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Protecting A Motorized Home In An Arizona Bankruptcy Filing

Protecting A Motorized Home In An Arizona Bankruptcy Filing

For many people, living in a motorized home is a more ideal lifestyle than living in a house or an apartment. They provide a unique combination of affordability, flexibility, and community. They are just as important to protect in a bankruptcy filing as any other type of home. In bankruptcy, only assets that fall within a state’s bankruptcy exemptions are protected. Unprotected assets may be taken away by the bankruptcy trustee and sold, with the proceeds being used to pay creditors and a fee for the trustee. Each bankruptcy exemption has a specific purpose, and the exemption used to protect a bankruptcy debtor’s home is known as the homestead exemption. 

Typically, the homestead exemption can be used on a wide variety of types of homes, including houses, condominiums, townhouses, and more. However, there is one famous bankruptcy case that many believe the court got wrong when it comes to what should be included in the homestead exemption. In the case In re: Drummond, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona ruled that the Drummond family’s “motor home” did not qualify as a “mobile home” that could be protected by Arizona’s bankruptcy exemptions. Read on to learn more about this case and its implications for motorized homes in Phoenix and Tucson bankruptcy cases. To schedule your free consultation with our Phoenix and Tucson Zero Down Bankruptcy Lawyers, call 520-307-0020

Lawyer signing documents for a Bankruptcy Filing case at Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys' office

In re: Drummond

This is an Arizona bankruptcy case ruling that the court issued on February 24, 2024. In this case, the Honorable Paul Sala ruled that a motor home does not qualify as a mobile home for the purposes of Arizona’s homestead exemption, A.R.S. § 33-1101(A)(3). The Drummonds lived in their 2017 Tiffin Allegro full-time when they filed for bankruptcy. Arizona’s homestead exemption clearly protects mobile homes, but the question was whether a motor home qualified as a mobile home. The trustee objected to them using this exemption. The court ruled that the motor home did not qualify because it is not intended to be permanent like a mobile home is- while they can be moved and altered, it is highly difficult and many mobile home residents never utilize this function. The real property, or land, attached to a home is what makes it a homestead. When moving a home to a different location is as easy as turning a key in the ignition, it loses a permanent interest in real property. The court also posited that mobile homes and condominiums are both inherently tied to the location on which they were constructed. Therefore, a motor home without a significant connection to the land on which it is parked does not qualify for the motor home homestead exemption in an Arizona bankruptcy filing

Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1101

You can find Arizona’s homestead exemption in A.R.S. § 13-1101. A person over the age of 18 years old, married or unmarried, can protect up to $250,000 equity in an Arizona bankruptcy filing due to the homestead exemption. The four types of homesteads listed in this statute are:

  1. The person’s interest in real property in one compact body on which exists a dwelling house in which the person resides;
  2. The person’s interest in one condominium or cooperative in which the person resides;
  3. A mobile home in which the person resides; and 
  4. A mobile home in which the person resides plus the land on which the mobile home is located. 

A married couple can only use the homestead exemption once- for example, if a married couple owns a condominium and a house, the wife can’t claim the house and the husband claim the condominium under the homestead exemption. If the spouses are getting divorced, they should consider waiting until after the divorce has been finalized so that they can utilize two separate homestead exemptions. 

The good news for someone who has recently sold their home is that the homestead exemptions can be used to protect the proceeds from a home sale in bankruptcy. The homestead exemption can be used to protect proceeds from a voluntary or involuntary home sale. This remains in effect for 18 months from the date of the sale or until the person establishes a new homestead with the proceeds. This feature can’t be used to protect the proceeds from re-financing a home. 

Other Bankruptcy Exemptions In Arizona

Arizona’s bankruptcy exemptions provide protection from creditors for more assets than just the debtor’s homestead. Some of Arizona’s most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions include:

  • Household goods and furnishings: This category includes household appliances and consumer electronic devices. The household goods and furnishings exemption protects up to $15,000 combined value. 
  • Motor vehicle: Up to $15,000 equity, and this exemption can be doubled and applied to two vehicles for a married couple. If the debtor or one of the debtor’s dependents has a physical disability, this exemption increases to $25,000. 
  • Wearing apparel: In the bankruptcy world, clothing is sometimes called “wearing apparel.” The exemption for clothing is $500, which can be doubled to apply to $1,000 worth of clothing for married couples. 
  • Bank account: The exemption for bank accounts in Arizona is only enough to cover some basic necessities with the current cost of living. Arizona’s exemption protects $300 for an individual debtor’s bank account and $600 for married couples. If the debtor expects to receive a paycheck around their filing date, they can protect up to 75% of earned but not yet received wages through a separate exemption. If possible, the debtor should time their filing to be after their wages have been received and spent on reasonable expenses. 
  • Life insurance proceeds: Life insurance proceeds after the passing of a spouse or parent are exempt up to $20,000 in Arizona. 
  • Food, fuel & provisions: Arizona’s exemption protects six months’ worth of food, fuel, and provisions. This can be subjective and depends on how large the debtor’s family is. This can also be a good opportunity for a debtor to spend funds that won’t be protected in bankruptcy- for example, the debtor can stock up on toilet paper, non-perishable food items, and more. A debtor attempting this strategy should not purchase gift cards, even to grocery stores and gas stations, because they are treated like cash in bankruptcy. 

