Banking Law covers a wide variety of topics relating to the regulation of banks, bank officials, and nonbank institutions that offer bank services. It involves such issues as deposit and trust accounts, state laws that protect consumers financially, the prohibition against discrimination in the allocation of credit, electronic banking and fund transfer systems, limitations on the disclosure of confidential financial information, and credit card agreements and services.
Numerous laws affecting the regulation of financial institutions have been passed, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Truth in Lending Act, Real Estate Settlement Protection Act (RESPA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Truth in Savings Act.
Business law encompasses the law governing contracts, sales, commercial paper, agency and employment law, business organizations, property, and bailments. Other popular areas include insurance, wills and estate planning, and consumer and creditor protection. Business law may include issues such as starting, selling, or buying a small business, managing a business, dealing with employees, or dealing with contracts, among others.
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which governs sales and commercial paper, has been adopted in some form by almost all states. There are agencies at the state and federal level which administer the law in such issues such as employment affairs and consumer and credit protection. The laws aim to protect fair business practices and due process rights for aggrieved workers and others.
Purchase and Sale of Residential Real Estate
- Home Ownership Issues
- First Time Home Buyer Representation
- Draft and Review Real Estate Contracts
- Prepare and Review Loan Documents Title Examination
- Title Insurance, Title Searches, and Title Examinations
- Title Searches
- Representation at Closing
- Representation of Home Owner Associations
- Residential Landlord Tenant Disputes
- Commercial Real Estate Transactions
- Purchase Agreements and Sale Agreements
- Residential and Commercial Leasing
- Land Use, Zoning, and Subdivisions
- Real Estate Litigation
- Title Claim Matters
- Landlord Tenant Issues
- Real Estate Litigation
- Commercial Landlord Tenant Deputes
- Environmental Site Assessment
Real estate transactions are governed by federal statutes, as well as state statutory and common law. Real Estate Law encompasses these state a statutes and laws, as well as property law matters. Real estate law includes a wide variety of legal issues relating to acquiring, financing, developing, managing, constructing, leasing and selling commercial and residential real property of all kinds, including:
Real estate transactions relating to representation, litigation, consultation and negotiation of mortgages, mortgage re-financing, reverse mortgages, 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, residential purchase and sale agreements, commercial purchase and sale agreements, residential leases, and commercial leases (e.g., office, medical building, restaurant, industrial property, or shopping center). Real estate disputes, including disputes over adverse possession, prescriptive easements, eminent domain, condemnation, property taxes, title and boundaries, views, trees, branches, party walls, fences, as well as nuisance, trespass and encroachment, as well as sale disputes (e.g., breach of contract, specific performance, non-disclosure, fraud or misrepresentation).
Real estate broker issues, including claims against and defense of real estate brokers and agents including negligence, fraud/misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, disclosure obligations.
Construction defects and mechanic’s liens, including disputes that owners, builders and contractors may have in regard to construction disputes, construction defects and claims, as well as construction accident claims. Land use and zoning matters, including representation of property owners before governmental entities (cities, counties, zoning boards, design review boards) relating to land use applications, permits variances, zoning exceptions, design review approvals, and special use permits, as well as common interest communities, including interpretation and enforcement of Covenants and Conditions and Restrictions (CC and R’s).
What is Civil Litigation
Civil litigation is a legal dispute between two or more parties that seek money damages or specific performance, rather than criminal sanctions. A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation is known as a “litigator” or “trial lawyer.” Lawyers who practice civil litigation represent parties in trials, hearings, arbitrations and mediations before administrative agencies, foreign tribunals and federal, state and local courts.
Types of Civil Litigation
Civil litigation encompasses a broad range of disputes. Civil litigators generally specialize in one or two specific practice areas. Several common types of civil litigation include:
- Environmental Law
- Products Liability
- Personal injury
- Intellectual Property
- Medical Malpractice
- Employment and Labor
- Real Estate
- Worker’s Compensation
- Education Law
The Role of the Litigation Professional
The role of the civil litigation professional is challenging and diverse. Since civil litigation is an adversarial process, litigation attorneys and paralegals must be willing to assume an oppositional position and embrace conflict and controversy. Civil litigation attorneys and paralegals often work long hours, especially during trial, and perform occasional travel.
