When Should I File Bankruptcy?

I often have people ask me when they should file bankruptcy.  Usually the answer is that it depends on your circumstances, and why you need to file bankruptcy.  If you have fallen behind on your home, and you want to keep it, timing is critical in filing your bankruptcy.  You need to file a Chapter 13 before your home is sold at the foreclosure sale.  Foreclosure sales in Texas occur on the first Tuesday of the month.  To be safe, you would want to file your bankruptcy at the very latest by that Monday.  If you need to file a Chapter 13 to protect your home, please call a qualified attorney.

Most of the time there is no pressing need to file a Chapter 7 quickly.  Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not going to protect your home from being foreclosed for very long (though it can delay it), and it is not going to protect your vehicles from being repossessed in the long term.  While there might not be a time crunch to worry about in filing a Chapter 7, many people lose a lot of money trying to avoid filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Oftentimes people will deplete 401K or IRA accounts in an effort to pay credit cards or medical bills.  Bankruptcy is intended to give you a fresh start, and part of that fresh start is allowing you to preserve your retirement accounts and other assets so that you can live a meaningful life when you retire.  If you are at the point where you are considering borrowing money from your retirement accounts to pay your bills that are piling up, call an experienced Arlington TX bankruptcy lawyer.

Another aspect to the timing of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is called the “windfall rule”.  The windfall rule states that if within six months from the date of filing, you come into a large sum of money like an inheritance, or a settlement of a lawsuit, you are not supposed to spend that money.  You are to let your attorney know, and the attorney will speak with the trustee to determine what to do.  If the funds cannot be exempted under state or federal law, the trustee is going to take some or all of those funds to pay your creditors.  A very simple example of this is receiving your tax refund at the beginning of the year.  Typically, I advise my clients to wait until they receive their tax refund before filing bankruptcy, because if they become entitled to the tax refund after they file bankruptcy, the trustee can take the refund if it cannot be exempted.

If you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an attorney can explain the process to you in a way that you will understand, and will make sure that the process is as stress free and painless as possible.

logo-1 Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into bankruptcy

Am I Eligible For Medicaid?

The best way to determine if you are eligible for Medicaid is to set an appointment with an Arlington TX Medicaid attorney to access your income and Estate. There are many steps that occur with becoming Medicaid eligible and to ensure your eligibility it is always beneficial to have an attorney assist you with the process. Elder Medicaid is commonly confused with Medicare and the vast difference is that Medicaid pays for long-term care whereas Medicare only pays up to 20 days in a nursing home and partially up to 100 days of care. The hard truth is that only 5% of Americans have long-term care insurance. When you are suddenly presented with the reality of needing a round the clock skilled nursing facility, you will come to find that your options can be very limited.

In addition to the aged, blind or disabled, adults with dependent children depending upon qualified income are eligible for Medicaid. There are several steps to qualifying and income is the biggest portion of this hurdle. For persons that are single, the monthly income is not to exceed over $2,199.99 monthly and not to exceed $3,000.00 for a couple. As for assets, the general rule is that a couple’s assets are to split in half and the person going into the nursing home has to spend down their half before a Medicaid application can be approved. Some asset resources such as your home, a vehicle, and burial policies do not count against you. Whereas mineral interest in property, retirement funds, and your savings accounts can in fact hinder you from qualifying.

If you seek the advice of Medicaid attorney, they may be able to ultimately get you qualified with preserving the majority of your assets. You are able to place your savings and assets into a Miller Trust, Irrevocable Trust or even Qualified Income Trust when consulting with an attorney and not have to worry about spending down your assets. There are even regulations whereas if you are a spouse wishing to remain at home, you may be eligible for not having to spend down any monthly assets so that you may afford to pay your bills while caring for your spouse at a nursing home facility. Therefore, if you are the age 60 or older, disabled, or disabled and on a Medicare plan, please contact a local medicaid attorney today to help you determine if you are eligible for Medicaid.

logo-1 Thanks to our friend and blog author, Brandy Austin of Brandy Austin Law, PLLC, for her added insight into Medicaid eligibility.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Social Security Disability Benefits

As New York workers’ compensation attorneys handling workers’ compensation or on the job injury claims, we are very often asked about eligibility for Social Security Disability.  There is often confusion between the different types of disability and who is entitled to what benefits.  This article should help clear up the confusion

Workers’ compensation is paid when there is an on the job injury that prevents you from working.  It serves as a wage replacement system.   In contrast, if an off the job injury prevents you from working you may be entitled to temporary disability.  These are exclusive, opposite remedies and you are only entitled to one of them.

