Category: Bankruptcy Information

Information about bankruptcy, the process, and some of the basics one should to be aware of

The 1215-day rule is unsettled about residency vs ownership in California

1215-day rule: Is Residency Needed, or Merely Ownership in Calif

1215-day rule: Is Residency Needed, or Merely Ownership in California?

A look at how closing the Mansion Loophole could lose your home in bankruptcy

Does the 1215-day rule for the homestead require occupancy as a domicile, or merely ownership? This is a new issue here for bankruptcy attorneys in California. It matters to you, too, if you own a home in California and are thinking of filing bankruptcy. This is because the homestead exemption amount until 1/2021 was always below the 522 number.  Let’s break this apart in plain English a little bit so we can understand what’s at stake.

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California Homestead and Reside Away from Home and State presents challenges

California Homestead: Intent to Reside and the Out-of-State Home

California Homestead: Intent to Reside and the Out-of-State Home

A bankruptcy attorney colleague recently asked, does the California homestead exemption protect you if you don’t reside in the house?  Are you required to live in the home? For how long? Who qualifies? Does the homestead exemption protect the home if the house isn’t in California? The answer, like most things in law, is: “it depends.”

Dual residency in two states and and claim homestead in both?

No, there is no dual residency in multiple states for the purposes of homestead. As you’ll read below, a homestead is the place in which you primarily live. You can’t primarily live in two places. So, the determination is where you primarily reside, which state law applies, and is the house protected by the California homestead exemption.

Let’s look at these “away from home” situations one at a time.

The California homestead and intent to reside

california homestead away from home
California homestead is challenged if away from home, and the intent to actually live there is unclear

First, can someone claim the California homestead exemption if they live in the house on the date the petition is filed, but move out after? What if they move out after the Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, but it’s just a temporary relocation?  Or what if the debtor who filed bankruptcy really has no intention to return?

The result is very fact-specific, and has had bankruptcy courts and appellate courts carefully examining the particulars for the debtor before filed, on the date the case was filed, and then after the case was filed. Let’s review a few significant cases in the Ninth Circuit to see how the courts have ruled.

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sell home chapter 13

Sell a Home in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Motion to Sell or Refi

Sell a Home in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Motion to Sell or Refi

My clients ask me, “can I sell a home in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?”  As a bankruptcy attorney experienced in Chapter 13, selling a house is an issue that comes up often, particularly in a robust housing market. This is written without giving advice to the specifics of your case, but merely addressing whether it’s possible to sell or refinance a house during Chapter 13.

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Guide to pick the Best Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney

Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney

Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney

When you find yourself with debt and trapped, you might find yourself wondering “who is the best bankruptcy attorney near me.” There probably is no one “best bankruptcy attorney” but there are some criteria you can evaluate. Then, maybe you can find who might be the best bankruptcy lawyer for you.

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ride-through california bankruptcy

Ride-Through Back in Calif Bankruptcy

Ride-Through Back in California Bankruptcy

Ride-through is back in California bankruptcy. This is big news for 2022 and beyond. It restores the right of someone in bankruptcy to be free of personal liability on a car loan in the event of a future default. To be clear, you don’t get a free car in bankruptcy. But if you don’t reaffirm the car debt, and stop paying the car after the bankruptcy discharge resulting in a repo, you won’t owe the deficiency balance.

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Automatic stay and bankruptcy protection

All About the Automatic Stay, the Ultimate Bankruptcy Protection

All About the Automatic Stay, the Ultimate Bankruptcy Protection

What is the Automatic Stay definition or meaning?

Automatic stay is the bankruptcy protection when a new petition is filed with the court. It protects against starting or continuing any debt collection. It’s a powerful provision, and stops all collection activity, maintaining the status quo on the day the bankruptcy papers are filed. Failure to respect the bankruptcy protection can lead to sanctions against the collecting creditor.

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Remote 341(a) meeting of creditors

Remote 341(a) Meeting & Zoom: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Remote 341(a) Meeting of Creditors by Zoom: What to Expect in 2023

Zoom 341a Meetings, explained by Los Angeles Bankruptcy lawyer

Remote 341(a) Meetings of Creditors by Zoom in bankruptcy are becoming the standard, instead of in-person. Here’s what to expect. They can be terrifying, nerve-wracking, and unpredictable. But there are ways you can prepare for a Zoom 341a Meeting to help it go more smoothly.

As someone who has attended thousands of 341s in person (after coaching my clients with my list of 12 prefiling do’s and don’ts), I answer your 341(a) questions and share with you what to expect at your 341(a) meeting in a post-pandemic world where Zoom 341(a) meetings are more common, and soon becoming the standard.

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tax refund check in hand - chapter 13

Tax Refunds & Returns in Chapter 13

Tax Refunds & Returns in Chapter 13

Can I keep my tax refund in Chapter 13? It depends.

You ask, “can I keep my tax refund in Chapter 13?” Maybe. Chapter 13 tax refunds can be the one thing that sinks a successful bankruptcy case if you keep them. Things are sailing along, and suddenly, things go sideways. Fortunately, there are solutions and ways to fix it and save your case, and ultimately, the discharge you’re working towards.

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fraudulent transfer California

Fraudulent Transfer California: Top Keys

Fraudulent Transfer in California: Top Keys

Fraudulent transfers. Voidable or fraudulent conveyances. They go with these 17 words: “Have you sold, transferred, or given away anything worth more than $3,000 in the last four years?” It’s a 341(a) question bankruptcy attorneys can recite in their sleep, and one that can cause our debtor clients to have nightmares. The reason is the trap known as fraudulent transfers, voidable transfers, fraudulent conveyances, and the like.

Fraudulent transfer in California comes up typically here in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Also known as a fraudulent conveyance, it can get your friends and family in hot water. It’s one of the top tips recommended to do or avoid before filing bankruptcy. Fraudulent transfer grief can even include the recipient being taken to court in a lawsuit, and forced to give up something they own. It’s terrifying and a nightmare. Worst of all, it can all happen with the purest of intentions.

That’s right: fraudulent conveyance doesn’t even require fraud.  More on that in a bit.

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bankruptcy dos and don'ts

12 Crucial Tips Before Filing Bankruptcy

12 Crucial Tips to Do (and Avoid) Before Filing Bankruptcy

Los Angeles Bankruptcy lawyer explains what to do and don’t before seeking a fresh start

If you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy, what you do you beforehand has more of a bearing on the success of your case than how well the papers are completed. As a longtime Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney, I must make the best of the circumstances that are presented to me. Sometimes these situations are, shall we say, less than ideal.

What follows, in no particular order, are just some of the things I wish the people I meet with had done, or avoided doing, before we met for the consultation.

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