Arizona Zero Down Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Phoenix & Tucson

Arizona Zero Down Bankruptcy is a payment plan option that our lawyers offer to help our clients afford their filing costs. Most firms require that all of their attorney’s fees, plus the bankruptcy filing fee, be paid in full before they will file their client’s case. This creates an issue because the debtor can’t stop debt collection actions such as a wage garnishment until the case has been filed. Our payment plan options allow you to pay for your case in affordable, interest-free installments after your petition has been filed. If you are looking to declare bankruptcy in Phoenix or Tucson, Arizona, we hope to be the first item on your checklist- our skilled Zero Down bankruptcy lawyers offer consultations by phone, free of charge. Learn more about the bankruptcy process without risk or obligation. When you’re ready to schedule your free consultation on the path towards bankruptcy and a fresh start, call 520-307-0020. Contact us at Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys


2 East Congress Street, Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 307-0020

401K Loans & Bankruptcy In Tucson, Arizona

401K Loans & Bankruptcy In Tucson, Arizona

Everywhere you look, expenses are on the rise. Groceries cost more than ever, and interest rates make it harder to escape the cycle of renting and purchase a home. When someone is in a tight spot financially, there are limited options to come up with cash quickly. Personal loans and payday loans come with predatory interest rates and other loan terms that make it difficult to pay them back on time and without extra fees. For a person with retirement savings, a 401(k) loan could be a fast way to come up with a lump sum of cash, but it doesn’t come without risks. If you’re considering a 401(k) loan to pay off debts in Tucson, Arizona, there could be other forms of debt relief that wouldn’t put your retirement savings in jeopardy. Let our experienced bankruptcy team guide you through your options with your free consultation- call 520-307-0020 to schedule today.

 Consultation at Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys on 401K Loans & Bankruptcy

More Information About 401(k) Loans

When someone is in a pinch, they might dip into their retirement savings to make ends meet. Many people are aware that a 401(k) can be withdrawn from, but it comes with financial penalties. Another option is to take a loan from 401(k) savings. A 401(k) loan can help the borrower reduce financial penalties and pay those savings back into the account. 401(k) plan sponsors are not required by law to provide loans, but many choose to do so anyway. A borrower can take out up to the lesser of 50% of their account balance or $50,000. The loan should be paid back within a 12-month period. The loan can be repaid through automatic deductions from the borrower’s paychecks, just like their 401(k) contributions. There is a requirement to pay the loan back within 5 years, but this can be extended if the borrower used the funds to purchase a home. On the flip side, the borrower will not be penalized for repaying the loan early. 

The argument against early withdrawal from retirement savings is mainly how expensive it becomes through tax penalties. But 401(k) loan borrowers are not charged the 10% penalty if they repay the loan within the prescribed time period. Paying a loan back can be less risky if the loan is automatically paid out of the borrower’s paychecks, but what happens when if they stop receiving that paycheck? A 401(k) loan borrower who quits their job or is fired during the loan payback period could face issues. Leaving a job during a 401(k) loan repayment period can speed up the due date for repayment. If the borrower can’t repay it quickly and is under the age of 59 ½ years old, they will incur a 10% tax penalty in addition to still having the loan balance. 

Should I Address Debts With a 401(k) Loan Or Bankruptcy?

A 401(k) loan generally shouldn’t be used for ordinary expenses and non-emergency situations- it is considered most effective when the borrower needs a short-term lump sum of cash. For example, the borrower could have a medical procedure or college tuition that needs to be paid for sooner rather than later. A person with 401(k) savings may also be inclined to take out a loan if they have creditors on their back, making threats of debt collection actions. For example, a borrower might take out a loan to pay off mortgage arrears and stop a home foreclosure. But when the issue is debt rather than an expense that hasn’t yet been incurred, bankruptcy offers some advantages that aren’t available for 401(k) loans. 

Oftentimes, when a person is struggling with debt, their debt comes from more than one source. For example, a borrower might have been injured in a car accident and owe medical bills, have accrued credit card debt from missing work, and could even have a judgment against them if they were at fault for the accident. Depending on how much these debts are combined, a 401(k) loan may or may not be able to cover the total balance. If not, the borrower could end up draining their retirement savings just to still be in debt. Here, filing for bankruptcy could clear these debts and allow the debtor to retain their retirement savings. Bankruptcy could be inevitable, and trying to pay off debts to avoid the inevitable is like throwing money down the drain. 

Another reason to consider bankruptcy over a 401(k) loan is the automatic stay. The automatic stay is a protection provided to bankruptcy debtors and not to 401(k) loan borrowers. It creates a shield between the debtor and their creditors. It can stop collection efforts like lawsuits, wage garnishments, vehicle repossessions, home foreclosures, and more. The automatic stay can create peace of mind while the debtor sorts out their debt issues and creates a path to a brighter financial future. 

Can 401(k) Loans Be Discharged In Bankruptcy?

The short answer to this is, unfortunately, no. A person who takes out a 401(k) loan is essentially their own creditor. A 401(k) loan can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, which can be a disadvantage when compared to other types of loans such as personal loans and payday loans. Chapter 7 bankruptcy only discharges debts, so it will have no effect on a debtor’s 401(k) loans besides protecting the debtor through the automatic stay for the lifespan of the case. A chapter 13 bankruptcy pays off non-dischargeable debts- debts that could be discharged in a chapter 7 will be paid off in the plan or discharged upon completion of the payment plan, depending on what the debtor’s income will allow them to pay during the payment plan. A chapter 13 payment plan lasts 3 years if the debtor’s household income falls below the state median and 5 years if the debtor’s household income is above the state median. If you have questions about 401(k) loans and how they relate to bankruptcy, our experienced lawyers are here to answer your questions with no fee or obligation. To schedule your free phone consultation today, call 520-307-0020

