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Craig Dennison Robins

Craig Robins’s Answers

278 total

  • Will the Trustee take my tax 09 refund?

    I filed bankruptsy (7) in April 09 and it was discharged in Sept 09. Will the Trustee take my tax refund?

    Craig’s Answer

    Your tax refund for the 2009 tax year is all yours and totally safe. Here's why:

    Your bankruptcy case should be closed and totally over. You already received your discharge and you filed your bankruptcy petition mid-year, when trustee generally do not have a right to go after a tax refund.

    The trustee cannot take your tax refund now because you did not become entitled to it until AFTER your bankruptcy was filed.

    TAX REFUNDS and BANKRUPTCY -- this is a very important issue at this time of year. I wrote a series of articles on my bankruptcy blog: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BANKRUPTCY and TAX REFUNDS. Anyone who has recently filed for bankruptcy, or who is considering filing for bankruptcy, should read this. Some links are below.

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  • Bankruptsy and tax refunds

    do I have to give my tax refund to the trustee?

    Craig’s Answer


    Almost all debtors can protect a tax refund when filing for bankruptcy. However, the amount you can protect is dependant on the exemption statutes in each particular state. Sometimes a large refund will not be totally exempt. In some states, like New York, you cannot protect a tax refund if you need to protect a large amount of equity in your home. I do not believe that applies to your state of Arizona.

    The issue of tax refunds and bankruptcy is very hot right now, so I just wrote a series of articles on my bankruptcy blog entitled: TAX REFUNDS and BANKRUPTCY -- EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW.

    You can click the link below to see it. I also discussed ways to do the pre-bankruptcy planning and acceptable ways of spending the tax refund before filing.

    I am also including some other links to related tax-bankruptcy issues.

    I wish you good luck!

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  • Should I file Bankruptcy beore or after my Surgery?

    I am looking into filing Bankruptcy, but am having the lap band surgery real soon. My insurance will cover surgery and someone else will be paying my out of pocket expense. Will this effect my ability to file? I also would like to know the process...

    Craig’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If you file bankruptcy now, you will not have to be bothered with it later on while you are recouperating.

    However, if you wait until after your surgery, then any additional medical expense that you may incur, even though you believe your insurance will cover everything, can be discharged.

    If you are definitely planning to file for bankruptcy, then you should stop paying your bills, no matter when you plan to file.

    You may be interested in seeing this article:

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  • Can I discharge the debt from a personal injury law suite via bankruptcy?

    I was at fault in a car accident and I am being sued for well over my insurance policy limit ($50,000). I wasn't drunk, nor was it intentional. If the court burdens me with debt over my insurance policy limit, I won't be able to pay, and will loos...

    Craig’s Answer

    Your debt is dischargeable. Many people who are sued after a car accident file for bankruptcy when they don't have adequate insurance are are exposed to a great amount of financial exposure.

    You may be interested in seeing several articles about personal injury and bankruptcy.

    Good luck!

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  • House surrendered in Bankruptcy, Deed still in My Name

    I moved out of my LV residence, filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and moved to another state. In the BK, the house was surrendered. My BK has been discharged. My name is still on the title to the house and I am being billed for HOA fees and City of...

    Craig’s Answer

    Unfortunately, you did not "surrender" your house as you put it. You indicated your DESIRE or INTENT to surrender the house. Until the deed to the house is changed, you will continue to own the house.

    Once the house is foreclosed, the deed will transfer ownership. However, be aware that the lender may be in no hurry to do so.

    Also, you may have discharged your obligation to pay Home Owners Association fees up through the date of your bankruptcy filing. However, you are still responsible for those charges that accrue AFTER the date of filing.

    You may want to contact the lender to see if they would do a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure.

    Please check out my bankruptcy blog which contains hundreds of articles about all aspects of bankruptcy.

    Good luck!

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  • Long form means test and deduction for necessary taxes. What counts?

    Ok, everyone seems to say you can deduct taxes on your means test. People, including lawyers on this site, say social security, medicare, income tax etc. But many indicate to take these numbers from a pay stub. I am not sure if that is accurate. F...

    Craig’s Answer

    I sympathize with your frustration for two reasons. First of all, we've spent thousands of dollars on bankruptcy preparation software to prepare our means tests for our clients. Because of the complexities of the law, it is extremely difficult for the lay person to do the means test.

    Secondly, the means test is so complex that even some attorneys have difficulty figuring out how to do it. You may want to consider retaining an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your home state.

    To specifically address your question, the means test looks for the exact amount of income you received during the six-month means test window. You look at the income for this period and the deductions. Tax refunds actually received during this period are included as income.

    You are right to be concerned about doing the means test properly. I have personally witnessed a number of pro se debtors get into trouble because they did not properly adhere to their bankruptcy filing responsibilities.

    There are a number of articles on my bankruptcy blog about the means test, as well as a whole series of articles just devoted to the issues involving bankrutpcy and tax refunds. Included in that series is information about how tax refunds can affect the means test. Links are below.

    Good luck!

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  • If we file chapter 13, will we lose any stocks or shares that we own ?

    if so, can we cash them out now, apply amount to a home repair or a nessessity (like replacing a broken washing machine or replacing a 15 year old mattress) and then file 6 months from now ? We don't want to do anything illegal.....

