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Elias Leonard Dsouza

Elias Dsouza’s Answers

66 total


  • My ch. 7 bankruptcy attorney won't file any motions, so I have to. Does he still have to be on the Certificate of Service list?

    My bankruptcy attorney refuses to file any motions I need filed. So I am doing them. Do I still list him on the Certificate of Service and mail him a copy since he is the attorney of record?

    Elias’s Answer

    Abraham Lincoln said it best: A person who represents himself has a fool for a client.
    Bankruptcy is not something one plays with. If your attorney is not providing you the services that you "believe" he should provide, get a second opinion from another local bankruptcy attorney. They will give you an unbiased opinion as to whether your bankruptcy attorney is a "dunce" or whether you are expecting too much for what you have paid him for the simple chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

    The minimum your attorney needs to do is as follows: file all the required schedules with the court, attend the Meeting of Creditors; advise you to do the predischarge counseling; possibly review the reaffirmation agreement for your car, and get you a discharge of your debts if everything else works out well. Everything else is outside the scope of the retainer.

    Calling your mortgage company, doing the loan modification, calling your car company and making a deal, etc. etc. is way outside the bankruptcy representation. I hope this helps. If you are in the Southern District of Florida, the attorney is allowed to charge you $2500 for the MMM; $100 costs for the DMM portal, and $300 to be paid to the mediator. As part of the MMM, he will speak to the lender if needed. I hope this helps.

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  • I am in bankruptcy chapter 7, and the Lender’s attorney filed a Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay. What docs are required?

    According to the court’s guidelines, does their Motion have to submit/include everything, #’s 1 thru 8 in Section C if they have a Foreclosure Summary Judgment, on only #8? Also, do they have to submit/include everything under Section A. Contents...

    Elias’s Answer

    First, if you have filed your Chapter 7 on your own, and the reason you filed was to stop a foreclosure sale, it is quite possible that you may lose your home even prior to getting a discharge in your case. I would suggest that you find a bankruptcy attorney in your city to guide you.

    Second, there is a great possibility that the bankruptcy Judge will grant the lender relief from the automatic stay especially if it is a homestead property that the Trustee does not want to administer. If there is a foreclosure judgment then there is even greater possibility that the lender will get relief from stay. Some Judges may grant relief, however, will not allow the lender to schedule a sale date for 90 days or so.

    Third, you can and should file an objection to the Motion for Relief if you think that not all the requirements are met by the lender. Each district has its own requirements. You may want to read the Local Rules of your district. I have filed objections based on faulty affidavits, faulty allegations in the motion, amount of debt that is reflected on the motion, etc. etc. If you file an objection that does not make sense, the Bankruptcy Judge may get angry at you, especially if you or a spouse has filed bankruptcies before to stop foreclosure sales, etc.

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  • How long dose a chapter 7 take

    I been waitting on the lawyer to move on this i paid in full like 8 months ago and nothing. Everytime i call them or email them they never call me back. When they do its a new person working on my case? What can i do

    Elias’s Answer

    If you have paid me in full, and you have given me every document that is required, I can file your Chapter 7 case in 52 minutes or less if it is a simple case. If it is complicated, then a couple of hours. If your attorney is not calling you back, and you are having a hard time getting hold of anybody in the attorneys office, it is time to find a responsive professional to take care of you. Even assuming that this attorney is an extremely busy attorney, he or she owes you a duty of a call back.

    Once the case is filed with the bankruptcy court, and everything goes smooth, you should receive your discharge in 90 to 100 days from date of filing. Sometimes cases do get delayed because of documents, etc. But that delay is usually about 30 to 60 days. I know there are some Trustees who will try to delay your case longer sometimes for good reason at all...like in one of my cases a particular trustee delayed one case for almost 6 months, and then abruptly decided that there was nothing to administer in the case. Of course my Client was not happy. But it was my job to calm him down and let him know that there is nothing to worry in his case. The Client was Ok with it after speaking with me.

    Ask for a refund, and then find another professional in your city.

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  • Is there a way to stop wage garnishment for student loans after 3 months? Income tax?

    Or is there any way to have the amount reduced?

    Elias’s Answer

    I have several clients whose wages were being garnished either by the IRS or Department of Education. I have filed these Clients in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy with a 5 year plan. The automatic stay prevents all creditors including the government from garnishing your wages as long as your are in a bankruptcy.

    Remember, just because you file a Chapter 13 it does not mean that your student loans will get discharged. There is a special procedure for that. Meanwhile, you can talk to the student loan people and see if they have a program to defer your student loans.

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  • I have a question about if in a ch13 to 7 change, i am late with additional atty fees my atty withdraws. Additional time query?

    If i filed ch 13 a month ago and paid my attorney his down payment and now because of an unrealistic expectations in ch 13 need to convert to a ch 7, and i will be about 10-20 days late paying my attorney his additional ch 7 attorneys fees and he ...

    Elias’s Answer

    I would not withdraw from a case just because it takes the Client two weeks to get the money together, and I doubt your attorney is withdrawing for the money. If that is indeed the case contact me, and I will assist you with your Chapter 7 case.