If you suffer from an injury or illness that is expected to keep you out of work for a year or more you may qualify for Social Security disability, regardless of whether the injury or illness was the result of your work.  While New York State workers’ compensation only covers you for a disability that is directly attributable an on-the-job injury, Social Security looks at your overall condition to determine if you are entitled to benefits.  You can receive both workers’ compensation and Social Security at the same time, with Social Security being offset for workers’ compensation.

So if, for example, you have a work injury to your back and you also suffer from high blood pressure, you can receive your workers’ compensation benefits for your back injury and Social Security for both the back and high blood pressure.  Even if the injuries from your work injury would not rise to the level of severity needed to win a claim in workers’ compensation,  you may  have other injuries or medical conditions, not related to the underlying accident, the totality of which could result in being approved for Social Security.

If you have been out of work due to an on the job injury for more than 6 months you should apply for Social Security Disability.  The benefits you receive from workers’ compensation can be supplemented by your Social Security.  While you can get Social Security and workers’ compensation at the same time, in most circumstances, the maximum combined amount is about 80% of what your earnings were before you were injured.   It is very important to keep Social Security advised of the money you are receiving from your workers’ compensation case.  If your workers’ compensation benefits are lowered, your Social Security may go up as the reduction may bring you below the level of the original offset.

Obtaining workers’ compensation and Social Security can be very challenging and it can be very important that you speak to attorneys who specialize in these areas to get the legal advice you need to protect your rights and your benefits.

pasted-image-0 Thanks to our friends and blog authors at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits.

California Now Allows Transfer-on-Death Deeds

Beginning January 1, 2016, California joined many other states across the country in allowing transfer-on-death deeds. In years past, people who wanted to pass real property to another person without the necessity of probate typically used joint tenancy deeds. For example, a parent might add an adult child’s name as a joint tenant to a real estate deed to make sure the child inherited the property once the parent passed away. Continue reading “California Now Allows Transfer-on-Death Deeds”

Is Your Business Internet-Savvy?

If you are running a business today, you need a business lawyer who also understands what it means to do business online. In today’s marketplace, the average American spends an incredible 11 hours each day using some form of digital media. There is no question the internet plays a vital role in the success (or failure) of a business.

In years past, doing business online meant registering a domain and putting up a website. Now, it’s not enough to simply maintain an online presence. Today, business owners must work closely with seasoned business lawyers who understand the laws and regulations that govern both cyberspace and the brick and mortar companies that do business there.

Why Understanding the Internet Is Important

Most modern businesses exist in the real world and online. With an online business comes a host of issues you may not have seen coming. For example, does your website use stock images without the proper licensing rights? Are you collecting visitor data without disclosing it in a privacy policy on your site? Even one innocent mass email can violate the CAN-SPAM Act. This is where the help and advice of a knowledgeable business lawyer is invaluable.

Although the laws governing the internet are constantly changing, there are several statutes that frequently coming into play. For example, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act aims to stop website owners from infringing on a copyright owner’s property. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy helps individuals and entities involved in disputes over domain names.

Don’t Wait to Speak to a Business Lawyer

Running a business takes a lot of time and money. Many business owners delay contacting a lawyer until they absolutely need one, such as when they receive notice of a lawsuit in the mail or from the hands of a process server. This approach may save you money in the short-term, but it is likely to cost you down the road. By working with an attorney now, you can safeguard your business against potentially costly disputes involving intellectual property, domains, and rules governing commerce conducted online.

California Business Lawyers

Whether your business is new or well-established, it’s never too late to protect what you have worked to build. Safeguard your time and your investment by working with experienced California business lawyers. Call Yee Law Group, PC, PC today at (916) 599-7297 to speak to a knowledgeable business lawyer about the next steps for your business.

Data Security Breaches Are Costing Businesses

In recent years, cyber-theft and data loss have dominated business news headlines. Giant retailers like Target have paid out millions in settlement dollars after network security breaches resulted in the loss of credit card and other sensitive information for customers across the country. In Target’s case, experts estimate about 40 million consumers had their credit cards hacked by cyber-criminals. Verizon has become one of the latest causalities in the cyber-crime arena. A flaw in the company’s systems allowed a hacker to steal the contact information of as many as 1.5 million customers. Continue reading “Data Security Breaches Are Costing Businesses”

Should I Use a Partnership for My New Business?

When it comes to starting a business, choosing an entity type is one of the first (and most important) decisions you must make. Will your business be a sole proprietorship, or a limited liability company? What about a corporation? These are all popular choices for new businesses. Another popular choice is a partnership. Many of the largest companies in the world – including Google and Microsoft – began as partnerships. Continue reading “Should I Use a Partnership for My New Business?”