• Bankruptcy

    • Can I file for bankruptcy on my own?
      There’s no legal requirement to file for bankruptcy in the state of Utah, but both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can be very complex. To maximize the effectiveness of your bankruptcy, you should speak to a qualified Utah bankruptcy attorney to discuss your case.
    • What is a "341 Meeting"?
      This is also referred to as a “meeting of creditors.” This is a meeting that you’ll attend with your bankruptcy attorney. Your creditors will be able to ask you questions about your impending bankruptcy and finances. This is not meant to embarrass you but rather for your creditors to get a clearer picture of your finances.
    • Can I keep my house or car in a bankruptcy?
      With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may likely lose your house or car if they have a significant amount of equity in either. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep your house and car if your payment plan is accepted.
    • Will someone come walk through my house?
      Under the vast majority of cases, no one will physically come to view your property. Instead the Bankruptcy Statements and Schedules are signed under penalty of perjury, and a Debtor in Bankruptcy will also verbally testify under oath at the Meeting of Creditors that they have identified all of their property within the Bankruptcy documents. Unless there is some unusual reason for a Trustee to question the truthfulness of the documents, there is no need to further investigate the content of the property you have disclosed.
    • What is an Exemption?
      An exemption is an interest you have in certain property that the Bankruptcy Code and the laws of the State of Utah protects on your behalf from being seized by the Trustee in a Bankruptcy proceeding. A simplistic view of the exemption statutes is that essentially all property that is reasonable and necessary to maintain a normal household is likely to qualify as property that is protected by a specific exemption. Contact JLT Law to discuss any particular property that you are concerned whether it will qualify as exempt under the applicable statutory provisions.
    • What will happen to my student loans when I'm in Bankruptcy?
      Student loan obligations are a very complex topic within the Bankruptcy Code. In most circumstances, student loan debts will essentially survive a discharge in Bankruptcy. However, in certain circumstances student loans may qualify for discharge after a Court has fully litigated a separate proceeding from the underlying Bankruptcy Case. Contact JLT Law to schedule an appointment to evaluate the likelihood that your Student Loan debts could be discharged in Bankruptcy. Student Loan debts will be automatically deferred during the time period you are in an active Chapter 13 Plan of repayment.
    • My car was recently repossessed, can I get it back?
      If you file a Chapter 13 Plan of Reorganization, a car that was recently repossessed can be recovered if it has not been sold prior to the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition. In the State of Utah, Creditors are obligated to provide you with written notification that they intend to sell your car; they are also required to give you ten (10) days advance warning of the sale date.There are certain complications that may arise in recovering an automobile after it has been repossessed, so it is always best to file your Bankruptcy Petition prior to the time your car is taken by the Creditor. Most often people are aware that a car is likely to be repossessed because the Creditor has made numerous efforts to resolve the past due amount through telephone calls, written correspondence, and other means of resolution. Normally, it is only when it appears that a person is not capable of making the payments on the car that a Creditor will take the severe action to repossess the vehicle.One of the complications of recovering a repossessed car is that there are additional fees and assessments that are related to the repossession of the vehicle. Under most contracts of sale, the buyer of the vehicle consents in advance to pay all such costs that are reasonably incurred. Therefore, although you can recover possession of the car, you need to evaluate whether or not the car is worth the amount that is owed on it, plus all of the additional costs that are incurred in the repossession efforts. If you file a Chapter 13 case, you will still only be paying for the fair market value of the car.In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the recovery of a repossessed vehicle is more complicated, but not necessarily impossible. Each case has it’s own intricate details that need to be evaluated, so it does not lend to an answer that is generally applicable to all cases. Please contact our office if you have questions as to whether or not recovery of your automobile would be probable under your given circumstances.Lastly, it should be noted that under the impending new Bankruptcy laws, treatment of automobiles in general in Bankruptcy Cases will be significantly different than previously. If you have purchased a vehicle within the past two and one-half years, it is likely that you will be required to pay for the entire amount of the automobile if you intend to retain possession of it. This is a factor that you have to consider in your determination of not only which Bankruptcy Chapter you intend to file, but also a substantial amount of planning may be necessary to assure that you have sufficient transportation after you have filed your Bankruptcy.Is your car in jeopardy of being repossessed, or has repossession recently taken place? Contact us to schedule an appointment or call us at (801) 797-2098.
