By financen | August 30, 2017 - 4:30 pm - Posted in Bankruptcy

The word bankruptcy is enough to strike fear into any heart. Yet more than 800,000 Americans file for bankruptcy every year, and for the majority of them it brings relief and closure to what has often been years of struggling against a rising tide of debt. Most bankrupts are not down and outs or high flying entrepreneurs who have suffered a fall from grace. They are everyday people like you who have become ensnared in the easy credit financial environment of the 21st century.

There is an automatic assumption that bankruptcy is a last resort, a final nail in the coffin when all else fails, but the truth is quite the opposite. One Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyer says that nine times out of ten, filing for bankruptcy gives the individual an opportunity to start afresh and get his or her life back on an even keel. Let’s find out more.

A rational decision

Filing for bankruptcy is one of a number of options if you have financial difficulties. The most important thing is to weigh up these options rationally and objectively – and for that, you will need expert advice.

If you have a large number of personal debts and you just can’t afford to repay them, for example credit card balances, personal loans, etc, they will generally be wiped from the slate under a Chapter Seven Bankruptcy– gone. However, some debts, such as child support obligations or most legal judgements, will still remain.

Many people worry about losing their property if they file for bankruptcy, but unless they have specifically put it up as security against a loan, this is unlikely to happen. It is important to understandthe specifics of bankruptcy exemptionsto see how this will affect you.

Can you afford it?

It almost sounds like a bad joke, but it is quite costly to file for bankruptcy, and for some people, it would be a great solution if they could only afford it. The exact costs will vary depending on which chapter you are filing under and the level of administration and legal support needed, but on average, you are looking at no less than $1,500 and no more than $3,000.

Is it right for you?

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to get expert advice. Bankruptcy can be the perfect solution to get the worry of escalating debt lifted from your shoulders once and for all.

There are pros and cons to any decision, though, and for many the largest negative is the connotations that the word brings when others find out what has happened. If you are comfortable to live with that, it could be an option worth seriously considering.

Comments Off on Bankruptcy: It’s Not the End of the World
By financen | July 19, 2016 - 4:08 pm - Posted in Bankruptcy, Financial planning

Tending to and healing the body is a noble profession with roots in ancient Greece. An oath named after Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, puts forth the principle that physicians should “first, do no harm.” Yet, mistakes in healthcare are so rampant that some have termed the situation a crisis. Of course, medical professionals are human and some mistakes are to be expected, but the high frequency of these potentially devastating, largely preventable errors have created a public health problem that leaves many patients in pain and in debt.

The Institute of Medicine issueda seminal study in 1999 examining the quality of health care in the U.S.  Defining medical errors as “the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim,” the study estimated that such lapses prove fatal for between 44,000 and 98,000 people every year. That’s more than the annual number of deaths attributable to well-publicized causes like AIDS, motor vehicle accidents, or breast cancer. The researchers also concluded that preventable medical mistakes costbillions of dollars per year, including the expense of additional care necessitated by the errors, lost income and household productivity, and disability.

In 2008, actuaries measured direct medical expenses and determined thatmedical errors annually cost $17.1 billion while the cost of avoidable hospital readmissions added another $13 to $18 billion a year. The study identified more than 1.5 million avoidable errors and found that, on average, the cost per mistake was $11,366. Almost 70 percent of the total medical cost for measurable medical errors was due to ten common errors: pressure ulcers, postoperative infections, postlaminectomy syndrome, hemorrhage complicating a procedure, accidental puncture or laceration during a procedure, mechanical complication of a non-cardiac device, abdominal hernia without mention of obstruction,hematoma complicating a procedure, unspecified adverse effect of a drug, and mechanical complication of a cardiac device.

Another source, the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), lists the five most common categories of malpractice cases as diagnosis, treatment, surgery, medication, and obstetrics. According to the NPDB, the responsibility for these incidents is spread among many types of practitioners. From 2004 to 2014, over 270,300 malpractice claims were brought against nurses and 182,095 were brought against physicians. Dental professionals, therapeutic practitioners, and technicians and assistants saw the third, fourth, and fifth highest numbers of claims. There is no federal law that requires hospitals to report medical errors; and although 27 states do mandate such reporting, the data is rife with inaccuracies and is not uniformly collected.

