Can I transfer my assets to a friend or relative before I file for Bankruptcy?

NO. This is something we call a “fraudulent conveyance”, do not do this, you can get yourself in big trouble. Often right exemption planning ( where you legally arrange your assets to take full advantage of your allowable exemptions) can legally achieve the same results that you are trying to through a fraudulent conveyance. So don’t make a mistake that will cost you a lot more later on. For more information on Utah bankrupcy visit www.dlblaw.com

CAN MY UTILITY COMPANY CUT OFF SERVICES IF I FILE BANKRUPTCY?

Public utilities, such as the electric company, cannot refuse or cut off service because you have filed for bankruptcy in Utah. However, the utility can require a deposit for future service and you do have to pay bills which arise after your bankruptcy is filed. More information regarding Utah bankruptcy can be found at www.dlblaw.com

What types of Utah bankruptcy cases are there?

Chapter 7 (Liquidation)
Chapter 7 is designed to repay debts owed to creditors by selling most of the debtor’s property. When a Chapter 7 case is filed, a trustee is appointed to take over the debtor’s property for the benefit of the debtor’s creditors. The debtor, however, is allowed to keep a limited amount of “exempt” property specified by law. The trustee then sells all non-exempt property of the debtor and distributes it to creditors in accordance with procedures set forth in the bankruptcy laws. Visit www.utahchapter7.com for more information.
Chapter 13 (Debt Adjustment of an Individual)
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor may keep his or her property, but must repay creditors in installments taken from the debtor’s future earnings. A debtor is required to submit a plan for approval by the court specifying how and when the debts will be repaid to creditors. A trustee is appointed in a Chapter 13 case, and a portion of the debtor’s future income in most cases is paid to the trustee, who then pays creditors. Visit www.utahchapter13.com for more information.
Chapter 11 (Reorganization)
Chapter 11 is designed mainly to give an ongoing business an opportunity to resolve financial problems through reorganization. A trustee is not normally appointed. The debtor is allowed to continue to operate the business under court supervision. Visit www.dlblaw.com for more information.
Chapter 12 (Debt Adjustment of a Family Farmer)
Chapter 12 is similar in many respects to Chapter 13, except that it is available only to family farmers.
Chapter 9 (Debt Adjustment of a Municipality)
Chapter 9 is available only to a political subdivision (i.e., a city, town, or county), public agency, or other instrumentality of a state.

IN BANKRUPTCY WHAT ARE CLAIMS?

In a broad sense, a claim is any right to payment held by a person or company against the debtor(s) and the debtor’s bankruptcy estate. A claim does not have to be a past due amount but can include an anticipated sum of money which will come due in the future.
The written statement filed in a bankruptcy case setting forth a creditor’s claim is called a Proof of Claim. Under the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, with a few limited exceptions, claims filed by creditors, except governmental units, in chapter 7, 12 and 13 cases, must be filed within ninety (90) days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. More information on Utah bankruptcy can be found at www.dlblaw.com

How long does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan last?

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan must last for at least three years, unless all debts can be paid off in full in less time. A Chapter 13 plan cannot last for more than five years. More information on Utah Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can be found at www.utahchapter13.com .

HOW LONG AFTER FILING BANKRUPTCY WILL THE CREDITORS STOP CALLING?

Once a creditor or bill collector becomes aware of a filing for bankruptcy protection, it should immediately stop collection efforts. After you file the bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy court mails a notice to all the creditors listed in your bankruptcy schedules. This usually takes a couple of weeks.
Creditors will also stop calling if you inform them that you filed the bankruptcy petition and supply them with your case number. In some cases, you or your attorney should contact the creditor immediately upon filing the bankruptcy petition, especially if a law suit is pending. If a creditor continues to use collection tactics once informed of the bankruptcy they may be liable for court sanctions and attorney fees for this conduct.
For more information on Utah Bankruptcy visit us at the Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC.

HOW DO I FIND A UTAH BANKRUPTCY LAWYER?

As with any area of the law, it is important to carefully select an attorney who will respond to your situation. The attorney should not be too busy to meet you individually and to answer questions as necessary. The best way to find a trustworthy Utah bankruptcy attorney is to seek recommendations from family, friends or other members of the community, especially any attorney you know and respect. You should carefully read retainers and other documents the attorney asks you to sign. You should not hire an attorney unless he or she agrees to represent you throughout the case. Remember when you meet with an attorney you are hiring someone to work for you. Ask them questions just like you were conducting a job interview, consider asking:

• Where they went to school?
• How long they have been an attorney?
• How long they have practiced in the field of bankruptcy?
• How many bankruptcy cases do they file a year?
• Ask if you have a problem, can you call them directly to discuss the problem?