    • How soon can garnishments be stopped?
      Very similar to all other collection efforts, garnishment of your wages stops immediately upon filing your Bankruptcy Petition. But to assure that your wages are not garnished by your employer, at the time you meet with our office, you should provide us with a copy of the garnishment documents that you have received from your employer. Those documents will identify the name of the Creditor that is garnishing your wages, as well as your employer. We will then be able to communicate with the proper people to assure that the garnishment stops in accordance with the Bankruptcy Code.Over the past several years the issue of garnishments has become a little more complicated due to more and more companies using payroll services that are located out of state. Because these companies often prepare the paychecks several days in advance, extra effort needs to be expended to address garnishments of wages. This procedure sometimes causes money to be deducted from your original paycheck, but those funds are normally returned to you in a couple of days once the payroll service company obtains proper notification of the Bankruptcy and is otherwise capable of processing a separate check.The procedure for stopping a garnishment requires cooperation from many parties; the Creditor, your employer, yourself and our office, all have the common goal of making sure you obtain your entire paycheck after you have filed the Bankruptcy Petition. As indicated above, your obligation is to provide our office with the garnishment documents to enable us to establish contact with the Creditor and your employer. Once we contact the Creditor, it is their responsibility to process a “Release of Garnishment” pleading, file it with the appropriate court, and circulate it to your employer. Once your employer receives the Release of Garnishment, the company no longer has an obligation to garnish your wages, and they will communicate to the payroll department to pay you your entire wages without any deduction.Are your paychecks in jeopardy of being garnished? Contact us to schedule an appointment or call us at (801) 797-2098.
    • How soon after filing will the collections stop?
      Under normal circumstances, once Creditors are aware of your Bankruptcy Petition, they must immediately stop all collection efforts. This includes telephone calls, written correspondence, seizing property, court actions, virtually anything that would be considered an attempt to collect a debt from you. Upon the filing of your Petition in Bankruptcy, the theory is that all collection efforts must immediately cease. This is one of the principle benefits of a Bankruptcy Case; it is referenced as the “automatic stay”. However, this situation has become more complicated under the current Bankruptcy Code pursuant to the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005″ (we affectionately refer to it as: the “Bankruptcy Prevention and Consumer Abuse Act of 2005″). Under the most current Bankruptcy Legislation, if your Bankruptcy case is the first one you have filed, or you have not filed a previous bankruptcy in over a year, then the collection efforts by your Creditors will still be required to cease immediately. But, if you have filed more than the present Bankruptcy Case within a year, this protection may be limited or not available at all until you petition the Court to impose such a protection. It is unknown at present what factors will be required by the Court to grant this basic protection from your Creditors if you have previously filed another Bankruptcy Petition.It should however be noted that Creditors are notified of your Bankruptcy Petition by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court noticing center which is located on the East coast of the United States. Often it may take between 7 to 10 days for the Court to dispatch the notices to the various Creditors, so there may be some lag time between your filing the case and the time you stop receiving correspondence from the Creditors. But, in the case of telephone calls, you can either verbally notify the Creditors of your commencement of a Bankruptcy Petition, or you can simply refer them to our office once you have filed. For this reason, it is always best for you to contact our office a few days after you have signed your Bankruptcy documents so you can obtain the Case Number that has been assigned by the Court to provide to your Creditors in the event that they contact you prior to receiving formal notification from the Court.It is always best for you to keep a notebook close to your telephone, so you can make a notes of the date, time, and representatives name for the Creditor that you provide verbal notification of your Bankruptcy Case. If any further efforts occur from that Creditor, the Court will take appropriate measures to assure the Creditor does not violate your Bankruptcy rights by continuing collection efforts once they have notification of the Bankruptcy.Furthermore, if you have a Court date that has been scheduled prior to the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition, you should plan on attending the Court date to provide the Court with your Bankruptcy Case number. Frequently Court Clerks (and some State Court Judges) are not familiar with the protection that is afforded by starting a Bankruptcy Case. Likewise, notices that are dispatched from the Bankruptcy Court do not reference the State Court Case number, so oft- times the State Court does not claim to have adequate notice of the Bankruptcy by the time that was originally set as the Court date. But, once you appear at the Court hearing and give them notice of the Bankruptcy Case, the Court simply does not proceed because they then have actual notice of the pending Bankruptcy case. At that point, the opposing side should also hesitate to proceed because they are also aware of your Bankruptcy case, and they do not want to be sanctioned by the Bankruptcy Court by continuing to collect from you after they are aware of the Bankruptcy.