Learn More About Your Options With Our Knowledgeable Lawyers

Bankruptcy could be a preferable option to taking out 401(k) loans, but there are some consequences to declaring bankruptcy. The debtor’s credit score could drop drastically (although it could stay the same or even increase- it all depends on the debtor’s prior credit history.) Bankruptcy debtors are disqualified from most home mortgages for 2 years, and will lose their credit cards and need to apply for new ones after discharge. Any assets that aren’t protected by bankruptcy exemptions could be taken by the bankruptcy trustee, who will then sell them at auction to pay back creditors and keep a portion of the proceeds as payment. Additionally, there are strict income requirements to both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy that the debtor must meet or their case can be dismissed. But once all of these obstacles have been navigated, bankruptcy can be a tool to get a debtor back on track and ward off creditors. If you have questions about the bankruptcy process, including how it can affect 401(k) loans, contact our Tucson Bankruptcy Lawyers for your free consultation by contacting us or calling 520-307-0020

2 East Congress Street, Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 307-0020

Another Bankruptcy Declaration on the Horizon for President Trump?

Another Bankruptcy Declaration on the Horizon for President Trump?

by Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys at Arizona Zero Down Bankruptcy, PLLC

In the upcoming 2024 presidential election, the probable Republican candidate has found himself once again embroiled in controversy. Donald Trump is making headlines due to an $83 million defamation judgment against him. This legal judgment stems from a court finding that the former president defamed E. Jean Carroll by falsely denying sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 1990s. The $83.3 million judgment comprises $11 million designated for a reputational repair campaign for Carroll and $7.3 million to address the emotional harm caused by Trump’s defamatory statements. With this sizable lawsuit debt looming, some speculate that Trump might resort to filing for bankruptcy.

 A person writing on a document at a desk with scales of justice in the background, indicating legal work possibly related to bankruptcy in Tucson, AZ

Possible Indications That Could Indicate a Bankruptcy Filing in the Near Future?

In 2019, New York enacted a law allowing rape victims to pursue civil suits for damages beyond the statute of limitations. Carroll filed a suit under this law, resulting in a $5 million award against Trump for liability. Subsequently, a jury in the defamation lawsuit awarded her an additional $83 million, as Trump had previously labeled her allegations as a hoax and a lie. Trump has announced his intention to appeal the decision, but the significant judgment remains a financial challenge.

This judgment is substantial on its own, but it is only one of Trump’s legal battles. He faces a civil fraud trial in New York involving $370 million in illegal profits. If the verdict goes against him in this case, his total debt could exceed $400 million. While Trump mentioned having around $400 million in liquid assets in a deposition last year, some estimates suggest his liquid assets could be over $600 million. Additionally, he faces four separate criminal prosecutions encompassing 91 total offenses, and the legal fees for these matters are likely substantial. Trump’s campaign finances are separate from these assets, and he may need to place funds in escrow during pending appeals, potentially requiring him to submit 110% of the judgment. This amounts to roughly 15% of his net worth, making bankruptcy a conceivable option to protect his wealth.

A History of Trump Bankruptcy Cases

If Trump resorts to bankruptcy due to these recent lawsuit judgments, it wouldn’t be the first time. Given his diverse business ventures, Trump’s bankruptcies have been filed under various entities.

Trump has had at least six companies declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

  • In July 1991, the famed Taj Mahal Hotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • In 1992, two of his casinos declared bankruptcy.
  • The Plaza Hotel in New York also filed for bankruptcy in 1992.
  • Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts faced a second bankruptcy in 2004.
  • Trump Entertainment Resorts declared bankruptcy in 2009 due to economic factors stemming from the 2008 recession.

All of Trump’s bankruptcy cases thus far have been Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows individuals and businesses to address overwhelming debt while continuing to operate. Creditors play a significant role in Chapter 11 bankruptcy through a creditor committee. It’s worth noting that even individuals like Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former attorney, have turned to Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing defamation lawsuits. Large organizations such as Catholic churches and the Boy Scouts of America have also used Chapter 11 to manage class action lawsuits and substantial judgments.

Other Presidents Who Declared Bankruptcy

It’s interesting to note that Donald Trump is not the only U.S. president who has faced bankruptcy:

  • Abraham Lincoln, our leader during the Civil War, struggled with failed business ventures before entering the legal profession. He even had to sell his horse due to financial difficulties.
  • Thomas Jefferson, the third president, faced bankruptcy due to extravagant living and bad loans, leading to the sale of his estate in 1831.
  • James Monroe, the fifth president, dealt with family mismanagement of a plantation, which resulted in pressure from creditors. He discharged $30,000 in his bankruptcy filing, equivalent to nearly a million dollars today.
  • Ulysses S. Grant, known for his role as a general during the Civil War, was defrauded of several million dollars, leading him to publish his memoirs to provide for his family.
  • James Madison had agricultural investments that drained his funds through property maintenance and bailing out his stepson from gambling debts. He also sold slaves as part of his bankruptcy filing.
  • William McKinley, unlike many other presidents, did not come from a wealthy background. He went bankrupt after co-signing a loan for a friend who couldn’t repay it during the Great Depression.

Seeking Professional Guidance for Bankruptcy in Tucson and Pima County, Arizona

These examples demonstrate that bankruptcy is not exclusive to the rich and powerful. If former U.S. presidents have benefited from debt relief, ordinary individuals can as well. Various forms of bankruptcy are available to address different financial situations. While Trump may opt for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, most individuals find Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy more suitable, depending on their circumstances and state-specific qualification requirements.