Over one million individuals and couples file for bankruptcy each year. The reasons vary from job loss, medical expenses, divorce or a small business failure. Whatever the reason may be, my firm can help. I have been practicing consumer bankruptcy law for years and I know what it takes to help you wipe out your debts and start fresh. I can help you avoid the pitfalls that debtors and some attorneys fall into during this process.
Through bankruptcy, I can stop wage garnishments, foreclosures, lawsuits and harassing phone calls from creditors. I can help you to get your life back and bring you peace of mind by eliminating the constant worry and extreme stress of dealing with uncontrollable debt. Your creditors have attorneys working for them and so should you.
Although the bankruptcy laws have changed, bankruptcy is a viable option for many individuals. Filing for bankruptcy should not be considered an end, but a new beginning. You will have the opportunity to rebuild your credit and can even apply for car loans or a home mortgage soon after filing.
ALWAYS TALK DIRECTLY TO ATTORNEY
Understanding the very difficult position you may be in, I do my best to make things as easy as possible. I offer all of my clients a FREE consultation to go over their options. It is important to know whether you are a candidate for bankruptcy or whether there are other options available which is why I offer this free consultation. If you are not a candidate for bankruptcy and you do not use my services then you should not have to pay me a fee. I also offer payment plans whereby my clients can pay me whenever they can afford to do so.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy begins with the filing of a bankruptcy petition. The petition will contain a list of your assets, debts, income and expenses. The trustee, who is an attorney appointed by the Bankruptcy Court, will oversee your matter. He or she is looking for assets that can be sold with the proceeds going to pay back your creditors. Under the Bankruptcy Law, certain property is exempt meaning the trustee cannot take it from you. Often when someone files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, they are able to keep their property because of these exemptions. Please note that this is not always the case which is why I diligently work on your matter to make sure you file the correct bankruptcy chapter and that you are able to retain as many of your assets as legally possible. I have seen many cases where a person filed the wrong chapter and either lost their house or had to come up with a very large payment in order to keep his/her assets.
After the petition is filed, the “Automatic Stay” will go into effect. This means that anyone who is suing you, thinking of suing you, calling you, foreclosing on your home, garnishing your wages etc must stop immediately.
About a month after your filing, you will attend a 341 Trustee Meeting with a Trustee who will review your petition. As long as he/she does not have further questions, you will not have to attend another meeting. From there, creditors have a certain amount of time to object to the bankruptcy. If no objections are made, the Bankruptcy court will issue you a letter stating that your debts have been discharged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer bankruptcy allows people to either eliminate or ‘wipe out’ most of their debt; or, in some circumstances, to repay their creditors under a court supervised repayment plan. The eventual goal of any type of bankruptcy filing is almost always to obtain a “discharge” from the court, which means that all the consumers’ debts (with some exceptions) which existed before the filing of the bankruptcy petition with the court are eliminated.
Consumers typically file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where repayment is made to creditors, or a Chapter 7, where most debts are eliminated. For the majority of consumers, a Chapter 7 would be filed; usually a Chapter 13 is filed by those who face losing their home in a foreclosure.
Some people do have a very simple case that they could possibly do on their own, but it’s a good idea to have an attorney guide you through the process and make sure you do things correctly. A lawyer can guide you through the intricacies of the process and help you avoid the pitfalls. Although you may think your case is easy, if you file incorrectly, it can significantly delay your discharge and in some cases, your case could be dismissed. Moreover, if you file for the wrong bankruptcy chapter, you could put yourself in jeopardy of losing assets, including your home. My fees are very reasonable and it is worth paying a lawyer to make sure your case is successful.
Secured debt is a creditor’s claim that’s secured by a lien of some type in your property, either by your agreement or involuntarily such as with a court judgment or taxes. For example, a mortgage is a secured claim or a finance agreement for an automobile. If you do not continue making payments, the creditor could take back the property. A creditor can generally claim the property that secures the debt in the event of bankruptcy. Unsecured debt is not tied to any specific kind of property.
