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Kurt A. O'Keefe

Kurt O'Keefe’s Answers

94 total


  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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  • I won a Civil Judgment against a tenant, for damages to our property, She filed chapter 7, do I have to pay that money back?

    Is it worth my time to Challenge Dischargeability of Certain Debts?

    Kurt’s Answer

    It is not just time, it is money. You need to hire an attorney.
    What are the grounds for non-dischargeability?
    The burden will be on you to prove your case for the debt to be excepted from discharge.
    Was the damage done intentionally by the tenant?
    Is the tenant collectible if you do win your case?
    How much money are you talking about?
    What money was paid back when?

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  • If you get contacted about non payment of an online pay loan and are being told that you will be arrested within a few hours

    And supposedly they are from the local police station and are requiring that you money gram the money to the attorney in Delaware does this sound legit? I live in Michigan and this has happened to me twice. I was told prior that six years is the l...

    Kurt’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    DO NOT PAY.
    This is a NOT a criminal matter. They are lying to you to scare you into sending money.
    This is a violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You are being threatened with a criminal prosecution, which is NOT possible for non-payment of a debt. Unfortunately, this is a common tactic with debt collectors, because, though illegal, it works.
    Contact me, I will be happy to help.
    Record any calls, if you can.

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