You should always obtain a copy of your credit report before filing for bankruptcy. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report from all of the reporting agencies in any twelve-month period. There are three credit reporting agencies and you can request a report from each agency individually, or from all three at once.

In most cases, all three credit reporting agency will report similar information. By having all three at once you can compare the reports to ensure they each have the correct information. However, you will not be able to obtain another copy for at least twelve months, unless you pay for them.

You can also chose to obtain one credit report every four months by alternating your request from each reporting agency. By doing this, you can pick up on any new information as it is added.

To obtain a free copy of your credit history, you can visit www.annualcreditreport.com or by call 877-322-8228. You will need to identify yourself by providing your name, address (and previous address if you have moved in the last six months), social security number, and date of birth.

You will also be required to answer a few questions to double check your identity. These will often be questions concerning recent credit transactions that only you would know. After confirming your identity, your credit report will be sent to you.

Before filing for bankruptcy, go through that credit report carefully. It will serve as a double check to ensure that as many debts as possible are listed on the schedule to be discharged. Lastly, your free credit report does not include your credit score. If you need a copy of your credit score, then you will need to pay for that report. For bankruptcy, you do not need your credit score, all you need is your credit report.

If you are considering filing a bankruptcy, why not call an Olathe Bankruptcy Attorney at 913-782-7075 for your free consultation.

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During tough economic times when so many people are out of work, a disproportionate number of people are facing financial hardships.  You may be afraid to answer the phone or check the mail because you know you will be subject to the abuse of a rude representative of a collection agency or a threatening letter.  You may even be afraid to even answer the door because you fear that it is a process server trying to serve you with a lawsuit filed by a creditor.  We understand your fear and anxiety, but avoiding these financial problem and hiding from your creditors will only allow the problems to get worse.  Filing a bankruptcy whether a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 will result in an immediate stop to all of this harassment.

Once you file a bankruptcy all collection efforts by your creditors must cease immediately.  Any collection efforts, lawsuits or other attempts to enforce a debt against you must be suspended as soon as you file your bankruptcy and provide notice to your creditors.  The filing of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy trigger the “automatic stay”, which is an injunction that requires an immediate termination to any debt collection or enforcement actions including the following:

  • Levies against your bank account
  • Foreclosure proceedings
  • Harassing calls and collection letters
  • Lawsuits filed by creditors
  • Repossession of property such as (cars, real estate, furniture, etc)
  • Wage garnishments

The automatic stay is designed to provide temporary relief from debt collection efforts upon filing a bankruptcy.  This can be a critical tool, which permits you to protect your paycheck, home or automobile, Most families need to preserve these critical assets if they hope to survive their current economic crisis and get back on their feet financially.  The bankruptcy court takes the automatic stay very seriously so it is a very effective form of protection from creditors.  A creditor can actually be financially penalized for violating the automatic stay after the filing of a bankruptcy.

The automatic stay results in a temporary suspension of collection efforts so that the rights of the debtor and all creditors can be protected and balanced fairly.  The automatic stay expires 60 days from filing a bankruptcy petition in most situations and within 30 days for those who have previously filed a bankruptcy within the last year.  If a debtor has filed two bankruptcies within the prior year, the automatic stay usually can be requested but will not be granted automatically.

Some forms of debt and debt collection efforts are not impacted by the automatic stay, such as child support, evictions and other exceptions.  It is important to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise you about the applicability of the automatic stay to your specific debts.  Your bankruptcy attorney will carefully analyze your financial situation including your available income, secured and unsecured debts and other factors to develop the most appropriate bankruptcy strategy for your specific financial situation.  It is much easier to stop creditors from taking money from you bank account or paycheck than to get it back after it has been taken so the sooner you contact an experienced Kansas City bankruptcy attorney the better.

We offer a free initial consultation. Contact Kansas City bankruptcy attorney Weston R. Moore personally about your matter by calling our office at (913) 782-7075 or using our convenient contact form.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney
13401 S. Mur Len Road, Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
913.782.7075
Fax: 866.896.0287

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The U.S. Supreme Court in Ransom vs. Fla Card Services ruled last month that a person that owns a vehicle free and clear when filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may not take a vehicle ownership deduction when calculating disposable income under the means test. The means test in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is used to calculate whether a debtor has enough disposable income to make payments to unsecured creditors like credit card companies. The Supreme Court found that while Ransom could claim an operation expense for his vehicle he could not also claim an ownership expense because the vehicle was owned outright meaning there was no monthly payment.