    • Will I lose my car?
      Americans have become dependent upon private transportation. Our office recognizes the importance of an automobile to the typical citizen. Unfortunately, the legislature in the State of Utah has only provided very limited protection for this necessity. The laws of the State of Utah provide that an individual is entitled to retain up to $3,000.00 in equity in a motor vehicle. A married couple essentially has a total amount of $6,000.00 that they can designate towards retention of an automobile. In jointly filed cases, it is often a better strategic move to divide the motor vehicle exemption amongst two (2) separate vehicles in order to protect the family’s need to have a means for each wage earner to have sufficient transportation.It is also necessary to note that even if you have some equity in a vehicle, if you are not capable of making the regular payments under the purchase contract, that car is in jeopardy of being repossessed. Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may not provide you the protection that you desire to maintain possession of your vehicle(s). On the other hand, filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy provides additional relief in which you can pay for the automobile over a period of years rather than having to make a separate monthly payment on the same.As with other areas within the Bankruptcy realm, protecting your means of transportation often requires pre-bankruptcy planning. Our office can discuss the methods available to best attain your goals regarding your automobiles, once you schedule an appointment to meet with us. In the vast majority of cases, there are alternatives within the Bankruptcy Code that will permit you to retain your vehicle in one manner or another.Please schedule an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys if you would like to discuss your options in detail. We can let you know which Chapter would work best for your situation, and we can let you know what to expect once you file.
    • Will I lose my home?
      People devote a significant amount of their lives searching for the American dream of owning a home. We strive to protect that interest to the fullest extent possible under the confines of the Bankruptcy Code. Under the laws of the State of Utah, a person is entitled to claim a homestead exemption to protect a limited amount of equity in their principle residence. The amount available under this provision permits a single owner to claim $30,000.00 (and joint owners to claim up to a maximum of $60,000.00). But most people don’t realize that if they do not have sufficient equity in their home; or if they do not have the ability to continue to make timely payments on the same, then their house will be in jeopardy of being lost.If you have fallen behind on your house payments, due to medical problems or temporary loss of employment, etc., but that situation has now been remedied; then, it is likely filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition will enable you to cure the delinquent house payments and allow you to protect your home from foreclosure.Under the provisions of Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, upon filing the Bankruptcy Petition, an independent person (the Chapter 7 Trustee) is appointed to review your financial status, and make a determination as to whether there is sufficient equity in your house to warrant selling it in order to pay a portion of your debt. The Chapter 7 Trustee approaches this issue primarily on a mathematical basis. He/She considers the fair market value of your house, less the amount you owe on it, less your applicable homestead exemption claim, less the costs that would be incurred in the marketing of the property (this includes real estate commissions and closing costs). If after deducting all of those relevant amounts, there is still a significant amount of money that would be available to distribute to Creditors, the Chapter 7 Trustee would elect to market the home.Due to significant importance of this asset, it is most important that you contact our office to schedule an appointment to allow us to consider all of the factors in your case to determine whether or not your home is likely to be considered a concern. At that time, we can discuss the various Chapters in Bankruptcy, and the advantages each provides given your particular circumstances.