To navigate the legal complexities of a personal bankruptcy filing, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney like Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys. Such legal counsel can help protect your assets and ensure a smooth filing process. Don’t assume that you can’t afford quality representation; many clients can file for bankruptcy with no upfront costs using a zero-down bankruptcy payment option. Moreover, a 0% interest payment plan can aid in rebuilding credit following a bankruptcy discharge. If you’re in Arizona and interested in exploring bankruptcy options or understanding the process further, you can contact us or call us at 520-307-0020 for additional information about Tucson Debt Relief.

2 East Congress Street, Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 307-0020

Will Inflation in Arizona Lead to More Bankruptcy Filings?

Will Inflation in Arizona Lead to More Bankruptcy Filings?

Inflation has been a growing concern in the United States, and its impact is being felt across the nation, including in the state of Arizona. With rising prices for everyday goods and services, many Arizonans are finding it increasingly challenging to make ends meet. This financial strain has led some individuals and businesses to consider bankruptcy as a potential solution to their growing debt problems. In this article, we will explore the relationship between inflation in Arizona and the potential increase in bankruptcy filings. Additionally, we will touch upon the importance of consulting a Tucson bankruptcy lawyer and the process of filing bankruptcy in Pima County.

Person calculating finances with coins stacked on a table, representing the struggle with inflation and bankruptcy in Arizona

Understanding Inflation in Arizona

Before delving into the connection between inflation and bankruptcy, it’s crucial to understand the current economic climate in Arizona. Like the rest of the country, the state has been experiencing inflationary pressures, leading to higher prices for goods and services. Inflation erodes the purchasing power of consumers and can strain household budgets, making it difficult for individuals to meet their financial obligations.

Inflation impacts various aspects of daily life, including housing costs, transportation expenses, and even the price of groceries. As these costs rise, many Arizonans find themselves grappling with increased debt and financial stress, which can eventually lead to bankruptcy considerations.

The Role of a Tucson Bankruptcy Lawyer

For individuals and businesses facing overwhelming debt, consulting a Tucson bankruptcy lawyer is a critical step in exploring their options. A bankruptcy attorney in Tucson, Arizona, can provide expert guidance and legal advice tailored to each client’s unique financial situation. These professionals specialize in bankruptcy law and can help individuals and businesses understand their rights, responsibilities, and the various types of bankruptcy available to them.

Bankruptcy attorneys play a pivotal role in assisting their clients throughout the bankruptcy process, from evaluating the eligibility for bankruptcy to representing them in court if necessary. Their expertise in navigating the complex legal procedures involved in bankruptcy filings is invaluable.

The Connection Between Inflation in Arizona and Bankruptcy

The relationship between inflation and bankruptcy is multifaceted. As inflation continues to rise, individuals and businesses may face the following financial challenges that can lead to bankruptcy considerations:

  • Increased Cost of Living: Inflation drives up the cost of living, making it more expensive for households to cover their basic needs, such as housing, food, and utilities. As these expenses increase, individuals may turn to credit cards and loans to bridge the gap, leading to mounting debt.
  • Wage Stagnation: In many cases, wages do not keep pace with inflation. This means that even though prices are rising, people’s incomes may remain stagnant, resulting in a decreased ability to cover their expenses. The gap between income and expenses can push individuals toward bankruptcy.
  • Business Struggles: Inflation can negatively impact businesses by increasing the cost of production and reducing profit margins. Smaller businesses, in particular, may find it challenging to adapt to these changes, leading to financial difficulties and, potentially, bankruptcy.
  • High-Interest Rates: To combat inflation, central banks may raise interest rates, making borrowing more expensive. For individuals and businesses with existing debt, higher interest rates can result in increased monthly payments, making it even more difficult to manage their finances.

The Types of Bankruptcy in Arizona

In Arizona, individuals and businesses considering bankruptcy have several options to choose from, each with its eligibility criteria and benefits. The two primary types of bankruptcy available to individuals and some small businesses are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Also known as “liquidation bankruptcy,” Chapter 7 allows individuals to discharge most of their unsecured debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills. Assets not protected by exemptions may be sold to pay off creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide a fresh start for those with overwhelming debt, but is subject to income eligibility requirements.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often referred to as “reorganization bankruptcy.” It allows individuals to create a manageable repayment plan to gradually pay off their debts over a three to five-year period. This type of bankruptcy is suitable for individuals with a regular income who want to protect their assets while addressing their debt.

Pima County in Bankruptcy Filings

Pima County, located in southern Arizona, encompasses Tucson, the state’s second-largest city. As the economic challenges of inflation persist, Pima County residents may find themselves increasingly seeking bankruptcy relief. Filing bankruptcy in Pima County follows the same federal bankruptcy laws as the rest of the nation, but may involve local processes and procedures specific to the county.

Individuals considering bankruptcy in Pima County should be aware of the following key aspects:

  • Local Bankruptcy Courts: Pima County has its bankruptcy court, where bankruptcy cases are filed and heard. This court operates under the jurisdiction of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona.
  • Bankruptcy Exemptions: Bankruptcy exemptions determine which assets individuals can protect from liquidation during Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Arizona has its set of exemptions, which can be different from those in other states. Consulting a Tucson bankruptcy lawyer can help individuals understand and maximize their exemptions.
  • Credit Counseling for Pima County Bankruptcies: Before filing for bankruptcy, individuals must complete a credit counseling course from a court-approved provider. Pima County residents can access local resources and organizations that offer these courses.

Contact Our Tucson Bankruptcy Law Office Today

Inflation in Arizona, including Pima County and Tucson, has created financial challenges for individuals and businesses alike. The rising cost of living, stagnant wages, and other economic pressures can lead to mounting debt and financial distress. As a result, bankruptcy considerations are becoming increasingly common.