This decision could pose problems for those attempting to complete a Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan. A vehicle that is owned outright is going to tend to be an older vehicle that is more likely to have mechanical problems or need replacement. A Chapter 13 repayment plan may be paid over a 5 year term. There is a high probability that a debtor who is making payments on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan over a 5 year period will at some point need extra income to replace or repair his or her vehicle but that buffer is no longer available because of the Supreme Court’s ruling. This may mean that debtors whose car no longer functions may be unable to get to work resulting in their losing their job. This loss of income will prevent more debtors from continuing to make their mortgage payment and an inability to complete their Chapter 13 plan payments.

This ruling disallowing a vehicle ownership expense for vehicles that are paid off seems even stranger when considered in terms of the incentives created by the ruling. A person who knows they have an older vehicle, which may not survive the term of the Chapter 13 payment plan, might be motivated to sell the older vehicle that is paid off and buy a newer vehicle incurring more debt. Rather than creating an incentive to avoid debt, the Ransom decision encourages those considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to incur more debt prior to filing. The Ransom decision turns logic on its head by punishing a debtor for avoiding a car payment obligation because it will prevent a debtor from claiming an ownership expense.

Because the allowable expenses in a Chapter 13 budget are rather modest, the Ransom decision also denies an important emergency fund to those who have reduced their expenses by driving a less expensive vehicle and avoided incurring an expensive car payment. This emergency fund could be used when a debtor’s car breaks down and needs repairs, they are temporarily between jobs or have sudden unanticipated medical expenses. It is too early to tell whether the denial of a vehicle ownership expense will lead to more Chapter 13 plans not being completed, but there is reason for concern.

We offer a free initial consultation. Contact Kansas City bankruptcy attorney Weston R. Moore personally about your matter by calling our office at (913) 782-7075 or using our convenient contact form.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney
13401 S. Mur Len Road, Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
913.782.7075
Fax: 866.896.0287

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A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in Kansas City is often referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy since the bankruptcy trustee may be able to seize certain assets in order to pay down some of your debts. However, there are certain types of property that is exempt from seizure in Kansas. A few examples of property that may be exempt from seize include: equity in your home, $1,000 or less of equity in your automobile, and $1,000 or less in other personal property. Bankruptcy laws change and both Kansas and Missouri have different homestead exemptions which may increase the amount of personal property you may claim for exemption.

Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City could place an immediate stop to any pending home foreclosure, repossessions, forced eviction, wage garnishment, collection efforts, debt lawsuits and harassment by your creditors.

Free Chapter 7 bankruptcy consultation with Kansas City Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney Weston R. Moore personally about your matter by calling our office at (913) 782-7075 or using our convenient contact form.

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Many people would prefer to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy over other bankruptcy alternative since a Chapter 13 is traditionally a debt repayment plan. When someone in Kansas City files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, they typically will meet with a lawyer in order to create a repayment plan that pays off a specific percentage of the debts owed over a period of 3 to 5 years. It is very important that an individual meets with an attorney that can explain how this process works.

A few reasons why you may consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City:

  • You are unable to qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may enable you to keep or protect certain assets typically lost by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcies offer you a greater period of time to get caught up on mortgage payments in order to prevent foreclosure on a home.
  • You may be able to discharge certain tax debts not typically dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

We offer a free initial consultation. Contact Kansas City Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney Weston R. Moore personally about your matter by calling our office at (913) 782-7075 or using our convenient contact form.

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If you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may wonder how such a decision will impact your retirement plan.  A person’s retirement plan may constitute one’s most valuable asset and be critical to a family’s long-term financial health or a couple’s plans for their golden years.

The impact of a bankruptcy filing on your retirement plan depends on whether your deferred compensation plan is a “qualified retirement plan.”  Typically, a qualified plan is one that is established by your employer that meets certain guidelines set up by the IRS and are tax exempt.  There are two types of qualified retirement plans including defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans.  A defined contribution plan may include a profit sharing plan, purchased retirement plan or 401K account.  Typically, most retirement plans, including 401Ks, profit sharing, Keogh, defined-benefit and IRAs meet these requirements.  However, the law varies and every state’s bankruptcy law is slightly different so it is important to discuss this issue with an experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney if you are considering filing bankruptcy in Kansas.

