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Kurt A. O'Keefe

Kurt O'Keefe’s Answers

96 total

  • One company is reporting an acct that was discharged as open collection, 0 bal, bankruptcy Is it legal?

    Discharged 2 yrs ago. Listed 5 days after filing bankruptcy, updated today

    Kurt’s Answer

    We should all be in a business where we can do anything wrong, and no consequences until we have been told it is wrong, and given 30 days to correct it. That is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (FCRA)
    So, not illegal to put that entry, or tradeline, that you describe.
    You should write the same letter to each CRA, Credit Reporting Agency, which show the incorrect entry.
    The big Three are Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax.
    Send that same letter to the company reporting the tradeline.
    The letter should include a copy of the credit report with the page showing the incorrect listing.
    Highlight it in yellow, or underline in red ink.
    The letter says: enclosed is a copy of the incorrect entry by X company. Please correct it to show "included in bankruptcy, zero balance" and send me a copy of the corrected credit report.
    Yes, per other answer, send it certified mail, and keep copies.
    You can google the correct address to send disputes to.
    check your credit report(s) again in a couple of months.
    If not corrected, check with an FCRA lawyer.

    See question 
  • What do I do now?

    I filed chapter 7 bankruptcy over a year and half ago. My atty was paid in full. I received a letter from the Federal Courts stating my fees have not been paid. Now I have a show cause hearing.

    Kurt’s Answer

    If the filing fee was not paid when the case was filed, there must have been a motion by your attorney to either waive the filing fee, or, to pay it in installments.
    Obviously, no order waiving the filing fee was signed by the judge.
    So, best guess is there was an order for the filing fee to be paid in installments, and that order was not complied with, so the court enters the show cause order, which you now have.
    Which means, come in and show cause, tell the court, why the case should not be dismissed for not paying the fee.
    You should have a written contract with your attorney, which spells out how his fees, and the filing fees, are to be handled.
    Some attorneys now are routinely filing motions to waive/pay in installments, with every case they file.
    I understand, from your end, you give the attorney one pile of your money and she/he files the case.
    But the court charges $335 filing fee for Chapter 7, that is NOT the attorney's money.
    But, we have to pay that when we electronically file a case, which is how we must do it.
    And the filing fee is charged to us.
    So, the attorney could collect the filing fee from you and pay the court.
    Or, collect only attorney fees from you, file a motion to pay the filing fee in installments, and leave it to you to handle.
    If he collected the filing fee from you, and did NOT pay the court, that is a big no-no.
    As per the other answer, get a written response from your attorney as to why the court issued this show cause.
    Most judges will still let you pay the fee, even though late, and the case continue.

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  • I'm in 24 months of a 36 month Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan. I changed employer and took a lump sum of my 403B

    at age 56. Classified as a early retiree. Tooke a new full time position. I didn't realize this would be an issue with my bankruptcy. How do I handle this. I don't want to lose my opportunity for discharge at the end of the Chapter 13.

    Kurt’s Answer

    Per the other answers, meet with your lawyer to go over everything.
    It is not "an issue with your bankruptcy" unless . . .
    We do not know what your confirmed plan requires.
    You need to be aware of that, which is what you committed to do.
    You/our lawyer need to check your payment history, e.g. have tax refunds been paid in to the trustee?
    and the claims filed.
    The amount you scheduled for creditors is presumed wrong, and the trustee pays according to the claim the creditor files. You can object to that claim if you think it is wrong.
    Unsecured creditors who do NOT file claims do NOT get paid by the trustee.
    So, much more information needed before it can be assessed if you need to file a plan modification.
    Taking the retirement account money itself should not be income that would change what you have to pay into the plan.
    However, you say that you took a new full time position, so if your income did change, you may need a plan modification.

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  • My chapter 13 bankruptcy was recently discharged. Can a student loan creditor pursue a claim on me if I was co signer on a loan?

    My son had a student loan where I'm allegedly the co signer, they haven't provided any documentation to date. My son has never mentioned this creditor or not making payments. The creditor has not tried to contact my son as the first debtor (signer...

    Kurt’s Answer

    The answer is, yes. If you are a co-signer on any loan, you are liable for the full amount. The creditor is not obligated to chase the other signer first, or, at all.
    What exactly have they done? Did you write requesting verification? Have you checked your credit report to see if any student loans are listed?
    Government or private student loans?
    Private are often sold, when in default, or, could be a debt collector contacting you.
    So it may not be the original lender pursuing you now.
    You need to get all this information.
    If you have grounds for suing for a discharge because repayment would impose an undue hardship on you or your dependents, you can petition the court to re-open the chapter 13 bankruptcy, and file an adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy court to discharge the student loan debt.
    Assuming it is valid.
    You say your son had a student loan, and then that he never mentioned the creditor,
    Has he shown you any documentation?
    Trained to be a cynical lawyer, as I am, it is possible your name was forged.

    See question 
  • Do I need to pay extra costs at the end of y bankrupcy?

    I have a chapter 13 case that is scheduled to end at the end of July 2015 (started in July 2010). I was told by my attorney that due to fluctuations in costs for some creditors over the course of the plan (e.g. interest payments, changes in mortga...