Usually, yes. Generally, you can convert a case once to any other chapter for which you are eligible. There are issues to watch for when going from one Chapter to another which I can guide you through.
With few exceptions, any person or business owing money to a creditor can file a bankruptcy petition.
No, the bankruptcy law is in place because our system of law recognizes that your life and future should not be ruined because of some financial mistakes you’ve made or events that might possibly have happened outside of your control. You should never feel ashamed or feel like a failure if you decide to file for bankruptcy. The truth is, millions of people have filed, especially during this weak economic period. Even major billion dollar corporations file for bankruptcy. Hold your head up high and remember that bankruptcy can give you a fresh start.
Yes. You might even start receiving offers in the mail right after you file your case. However, these credit cards usually carry with them high interest rates and fees. They put money in your bank’s pocket, not in yours. If you want the convenience of a credit card, have one with a small limit, or better yet, a debit card that doesn’t allow you spend more than you have on deposit.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed every 8 years from a previous chapter 7 filing or 6 years from a prior chapter 13 filing. Chapter 13 can be filed 4 years from a prior Chapter 7 filing or 2 years from a prior Chapter 13 filing. Filing bankruptcy can adversely affect your ability to obtain future credit, rent housing and even negatively impact a job application, so it’s important to take these things in to consideration as you make your decision whether to file.
You will need information on your assets (property), income and expenses, the bills you have outstanding, your recent pay stubs and tax returns, and money to pay your legal fees and your court filing fee. This is the minimum; there are other things you will need depending on where you live and what type of bankruptcy you will be filing. Again, I will guide you step-by-step throughout the whole process.
Strictly speaking, no, but of course if you only have only a very small amount of debt, filing a bankruptcy case may not make much sense. Some people probably should not file because they have very little debt, others should not file because they have nothing the creditors can take, etc.
A joint petition is the filing of a single bankruptcy petition by an individual and the individual’s spouse. Only people who are married on the date they file may file a joint petition. Unmarried partners must each file a separate case.
If one spouse files and the other one doesn’t, the one who does not file could possibly be responsible for the debts if they are a co-debtor. But of course the benefit is that one of the spouses will not have the negative credit mark of a bankruptcy on their credit report.
Yes. The lender can require the co-signor to make payments on a loan once the principal has declared bankruptcy on the credit. This fact makes it extremely important that those considering co-signing for a loan for another be ready, and able, to pay the loan in the event that the principal signor defaults.
No. The debts that cannot be discharged vary slightly between the different chapters of bankruptcy. Generally, student loans, recent income taxes, child support and other marital obligations, and items having to do with fraud are not dischargeable. There are rules and twists to this, which is why you should be represented by a bankruptcy attorney if you choose to file.
Exemptions allow an individual to “exempt”, or keep, certain kinds of property. Most people that wish to file bankruptcy are unlikely to have a great deal of money or property stashed away, otherwise, they probably would have paid their bills. It is likely that unless you own a valuable car that’s paid off, a house with a lot of equity, a valuable inheritance or lawsuit, or some other kind of unusually valuable property, you will be able to keep everything you own as “exempt”.
You must include all the debts you owe in your petition and schedules. There is no such thing as ‘leaving a creditor off’. If you want to keep a credit card after you file, which might be possible (it’s up to the creditor) but you still must list that creditor on your bankruptcy schedules.
It is unlikely that that would happen. Social Security and most pensions are protected “exempt” from the bankruptcy trustee as are 401k’s and IRA’s.
It depends on different factors: where you live, how much equity you have in the property, how far you are behind in the mortgage payments, etc. If you have a home or own any kind of real estate, it’s more important than ever that you hire a bankruptcy attorney. Filing the wrong bankruptcy could jeopardize your home.
Bankruptcies remain on credit reports anywhere from 7 up to 10 years but you can improve your credit along the way.
No. Although at your option, you can file an explanation with the credit reporting agencies briefly describing the events resulting in your bankruptcy. If an account is reported inaccurately, you can request the record be updated to reflect the actual situation.
