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What to Wear and How to Behave in Bankruptcy Court

A few weeks ago, I discussed when New York bankruptcy debtors need to appear at the bankruptcy court. A question that commonly follows is, “What do I wear and how do I behave?” Okay, that’s two questions but they’re essentially the same: How should debtors comport themselves when they appear at bankruptcy court?

The short . . . → Read More: What to Wear and How to Behave in Bankruptcy Court

When Will I Need to Appear at the Bankruptcy Court?

New York bankruptcy debtors tend to think that bankruptcy court is just like what they see on television. This would be the standard portrayal of a high-ceiling courtroom with two tables facing the judge, one for the debtor and his or her counsel and one for all the creditors’ lawyers. Then they argue the merits . . . → Read More: When Will I Need to Appear at the Bankruptcy Court?

Increasing Retirement Contributions (IRA, 401(k)) Before Bankruptcy

Many working debtors have retirement accounts, chiefly investment retirement accounts (IRAs) or 401(k) accounts through their employers. These accounts are assets, but New York bankruptcy exemption rules shield them completely while the federal exemptions protect them up to an enormous amount—more than $1.2 million. Debtors sometimes ask whether retirement contributions are allowed in bankruptcy, but . . . → Read More: Increasing Retirement Contributions (IRA, 401(k)) Before Bankruptcy

When Can a Trustee Reopen a Closed Bankruptcy Case?

Most New York bankruptcy cases end with a discharge and then a final decree. With that the case is closed, and debtors get their fresh starts. Occasionally, debtors will want to reopen their bankruptcy cases, but it’s usually for technical reasons. But what if the trustee wants to reopen a case? If so, then the . . . → Read More: When Can a Trustee Reopen a Closed Bankruptcy Case?

When Can a Debtor Reopen a New York Bankruptcy Case?

Sometimes after bankruptcy cases are closed or dismissed, debtors will want to reopen them for a variety of reasons depending on the circumstances. Bankruptcy courts have substantial power to grant debtors requests to reopen their cases, so it can be helpful to know when it’s allowed, especially when self-represented debtors’ cases were dismissed due to . . . → Read More: When Can a Debtor Reopen a New York Bankruptcy Case?

Bankruptcy Questions? Contact Your Lawyer, Not the Trustee

The trustee in a New York bankruptcy case will probably be a nice person. My practice represents them, even. For consumers, though, the trustee’s congeniality might be confused with his or her responsibilities. The trustee’s responsibility is to the bankruptcy system, specifically the estate that’s created by the bankruptcy filing. Thus, the trustee does not . . . → Read More: Bankruptcy Questions? Contact Your Lawyer, Not the Trustee

Two Reasons to Incorporate Before a Business Bankruptcy

Debtors operating sole proprietorships can encounter disadvantages in a chapter 7 New York business bankruptcy as compared to more common no-asset, low-income, non-business debtors in the same chapter. They both face chapter 7’s income thresholds, yet non-business debtors need not worry whether a trustee will put a stop to their incomes or sell the assets . . . → Read More: Two Reasons to Incorporate Before a Business Bankruptcy

Digital Currencies Are Assets in Bankruptcy

It did not take long for the Internet to create new markets for consumers. It’s one of the Internet’s primary contributions to people’s lives. Like all new things, as it comes into contact with old laws, novel pitfalls emerge—like debt collectors on social media. Because people transact frequently via the World Wide Web, debtors sometimes . . . → Read More: Digital Currencies Are Assets in Bankruptcy

Attorney-Client Privilege: Whose Is It in an Individual New York Bankruptcy?

The short answer is: We don’t know—according to a November 2016 article in New York Law Journal. In discussing the topic, the authors could not find any court cases in the Second Circuit addressing which party controls the attorney-client privilege in a New York bankruptcy.

Before explaining why this is an issue, it’s necessary to . . . → Read More: Attorney-Client Privilege: Whose Is It in an Individual New York Bankruptcy?

Post-Petition, ‘After-Acquired’ Property in Chapter 13

Most New York bankruptcies are chapter 7 cases, and debtors don’t need to worry about property acquired after the case is filed. Section 541(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code governs “after-acquired” property, and limits it to three post-petition assets that can be roped into the bankruptcy estate if debtors acquire them within 180 days of filing. . . . → Read More: Post-Petition, ‘After-Acquired’ Property in Chapter 13