    Kurt’s Answer

    Folks are always asking the equivalent of, "Is this a common practice or a reasonable expectation?"
    The answer does not really help you; the question is, what is correct for your case?
    You have a lawyer who should be able to explain in detail why the extra dollars are needed.
    If the mortgage payment changed, you would have been notified, on an annual basis.
    Did that happen? Did the payment go up? Did you increase your Chapter 13 payment to cover that?
    The trustee pays according to the claims filed by the creditors, NOT according to the amount you scheduled.
    Did you get copies of the proofs of claim filed by creditors from your attorney?
    Did you compare that to the amount scheduled?
    Also, did you pay tax refunds into the plan?
    Before your case closes, it is possible to file a plan modification.
    Did you discuss that with your attorney?
    From your question, you need to sit down with her/him and go through this, so that you find out what is correct in your case.

    See question 
  • Can a trustee take my settlement from a lawsuit?

    I filed a chapter 7 Bankruptcy 8 months after joining a class action lawsuit in 2007. It is now 8 years later and the lawsuit has just been settled. Will the trustee take my share of the settlement? I live in Michigan.

    Kurt’s Answer

    Not enough information to answer your question.
    Did you list the claim, the lawsuit, as an asset on schedule B?
    Did you exempt it on Schedule C?
    Was your bankruptcy case closed?
    Make sure you have copies of everything filed, on any legal proceeding in which you are involved.
    If you did NOT list this asset, you should have the case re-opened to list and exempt it.
    The trustee may object to that exemption, and the court may grant that objection.
    There are many cases that hold that if you do not disclose an asset, you cannot keep it.
    How much money are you talking about?
    All property MUST be listed in all bankruptcy cases.
    A claim, or, basis for a lawsuit, is property as soon as it arises.
    Not to talk too much like a lawyer, but if you get hit by a car, your claim arises then. It does NOT become a claim when you hire a lawyer, or when a lawsuit is filed.

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  • How long will it take to get a discharge from the court?

    My Chapter 13 was closed at the end of May, I received a letter that my wages would no longer be taken. What is the process and how long will it take to get my discharge?

    Kurt’s Answer

    What did your lawyer say?
    Need exact quote from this letter on closing, as, once a case is closed, by the clerk of the court, it is over and there will be no discharge.
    I suspect you received a letter from the trustee saying that you had reached plan completion, so the wage deduction would stop, and that they are in the process of closing out the cae.
    Chapter 13 finalization is very much on the trustee's timetable. Once they file a final report, the clerk will close the case.
    There is no clock on the trustee, that is, no deadline for them to get that final report filed.
    In checking my files, I see that one trustee sends a letter titled: "Notice of Preparation for Discharge"
    It goes on to say, that your case is closed.
    Not sure what they mean, because the court case remains open until after the trustee final report, and discharge.
    This trustee letter states: "Over the next 20 weeks, your case will go through a several phases."
    I never predict when someone else will do something, so, the answer to your question is, after you do the finanancial management, and file the domestic support certificate, and after the trustee finishes, then the court will issue the discharge.
    As I tell my clients, it will happen when it happens, no way to accelerate the trustee review process.
    You can only do your part.

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  • I am retired - can creditors access my checking (direct deposit pension, social security, IRA payments.

    My Chapter 13 attorney charged me additional $ 4,600 in legal fees without telling me his service was in addition to his regular fees. Didn't I have a right to know the amount he was accruing- rather than receive a 20 month summary billing? I w...

    Kurt’s Answer

    Not clear from your question, was the mortgage modification part of the Chapter 13 plan? That is, was that mortgage payment being paid by you directly, or through the Chapter 13 trustee? Has your chapter 13 plan been confirmed?
    A chapter 13 attorney CANNOT bill you for Chapter 13 work. His fees must be approved by the bankruptcy court. Was there a fee application? If so, did you file objections with the court?
    As pointed out, there should be a written retainer agreement spelling out what is included and how fees are charged and calculated.
    Again, unclear when you say you have to "worry about creditors that you owe the $4,600 to"
    I thought the $4,600 was owed to the attorney.
    If the attorney fees were approved by the Court, they should be paid by the trustee as part of the chapter 13 plan, and there will be no balance due when you finish your case.
    When you exit bankruptcy, if you successfully complete your plan, you will get a discharge of any remaining balance, except mortgage or other secured debt whose last payment is due beyond the final date of the plan.
    (and other exceptions like student loan debt)

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  • I am nearing the end of my 60 month plan. I have never missed a payment. I was divorced last year. Will I have issues w/discharg

    We filed together 5 years ago. Divorced last year. Payroll deducted from my check. I took on all bk payments after divorce. I owed 4600 in taxes for 2014, mostly because of new filing status. I heard she is getting a 5000 refund. She wasn't workin...

    Kurt’s Answer

    In Detroit, where I practice, and your case is, unless you moved to Roseville after filing, you will have a problem concluding the case with a pst-petition tax debt of $4,600.
    You "heard" she is getting a refund. You both have to provide tax returns to the trustee, so that amount is verifiable.
    Unless her part of the case was dismissed, in which case she does not have to do anything on the 13 case.
    What did the divorce judgment say about the chapter 13 case?
    Your attorney could file a plan modification to address these issues, but you cannot extend the plan beyond the 60 month statutory maximum.

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  • I originally filed a chapter 13 in 2007 but converted to 7 in 2008, when can I file chapter 7 again?

    My file date for the chapter 13 was June 2007 and I converted to chapter 7 in Feb 2008 and received my chapter 7 discharge in July 2008. Am I able to file chapter 7 again after June 2015?

    Kurt’s Answer

    Yes, assuming no other bankruptcy cases, like a chapter 13, were filed by you, you are eligible to file another Chapter 7 eight years after the prior case was filed.
    The filing date of your prior case is the filing date of the Chapter 13, because the conversion to Chapter 7 relates back to that date.

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