10 Steps to Take Before Bankruptcy in 2015

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If you need to file bankruptcy in 2015, be prepared.

Let’s make 2015 the year of being proactive about debt problems and bankruptcy.

Too often, the decision to file for bankruptcy comes after the garnishment has started or after the bank account has been levied. Knowing you are in financial trouble and that creditors are hovering makes planning to get out of it easier, even if bankruptcy is your ultimate course of action.

  1. Don’t be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand. There is nothing worse than reacting to a financial crisis after it has occurred and having to file for bankruptcy. Know your potential risks now.
  1. Review all three credit bureaus’ reports. You can go to one of the free sites and download all three bureaus’ credit reports for free. Even old accounts could lead to a lawsuit. That means creditors might be preparing a lawsuit against you while you’re reading this.
  1. Look through the public record section. Are creditor judgments showing up in your credit file? This is the best way to find out whether a bank levy may occur or a garnishment may begin.
  1. Check to see if your current employer is listed on your credit report. Collection agencies and creditors do their best to search for your bank and your employer. They first look at your credit report; your employment information may be on that report.
  1. Prospective employers show up under the “credit inquiry” section. Anyone looking at your credit should appear under the credit inquires section. You may be applying for a job and may need to authorize a credit check. This tells creditors two things: where you live because you are likely looking for work near your home and where you may have just started working. Clients who recently started a job and then get wages garnished soon after are always confused how the creditor found out about the job so quickly.
  1. Keep bank accounts low. Today, creditors can more easily levy bank accounts and no longer have to levy the branch where you opened your account. They must simply provide the corporate office with the judicial order authorizing the bank levy. If the creditor looks at your credit report and sees a credit inquiry, the creditor also will look for small banks and credit unions near that employer’s location. You could have your rent or mortgage money in the account when it is levied, and filing bankruptcy after the levy means you are unlikely to get that money back.
  1. Be careful during tax season. Creditors are very aggressive February through April. They know you are getting a tax refund and usually that refund gets directly deposited into your bank account. The bank levy can happen at any time, even right after the refund hits your bank.
  1. Contact the creditor to start a payment plan first. Avoid the bank levy or the garnishment by contacting the creditor. Hopefully, you can reach a payment plan agreement.
  1. Start your bankruptcy attorney payment plan now. If you can’t afford the creditor’s payment plan, start paying your bankruptcy attorney now. You can make monthly payments now and likely pay off the balance when you get your tax refund.
  1. Once you’re finished paying, get your case filed. Clients constantly hire me, pay me the fee balance and then never send back the paperwork. I am usually just holding on to the file only to be contacted after the levy or garnishment begins. I can stop the garnishment, but sometimes I can’t get the money back from the bank levy. Once you have paid the balance, call your attorney every day until he or she files your case.

By Justin Harelik

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/steps-to-prepare-for-bankruptcy.aspx#ixzz3QL7l0Uiv

For bankruptcy information call Kasen & Kasen to schedule a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION (856) 424-4144.  The attorneys at Kasen & Kasen have over 40 years experience representing consumer and business debtors in bankruptcy.  David Kasen is board certified as a specialist in BOTH consumer AND business bankruptcy law.  Find out more about our firm by visiting www.kasenlaw.com.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

one example of the MLK art contest at Heritage Hall.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. In 1983 the holiday was signed into law and was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000. In 1994 federal legislation was signed into law that challenges Americans to transform the federal holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thousands of people across the nation volunteer their time to make a difference on this day, allowing the legacy of Dr. King to continue to grow.

Wet Seal Closes 338 Stores Across the Nation

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The women’s clothing, footwear and accessory chain warned back on December 10, 2014 that it may file for bankruptcy protection if it did not resolve its cash issues after reporting another quarter of losses. Just a mere month later, in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, the company announced they would be closing two-thirds of its stores after reviewing its financial condition and failing to negotiate meaningful concessions from landlords.

The company announced yesterday morning that 338 store locations across the Nation would be closing. The abrupt closings result in 3,695 full and part-time employees losing their jobs with less than a one day notice. The closings leave the struggling retail chain with 173 retail stores open as well as its Internet business.

“Our financial condition leaves us no other alternative than to close these stores,” Chief Executive Ed Thomas said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision to make.”

The chain has wrestled for years to define its identity; it acquired other merchants and rolled out new brands, but never managed to resonate for long with fashion-conscious shoppers. This resulted in lackluster sales performance at many of the chain’s locations. Wet Seal has had two consecutive years of losses as sales have declined. The retailer reports that although the 338 stores to be closed represent 66% of Wet Seal’s stores, they accounted for only 48% of the $316 million in net sales for the nine months that ended November 1, 2014. In its fiscal third quarter, which ended Nov. 1, the company saw its losses nearly triple to $36 million, compared with a loss of $12.5 million a year earlier.