Debtors in most states receive some protection of their retirement plan if a person files for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief.  For example, a 401K is protected under law from being taken by creditors to pay your debts in bankruptcy.  In addition, traditional and Roth IRAs are usually protected up to one million dollars, and certain annuities are safeguarded under state law.  Retirement plans of many public employee retirement plans also are expressly protected under Kansas state law.  However, state laws may differ so you should seek legal advice regarding this issue.

It is important to know that if you owe money for back taxes; the IRS can seize your retirement to satisfy your unpaid tax bill.  This is important because IRS liabilities are not generally dischargeable in bankruptcy.  If you owe unpaid federal income taxes and have any type of deferred compensation or retirement plan, you should obtain legal advice from an experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney to avoid inadvertently exposing your retirement savings to IRS enforcement for past tax obligations.

An experienced Kansas bankruptcy law firm can help you protect amounts above the protected one million dollar threshold though a variety of bankruptcy planning practices.  It is a bad idea to withdraw funds from a retirement account like a 401K to avoid bankruptcy.  This approach will result in depleting available protected assets by paying obligations that may ultimately be discharged in bankruptcy.  A person who withdraws funds from a 401K to pay down unsecured debts may also be exposed to tax penalties.  If you have taken out a retirement plan loan, repayment of that loan depends on if you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  If you file a Chapter 7, you have to pay back the loan. For a Chapter 13, since you pay back your debts (usually over a three to five year period) as part of your repayment plan, anything owed after that period of time typically is discharged.

Another important point to consider is the voluntary payments you make to your retirement plan.  During bankruptcy, you are authorized to use funds for certain authorized necessary expenses.  Hence, you will have to stop making voluntary contributions during the bankruptcy process.  An exception may apply if you are nearing retirement and establish that you need that money because you do not have savings.

The other side of this issue involves what happens to your retirement plan if your company files for bankruptcy. Because retirement plans are protected under ERISA, by and large, your retirement account should be fine. Companies are required by law to keep retirement funds separated from their business funds in a trust or insurance account.  Federal law prohibits the abuse and mismanagement of retirement plan funds by corporations.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Kansas, your first step should be to consult a qualified Kansas bankruptcy attorney.  Our experienced Kansas City bankruptcy attorney, Weston Moore can advise you on how to protect your retirement plan and other assets.  We offer a free initial no obligation case evaluation so contact us today at 913-782-7075.  The law office of Weston R. Moore handles bankruptcy matters in Olathe, Johnson County and throughout Kansas.

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Bankruptcy can provide a valuable tool for escaping staggering financial obligations that can deprive a family of its income via a wage garnishment, savings through a bank levy and assets by way of a property lien on real property.  Back taxes is one of the most difficult financial obligations families face because the IRS and state franchise tax board are brutal entities that show little mercy and have powerful weapons at their disposal to enforce unpaid tax obligations.  It is not uncommon for either federal or state tax authorities to use multiple enforcement tools simultaneously.  We have seen clients facing a wage garnishment, bank levy and real property tax liens simultaneously.  Many Kansas residents inquire about whether bankruptcy can provide relief from back taxes.

Attorney Weston R. Moore has been representing consumers seeking relief from staggering debt and oppressive debt enforcement efforts in Johnson County and throughout Kansas for over 15 years.  We are committed to carefully analyzing your complete financial situation so that we can provide the best possible advice and provide you with the full range of possible options.

The general rule is that most tax debts are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning that even after going through bankruptcy, you will still have to fulfill your tax obligations.  However, if certain criteria are met, income tax debts may be discharged.  First, the income tax debt must have come due earlier than three years prior to your bankruptcy filing.  Second, you must have timely filed accurate tax returns.