Healthcare providers that make a mistake rarely bear the resulting financial obligations. Instead,when treatment makes a patient’s health worse, he or she is also expected to foot the bill for the avoidable error. Taking on debt when the need for further care was preventable is to add insult to literal and figurative injury. And the outlook is grim: medical bills are a common reason for personal bankruptcy filings. According to a 2013 analysis, 1.7 million Americans live in households that will declare bankruptcy due to inability to pay medical bills. Of adults ages 19 to 64:

  • 56 million will have trouble paying medical bills.
  • Over 35 million will be hear from collection agencies seeking payment for medical bills.
  • High medical bills will cause almost 17 million to receive a lower credit rating.
  • More than 15 million will empty their savings to pay medical bills.
  • Over 11 million will run up credit card debt in order to pay hospital bills.
  • Nearly 10 million will be unable to pay for basic necessities such as food and rent because of medical bills.

A 2016 look at healthcare found that 26 percent of U.S. adults have experienced serious financial problems due to health care costs. Of that number, large medical bills caused 42 percent to spend most or all of their personal savings, 23 percent to take on credit card debt that might be hard to pay off, 19 percent to take out a loan, and 7 percent to declare bankruptcy.

Although the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) has reduced the number of uninsured, high-deductible plans requiring more out-of-pocket costs can quickly cause debt to add up. An average family of four with an employer-sponsored “preferred provider plan” is currently estimated to have healthcare costs of $25,826, which has more than tripled since 2001’s figure of $8,414. Now responsible for 43 percent, employees carry four percent more of the cost than they did 15 years ago. Some of these increases can be traced to insurance companies’ passing the buck on to the consumer, raising rates to counteract increased claims for medical errors.

When medical treatment goes wrong, it can set off a chain of events that harms the patient beyond the physical toll. Consequences from medical mistreatment can easily lead to job loss due to the patient’s being physically or emotionally unable to continue life as it was prior to the error. Loss of employment is often coupled with loss of health insurance, which then leaves the patient unable to afford medical care. When the bills multiply and income is limited, many people turn to credit cards, not realizing how quickly this option can cause a bad situation to become a hopeless one. Drawn in by balance transfers, limited time low interest rates, or interest-only payments as well as minimum payments, credit card debt can mount fast and furiously. Interest, late fees, and penalties for being overdrawn can even surpass the original debt.

In cases where negligence can be proven, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be feasible. If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to talk with a malpractice attorney in your state. Ininstances where legal action is not viable, the patient’s financial fallout from paying the extra costs may be best dealt with by filing for bankruptcy protection. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code consider both medical debt and credit card debt to be unsecured, meaning such debt is eligible for dismissal in the right circumstances. Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free initial consultations, so it’s often worth the time to talk to a lawyer who can evaluate your personal situation.

About: Mike Stephenson is a medical malpractice attorney in Indianapolis who has been representing clients in the central Indiana for more than 2 decades. Mike is a partner at McNeely Stephenson, Attorneys at Law which specializes in personal injury lawsuits.

Comments Off on Medical Malpractice Can Cause Patient Bankruptcy
By financen | June 3, 2016 - 5:42 pm - Posted in Banking, Bankruptcy, Job, Law

Toward the end of adolescence and continuing straight on through to “over the hill,” many Americans spend the majority of those years working. Assuming that the average person works 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year from the age of 20 until 65, that’s 90,360 hours at work. With all that time spent on the job, it’s no surprise that a large number of accidents and injuries occur in the workplace. While all employees deserve to return home at the end of their work day alive and uninjured, the reality is that not everyone does. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 4,600 workers died on the job in 2014 and more than three million others suffered serious, non-fatal injuries at work. These alarming numbers include multiple categories of workers with varying levels of healthcare coverage: employees and independent contractors, full-time and part-time, temporary and permanent.

While the Affordable Care Act has given more people access to health insurance, medical bills and related costs can leave injured workers in a tough spot. Co-pays, high deductibles, co-insurance, travel to and from healthcare facilities, lost wages and daycare costs are just a few of the expenses that can add up quickly. A well-known actuarial firm that has published a medical index for the last 15 years known as the MMI (Milliman Medical Index) calculates that the average healthcare cost for a family of four has more than tripled since its value of $8,414 in 2001 and now stands at $25,826. This rate of increase exceeds the growth in the consumer price index (CPI) for medical services as well as the average two percent annual increase in median household income between 2004 and 2014. Compared to employers, employees are now responsible for more of the healthcare costs than they were 15 years ago – they now pay 43 percent, up from 39 percent 15 years ago.