Navigating the complex process of bankruptcy in Pima County requires the guidance of a knowledgeable Tucson bankruptcy lawyer. These legal professionals play a crucial role in helping individuals and businesses explore their bankruptcy options, understand their rights and responsibilities, and work towards a more stable financial future.

While the relationship between inflation and bankruptcy is complex, seeking professional legal advice is a vital step for those facing overwhelming debt. As inflation continues to affect the financial landscape in Arizona, the assistance of Tucson Bankruptcy Attorneys can make all the difference in finding a path to financial recovery. Contact us today for free consults and zero-down bankruptcy options or call us for assistance: 520-307-0020.

2 East Congress Street, Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 307-0020

First Half Of 2023 Shows Increase In Bankruptcy Filings

First Half Of 2023 Shows Increase In Bankruptcy Filings

It seems like over the past few years, the economy has been tumultuous with no periods of rest and growth. Inflation has increased the price of just about everything, and interest rates only continue to rise. It’s no surprise that upon the start of the second half of 2023, data available from the first half of the year shows an increase in business bankruptcy filings. Chapter 11 bankruptcy gives businesses with debt issues a chance to restructure more profitably while under protection from the court from their creditors. The main difference between a business filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the business can stay open and continue operations in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. So while an increase in Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings can signal disruption in the market, there is a silver lining that these businesses haven’t completely given up hope. If you live in the Tucson area and are considering declaring bankruptcy, our firm offers free consultations and experienced guidance. To set up your free consultation, click here or call 520-307-0020.

Bankruptcy Filings

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing Rates Skyrocket For First Half Of 2023

When July comes around, it allows economists and other experts to examine data from the first half of the year, as well as compare that data to the first halves of previous years. In the first half of 2023, there were 2,973 commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the United States. There were 1,766 commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the first half of 2022, which is an increase of 68 percent. Subchapter V Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings increased by 55%, and personal Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings increased by 23%. 

So what is behind this sharp increase in bankruptcy filings? One thing that makes the market so different from last year is the high-interest rates, as well as the length of time that interest rates have been high. The Federal Reserve has increased rates to a target of 5% to 5.25%. This level has been reached after 10 straight interest rate increases. Interest rates are expected to rise two more times in 2023. Combined with inflation increasing business operating costs, it’s no surprise that many businesses have turned to bankruptcy.

How Does Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Work?

There are several different types of bankruptcy that debtors can file, and they all work differently. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is reported here because it shows how many businesses have filed for bankruptcy with the chance to restructure and continue operating. Both businesses and individuals can declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Filing any chapter of bankruptcy triggers the automatic stay, which protects the bankruptcy debtor from its creditors in many ways. Creditors can’t file many types of lawsuits, including evictions, proceed with foreclosures and repossessions, and other forms of collection while the automatic stay is in place. 

When the petition is filed and the automatic stay is protecting the debtor, the debtor’s top creditors form a committee. Any major business decisions must be run past the committee before the company can proceed with them. The debtor will also need the committee’s approval on a plan to emerge from bankruptcy. If the creditors and debtor can agree on the plan, the court will sign off on it and it will proceed. If the committee disapproves of the debtor’s plan, the committee can create its own proposed plan. Once the debtor discharges the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they will resume authority over the entire business, including major business decisions. 

Alternatives To Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

If you’re considering bankruptcy, chapter 11 bankruptcy might be superfluous to your needs. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could help you achieve your financial goals with fewer resources expended. Perhaps bankruptcy isn’t the right option at all, and a different form of debt relief would be more beneficial to you. Our Tucson bankruptcy team can help you decide with your free consultation- click here or call 520-307-0020 today.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most frequently filed bankruptcy in Arizona and the United States as a whole. Depending on your situation, chapter 7 could be the fastest and most convenient way for you to get rid of your debts. This is most often true when the majority of your debts are unsecured and nonpriority debts. You also must be eligible based on income limitations in the state in which you file. While not technically a barrier to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, only certain assets are protected when a debtor files this chapter. The assets must be protected by exemptions, which vary by state, and Arizona doesn’t allow for the use of federal exemptions. The debtor must complete credit counseling courses and attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors- 60 days after that hearing, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor will be eligible for discharge. If you’re considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Tucson area, click here or call 520-307-0020 to see if you qualify. 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy works must differently than Chapter 7 because it reworks debts into a payment plan rather than just wiping them away. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy offers debtors the opportunity to pay off secured debts and priority debts while protected from their creditors by the automatic stay. Chapter 13 bankruptcy either lasts 3 or 5 years, which is dependent on how the debtor’s income compares to the state median income. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy debtor will need to complete the credit counseling courses and 341 Meeting of Creditors just like a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor but will need to continue paying on their plan after the hearing to successfully discharge the case. 

Debt Negotiation

Instead of filing for bankruptcy, some people choose to negotiate with their creditors to try to reduce the balance of their debts. You can hire an attorney to do this for you, or you can do it on your behalf. If you do negotiate your debts, it’s important to stay on top of your payment plans once they’re in place. If you enter into payment agreements that you still can’t afford, you might just end up in bankruptcy court anyway. 

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation involves taking out a line of credit with a lower interest rate to pay off the rest of your debts. This will leave you with just one loan payment for your debts rather than juggling several. However, when debts are too high, debt consolidation may simply not be enough. It can also come with significant fees that don’t accompany a bankruptcy filing. 

Considering Bankruptcy? Call Our Tucson Bankruptcy Law Firm.

Bankruptcy filings are up, and you may be among the people who could benefit from protection from your creditors and relief from your debts. If you’re considering declaring bankruptcy in the Tucson area, our law firm is here to help. Our Tucson Bankruptcy Lawyers have years of experience helping clients just like you clear debts and build a stronger credit history. Whether your needs are better suited by Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, we can help you navigate your case effectively. When you’re ready to get started with your free consultation, call 520-307-0020 or contact us.