However, the knowledge that you may be able to discharge individual income tax debts is only part of what you need to know.  Individuals generally have two choices when seeking protection from creditors: Chapter 7, known as Liquidation, or Chapter 13, known as Debt Adjustment.  Both chapters of the Federal Bankruptcy Code offer specific advantages and disadvantages.  In Chapter 7, any tax debts that are non-dischargeable will still have to be satisfied after the bankruptcy proceeding.  Under Chapter 13, you may be able to organize a repayment plan that may make paying those non-dischargeable debts easier to pay.
The taxes you owe and chapter selection are merely a couple of the many issues that must be addressed if you are facing bankruptcy.  The complexity of bankruptcy treatment of past tax obligations demonstrates why choosing a law firm that takes the time to appreciate every aspect of your case is essential.  We know that honorable and responsible people often find themselves facing terrible financial alternatives and crushing debt.  Mr. Moore will carefully evaluate your situation including obligations that are more difficult to discharge in bankruptcy so that we can develop the best way to help you get back on the road to financial recovery. We are pleased to handle bankruptcy cases in Kansas and Missouri. We handle family law cases throughout Johnson County and surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Weekend and evening appointments are available. To reach our Olathe law office, call (913)782-7075, or contact us online.

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You feel the shudder travel through your body and the tension hit as the phone rings.  There is no need to check Caller-ID because you know it is a creditor.  They call incessantly all day and into the evening.  You have stopped checking the mailbox because it is simply filled with one reminder after another of your financial desperation.  When you pull up to your home, you look carefully up and down the street for process servers lying in wait to serve you with a lawsuit filed by a creditor.  You have long since stopped leaving money in your bank account knowing that it might be levied at any time.  It may feel like there is no way out of this insanity, but relief is much closer than your realize.

When you file bankruptcy, there is a court order that automatically goes into effect upon the filing of a bankruptcy. This court order is called the “automatic stay.”  The automatic stay stops most debt collection efforts and keeps them at bay once you have filed for bankruptcy relief.  While the bankruptcy is pending, most creditors cannot take any further action against you.  This means that the harassing phone calls, collection letters, wage assignments, bank levies and civil lawsuits all stop.

The purpose of the automatic stay is to give a person some breathing room from one’s creditors and the financial pressure that created the need for a bankruptcy.  The automatic stay prevents creditors from continuing collection action such as:

1) Suing to collect on a debt

2) Suing to seize personal property

3) Suing to enforce a lien on real property

4) Seizing property pledged as collateral on a debt

Sometimes a creditor can file a motion in court to have the stay lifted.  This is called a Motion to Lift Stay.  Other times a creditor can begin collection proceedings without seeking advance permission from the court.  There are certain legal proceedings that are not stopped by bankruptcy, such as child custody cases, criminal proceedings, tax audits and proceedings to revoke a driver’s license.

Depending on how recently you have filed bankruptcy, the duration of the automatic stay can be fairly brief.  If you have previously filed a bankruptcy case within the previous one-year period, the stay will expire automatically after 30 days.  If two cases are dismissed in a year, there will be no protection from the automatic stay at all.  For most creditor collection actions, the stay is effective and works to stop creditors dead in their tracks. This results in an end to harassing calls by debt collectors, threatening letters by attorneys, and lawsuits to collect payment for credit card and health care bills.

In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the automatic stay also ensures that the trustee – not one’s creditors – will be responsible for ultimately deciding which property a debtor will be able to keep, which property they will have to give up as well as how the proceeds of any property will be distributed.

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the automatic stay can be a benefit because it provides co-debtor protection. A co-debtor who is liable with a debtor on a specific debt can be protected under a Chapter 13 filing. This protection will last as long as the debtor pays back the entire co-signed debt along with contract interest to fully protect the co-debtor.

Anyone who willfully violates the stay in the case of an individual is liable for damages caused by the violation and sometimes for punitive damages.  Some courts confine the right to damages to individual debtors and deny damages for stay violations as to corporate debtors.  If you need relief from crushing debt, it is important to seek the help of an experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney who can help you file and make sure that your creditors get notice of the bankruptcy filing and the automatic stay.  Creditor actions taken after the stay is in place are generally void or voidable.  Actions taken by a creditor that are in violation of the stay have no legal effect.  The sooner that you file the sooner you will be able to obtain financial relief.

