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John Martin Hilla

John Hilla’s Answers

57 total

  • Can a previous landlord garnish your wages?

    I owe my previous lanlord for my last month of rent....I know I owe it and he did receive a judgement....I tried to set up arrangements with him and he wants it all at once and is now trying to garnish. If he starts to garnish I can lose my house ...

    John’s Answer

    Yes, as answered, a garnishment is a typical means of collection on any kind of judgment, including for past-due rents. Up to 25% of your paycheck can be garnished until the judgment is paid.

    If you are in danger of losing your home due to a garnishment, you may want to consider filing a bankruptcy. A bankruptcy-filing will stay all collections efforts, including and especially garnishments and will discharge the underlying debt (and all other debts you may have that are dischargeable) permanently.

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  • Is there a waiting period before I can file bankruptcy?

    Trying to save my house. Will filing bankruptcy help?

    John’s Answer

    As mentioned by others, depending on whether you've filed a prior bankruptcy, there can be a waiting period before filing another with the expectation of a discharge. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is the form of bankruptcy you'd generally want to look at to stop a foreclosure and cure a payment arrearage (and get rid of 2nd mortgages in many cases) can be filed even if you aren't entitled to a discharge. But you must file the Chapter 13 prior to the foreclosure sheriff's sale to save the home.

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  • If my house is paid off can I file chapter 7 and not lose my home


    John’s Answer

    To elaborate on prior answers, everything you own in full or in part becomes part of a legal "bankruptcy estate" upon the filing of a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. In a 7, the Chapter 7 Trustee assigned to your case has the duty to seize & sell off property that can't be "exempted" (protected). "Exemptions" are bits of the US Bankruptcy Code that allow you to remove certain dollar-value limit amounts of certain types of property from the bankruptcy estate. If a piece of property is "exempted" up to its full value, it's no longer subject to the Trustee's liquidation.

    With a piece of real estate, you only need to exempt the equity you have. Thus, most homeowners in this economy have little to none as so many homes are "underwater" (worth less than is owed on mortgage liens attached to the property).

    In your case, you have full equity. So whether the property is safe from liquidation will depend upon the value of the property and whether it is more or less than the "homestead" exemption available either under the Federal set of exemptions or the separate Michigan set of exemptions (in Michigan bankruptcies, you can choose 1 or the other set). The Michigan exemption for a home you actually live in is larger than the Federal version, but there are also some disadvantages to the Michigan set.

    As suggested, you need to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assist you. Depending on the value of the house, you will likely want to also discuss Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which no assets are liquidated at all.

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  • Summons received by mail

    I received a summons in the mail that i'm being sued on oct 2, 2013 however summons says issued 8/19/13 and that I have 28 days to respond which is over 28 days. can a judgment still be made against be if i'm just now seeing this in my mail?

    John’s Answer

    It will be 28 days from the date you were served, which will be the date that the summons was placed in the mail to you. Failure to respond and allowing a creditor to obtain a default judgment against you is never a good idea, so you will want to respond in some way or consult a local consumer defense or bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options before the deadline passes.

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  • Can I go bankrupt for charges that were made in my name for years, I chose not to prosecute family. I recently discovered this.

    they used several names, my maiden name, my married name too.

    John’s Answer

    Yes, you can file a bankruptcy to discharge any dischargeable debt that any entity is attempting to collect from you, regardless of whether the origin of the liability is a bona fide debt or the result of identity theft. You may have alternatives to bankruptcy for dealing with the debt based upon the identity theft, but you can certainly just wipe the slate with a bankruptcy as well. Additionally, in a Chapter 13 "payment plan" bankruptcy in which creditors must file a "proof of claim" form with the Bankruptcy Court in order to be paid from your Chapter 13 payment plan, there is also the opportunity to contest the individual claims on that basis as well, once the creditors file those claim forms.

    Consult a Michigan bankruptcy attorney to discuss your specific financial circumstances in greater detail.

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  • Differences between ohio and Michigan bankruptcy laws?

    I am currently homeless but hope to get an apartment soon. I have a new job right around the ohio-michugan state border so I could easily choose to live on side of the border vs another. I will likely file for bankruptcy in the next six months. ...

    John’s Answer

    As the other responders have indicated, the differences between a bankruptcy filed in Michigan and a bankruptcy filed in Ohio would primarily involve differences in states' respective schemes for the exemption (protection) of your property and personal assets. Michigan, for instance, allows you to use either the state exemptions or the Federal exemptions (one or the other).

    Beyond that, however, there are other differences in local practice and local court rules. Is one better than the other? Under your circumstances, it probably won't make a great deal of difference.

    To answer your further questions, though, yes, lawyers are licensed to practice in particular states. Down around the Ohio-Michigan border, you will find some bankruptcy attorneys who are licensed in both states. I would recommend that you look for a good attorney in the area in which you plan to reside to discuss all of this further.

