Matthew Scott Berkus’s Answers

Matthew Scott Berkus

Denver Bankruptcy Attorney.

Contributor Level 20
  1. Can i discharge unpaid and un-filed tax debt owed to the IRS?

    Answered 10 months ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Dustin James Wetton
    3. Dorothy G Bunce
    4. Robert Jason De Groot
    5. Jonathan Stone
    6. ···
    7 lawyer answers

    No. The sticking point is the "un-filed" aspect of your situation. If you did not file the tax returns, the tax debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. If you file the returns now, the situation gets more complex and there is some variation between districts in how this situation is handled. Some courts hold that the subsequently filed return is not a valid return, thereby making the tax debt non-dischargeable, regardless. Other courts hold that in some circumstances, the subsequently filed...

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  2. Is there anyway to protect the home equity in a ranch in Colorado if I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

    Answered about 1 month ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Deborah F Bowinski
    3. Nathan D McKinney
    4. Dorothy G Bunce
    4 lawyer answers

    That is a fairly specific question and a tough situation. Chapter 7 will not help. Colorado does not have a special exemption for farm/ranch land. The homestead exemption (assuming you reside on the property) is what you get. If you are over age 60, that exemption is $90,000. But, that is a far cry from your stated value of the property of $200,000. Assuming those facts are true, you lose the land in chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the ranch actually operates in some way, that may give you a shot...

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  3. I got a chapter 7 discharge 2 years ago. Can I file a Chapter 13 to cramdown my investment property?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Stuart Gregory Steingraber
    3. Dorothy G Bunce
    3 lawyer answers

    To receive a discharge in chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must wait 4 years to file the chapter 13 from the date your filed your chapter 7 bankruptcy. The answer to your question is not as simple as it seems. Districts vary on the issue of whether a debtor can do a cram-down or lien strip in a non-dischargeable chapter 13 after filing a chapter 7. As such, you should speak to an attorney in your area to clarify whether your idea can be done. Lastly, lets make sure you understand what happens...

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  4. Is an overdrawn bank account dischargable with bankruptcy?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Dorothy G Bunce
    3. Kevin Christopher Gleason
    4. Diane L Gruber
    4 lawyer answers

    Actually, let's back up. Yes, the debt you owe to the "bank" on overdraft can be discharged in bankruptcy. I am going to outline the typical overdraw scenario (whether that is your case, is another issue). Parties, (1) bank, (2) debtor (you) and (3) merchant (the entity the debtor made a purchase from). Debtor buys $200 worth of stuff from Merchant. Pays by check. Merchant submits check for payment. Bank pays merchant. However, by paying merchant, bank overdraws debtor's account by...

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  5. Can I cancel my chapter-13 after 3 years in? unsecure balance around 9500.00, bulk of paid off

    Answered 10 months ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Michael T Warshaw
    3. Dorothy G Bunce
    4. Michael Glynn Busby Jr.
    5. Brent J Jensen
    5 lawyer answers

    Once you go down the road of bankruptcy, you MUST achieve the discharge. Reason being, if you simply dismiss, your creditors get to back-date their accounts and add back interest and late fees from the date you filed. Your creditors are not going to let you simply pick-up and start fresh if you dismiss, you will be in default, the balance will likely double and you will be back to square one. Don't let the last 3 years be all for not. Get with your bankruptcy attorney and explore whether you...

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  6. I am preparing to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Can I use my dogs' vet bills as "extraordinary expenses"?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Stuart Gregory Steingraber
    3. Kevin B. Zazzera
    4. Susan J Dodds
    4 lawyer answers

    If you are facing a means test issue, hire an attorney. If you really are borderline BK-7, then you CAN afford one. As to your questions, you can certainly try. However, you need to amortize the amount to determine a monthly average. For example, if your vet bills were $2,400 over the last 12 months, then you would list $200 per month on Schedule J. The legal test for an expense items is "reasonable and necessary." Generally, pet expenses don't get questioned too much unless they are way...

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  7. Can I take my bankruptcy attorney to small claims court for legal malpractice due to balance of fees to intended beneficiary?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Steven Keith Brumer
    3. Michael Raymond Daymude
    4. Brian Crozier Whitaker
    5. Robert Michael Fox
    6. ···
    6 lawyer answers

    It is unlikely small claims court would have "subject" matter jurisdiction in this case since the issue has to do with more than simply owing money. The thing with malpractice is that it requires more than the attorney making a mistake that they shouldn't have. The client must have relied on the mistake and, here is the key, must have suffered some legal, actionable, and measurable harm. Candidly, as the debtor, you weren't harmed by the attorney's mistake. Strictly speaking, your...

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  8. I can't pay off student loans because my Women's Studies degree is useless. Do I qualify for Chapter 7 or undue burden?

    Answered 10 months ago.

    1. Derek R. Caldwell
    2. Matthew Scott Berkus
    3. Ronald S. Cook
    4. Thomas M. Hensel Jr.
    5. Richard D. Granvold
    5 lawyer answers

    The fact that your degree is useless is only a marginal factor, at best, in determining whether you can discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy. The analysis is still mainly financial and you must prove, AT TRIAL, that you are unlikely to ever make enough money to pay your student loan obligation and maintain a necessary standard of living. The analysis is complex and even the BEST cases are 50/50. The main part of my practice is student loan discharge and resolution. If I am representing a...

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  9. Can I be held liable for a judgement filed against me for a mortgage that I previously had discharged in a chp 7 bankruptcy?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Deborah Ann Stencel
    3. Robert John Carey
    4. Glenn A Brown
    4 lawyer answers

    Your question is really two different issues (1) liability and (2) credit reporting. As I understand it (from Google searches), PA is a judicial foreclosure state. As such, it sounds like we are talking about a judgment for foreclosure. In short, yes, the judgment for foreclosure can be reported in so far as it is a public record. However, you are not "liable" for any debt. Unfortunately, under current underwriting guidelines for FHA, you will need to wait 3 years from the foreclosure sale...

    13 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. What do I do if a creditor that I filed bankruptcy on took money out of my account?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Matthew Scott Berkus
    2. Robin Kert Hunt
    3. Stephen Clark Harkess
    4. Dorothy G Bunce
    5. Robert Michael Fox
    5 lawyer answers

    As stated, not enough information to go on, but contact the attorney that represented you in BK or schedule a consult with a different attorney to review the situation. Assuming the debt was discharged in your BK, then the creditor violated the discharge injunction and you can seek damages and get your money back. If the debt was not discharged for some reason, then what they did was probably legal assuming they had a judgment or some other legal basis for a bank account levy.

    11 lawyers agreed with this answer