    Craig’s Answer

    In a Chapter 13 case, a debtor cannot lose assets if they are not exempt. However, the debtor will be required to pay into the Chapter 13 plan the value of those assets. Since this can result in additional plan payments, liquidating such assets before filing can be an important part of "pre-bankruptcy planning."

    However, you need to be very careful as to how you spend the money from assets you liquidate just before filing. Using the funds for various necessary expenses, such as those that you mention are good. However, you should not repay any debts, especially to family members; you should not give any money away; and you should not purchase any luxury items.

    An experienced bankruptcy attorney can give you the necessary guidance to engage in pre-bankruptcy planning without running afoul of any laws.

    My bankruptcy practice has four convenient Long Island offices, Feel free to give us a call for a free consultation.

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  • I am working 2 jobs and still drowning in debt, should I quit 2nd job, then wait 6 months, then file for chapter 13.............

    I am working 2 jobs and still drowning in debt, and will have to quit my 2nd job 4 months from now to care for my dayghter when sholl is out for summer. Should I quit my 2nd job now, wait 6 months, then file for chapter 13 bankruptcy or f...

    Craig’s Answer

    There is no way to simply answering your question without meeting you and getting additional info. If you are earning a significant amount of money now as a result of the second job, it can actually skew the results on your bankrutpcy means test, which, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, is used to ascertain how much you would have to pay your creditors.

    Meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney will provide with the necessary guidance to determine what is best for your unique situation. Will continuing to work help you are hurt you in the Chapter 13 filing??? Examining your finances is the only way to find out.

    There is a great deal of helpful information about Chapter 13 bankruptcy on my Long Island Bankruptcy Blog. Please see some of the links below.

    Our Long Island bankruptcy offices also offer consumers a free consultation.

    Good luck!

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  • I filed bankruptcy in Dec of 02 and find myself desperately needing to file again. has enough time gone by since dec 02?

    I was informed that you have to wait 8yrs to file again and it was Dec of 02 that I last filed so do I have to wait another 10 months?

    Craig’s Answer

    Assuming that your previous filing was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, then you can not yet file for Chapter 7 relief again. You have to wait until December of this year. That is because there is an EIGHT YEAR period that you must wait from the date you filed your first Chapter 7 bankruptcy to the time you file your next chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Here's part of any article I wrote about refiling, entitled, “Can I File Bankruptcy Again?”

    This is the question I get from every one of these clients. Fortunately, the answer is YES! However, when the bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005, various waiting periods were imposed. In every case, you can file bankruptcy again; it’s just a question of how long you have to wait.

    Four Important Notes About Filing a Second Bankruptcy Case

    The first important note you need to know is that the waiting period starts from the date you filed your prior bankruptcy petition and ends on the date you filed your second bankruptcy petition.

    The second important note is that you only have to wait if you received a discharge in your prior case. If you did not receive a discharge, you can file immediately. For example, if you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and it was dismissed because you were unable to make payments, you do not have to wait at all to re-file a second case (provided, of course, that you meet other necessary criteria — speak to an attorney about this).

    The third important note is if your prior case was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case in which you paid back your unsecured creditors at least 70%, then you do not have to wait at all.

    The final important note is that the waiting period does not prevent you from filing again; it just prevents you from getting a discharge. You can still file without waiting — you just do not get the benefit of the discharge. Why would you do this? If the sole purpose of re-filing is to stop foreclosure, you probably do not need to wait several years, as you still get the benefit of the bankruptcy stay in a Chapter 13 case as well as the ability to cure arrears with a payment plan.

    The Waiting Periods Are 2, 4, 6 and 8 Years

    Two Years

    If your prior case was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and your new case will be Chapter 13, then the waiting period is only two years.

    Four Years

    If your prior case was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and your new case will be Chapter 13, then the waiting period is four years.

    Six Years

    If your prior case was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and your new case will be Chapter 7, then the waiting period is six years.

    Eight Years

    If your prior case was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and your new case will be Chapter 7, then the waiting period is eight years.

    Important Note for homeowners in foreclosure: Even if you do not qualify to file again based on the above criteria, you can still file for Chapter 13 if the primary concern is curing mortgage arrears. In this instance, you will not receive a Chapter 13 discharge, but you will be able to cure all of your mortgage arrears and stop foreclosure.

    The Above Waiting Periods Can be Tricky, So Get Good Bankruptcy Advice

    Since the new bankruptcy laws made repeat filings somewhat complicated, it makes sense to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can give you the appropriate advice about filing a second bankruptcy.
    These Waiting Periods to Re-File Bankruptcy Apply In Every State
    A number of my blog readers located outside of New York have asked if these guidelines apply in their home state. They do. The waiting periods are the same no matter what state you file in.

    For more info about repeat filings, see my full-length post that was published in the Suffolk Lawyer – Consumer Bankruptcy Debtors Face New Limitations for Repeat Filings . That post also contains info about specific issues concerning multiple filings in Chapter 13 cases.


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  • Can a debt collector put a lein on your property

    Buying a new home with debt problems

    Craig’s Answer

    A debt collector can only put a lien on your property if they do each of the following:

    A. Sue you
    B. Get a judgment against you
    C. File a copy of the judgment with the county clerk, unless that is automatically done in your home state.

    You may be interested in reading the article I wrote about what you should do if a credit card company sues you. Here's the link:

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