MLB to Take Over Diamondbacks Broadcasting After Bankruptcy Court Ruling

MLB to Take Over Diamondbacks Broadcasting After Bankruptcy Court Ruling

It seemed like during the pandemic, there were headlines of a massive company declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy almost every day. While the market calmed down for a bit, bankruptcy filings- particularly Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings- are back up. One Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that has been relevant for many Arizonans this year has been Diamond Sports Group. This company has been responsible for broadcasting the Arizona Diamondbacks’ games since purchasing the rights from Sinclair Broadcast Company in 2019. On July 18, 2023, a bankruptcy court ruled that the MLB could take over broadcasting Arizona Diamondbacks games due to Diamond Sports Group’s financial troubles. The MLB plans on airing Diamondbacks games without blackouts and making them available on its streaming service. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in the Tucson area, our firm can help you get started on the right track. To set up your free consultation, click here or call 520-307-0020.

MLB to Take Over Diamondbacks Broadcasting After Bankruptcy Court Ruling

Diamond Sports Group’s Bankruptcy

Diamond Sports Group, which also owns Bally Sports, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reported debts exceeding $8.5 billion. As mentioned above, the company purchased the broadcasting rights for Diamondbacks games from Sinclair Broadcast Company in 2019- the purchase price was $10 billion including rights to other teams as well. Through that contract, Diamond Sports Group had a 20-year deal with the Diamondbacks for 20 years and $1.5 billion. Diamond Sports Group asked the bankruptcy court to reject that contract with an offer from the MLB to take over Diamondbacks broadcasting at 80% of the contract value. It appears that the MLB will be paying the Diamondbacks contract in full for the current season, but it’s unclear how much they will be paying for 2024 and onward. Now that the MLB will be responsible for airing Diamondbacks games and lifting blackout restrictions, they will be available to 5.6 million households.

What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

Many people have little concept of how Chapter 11 bankruptcy works because Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 have much higher filing rates. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is usually beyond the needs of the average bankruptcy debtor, but it does have provisions available for small business owners. Chapter 11 bankruptcy offers businesses the benefit of staying open and attempting to become profitable once more through the filing. Usually, a committee of the debtor’s top creditors is formed upon a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filing. The small business provisions allow a debtor to skip this step and speed up the bankruptcy process in general. Once the debtor and creditor committee agree on how the debtor should come out of bankruptcy and the court signs off, it is up to the debtor to act. The business will maintain control of its day-to-day operations while the case is pending.

Should I File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you aren’t the CEO of a major corporation. But you may own your own small business that is struggling with debts. If so, chapter 11 bankruptcy might be useful and allow you to preserve your livelihood. But more than likely, your needs would be better served by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Both of these chapters are generally less complicated and more affordable for the average bankruptcy debtor.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most frequently filed chapter of bankruptcy. It is popular for many reasons. It is the fastest and simplest of the available forms of consumer bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically will only last 3 to 6 months from filing to discharge. It can erase many types of unsecured debts, including credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans. It is hardly the financial death sentence some used to believe it to be, especially in this turbulent economy. A bankruptcy debtor is also protected during their bankruptcy by a legal mechanism called the automatic stay. The automatic stay stops wage garnishments, lawsuits, repossessions, and more, which can be crucial to stabilizing the debtor’s financial situation. However, there are many limitations to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Among other restrictions, the debtor must either earn less than the state median income or pass the means test to qualify based on income for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To see if you qualify, call to schedule your free evaluation with one of our Tucson bankruptcy lawyers at 520-307-0020 or click here.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is meant for debtors with higher income who need to pay off secured debts and other debts that are ineligible for discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts 5 years for debtors who earn more than Arizona’s median income, and 3 years for debtors who earn less. The first type of debt to be paid off in Chapter 13 is bankruptcy fees, including court fees and your attorney’s fees. Second, secured debts will be paid off in the Chapter 13 payment plan. Next, priority debts need to be paid. The last type of debt paid off in a Chapter 13 payment plan is unsecured debt. These are the debts that would be dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the debtor’s disposable income isn’t high enough to pay off all the unsecured debts, some or all of them may be discharged at the end of the payment plan. A bankruptcy attorney who is practiced in Chapter 13 cases can help you determine if you qualify for Chapter 13 and how much your monthly payments would be. To schedule your free consultation with our firm, click here or call 520-307-0020.

The Benefits of Declaring Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is a major decision that should be planned carefully, ideally with the assistance of a skilled bankruptcy lawyer. There are some drawbacks to declaring bankruptcy- for example, you will lose your credit cards and the filing will remain on your credit history for several years. But bankruptcy also provides tremendous benefits for anyone facing insurmountable debts, including:

  • Clearing debts with little to no repayment
  • Activating the automatic stay, which can stop lawsuits, wage garnishments, repossessions, foreclosures, utility shutoffs, and more
  • Stopping creditor calls and harassment during the bankruptcy preparation process
  • Creating opportunities to rebuild your credit and build a more positive credit history
  • Offering the option to surrender a financed vehicle or another asset that has a higher loan balance than its market value
  • Closing out other unexpired leases and contracts
  • Learning more about how to avoid amassing debts in the future
  • Making more income available to pay off debts that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy
  • Improving your credit history and score for future financial endeavors

Affordable, Reliable Bankruptcy Representation for Tucson Residents

If you’re thinking about declaring bankruptcy, you’ve probably been experiencing a stressful period in your life. You can ease some of the burden by hiring an expert to guide you through the process. Our Tucson bankruptcy team will help make bankruptcy easy, and that includes paying for it- we offer affordable payment plan options starting as low as zero dollars down. Guard yourself from creditors and begin working towards a brighter financial future. Initiate the process by scheduling your free debt evaluation with one of our experienced bankruptcy lawyers. To get started, click here or call 520-307-0020.