In bankruptcy, as in all areas of life, remember that the person advertising the cheapest rate is not necessarily the best. Document preparation services a/k/a ‘‘typing services’’ or ‘‘paralegal services’’ involve non-lawyers who offer to prepare bankruptcy forms for a fee. Problems with these services often arise because non-lawyers cannot offer advice on difficult bankruptcy cases and they offer no services once a bankruptcy case has begun. There are also many shady operators in this field, who give bad advice and defraud consumers.

When first meeting a bankruptcy attorney, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

• What types of debt are causing you the most trouble?
• What are your significant assets?
• How did your debts arise and are they secured?
• Is any action about to occur to foreclose or repossess property or to shut off utility service?
• What are your goals in filing the case?

To schedule an appointment with a experienced Utah attorney for a free consumer bankruptcy consultation visit www.dlblaw.com

HOW CAN I CHECK THE STATUS OF A UTAH BANKRUPTCY CASE?

Your lawyer, who likely is familiar with local court practice, is your best resource. Generally, all documents filed with a court are public records and are available through the clerk’s office. By way of exception, some documents are sealed by special court order, and some documents are confidential by operation of law, such as grand jury materials and criminal files relating to juveniles.

As the keeper of court records, the clerk’s office responds to most inquiries on the status of a case once given the specific case name or docket number. In many courts, inquiries for information and requests to examine dockets, case files, exhibits, and other records are made at the intake area in the clerk’s office. Inquiries often are made by phone. There is a $26 fee for every search of the records conducted by the clerk’s office. A fee of $ .50 per page is assessed for reproducing any record or paper record or $ .10 per page, for printing copies of any records or document accessed electronically at the public access terminal in the courthouse.

Almost all federal courts have automated systems that allow for the search and retrieval of case-related information through personal computers at the public counters and through an internet service called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Electronic access to case-related information is available free of charge at the public counter in the clerk’s office of most courts. The PACER service, which provides remote access to case-related information for registered users, currently assesses a fee of $.10 per page.

In many bankruptcy and appellate courts there also are telephone information systems, which enable callers to obtain basic case information through the use of a touch tone phone. These systems are provided free of charge, are available 24 hours a day, and have a toll free number for long distance service.

For more information on PACER.  For information on filing a bankruptcy in Utah visit the Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC.

DO I NEED TO TAKE A CLASS TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY IN UTAH?

Yes.  Actually there are two required classes you must complete in a Utah bankruptcy. The first class, credit counseling, informs you of all your options and advises you if bankruptcy is a good option. This class can be taken over the internet. This must be completed at least a day before your case can be filed with the bankruptcy court.

After your case is filed, you have to complete a Financial Management class. This class will help you learn to budget your money, avoid the pitfalls that may have lead to your bankruptcy filing, and help you to re-establish credit in the future. This course is also offered over the internet and must be completed before your case is over, otherwise you will be denied your discharge of debt in your bankruptcy. The Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC can help you find the class that is right for you. Visit us on the web at www.dlblaw.com .

Can Only One Spouse File for Bankruptcy in Utah?

When one spouse has incurred debt in his or her name only, he or she can file for bankruptcy without requiring their spouse to do so as well. However, in filing for bankruptcy, salary and other asset information of the non-filing spouse is required to be disclosed, in order to determine if the filing spouse qualifies for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Additionally, while a non-filing spouse is not liable for a filing spouse’s debt, if joint property is owned between them, the property may be not be immune to actions on the part of creditors.

When only one spouse should to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy While only one spouse may be filing for bankruptcy, the court will consider household income in order to determine if the filing spouse is eligible to file for Chapter 7. In cases where a filing spouse has little disposable income but a non-filing spouse earns substantially more, the income of both will be reported on bankruptcy forms. If the household income is more than the qualifying median income required for filing Chapter 7, the filing spouse may have to file under Chapter 13. In either case, the court will consider what your current monthly income is by deducting expenses your spouse pays that are not related to monthly household costs. After determining your current monthly income, the court will then determine you disposable income. More information available at www.utahchapter7.com

When one spouse should file under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy If the household income of a filing spouse disqualifies him or her for Chapter 7, he or she may still be able to file under Chapter 13. Under Chapter 13, a trustee is appointed by the court in order to administer the repayment of debt according to a plan agreed to by the filing spouse’s creditors. While the non-filing spouse will not be involved in the Chapter 13 repayment plan, his or her income will be considered when determining the repayment schedule. More information available at www.utahchapter13.com