    In any case, you must file a bankruptcy in the jurisdiction in which you have resided for the majority of the past 180 days (i.e., 91+ days) and/or the jurisdiction in which your principle assets sit. Depending upon the timing of your prospective filing, you may not have a complete choice here.

    Good luck!

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  • When will I receive the money from my home exemption in a chapter 7 case.

    The trustee is selling my home. Will I receive the money upon the closing or will it go into a escrow account until the case is closed?

    John’s Answer

    As the others have said, if the Trustee is paying the exemption, it will not happen for quite some time, after all other creditors have received their distribution and the Trustee and his hired guns take their fees.

    You may want to check with your attorney to make sure that the Trustee is planning on paying the exemption at all, however. Some Chapter 7 Trustees in the Eastern District of Michigan, where I presume your case was filed if you reside in Flat Rock, are attempting to sell or short-sell homes out of the bankruptcy estate with a "carve out" of their fees to be paid by the mortgage-servicer and are claiming that, on this basis, they do not need to pay the exemption. Trustees elsewhere in the US have received negative response to this from the courts when challenged, but there is no such decision here in the ED MI or in the 6th Circuit as yet--though I am happy to stand corrected by any local colleagues reading this if that is no longer true.

    This is obtuse stuff; your attorney should be able to let you know if your Trustee is up to no good in this regard and be able to explain this to you in detail if that it is the case.

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  • Chapter 7 but want to run for city position what do I have to declare for campaign? On unemployment

    In chapt 7 but opportunity 2 run 4 city position. This job would b very good $. Problem is campaign expense. My fiance can fund most (about 1k) so I only need a few hundred more. How do I do this while on unemployment and in 7? Do I have to report...

    John’s Answer

    You need to consult both an experienced Michigan bankruptcy attorney and a campaign finance attorney or other professional. All assets you own and/or control must be disclosed in one way or another in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and associated schedules and statements. Whether donations for your campaign are personal properties that enter into the legal bankruptcy estate from which assets may be liquidated for the benefit of your creditors or not will be the driving question. If they are property of the bankruptcy estate, they will need to be protected with available "exemptions" just as your other personal assets must be.

    You state that you are "in chapt 7," therefore I am assuming that you are past the filing date. If that is the case, you need to discuss with your attorney this question. Generally speaking, property acquired after the filing date is not property of the bankruptcy estate unless you had an expectation of receiving it on the filing date of the bankruptcy petition (i.e., inheritance that you knew was coming, etc.).

    What of your personal finances you need to disclose as part of your campaign will be better addressed by an election law attorney.

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  • Can I be sued 6 years 7 months after the medical treatment for the balance of the account.

    Treatment was rendered 11-10-2006 at a hospital. I have just been served with a summons informing me that I am being sued for the balance. From what I have found online the statute of limitations in the state of Michigan is 6 years. What are my op...

    John’s Answer

    The statute of limitations for debt of this sort is 6 years--but there are a number of different things that can "toll" (re-start) the 6 year timeline. Option 1 would be to go ahead & make arrangements for the payment of the debt. If the collecting entity is the original hospital creditor itself and not some third-party collection agency or debt buyer, you may be able to make some logical arrangement.

    If you cannot afford to do so or do not wish to do so, consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area to discuss further options. A bankruptcy will discharge this debt along with any other debts that are not deemed "non-dischargeable" by the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Most bankruptcy attorneys will be able to discuss and represent you in alternate non-bankruptcy efforts as well, should a non-bankruptcy option be more cost-effective or suitable for your overall asset & liability circumstances.

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  • I am an international student; am planning to leave the USA within a next week. What am I to do with my SSN, credit cards, etc?

    I am planning to leave the USA within a next week. What am I to do with my SSN, credit cards, etc. I have quite some balance due. Can I payback from my home country? Do I surrender the cards, SSN, my phone? I do wish to come back in a couple of ye...

    John’s Answer

    Your Social Security Number cannot be "surrendered." It is yours, come what may. However, the credit card and cell phone debt will persist if you stop paying. If you leave the country, your creditors may be unable to locate you personally, but, depending upon DC statute for service of process, etc., they will likely be able to eventually sue you, serving you by publication or some other alternate process, and will obtain default judgments against you that they will be able to collect upon, now or in a few years when you return to the US. Coming back later, you may find your new paycheck or bank account garnished for collection of those old judgments.

    If you cannot pay your debt before departing, consult a good bankruptcy attorney in your area to discuss filing a bankruptcy to discharge the debt before you leave. This may pose a complication since you are asking your question with only 1 week remaining before you god, but consult an attorney in your area to discuss.

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