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Matthew Erik Johnson
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Matthew Johnson’s Answers

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  • How much of my Roth IRA is protected from creditors (without having to go bankrupt) in Nebraska

    I read somewhere something about an amount that is "reasonably necessary for my support" but I wasn't sure if that was ever defined, or whether creditors just ignore Roth IRA assets because it would require lawyers / a judge to determine that in m...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Nebraska does not specify an amount, but it does protect enough funds in an IRA to support the debtor and the debtor's dependents. When and if a judgement is reached against you, I highly recommend you hire an attorney to make sure you properly exempt your IRA to the maximum amount using Nebraska laws.

    If you cannot exempt the entire amount, then you should certainly look at declaring bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws protect ALL retirement accounts in full up to $1,000,000 in most states.

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  • Chapter 13 dismissal unreasonable delay I'm trying to get it remove off my Equifax credit report. It's been their for 8 yrs.

    I never wanted to file at the time I was just looking for answers But they filed with out my knowledge at the time. But it has been 8 years now around July 2008. they said I have to August 2018. But is their any way i can remove it sooner off my...

    Matthew’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree that a bankruptcy petition cannot properly be filed without your knowledge. However I have had one other instance where that was true. If the case was filed under your name with no signatures from you, then you should open up a case with the 3 credit reporting agencies, and contest the item on your credit. Note that you did not sign the petition and it was filed under your name and social security number but you never authorized the law firm to file it.

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  • Can I sue student loan servicer, Navient, for billing me for late fees on a $0 monthly payment?

    Ever since my loans were transferred or assigned to Navient after it was split off from Sallie Mae I have been billed late fees on my student loans which due to my Income-Based Repayment Plan my payment is $0 per month. I really can't afford these...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You could, you would need to find a lawyer and the possible expense might be high - too high to warrant a lawsuit. Whether you are looking at small claims court or a legitimate lawsuit would depend on the "amount in controversy" in Alabama. In Washington if the suit is for less than $5,000; then the case has to go through small claims. If its more, or you are seeking equitable relief, then you can sue in another court.

    But make sure you have proof that the late fees came after there was already a $0 balance. My advise is to visit a lawyer who has done cases like this to get his viewpoint in person.

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  • Landlord filing for bankruptcy?

    I am suing my landlord for conversion - keeping my security deposit after my demanding it back. If I were to hire a lawyer, what would happen if my landlord filed for Chapter 7? I read that I should still be able to get my deposit back since it's ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    I agree with the others that if the landlord is liable for fraud in relation to the security deposit, then the debt would not be discharged. Thus he could technically discharge the debt if he were to file for bankruptcy.

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  • Can a divorce settlement be reopened/reconsidered based on bankruptcy?

    The divorce decree was signed 4 months ago. We co-own three properties and one credit card. In the agreement, he agreed to pay the card because he spent the balance, and because he wanted to keep them and I wanted to sell them, I agreed to give ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    No, once the settlement is signed, absent a VERY proven and very significant degree of fraud, the settlement ends the case. Bankruptcy is also an absolute right, and your ex had full rights to file for bankruptcy and discharge any debts which he or she may have. You have the same right.

    In order to protect yourself from an ex spouse bankruptcy, you needed to negotiate and split the division of debts properly. If this was not done, then there may be an issue.

    As far as his ownership, if there was equity then he is allowed to exempt as much of that equity as he can. The remainder of the debt will be discharged unless he signs a reaffirmation agreement. If the debt is discharged, he will still be on deed but the security will still be attached. An equitable relief action would need to be open under the grounds of restitution.

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  • If a creditor receives a default judgement, how soon before he can garnish my bank account?

    I ask because I cant meet with a Bankruptcy attorney for 5 days and I believe the default judegment will be awarded today.

    Matthew’s Answer

    The creditor also needs to move for a writ of garnishment, in addition there is a 10 day waiting period to allow motions to reconsider. How long the creditor takes to begin a garnishment can depend on how fast their attorneys move. Sometimes they will begin garnishments as soon as possible, other times they will let it sit for quite some time.

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  • Can one get medical bills discharged if one is on

    disability and no means to pay them?

    Matthew’s Answer

    Absolutely medical bills can be discharged. Being on disability makes no difference as to whether the debts will be discharged. Bankruptcy will certainly wipe those away. Speaking with an attorney in the area will also help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

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  • Chapter 7 and Life insurance

    I want to file chapter 7 -is my life insurance exempt or can it be taken? I have borrowed the maximum amount against it

    Matthew’s Answer

    As the others have stated, whether your life insurance policy is exempt or not depends on what type of policy it is. Likely federal exemptions would allow you to exempt the maximum amount, but if you have already borrowed the maximum amount against the policy, then hte policy likely will have a much reduced value UNLESS there is also a cash surrender value that you would get despite borrowing against the maximum amount.

    If the life insurance policy no longer has any real value, then the value to exempt would be $0 and it would allow you to keep the policy in place.

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  • Can any debt collector freeze funds from your bank?

    I sent a hardship letter to there first attorney and never heard back from them , they then hired another attorney, evidently it went to court and they got a judgement on it and never notified me of any court date whats so ever. So they froze my f...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Typically they cannot "freeze" funds but they can garnish funds by levying a judgement against them.

    If there is a notice issue you can file for bankruptcy and challenge the garnishment in bankruptcy court. Furthermore, if you file within 90 days of the garnishment, you can get those funds back if you can exempt them as property. My advise is to call a bankruptcy attorney IMMEDIATELY and file right away to get those funds back .Filing for bankruptcy is probably the cheaper option between that and challenging the judgment in court.

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  • If I make $55,000 a year can I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    I live in New Jersey and work in New York. I make $55,000 a year. I want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Do I make too much?

    Matthew’s Answer

    As Mr Gambrell stated the answer is "maybe".

    It depends on several factors.

    If you are a single person filing without any dependents, then maybe depending on New Jersey's median income. If you have at least one dependent, then you likely would qualify for Chapter 7, but again this depends on the New Jersey median income, but I suspect it would be at least $60,000 without looking it up.

    If you make too much, you still could qualify but its a long shot. You have to prove your reasonable expenses leave you with NO ability to fund a Chapter 13 payment plan.

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