What To Expect From Your Tucson 341 Meeting Of Creditors

What To Expect From Your Tucson 341 Meeting Of Creditors

Dealing with debt is stressful, and so is just about any type of legal matter. When you mix the two, you might be close to filing for bankruptcy. Mistakes at any step in the bankruptcy process can result in negative consequences like asset seizure, loss of the automatic stay, and case dismissal. One of the most crucial parts of a bankruptcy case, whether it’s filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is the 341 meeting of creditors. This is a bankruptcy hearing in which a debtor must appear before the bankruptcy trustee, and possibly their creditors as well. A skilled Tucson bankruptcy attorney can ensure you’re fully prepared for your 341 Meeting of Creditors and the rest of your bankruptcy case. For your free consultation with our Tucson bankruptcy team headed by attorney Candace Kallen, click here or call 520-307-0020

What To Expect From Your Tucson 341 Meeting Of Creditors

What Is a 341 Meeting Of Creditors?

The 341 Meeting of Creditors gets its name from U.S.C. Title 11 Section 341. A 341 Meeting of Creditors is required in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Creditors, attorneys of creditors, and representatives of creditors are allowed to appear at a debtor’s 341 hearing. The point of the hearing is for the trustee to conduct an oral examination of the debtor seeking four pieces of information:

  • What consequences will a bankruptcy discharge have on the debtor, including effects on the debtor’s credit history;
  • If the debtor can file bankruptcy under a different chapter;
  • The effect receiving a debt discharge will have on the debtor;
  • The effect of reaffirming any of the debtor’s debts. 

What Happens At The 341 Meeting Of Creditors?

While your 341 Meeting of Creditors may be scheduled to last 30 minutes or longer, you shouldn’t need to appear before the trustee for nearly this long. Several other debtors may be scheduled to appear at the same time as you. Your hearing could take as little as 5 minutes, so you will just need to wait until you are called for your turn. Your attorney should be with you if you are represented, but otherwise, it will be your duty to represent yourself at the 341 Meeting of Creditors. 

The first order of business at your 341 Meeting of Creditors will be confirming your identity. You need a form of photo identification and an original form of identification with your social security number to do this. Most people use their driver’s license as their form of photo identification. Ideally, you will have your social security card available to verify your identity as your 341 Meeting of Creditors. If you don’t have your social security card, you can use a W-2 form, but it must be an original and not a copy. 

There are general questions that trustees will ask most bankruptcy debtors during their 341 hearings. Bankruptcy debtors will need to confirm their identities and that the information in their petitions is true and correct to their knowledge. Other questions will be more specific and based on the debtor’s petition. A Tucson bankruptcy attorney should have their client fully prepared for any and every question the trustee might ask during the 341 Meeting of Creditors. 

Telephonic Hearings

Many bankruptcy courts switched to Zoom appearances for 341 Meetings of Creditors and haven’t switched back since. It’s important to test your internet connection, background noise, and other factors that could interrupt your hearing. You may need to submit a declaration verifying your identity since it isn’t being done physically like in the past. Your trustee should provide your Zoom Meeting ID in advance. Make sure you have information available like your forms of identification, lien documents, and most recent tax returns. For more questions about telephonic 341 Meetings of Creditors, call our Tucson bankruptcy firm for your free consultation at 520-307-0020

What Should I Bring To My 341 Meeting Of Creditors?

As mentioned above, you will need to bring your two forms of identification to your 341 hearing. The trustee may need to continue the hearing to a different date if you don’t have these available. You should have already provided the trustee with your most recent tax return before the hearing, but if you haven’t, you should bring that with you as well. Your trustee will probably want to see your most recent income and accounts statements. Your trustee may inform you in advance of any documentation they would like you to bring to the hearing. While your case likely won’t be dismissed due to your attire, it’s important that your 341 Meeting of Creditors is conducted in a courtroom and you should be dressed appropriately. Candace Kallen and the rest of our Tucson bankruptcy team will make sure you feel confident about your 341 Meeting of Creditors and any other appearance related to our bankruptcy. Click here or call 520-307-0020 to schedule your free consultation today. 

What Do I Need To Do After My 341 Hearing?

After your 341 Meeting of Creditors, you need to complete your second credit counseling course. You should take this course from the same provider as your first credit counseling course. You should set aside about 1-2 hours to complete the course, and your spouse will need to take it with you if you are declaring bankruptcy together. You may also need to complete a short chat with a counselor from the service provider. If you have an attorney, they will receive a copy of the course completion certificate and file it with the court. If you don’t hire an attorney, you need to complete this step yourself. Your second credit counseling certificate must be filed with the court within 60 days of your 341 Meeting of Creditors. If your certificate isn’t filed within this deadline, your bankruptcy is likely to be dismissed. 

If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there isn’t much for you to do after finishing your second credit course. Your creditors have 60 days after the 341 hearing to object to the discharge. Otherwise, you will simply wait for your letter from the court discharging your bankruptcy after that 60-day period has elapsed. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy debtor will need to wait much longer to see their case discharged. Once their plan has been confirmed, they will need to keep up with the payments for the plan’s lifespan, which is either 3 or 5 years. For more information about your post-341 bankruptcy requirements, click here or call 520-307-0020 for your free consultation with our firm. 