It’s not hard to see how getting hurt at work can be financially devastating. Over the past decade, the average amount that middle-income households spent on health care increased by 51 percent, which is nearly double the growth in their incomes (30 percent) and three times the rate of growth in their spending for all other products and services. It’s no wonder then that unpaid medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy filings (62 percent), surpassing both credit card and mortgage debt. Job loss is another reason that people are unable to pay off their debts. Spending more than you make is easy to do when you have no income. Losing a job also means losing health insurance if you are the plan subscriber, and the high cost of COBRA insurance can be hard to sustain for long. Imagine, then, the economic difficulties experienced by someone who has the all-too-common experience of being injured at work and then losing that job, whether due to layoff, termination, or resignation.bankruptcy

Bleak financial scenarios are one very important reason to take steps to protect yourself if you have a jobsite-induced injury or illness. Whether it was an acute traumatic injury (like falling from a ladder) or a cumulative-trauma injury (such as carpal-tunnel syndrome), there are a few basic things you should do to protect yourself.

Report it. Tell your manager, supervisor, company nurse, union representative – whoever is in charge. Be clear about how the injury happened and that it happened at work. Report it immediately even if you think you are not seriously hurt. That knee you twisted or back you strained might not require medical treatment until a few days later, and then your employer can claim you were injured someplace else. While you are usually allowed between 30 to 90 days depending on your state, some companies impose shorter deadlines and can issue formal reprimands or suspensions of pay for not reporting an accident in accordance with their policies.

Keep good records. Being organized and having proof can make the difference between winning and losing financial reimbursement for a workplace injury claim. There will be medical reports, incident reports, and insurance paperwork, but you can also help yourself by keeping detailed documents of conversations and employment actions. Request copies of any papers your employer keeps on the incident and hold on to paystubs and timesheets showing income and hours worked. What you don’t document may not be covered, so try to keep a thorough record of all expenses that are a direct result of your work-related injury.

Consider contacting an attorney. Cases involving a workplace accident can be very complicated and can involve doctors, physical therapists, independent medical consultants, adjusters, insurance company lawyers, co-workers, equipment manufacturers, maintenance companies, and more. Because it may be difficult to determine all of the details and sort out all of the necessary parties, having your case evaluated by an attorney will maximize your compensation. Many workplace injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, so it’s often worth your time to talk to an attorney who can help while you are dealing with the aftermath of a serious injury or illness.

Workplaceinjuries stem from a wide range of incidents and an even wider range of causes. Some of the more common injuries include bodily reaction (bending, reaching, climbing, etc.), being caught in or between objects, falling from heights, repetitive motion, overexertion, slips and falls, falling objects, and vehicle accidents. Of course, construction workers have different on-the-job hazards than office personnel, but all workers can help themselves by practicing safe work habits appropriate for their jobs. Keeping work areas free of clutter and taking care not to rush (many injuries occur when people hurry and take shortcuts) are two practices that can benefit virtually any worker.

Things can go wrong even in the best run business, but not every employee is able to build up an emergency fund to draw from in the event they get hurt. Medical bills should not lead to financial ruin.Depending on the circumstances, there may be grounds for a legal cause of action. At a minimum, an experienced work injury lawyer may be able to advise you on your options, including negotiating with the medical providers, seeking out help from federal and state entities, and whether bankruptcy is truly the best choice for your situation.

Author: David Mann is a workers’ compensation attorney located in Macon, Georgia. He’s a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and is a past president of the Middle Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.

Comments Off on Getting Hurt on the Job Can Irreparably Harm Your Bank Account
By financen | May 1, 2013 - 7:03 pm - Posted in Bankruptcy

One of the biggest myths in bankruptcy, often perpetuated by the credit card companies, is that you lose all your assets once you file for bankruptcy. They try to scare you from doing bankruptcy and look for debt relief options. For the most part, you can keep all your assets.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are federal laws that provided exemption amounts for each type of your personal and real properties owned by you. This means that you can protect your properties up to a certain dollar amount. For example, if you have equity in your house, you can exempt up to $21,625, if your spouse’s name is mentioned in the deed, then the amount gets doubled to $43,250. equity means the value of your house minus the value of any liens like mortgage, home equity line, tax liens. If there is no equity in your house, then you can use up to $10,825 of the unused equity in your home for other assets.