    • What debts can I include?
      This question is more frequently couched in terms of, “Can I not list certain debts?” The answer to both questions is that when you file a Bankruptcy, you cannot show preferential treatment to any particular person or Creditor. You must identify all debts you owe at the time of filing the Bankruptcy Petition.There are certain types of debts that typically will not be discharged in your bankruptcy. Those debts include items such as child support and alimony obligations, criminal fines and restitution, student loans, and recent tax obligations. However, each of these legal issues are quite complex, and in some instances part of the debt may be discharged in bankruptcy. You should take advantage of scheduling a free appointment with our office to discuss your particular circumstances, and allow us to review any questions you have about these type of debts.Similarly, any debts that are secured in nature (i.e.; you have pledged certain collateral, or you are purchasing certain items over a period of time) need to be treated differently than your typical unsecured debts like medical bills, credit card debts, and loans based solely on your signature. The items that have been pledged as collateral require you to either surrender the items to the Creditor, or you can reaffirm the debt, or you can redeem the obligation by paying the fair market value of the collateral. Reaffirming the debt essentially treats the obligation under the same terms as the original contract, just as though you had not filed bankruptcy against the Creditor. The most difficult part of reaffirming an obligation is that most Creditors require you to become current on the contract before you are permitted to reaffirm. However, in the District of Utah, you are actually afforded a fourth alternative, and that is to simply remain current on the obligation without formally reaffirming the debt. Both alternatives have certain advantages and disadvantages that are case specific, and you should consult our office to discuss these alternatives before you make a final decision regarding your individual debts.As you can see, the type of debts you owe have a direct impact on many factors related to filing a Bankruptcy Petition. Most often the type of debts you owe will dictate what relief you seek to obtain, and under which Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code you ultimately choose to file. It is for that particular reason that our office offers a free consultation to discuss the options that are available to you, and to “custom fit” your circumstances to the relief that is availed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.Please schedule an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys if you would like to discuss your options in detail. We can let you know which Chapter would work best for your situation, and we can let you know what to expect once you file.
    • Why should I file with an Attorney, instead of using do-it-yourself forms?
      The U.S. Trustee for the District of Utah is currently investigating Bankruptcy Petition Preparers, less experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys, as well as those people who attempt to proceed on a pro se basis (without an Attorney). The government has indicted quite a few people over the past several months for Bankruptcy Crimes; based mostly on the fact that Debtors were not fully informed of the consequences associated with incomplete or inaccurate disclosure on their initial bankruptcy documents. These investigations continue.If you were flagged for investigation, the U.S. Trustee would require you to complete additional questionnaires and paperwork, and would subject you to more intense questioning from the at the First Meeting of Creditors.Also, there’s always the additional stress and emotion associated with not knowing the legal procedures. You can be sure your creditors will have legal counsel working for them, trying to take advantage of every situation they can. If you have to file, why not make sure you get the most from your Bankruptcy?These reasons all add up to the fact you would be better prepared if you chose to engage our office instead. Besides, most people find that they pay just as much to do it themselves, as they would if our more qualified attorneys handle the case for them.
    • What will happen to my credit if I file?