For Skilled Representation At Your 341 Hearing, Call Our Firm For Your Free Consultation Today

Hiring a Tucson Bankruptcy Attorney to represent you through your case means having a professional by your side at your 341 Meeting of Creditors. You can count on this expert guidance not just at your hearing, but at every step of the bankruptcy process. Protect your assets and set yourself up for a brighter financial future. Qualified clients can utilize our zero-down filing plan, which allows you to pay your bankruptcy fees after your case has been filed. When you’re ready to schedule your free consultation with Candace Kallen or another member of our bankruptcy team, click here or call 520-307-0020.

Stein Mart declares bankruptcy blog

Stein Mart Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Stein Mart Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Stein Mart declares bankruptcy blogOn August 12, 2020, Stein Mart declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The discount retailer  is one of many large companies to seek the protections of Chapter 11 since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s future is uncertain and employees are preparing for the end of business. 

What Led to Stein Mart’s Demise

Stein Mart has been in business since 1908. It has since grown to 280 locations across 30 states. The company will continue to operate for the foreseeable future, but will likely hold a going out of business sale starting the weekend after the bankruptcy was filed. Unless the company finds a buyer, CEO Hunt Hawkins predicts that the chain will be fully closed by October. 

Stein Mart was already facing financial struggles before the start of the pandemic. Sales at the beginning of this year were $134 million, compared to $314 million for the same period the year prior. Then on March 18, 2020, Stein Mart closed all of its locations in accordance with COVID-19 social isolation guidelines. While locations have begun to reopen with restrictions, the damage has already been done. The company reported approximately $200 million in debts in May 2020. Stein Mart borrowed $10 million for a payroll protection loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Stein Mart has approximately 8,000 employees who have been furloughed for the past few months, and will need to start looking for new employment. Thankfully for these Stein Mart employees, the extra $600 weekly federal benefit provided by the CARES Act, which was originally set to expire on July 31, 2020, has been extended at a reduced rate of $400 per week until January 31, 2020. 

Business owners considering Chapter 11 need to remember how expensive and complicated of a process it can be. Stein Mart has hired three separate firms for advice and guidance during the Chapter 11 process. Foley & Larder is Stein Mart’s restructuring counsel, Clear Thinking Group is its restructuring adviser, and PJ Solomon is its investment advisor. The company’s stock fell 35% upon filing. 

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Explained

Chapter 11 business bankruptcy blogWhile it appears that Stein Mart will be shutting down for good through its bankruptcy filing, Chapter 11 doesn’t require that of a business that files. A company will typically choose Chapter 11 when it wants to remodel the business, because the other option, Chapter 7, requires the business to close and surrender all assets. Once a company files Chapter 11, its main creditors will form a committee that will have authority over major business decisions. The company will submit a plan to the committee on how it should restructure its debt and emerge from bankruptcy. If the committee doesn’t agree to the plan, they may submit their own. 

Chapter 11 has become even more prevalent in this COVID-19 climate. It is a pandemic like no other in recent memory, Many people throughout Tucson, Arizona, and the United States are dealing with tough economic times. Seek assistance if you are struggling to make ends meet. There are a myriad of Tucson Debt Relief options available.

Other Popular Companies to Declare Bankruptcy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

So far, 2020 has seen a 26% increase in Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. Some of these include: 

Is Your Stimulus Check Safe or Will It Get Seized for Debt Owed?

economic stimulus check and bankruptcy blogOn 5/10/2020, Our Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyers Team writes:

The spread of Coronavirus has caused many businesses across the country to restrict their services or close entirely. Some businesses that could still operate are having difficulty obtaining shipments from overseas suppliers due to labor shortages. This state of semi-shutdown is set to continue indefinitely, at least until the end of the month. Fearing an economic recession, lawmakers passed a bill to send out $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans who qualify. If you were already in debt before the pandemic started, you may be concerned about your creditors taking your stimulus check.


Tucson bankruptcy attorney

Arizona Unemployment a Predictor of Bankruptcy Increase

On 4/2/2020 our Tucson Bankruptcy Lawyers write:
Record Unemployment Rates could be a clear indicator of the dark financial days looming.
Tucson bankruptcy attorneyNationally, for the week ending March 28, 2020 there were over 6.6 million unemployment claims filed.  In Arizona, there were 89,100.  Both were record setting numbers.  These numbers are reflective of beforeGovernor Ducey put an April 1st “Stay at Home” order into place.  Next week’s numbers will probably be even higher as the first week of Ducey’s order will be reflected.  Early estimates are claims will be in the hundreds of thousands in Arizona alone next week.
With little relief in site, the financial futures of thousands of Tucson residents hang in the balance. The high numbers of unemployment claims are in direct correlation with the COVID-19 pandemic that has not only impacted Arizona but all of the world. Though roughly 93% of all Tucson residents who have filed taxes will be receiving stimulus aid from the government in the near future.  This much needed money will only go so far when so many Tucson residents are facing job loss and a questionable future.
One of the leading causes of people needing to file for bankruptcy is the loss of a job.  The number one reason that people file bankruptcy is medical expenses.  The current Coronavirus pandemic unfortunately could impact a person’s life negatively through either loss of a job/income, through unexpected medical bills or both.
If your life has been impacted by the COVID-19 virus and need to save your home, your vehicle, or just need debt relief and a “Fresh Start”.  Call our Tucson bankruptcy lawyers today.  Our Tucson office is currently offering Bankruptcy by Phone.  This option is available here to help you.  Not only are you able to complete your free initial consultation but also through telephonic, scanning, e-mailing, and other Coronavirus safe methods.  Call our Tucson office at (520) 307-0020.  We are open and here to help you through this current pandemic.