In addition to this, there is exemption on the dollar amount on your personal properties like cars, household goods, clothing, jewelry, life insurance policies and any other thing that you own. Your creditors cannot touch your retirement account.

The exemption planning in chapter 7 bankruptcy is a very tricky process. You must consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney in this regard. Many people try to file for bankruptcy on their own, but they end up messing their exemption planning, and are grilled and harassed by the trustee at their 341 meeting. The trustee may also file a motion to dismiss their case or even worse, will seize the debtors assets.

If you are considering chapter 7 bankruptcy, research for an experienced bankruptcy attorney who has years of experience in exemption planning. They will discuss about what you own and help you value your stuff and protect it during your bankruptcy process.

Helpful Resources:

By financen | April 29, 2013 - 3:13 pm - Posted in Bankruptcy

According to the Credit Consumer Council Service report posted in 2009, men are more likely to file for bankruptcy than women. Can male attitudes to coping with financial difficulties be a contributing factor?



Studies are keen to point out that men are more likely to try to deal with problems autonomously, in the hope they can find solutions. Women, on the other hand, prefer to share difficulties with close companions, and are far more willing to confide in people they trust. It appears men are more adept at concealing the level of stress they are under, perhaps until it is too late.

It has been suggested that reasons for the inability to seek help at critical moments is down to the way in which the sexes perceive themselves. It is said that men judge themselves by their achievements. A man will feel his image has been restored if he personally can solve his own problems. Oppositely, women react to stressful situations by entering into dialogue.

Image courtesy of

While women are as increasingly likely to fall into debt, the amount they owe is significantly lower on average than most men. This may be an indication that women, having shared their problems at an earlier stage, will therefore carry less debt than their male counterparts.

The male inability to open up about financial worries is of great concern, and in most cases couter-productive. 30% of people surveyed suggested that debt was a contributing factor in the weakening or break up of their relationship.

This is of particular concern to men in the 40 – 45 year old bracket, who made up 28% of bankruptcies filing for insolvency during 2009, according to a report by Tenon Recovery. This group are also 10% more likely to find themselves having money difficulties than women.

Of course, these statistics are never able to paint the full picture. If you are suffering with debt issues the most important step is to seek advice immediately. Sharing your problems with others reduces stress and increases your ability to find the right solution.

The sooner bankruptcy advice is sought the better. The solution is never as difficult as people presume. Even though there is still some stigma attached, the majority of applications for bankruptcy in the UK are as a direct result of reasons beyond the debtor’s control; for example, redundancy, loss of a job, or a significant reduction in earnings.

If you have serious levels of debt then you may be considering bankruptcy as an option. This is usually seen as a last resort because of the resulting effect it will have on your financial future and personal assets. Your trustee might consider some of your belongings to be non-essential and they can therefore be sold to pay off the amount you owe to your creditors. Examples of this are likely to be equity in property, cars, jewellery, shares and investments. There are also other disadvantages to be considered:

  • ·You will not be allowed to obtain more than £500 credit unless you first disclose that you are bankrupt
  • ·Any income you have in excess of that needed for your basic needs will have to be paid to your creditors
  • ·Certain trades and professions will not allow you to work when bankrupt
  • ·Credit facilities may also be removed  and after the term of the bankruptcy has expired you may find it difficult to get credit or a mortgage in the future

At present, the cost of applying for bankruptcy is £700. The £175 court fee may be waivered if you are on income support. However, you may consider this administration charge a small price to pay compared to all the pain and stress debt has caused you.

The advantages of filing for insolvency are also worth noting:

  • Once the bankruptcy period has come to an end, all debts are written off. Depending on your circumstances you may be debt free in one year
  • If you live in rented accommodation and are up to date with your rent, you will be able to continue paying the rent
  • Peace of mind that your creditors will no longer have the legal right to pursue you for payment of bills
  • A fresh start
Bankruptcy advice

Bankruptcy advic

There is no reason to deal with all your worries in isolation when you can get professional bankruptcy advice.

For some people bankruptcy is a better solution than living with extreme debt. The daily stress of managing finances while under extreme pressure from creditors is debilitating.

Everyone makes mistakes and to be given a chance at a fresh start in life can never be under-estimated. Those who have declared bankruptcy often experience an overwhelming sense of relief once the order has been passed; a feeling that they can finally get on with their lives. Though there will be a degree of difficulty during and after the bankruptcy, it is nothing by comparison to living with insurmountable and overwhelming debt. Many bankruptcies go on to rebuild their lives. Insolvency is not a barrier to future success, but the first step on the road to regaining control of your life.

