not be eliminated by filing bankruptcy, such as child support or alimony. On the flip side, if you are receiving child support or alimony, that money is typically exempt from the bankruptcy process!
Bankruptcy is difficult enough without having to worry about divorce litigations on top of that. Should this happen, however, you can rest assured that David Lozano will get you through the bankruptcy process as smoothly as possible! Contact me for a free consultation!