At the Law Office of Weston Moore, we have been helping people in Olathe and throughout Johnson County for over 15 years.  We offer a free initial case evaluation with Kansas City bankruptcy attorney, Weston Moore, so that we can assess your situation and help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you.  Call us today at 913-782-7075.

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Hi, I am Kansas bankruptcy attorney Weston Moore.  My law firm assists people who face a tough decision about whether or not filing for bankruptcy is the right option for their debt relief needs.

Our Olathe bankruptcy law firm provides this blog to help people in financial distress to make better economic choices in the greater Kansas City, Kansas area. When facing serious financial difficulties, it is important that you understand your legal rights when determining if a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 filing through the assistance of a lawyer is best for your case.

We hope that the information posted on our Kansas bankruptcy blog will help you understand the various debt relief options available to you so that you can find the right solution for your debt problems.

If you have questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, contact Attorney Weston R. Moore personally about your matter by calling our office at (913) 782-7075.  You can also visit our Kansas bankruptcy law website or contact us online for more details about legal representation.

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The economy remains sluggish, and many homeowners continue to lose their homes.  While the mortgage meltdown may have slowed, many Americans continue to lose the battle to hold onto their family home.  One in every 200 homes in the U.S. will be lost in foreclosure.  An easier way to understand the scope of the problem is that in any three month period an average of 250,000 families lose their home in foreclosure.  The loss of a family home can be a devastating event because it represents more than just the lose of a physical building or valuable asset though it certainly also represents both of these things.  The loss of a family residence in foreclosure means losing one’s home – the place people start their families and raise their children.

Many people who struggle to make their mortgage payment and feel themselves falling behind become discouraged.  However, there might be options and strategies that an experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney may be able to share that may permit a person to keep one’s home.  A Kansas bankruptcy may be an option that permits you to keep your home.  We have provided an overview of some options that may be available depending on your situation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Sometimes homeowners struggle to make their mortgage payment because they have an overwhelming amount of debt or are subject to aggressive collection efforts.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can allow a debtor to eliminate much of one’s unsecured debt including credit card debt, medical bills, unsecured credit lines, unpaid utility bills and similar unsecured obligations.  A debtor may also use a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to stop wage garnishments, bank levies and other debt enforcement actions that reduce the cash flow needed by a debtor to make one’s mortgage payment.  The point is that much of a person’s unsecured debt load may be extinguished through a Chapter 7 discharge making more funds available to make one’s mortgage payments and preserve one’s home.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A Chapter Bankruptcy differs from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it involves making payments toward one’s debt including unsecured debt over a 3-5 year period rather than simply having the debt discharged.  As with a Chapter 7, a debtor may have the balance of one’s unsecured debt discharged if the plan is completed and all plan payments are made.  Homeowners are specifically well suited for Chapter 13 relief.  The Chapter 13 is designed to permit a homeowner who is behind on mortgage payments to include the arrearages on the mortgage in one’s repayment plan.  If the homeowner has sufficient income to make the current mortgage payments and plan payments including mortgage arrearages, the homeowner may be able to keep one’s home by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 + Chapter 7 Combination: A Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 are both filed in sequence by a debtor.  If a debtor qualifies under the means test, the Chapter 7 this can eliminate much of the debtor’s unsecured debt.  This may be critical to the debtor’s ability to qualify for Chapter 13 relief.  One of the most common reasons that Chapter 13 relief is not available is that a debtor lacks sufficient income to feasibly fund a plan.  Once a debtor files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and eliminates much of their unsecured debt, it can make the plan payments in a Chapter 13 lower so that the person seeking relief has sufficient income to fund a Chapter 13 plan.

Non-Bankruptcy Alternatives: While bankruptcy often provides the best option to protect one’s home from foreclosure, there are other options that may be available in certain situations including a short sale, deed in lieu or other alternative.  However, these alternative strategies can have substantial disadvantages.  Depending on the circumstances and alternative used by a debtor, one may be exposed to substantial tax liability or a deficiency judgment.

If you are behind on your mortgage or have received notice that you are currently in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at the law office of Weston R. Moore may be able to help.  We offer an initial case evaluation so that we can analyze your situation and determine your options.  Weston R. Moore has been helping those in debt protect their homes and their financial future in Kansas and Missouri for over 15 years so call us today at 913-782-7075.

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