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Means Testing Does Not Apply In Business Cases

  It is the common misconception that the Bankruptcy Code’s means testing requirements limit the pool of people that qualify for Chapter 7 relief to low income earners. This is not true in all cases. There is a major exception for cases in which the majority of debts were incurred for a business rather than a consumer purpose. The means testing requirements simply do not apply to cases in which the majority of debt was incurred for a … [Read more...]

Houston Bankruptcy Court Revokes Discharge for Failure to List Assets

  Some  of the clients do not take the bankruptcy disclosure process seriously. Some view it as unimportant lawyer paperwork. This attitude is a serious mistake. Any competent bankruptcy attorney will tell all of his clients that they must disclose and itemize all assets, creditors, income, expenses and other required information. The bankruptcy schedules be meticulously accurate and complete. All assets must be disclosed, even if the debtor … [Read more...]

Joint Bankruptcy Cases Now Legal for Married Same Sex Couples

TODAY in Obergefell v. Hodges, 14-556 (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, ruled that marriage is fundamental right for same sex couples. Under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, same-sex couples may not be deprived of the right to marry. Any state laws that deny the right of same sex couples to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples are invalid. This decision will … [Read more...]

Supreme Court Bans Lien Stripping of Underwater Junior Liens In Ch. 7 Cases

The Supreme Court has decided that “[a] debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding may not void a junior mortgage lien under §506(d) when the debt owed on a senior mortgage lien exceeds the current value of the collateral if the credi­tor’s claim is both secured by a lien and allowed under §502 of the Bankruptcy Code.” Bank of America, N. A. v. Caulkett, 13–1421 (6/1/2015). Ponder whether the Caulkett ruling will be extended to Chapter 13, … [Read more...]

Abby’s Client Testimonial

My most prized client testimonial.  It came today, unsolicited, from Abby, a client's granddaughter.  Click the title to see the image.         … [Read more...]

How to Circumvent McCoy – The Back Door Approach

By: William D. Weber (post script to "Fifth Circuit Judicially Eliminates 2 Year Filing Rule" - dated June 26, 2012)IntroductionThe McCoy decision is still binding precedent in every federal court located in the Fifth Circuit (all court’s in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi). Under McCoy, federal income taxes can never be discharged in bankruptcy if the taxpayer files his return late. However, the IRS does not follow the McCoy decision, … [Read more...]

Houston Bankruptcy Attorney Indicted for Bankruptcy Fraud

On February 14, 2014, Houston Attorney Calvin Braun was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of bankruptcy fraud and 3 counts of fling false bankruptcy declarations. If convicted on any one of these charges, the penalty is a maximum prison sentence of 5 years, a fine of $250,000, or both.Braun was arrested four days later on February 18, 2014. He plead not guilty on all counts. He was released after posting a $25,000 bond which … [Read more...]

Bankruptcy Disclosure Audits Resume on March 10, 2014

William D. Weber / March 1, 2014 As part of the bankruptcy process, debtors are required to disclose all of their assets, creditors, income, expenses and financial history.  The filing of accurate financial disclosures has always been very important.  These disclosures are made under penalty of perjury.  The filing of inaccurate disclosures can result in criminal prosecution for bankruptcy fraud and filing false statements under oath.  A … [Read more...]

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Houston Compared to Chapter 13 – What’s the Difference?

In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President G.W. Bush. This was the "bankruptcy overhaul" bill that was long sought after by lobbyists in the credit card and lending industries, essentially making it more challenging for individuals to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge their debt. One of the main goals of this bill was to prevent abuse of the bankruptcy system and to steer more … [Read more...]

McCoy – Fifth Circuit Judicially Eliminates the 2 Year Filing Rule

Prior to January 2012, the rules relating to the discharge of tax debts in bankruptcy cases were relatively straight forward. Bankruptcy Code §§ 507(a)(8) and 523(a)(1) provide that income tax debts can be discharged in bankruptcy if the tax in question meets the following requirements: Three Year Age Rule. More than 3 years must elapse between the bankruptcy filing date and the date the income tax return was last due, including all … [Read more...]

Local Bankruptcy Filings Up 9.7% But Texas State and Local Bankruptcy Filings Still Rank the Lowest in the Country

A common client question is: Are bankruptcy filings increas­ing as a result of the downturn in the economy? The normal assumption is that bankruptcy filings must be increasing because of all of the national media reports about unemploy­ment, the inability for businesses to obtain loans, and the general downturn in the economy.The clear answer for Houston bankruptcy filings is "yes" - bankruptcy filings in the Greater Houston area have spiked … [Read more...]

Activity Depicted in Operation Repo is Illegal in at Least 49 States; Regaining Possession In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The asdasdMisconception About Repossession. Several popular realty television shows depict creditor attempts to repossess collateral after a consumer defaults in repaying the loan. One example is Tru TV’s "Operation Repo" which stars thug like characters repossessing vehicles through coercion, violence and physical confrontation. These shows leave the public and consumers with the impression that a creditor may legally engage in virtually any … [Read more...]