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Matthew Erik Johnson
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Matthew Johnson’s Answers

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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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  • What is the Ohio statute concerning joint tenants when the ex-spouse deceases?

    There are no objections from the children of the ex-spouse for me to have complete ownership.

    Matthew’s Answer

    It depends on what type of property ownership you mean. A Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is one where title is held by multiple people. As people pass away, their interest transfers AUTOMATICALLY to the survivors. Once there is a final survivor, the survivor holds the property free and clear. If this is how you hold the property with the ex spouse, then you dont need to do anything, the property will transfer automatically.

    However if the title is tenancy in common, there is no right of survivorship. Therefore, the ex spouse will need to include this as a gift in a Last Will and Testament. If he does not, the property will pass by intestate succession, either to a new spouse, children, or other family members. Ex spouses never have a right to a former spouse's estate absent a will.

    While the survivors (children) could deed you the property after he passes, you will not receive the tax benefit of the step-up in the properties taxable basis. Therefore transfer via will is the best option.

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  • I suspect a trustee "executor" intentions are to rack as much as expenses as possible including excessive legal fees and travel.

    I am suspecting "The executor" of my fathers trust (I am the only trustee beside executor ) is trying to rack as much as possible from the sale of the estate. My initial thoughts are to wait till they present me with the final accounting but my i...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Having an attorney sooner than later is always a good idea. A simple call and/or letter to the executor and/or his attorney to let them know they are being watched by another attorney can help to... grease the wheels on making sure conduct is a little more on the up and up.

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  • My grand baby is in protective service with her aunt, can I file for guardianship if I live in a separate county from baby?

    I am the dad's mom and my son is incarcerated. CPS has the baby (10 months old) with her aunt so they can give her mother a chance to rehabilitate. While I'm all for rehabilitation, the mom is most likely not going to be able to do this. What are ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You can file a petition for guardianship, however you will definitely need the help of an attorney who does guardianship cases in your area. Most likely the court will order an investigation to do interviews with yourself and the aunt. In the end, the court will decide based on the best interest of the child. Having an attorney is absolutely critical.

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