    The case proceeds as usual whether you have an attorney or not. If you do not have an attorney, you are still responsible for filing all the required documents timely. If you do not do so, the Court will dismiss your case. Of course, you can always file a motion to reinstate the case, etc. etc.

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  • I filed ch 13 one month ago and am realizing it may be unrealistic. Does conversion to a ch 7 create a small delay?

    If i hire a ch 7 attorney, and i satisfy the means test, regarding the schedules and the trustee, and judge, including first meeting of creditors now set for 10 days away, does my now having an atty convert to a ch 7::: 1. Do any schedules change...

    Elias’s Answer

    Abraham Lincoln said it correctly when he said "a person who represents himself/herself has a fool for a client." Chapter 13 is very complicated, and if you convert to a Chapter 7 improperly or too early, you are putting yourself in the Lion's mouth. The lion here is the Chapter 7 Trustee. If he finds something wrong with your case or he finds an assets in your case, he will go after that asset with a fury like you have never seen before....even though you filed your bankruptcy pro se.
    May I humbly suggest that you meet one of the local bankruptcy attorneys in your area. Most of them give free consultations, and it may be worth your time to learn more how the Chapter 13/7 process works.

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  • I have the proper forms to claim an exemption to protect my personal property/belongings and my car. What is the next step?

    I recently had a judgment passed against me by a collection agency representing Discover Card for less than $5000.00. I don't have a job currently but I expect to be employed soon, at the very least a part-time job. I'm willing to pay a yet to b...

    Elias’s Answer

    If they just got a judgment, it will take a few months before they start garnishment activity. The first thing they go for is your wages. Since you are unemployed, this does not matter. The second thing they go for is your bank accounts. Even if you do not have money in the account it gets frozen and causes you inconvenience. It will take them a little more time to get to your car. You may want to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney. Most of them do give free consultations. This way you will be prepared when the garnishment activity starts.

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  • How do I respond to a letter with regards to Plaintiff's< Exparte Motion for Enlargement of Time .

    The letter was addressed to the court house and I received a copy. It regards an old debt that I have been unable to pay since I went out of business in 2010. I am 70 yrs old and have only my social security to live on. What are your advice as to...

    Elias’s Answer

    If your only income is from Social Security, and you have no "non-exempt" assets, there is nothing that a creditor can take from you. However, you may still want to consider filing a bankruptcy and getting a discharge of your debts so that these creditors stop sending you papers or harassing you. After all there does come a time when a person should be allowed to live in peace. Creditors are usually unrelenting in their harassment, and they do not care if your a 70 or in ill health. Their main job is to collect on a debt. I hope this helps.

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  • Is my homestead (properly filed) property under risk if I need to file a CH 13 bankruptcy?

    In 2014 NationStar foreclosed my home in Florida after 6 years of process. Also I have credit card's debts. For these 6 years I have saved good money and now I can buy a small apartment in cash and avoid rent payments. If I buy the apartment (unde...

    Elias’s Answer

    The good new is that you have $60,000 in cash. The bad news is that this money can be taken/garnished by any of your creditors if they have a judgment against you. I suggest that you buy yourself a home with this money, but do not file any kind of bankruptcy. If nobody has sued you and you haven't paid on your credit card debts for 5 years, the Statute of Limitations has passed on those debts and creditors cannot sue you, and if they sue they will not prevail.

    If you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the Chapter 7 Trustee will do anything and everything to take your home away. If you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Chapter 13 Trustee will not take your home, but you may have to pay the $60,000 to your creditors through a Chapter 13 plan or less if you owe less than $60,000. I humbly suggest that you speak with a bankruptcy attorney before you file any kind of Bankruptcy. $60,000 just does not grow on trees anymore.

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  • I filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy on Jan 22nd & am having second thoughts. Is it reversible?

    I filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy on Jan 22nd & am having second thoughts. Is it reversible? I filed because I have been deposed of a credit card lawsuit which I had been trying to negotiate but the opposing attorney would not respond. Is there a...

    Elias’s Answer

    Bankruptcy Judge Raymond B. Ray once described filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without knowing all the fact akin to jumping into quick sand. You will drown. Having said that, you do not have the absolute right to dismiss a Chapter 7. If you do not file all the required documents, the Clerk will dismiss the case. However, the Chapter 7 Trustee may file a motion to force you to file the required papers and attend the Meeting of Creditors. If the Chapter 7 Trustee gets wind that you may actually have non-exempt assets, there is no way he will allow you to dismiss the case. He/she may agree to allow you to convert the case to a Chapter 13 case as long as his administrative expenses are paid, and the condition that if the chapter 13 case is dismissed, then it be reconverted to a Chapter 7. I have had these situations in at least 15 cases. There is at least one Chapter 7 Trustee in Broward County who will fight tooth and nail to keep your Chapter 7 case alive and will oppose any attempts to dismiss or convert your case to a Chapter 13 case. Which Trustee you get is a luck of the draw.

    If you do not have non-exempt assets or any kind of fraudulent transfer issues, you should continue with your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and get a discharge [legal forgiveness] of your debts so creditors can stop harassing you. The mere fact that you filed a bankruptcy will remain on your credit for 10 years irrespective of whether you go forward or get it dismissed.

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