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Matthew Erik Johnson
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Matthew Johnson’s Answers

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  • If I file for social security benefits shortly after completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy , could I be found in bad faith?

    I am 62 and can't cover my basic expenses let alone paying toward my debt and am filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. My car is also nearing the end of its life and the only way I could afford a new one is filing for Social Security. If I end up filin...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You will not be found in bad faith because you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many filers are either on social security, are petitioning for it, or should be petitioning for social security. So worry not, you can apply at any time.

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  • .Can I negotiate an extremely large cellphone bill that is because of accidental overages?

    I have a smartphone plan that I make monthly payments on. In May, I switched my plan from unlimited minutes to a smaller number of limited minutes, trying to save money. The reason I did this was because 'mobile to mobile' calls are free. It turne...

    Matthew’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You can certainly make the attempt. Often having an attorney do this will get better results; as unrepresented creditors are viewed as easy pickings. Typically for a single creditor this should cost somewhere between $300 and $500 for an attorney, and the target reduction should be about 50%. If you can get it lower, even better.

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  • BANKRUPTCY + LIBEL: in a chapter 7 petition granted discharge in all other aspects, what speed bumps might be otherwise anticip

    anticipated in shedding the liability of a judgment against debtor for libel?

    Matthew’s Answer

    As the others mention; so long as you included the creditors in your bankruptcy filing and received your discharge, the duty to repay the debt was abolished upon the trustee's grant.

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  • Can the fiance file on behalf of his children for an intestate estate regarding the death of their mother

    We were together at the time of death for 15 years

    Matthew’s Answer

    Chances are this is a no, but there is a chance. In most states, the rules of intestate succession are very strict, and you must have a binding marriage or be a legal relative in order to claim an intestate share. However, there are some states that will permit some sort of intestate share based on establishment of a civil union - in which case you might be entitled to a quasi-marital property right to the assets.

    At this point your best bet would be to determine whether your state permits (1) civil union (2) intestate laws in your specific state allow for a civil partner to an intestate share or marital property share.

    A visit to a very experienced probate attorney in your area should be your next step. However, if the assets of the decedent are not high... this may be more trouble than the return would be.

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  • Re-payment of unemployment benefits.have no monies to pay back. How do I handle without filing for bankruptcy..

    Lost employment appeals now they want me to pay back. Why give me the benefit and then ask for it back. Have child support, rent etc. If I don't pay what happens

    Matthew’s Answer

    The amount will likely go into collections, they will then likely file to reduce the debt to a judgment and then attempt to collect. At this point, depending on your situation, you will be looking at a debt negotiation or debt settlement, or a bankruptcy.

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  • Regarding chapter 7 bankruptcy and vehicles

    I have a beater van which we can keep but it's not that reliable at times. My husband has a '04 truck that is worth maybe 5-8,000 dollars. It was paid for years ago. We have not filed yet...should we sell the truck and just buy another beater? ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    In my experience most middle income families can usually cover all their assets through exemptions. Certainly it does happen, but you would need a significant amount of assets to warrant worrying about losing your vehicles over filing for Chapter 7.

    Filling out a bankruptcy attorney's standard questionnaire should give you a considerable understanding of where you stand as far as your assets go and how much you can protect through the bankruptcy filing. Generally its better to have non-liquid assets over cash, as cash can be easily handed over to a trustee, whereas a trustee has to sell a vehicle - which takes money and time a trustee usually won't want to spend considering the trustee only receives a small amount of the total as compensation.

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  • Moms Grantor Trust wasn't distributed when she died in 1987, so Irrevocable, & living dad wants hers distributed to benef NOW.

    Mom & dad each had their own separate, revocable Grantor Trusts. Mom passed in 1987, & hers then became Irrevocable. Dad is the Trustee, & it says that Dad can draw yearly living $ from moms Trust, but he doesn't want to, and wants moms Trust to...

    Matthew’s Answer

    If ALL the beneficiaries and ALL the trustees (ie your father) agree to distribute the trust now, then you can obtain court permission under TEDRA (as mentioned by other attorneys here) to change or alter the trust - or distribute the contents immediately rather than wait.

    So yes, there are general laws for this kind of thing, and your father may override it if he wants to.

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  • I received a high % Title Loan 1/27/2014 and noticed today the collateral listed on the contract is NOT my vehicle. Plz advise.

    Incorrect Make, Model, Year and VIN#. Is this contract now null and void?

    Matthew’s Answer

    Its definitely an error. You could probably void the contract by giving back the vehicle. There are a lot of contract considerations here that might take up pages worth of text, so I'll keep it simple and if things start to go poorly, I would advise getting an attorney on your side.

    The degree to which the dealer pursues you for it is something i cannot predict. If you want to keep the vehicle, i would advise calling the loan company and getting the contract redone or just continuing to pay the amount without raising any fuss over it.

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  • 1099-C after you settle to pay off a discharged loan to gave lien released

    In 2010 in filed chapter 7 and my existing home equity line was discharged. However the lender retains a lien against my property. Today I received an offer to settle the debt for a lot less than what I originally owed in return for the release of...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Number one, make sure an attorney represents you in these negotiations and reviews the contract if you decide to settle the debt.

    Second, if you included the debt in your bankruptcy, then your PERSONAL obligation to pay the debt was in fact discharged - however the SECURED aspect of the debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Thats what allows a bank or car lender to reposess/foreclose on the secured item to satisfy the debt.

    What the bank is likely attempting to do is convince you to settle the secured aspect of the debt, which can be looked at, but not before looking at the amount owed, the value of the home, the market for homes like yours presently, and your own finances.

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  • Should I form a new LLC? If not, do I need to inform the TX SOS office and IRS of changes?

    I formed an LLC two years ago with one other member. It ended up not getting off the ground and we never did make any revenue. I now would like to attempt a different venture alone and would like to use that entity to save myself the filing fees...

    Matthew’s Answer

    It will not save you a filing fee as you would still have to pay the fee to reopen the LLC which is probably about the same. You should only open the old LLC if you also want to use the same name.

    The danger with using hte old LLC is that any debts that are still out there tied to that UBI and business name may be collectible still, and it could get you into debt issues right of the bat in dealing with some of these

    You will have to fill out a form with the Secretary of state to reopen the LLC and pay the reopening fee. You can then file an amendment to show the changes in ownership and service representative.

    My advise would be to start fresh and open a new LLC with a new branding.

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