Image courtesy of

It may seem appropriate to soldier on, but there are trusted professionals whose confidential approach will offer immediate help and support. If you are experiencing problems concerning debt, take advice from specialists who can help to put you on the road to financial recovery.

Amy Fry is a former financial adviser who tends to write about various topics including bankruptcy, IVA and personal finances.

Comments Off on Bankruptcy Advice – how men cope during financial difficulties
By financen | February 13, 2013 - 4:35 pm - Posted in Bankruptcy

BankruptcyHave you filed for bankruptcy recently? If you have recently filed for bankruptcy, then it is very important to file your taxes. There is no escape from it. You can always consult a professional tax attorney to review your information. Bankruptcy is considered as a red flag for the IRS and it will prominently increase your chances of getting audited.

It is also important to know that if you had your debts discharged or canceled as a part of your bankruptcy, it is treated as an income by the IRS. Talk to your bankruptcy attorney or your tax preparer and they will assist you in filing your tax forms.

If you are an independent contractor and receive 1099’s from companies that you have worked for, then you must check to see if a creditor canceled that debt and it is showing as an income on your form 1040.

If the reason of your filing for bankruptcy is because you have a lot of tax debts from the previous years, then you need to align your bankruptcy attorney or the tax preparer in the most accurately manner. They will require all the necessary facts and will have discussions with the IRS to see if your previous tax debts can be discharged or not. Most likely, you will still end up owing those back taxes even after bankruptcy because the IRS always wants to get their money back. It is important that you know all facts about taxes and bankruptcy. It can be a very complicated situation to deal with that’s why professional help is always recommended.

So how to file your past tax return? It is a very simple process much like filing the current return. Just make sure that you gather all the important documents like old W2’s, you old receipts, etc. You can also get the forms online from the IRS website and fill up everything, and then file it online. You will have to answer a few questions when you are doing it online, but there’s nothing to sweat. It might take a little longer, but as long as you have all the documents available, there shouldn’t be any problems. If you are a little hesitant in filing it on your own, then you can consult a reputable company who will assist and make sure that you don’t miss a single line or owed dollar.

Some important links:

Comments Off on Filing Taxes after bankruptcy
By financen | October 8, 2012 - 4:35 pm - Posted in Bankruptcy



If you are struggling with your finances and getting deeper into the hole of debt, then it is time to review all your options and take immediate steps. Many people are scared with the thought of filing for bankruptcy, but the fact is that when this option is used correctly, it can be invaluable tool in making your life a lot more stable. Browse through the internet and get all the valuable information from the reliable resources and do not hesitate to ask questions. Debunking popular myths may not be the easiest thing, but if its about your future, its important that you take the time to do so.

One of the most common myth that discourages people from filing for bankruptcy is that if they file, everyone around them will come to know about their personal decision. They will be fired from their place of work and will hurt in many other ways. This actually, is not the fact. When there are public figures and big corporations filing for bankruptcy without any publicity, it is largely unlikely that your filing will become news. When you file for bankruptcy, it is only you, your creditors, and the people whom you inform about this will know this fact, no one else.

Another myth that is commonly believed is that when people file for bankruptcy, they will lose everything that they have. So they like to stay with their debts. This is however, a falsehood and dangerous belief. If you file for bankruptcy, it does not mean that you will end up losing everything that you have. It entirely depends on the kind of bankruptcy you are filing for. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will liquidate some of your assets, in order to pay off your debts. While in chapter 13, you will be able to keep your assets intact. You will be put in a repayment plan with your creditors through the court trustee.

Another misconception is that if you file for bankruptcy, you will never get credit in the future. The fact is when you file for bankruptcy, the negative remark will stay on your credit report for some time. But this will not stop you from rebuilding or regaining new credit. It is fact that creditors will charge you high interest rates in the beginning, but as you are working on rebuilding your credit over the time, you will be able to make smart decisions.

Another myth in belief is that if one of the spouse needs to file for bankruptcy, the other spouse also has to necessarily file for the same. This is wrong. Due to so many misconceptions and myths that surrounds the process, it is highly recommended that people who are thinking of bankruptcy as an alternative should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will guide you through the proceedings.



Comments Off on Common Bankruptcy Myths and misconceptions