The decision whether to grant you credit in the future is strictly up to the creditor and varies from creditor to creditor. There is no law that prevents anyone from extending credit to you immediately after the filing of a bankruptcy, but creditors aren’t required to extend you credit.
In my experience, most people can negotiate with a creditor just as well as a credit repair company can.
No, they are not supposed to. In theory, any collection attempt from a creditor after you file your case– calls, letters, etc. – are illegal. Therefore, if this does happen, you and or your attorney should notify the creditor that you have filed bankruptcy. If they keep trying to collect, you have the option of suing them in court for violating a court order.
The bankruptcy court notifies, by mail, all creditors advising them of:
The filing of the bankruptcy
The case number
The automatic stay
The name of the trustee assigned to the case (if filed under chapters 7 or 13)
The date set for the meeting of creditors
The deadline, if any, set for filing objections to the discharge of the debtor and/or the discharge of specific debts Whether and where to file claims
The exact information in the notice may be slightly different depending on the chapter under which the case is filed.
The trustee’s job is to:
Administer the bankruptcy
Make sure creditors get as much money as possible
Run the first meeting of creditors (also called the “section 341 meeting”).
Collect and sell non-exempt property (in a chapter 7 case) or collect and pay out money on a repayment plan (in a chapter 13 case) Obtain information from you and documents related to your bankruptcy
Trustees are appointed by the United States Trustee, but aren’t necessarily lawyers. The courts don’t pay the trustee. Their fees come from the bankruptcy filing fee or are a set percentage of the money distributed in the bankruptcy.
Yes. Each type of bankruptcy allows creditors to object to specific debts included in the plan or the manner in which the plan addresses the repayment or discharge, though it is not likely that a creditor in a Chapter 7 case will actually object.
In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, creditors generally have 60 days after the first creditors meeting to object to the discharge of a specific debt. If no objections are filed, the court will issue the discharge order and the trustee will proceed to collect and sell the assets, then distribute the proceeds to the creditors under a predetermined system. If there are objections, the bankruptcy itself, less the objected debts, continues through to discharge. It may be necessary to have a trial before a judge to resolve the items that creditors objected to.
In a Chapter 13 case, creditors are given an opportunity to object to the plan for repayment. If there are no objections filed by creditors or the trustee, the plan may be confirmed as filed. After the plan is confirmed, the trustee will distribute the payments from the debtor to creditors until the plan is completed. Upon completion of the Chapter 13 plan, the court will issue a discharge order, the trustee will prepare a final report, and the case will be closed.
The debtor must attend the creditors’ meeting scheduled for their bankruptcy petition. The trustee conducts the meeting. The debtor must answer questions concerning:
How the situation evolved
Any actions taken with the property
Debts listed in the petition or any other financial information requested by the trustee
Failure to respond or not respond truthfully can result in the petition being dismissed or, in extreme cases, a charge of perjury. Creditors have been notified that they may attend and question the debtor about the assets of the debtor or any other matter relevant to the bankruptcy. A creditor doesn’t waive any rights by not attending the creditors meeting.
After filing the petition, if you discover that an entry is inaccurate or missing, the documents typically may be corrected by filing of an amendment. Remember, you’re submitting the petition under the penalty of perjury, so be as thorough as possible with the initial filing.
As soon as you anticipate filing bankruptcy, you must stop using your credit cards. Bankruptcy law allows the review of questionable purchases for potential fraud. If a purchase is made 40 days prior to filing or cash advances taken within 20 days of filing, the debt may possibly be excluded from the bankruptcy.
A reaffirmation agreement legally obligates the debtor to pay all or a portion of an otherwise dischargeable debt. These are voluntary agreements not required by bankruptcy codes. You may voluntarily repay any debt instead of signing a reaffirmation agreement, but there may be valid legal reasons for wanting to reaffirm a specific debt, such as a vehicle loan.
Yes. Typically, a bankruptcy case is reopened by the trustee when questions arise concerning what was included or possibly omitted or any other irregularities that surface.