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!
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!
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!
Are your children’s education saving funds exempt when you file bankruptcy? (Lancaster attorney David Lozano is here to put your mind at ease!)
Couples and single parents frequently take advantage of my offer for a free consultation to discuss their options for dealing with debt. For many their concerns involve not only them, but their children as well! Parents worry whether the savings they’ve set aside for their children’s future education will be affected when they file bankruptcy.
I am pleased to say that you can protect your children’s education funds by using special savings plans, such as a 529 or Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). Wikipedia compares and contrasts the two plans well:
Important differences with 529 plans
- Coverdell ESAs have lower maximum contribution limits; currently $2,000 can be contributed per year per child, while 529 plans generally have no restrictions on contributions, up to the maximum lifetime contribution.
- Coverdell ESAs can allow almost any investment inside including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, while 529 plans only allow a choice among a number of state run allocation programs. The rules for investments allowed in ESAs are the same as those for IRAs.
- Balances in a Coverdell ESA must be disbursed on qualified education expenses by the time the beneficiary is 30 years old or given to another family member below the age of 30 in order to avoid taxes and penalties; there is no age limit for 529 plans.
- Coverdell ESAs allow withdrawing the money tax free for qualified elementary and secondary school expenses; 529 plans do not.
- The income level of a donor may affect contributions into a Coverdell ESA, but would not affect contributions to a Section 529 plan.
Important similarities to 529 plans
- Money in both a Coverdell ESA and a 529 plan is not considered the child’s (beneficiary’s) money when applying for federal financial aid as long as the owner of the account is someone other than the beneficiary, such as a parent. This works to increase the child’s potential financial aid because parents are expected to contribute only around 6% of their assets to finance college education, as opposed to the child’s 35%.
- The custodian of both an ESA and a 529 plan can designate a new beneficiary without incurring taxes or penalties provided that the new beneficiary is an eligible family member of the previous beneficiary.
When filing bankruptcy, money that has been in a 529 or ESA savings account for over two years is exempt from the bankruptcy process! And up to $5,000 worth of money in the account that has accumulated for at least a year but under two years is also exempt. In addition, only money that has been added to the savings account within a year prior to bankruptcy is available to creditors–everything else is protected!
The future depends on the well-being of the next generation, and a large part of that well-being involves the extent of their intellectual growth! Visit our Lancaster location for a free consultation. Protecting the education funds of our children helps to ensure their continued intellectual growth!
To the IRS and many collection agencies, to forgive debt means that while you don’t have to repay the debt, there is a possibility that you will still owe income tax on it! In bankruptcy, having debt discharged means that you are exempt from having to pay all or part of the debt you owe–depending on the type of bankruptcy claim you file. The whole point of bankruptcy is to give people a second chance and a fresh start!
Coming to terms with your debt is difficult thing to do. Many clients come into my office thinking they could have done something differently to avoid bankruptcy. But in most cases the circumstances that lead to debt are beyond your control, such as the loss of a job or unexpected medical bills!
Although collection agencies may have a somewhat distorted view of what forgiveness is, they are on the right track in their terminology! Friends, family members, and employers need to show forgiveness to people who are in debt or filing bankruptcy. More importantly though, you need to be able to forgive yourself! You cannot blame yourself or let others place the blame on you. Contact me for a free consultation. By filing bankruptcy you are doing the responsible thing by taking charge of the situation!
Do you give yourself and your credit card enough credit? (Bankruptcy attorney David Lozano sheds a little limelight on the subject!)
It is probably safe to say that the majority of Californians are credit cardholders. The U.S. Census Bureau recently collected data on the number of credit cardholders there were in the United States and found that there were 159 million in 2000 and 176 million in 2008. With this data, they then estimated the count for 2011 to be 183 million. I’d like to think these astonishing figures support the idea that Americans are, in general, becoming more financially responsible!
Getting your own credit card is almost like a right of passage for many young adults. It symbolizes that they are–or at least have the potential to be–financially responsible. When managed correctly, a credit card is a useful and often beneficial method of payment. Some credit cards even come with rewards or cash back on essentials, such as groceries, gas, dining, or travel.
There are many brands of credit cards offered by different companies, but did you realize there are just three basic types of credit cards?–unsecured cards, high risk cards, and secured cards.
An unsecured card is most commonly offered to individuals with a good, solid credit history. These cards do not require cash deposit and have no collateral loans. High risk cards often go to people who have a slightly less polished credit history. These cards tend to have an activation fee, annual fees, and late payment penalties attached to them. The last type is a secured credit card, which comes with steep annual fees and late payment penalties. This type of credit card functions similarly to a debit card in that you need to have a certain amount of cash in an account as “insurance”.
When it comes to credit cards, there are many options out there. But no matter what type of credit card you have, as a bankruptcy attorney, I am equipped to handle any type of credit card debt you may have. Contact me for a free consultation on settling your credit card debt!
The uncertainty that accompanies filing for bankruptcy is a discomfort that has dogged nearly every client I’ve ever had. Until debt began to pile up, their lives had a fairly comfortable and predictable rhythm. Deciding to file bankruptcy throws off that rhythm and requires people to find a new one. Oftentimes it is difficult to adjust to the new rhythm, but fortunately I am here to help!
It’s like Chinese dragon boat racing. In dragon boat racing you have paddlers, a drummer, and a steersman. The paddlers propel the boat. The drummer sets a rhythm to which the paddlers row to. And the steersman determines where the boat goes. So let’s say you are the paddlers and your bankruptcy attorney is the drummer–we’ll get to the steersman later.
For the first half of the race your rowers move at a steady pace, following a rhythm that is comfortable and works well. Then, out of nowhere, a rival racing team with the name “debt” printed on the side of their boat overcomes you! If you don’t do something about it, debt is going to win and your ship will be sunk! That’s when I step in as the drummer for your team. I step up the pace and beat to a different rhythm. The rhythm might seem frantic and you may have trouble getting into the groove of it at first, but once you start the new rhythm, things go smoothly again. Debt falls behind and you take the lead! The finish line is in sight and with your new and improved rhythm, nothing stands in your way! Victory will be yours!
This is where the steersman comes in. You are in charge of steering the boat. I may have helped you find a new rhythm, but it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re heading in the right direction! You are in control of where you go from here. And without debt to weigh you down, you can row with ease. So pick a direction and go for it!
What if creditors continue to call after your debt has been discharged? (Bankruptcy attorney David Lozano urges you to stand your ground!)
Once your debt has been discharged by the bankruptcy court, creditors and collection agencies are out of luck! Third party collection agencies have been known to contact a person and demand payment even after that person has declared bankruptcy and had his or her debt discharged. Do not fall prey to their subterfuge! By taking responsibility and filing bankruptcy you have cleared your name! That means that anyone calling about debt that has been discharged is out of line!
If creditors or third party collection agencies call after the bankruptcy court has approved your bankruptcy claim, take appropriate action! Tell them that the debt has been discharged. If they do not accept that fact or continue to hassle you, don’t give in! They are in the wrong, so stand your ground! Inform them that you will contact the Federal Trade Commission if they continue to call. Attempting to collect on debt that has been discharged is illegal and they can be held in contempt for doing so!
The whole point of filing bankruptcy is to get a fresh start without having to worry about creditors! As a bankruptcy attorney, I can help you make sure that no one takes advantage of you! I look out for my clients before, during, and after the bankruptcy process so that you can enjoy your debt free life with peace of mind!