      Upon filing, your credit reports will reflect the bankruptcy, and your credit score will be affected. The bankruptcy will be on your credit report for up to ten years, but this does not mean you will not be able to obtain credit, or rebuild your credit score. Bankruptcy is not the credit stigma it was ten years ago. In fact, some lenders even prefer customers who have filed bankruptcy recently, because their debt to equity ratio will be more favorable, and the lenders know that people can only file Chapter 7 every eight years.Usually, you can obtain an auto loan within a year after you file, and a home loan after about 2 years from filing. After one to two years, creditors will look at your payment and credit history since the time of filing, and will often extend credit offers with terms just as favorable as those available before bankruptcy. Chances are, if you have been making numerous late payments, or if you haven’t been making payments at all, your credit is already being affected negatively. If your car is repossessed, or if your home is foreclosed on, your credit will be seriously impacted.Bankruptcy can help avoid foreclosure or repossession, and will get you back on track so that no more late or missing payments show up on your credit. With a fresh start, you can begin the process of rebuilding your credit. We offer free, no obligation consultations with our attorneys. Contact us to schedule an appointment or call us at (801) 797-2098. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your individual situation.

    • What is the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13?
      Chapter 7Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what people usually think of when they think of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy a trustee is assigned to administer your case. The trustee will evaluate your property to determine if anything can be liquidated to pay creditors. Bankruptcy laws allow you to keep certain property from being taken and used by the trustee. We can let you know which items are protected from being taken.Approximately 2 to 3 months after filing Chapter 7, you will receive a discharge. A discharge eliminates unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, etc.), and any deficiency balance owing on property you decide to surrender to your secured creditors (mortgages, auto loans, etc.).It is possible to retain property that secures debt (homes, cars, furniture, etc.), depending on your payment history with the individual creditors. If you decide to keep certain items, we will arrange for you to continue making payments on the loans secured by those items.Please keep in mind, some types of debt are not discharged by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as student loans, recent taxes, and alimony or child support.
    • Should I file bankruptcy?

      This is a complex question that is difficult to answer directly. The decision to file bankruptcy is a personal one, and should only be made after being fully informed. There are benefits and consequences associated with filing bankruptcy. Your financial situation is different from anyone else’s. You deserve to have the answers to your questions before you make a final decision. But, if you are unable to pay your debts as they become due, bankruptcy might be the best available option. Please contact us to schedule an appointment so we can discuss your situation, and explore your options.

    • What does it mean to be endorsed by a retired news broadcaster, politician, or other celebrity?
      It is nothing short of paid advertising. It means the Attorney has paid a celebrity a fee to endorse their business. It is nothing more than an advertisement. Retired news broadcasters and other recognized people essentially sell their notoriety in exchange for a monthly fee to any business using their likeness as a means to lend credibility to their office. You should ask yourself: “What does such a person know about Bankruptcy?” JLT Law is regularly contacted by many of these advertising promoters, but has declined to engage them due to the perception of deception that is associated with such tactics.
  • Competitor Fees

    • Set Fees
      Those Attorneys that are willing to quote you a fee over the telephone, or to publish them in advertising or on the internet, are demonstrating that your case is simply an average case along with every other case they have ever filed. JLT Law considers each potential client as an individual that is entitled to an independent analysis of their particular circumstances before establishing the appropriate fee for the legal services that will be required to adequately represent that specific case. During the twenty-eight (28) years that Jory Trease has been representing Debtors in Bankruptcy in the District of Utah, it has become very apparent that it is unfair to everyone to have an established set fee for Bankruptcy Cases. Mr. Trease maintains that any Attorney who has an established set price for a Bankruptcy Case is simply overcharging half of their customers that have easier cases, and undercharging the remaining half that have more complex cases. Rather than being “pigeon-holed” into a set price, Clients should demand that an Attorney know what their case entails to ensure they are receiving the same monetary value for the anticipated services that will be devoted to their case rather than being spread out amongst all of the Attorney’s entire client base. Clients of JLT Law are treated as individuals rather than a mere case number.
    • You get what you pay for
      The Bankruptcy field of practice is highly competitive. There are Attorneys out there that are willing to file a Bankruptcy Case for a few hundred dollars; but you will get much less than a few hundred dollars worth of effort out of them. These Attorneys are typically going to be the less experienced Attorneys that lack sufficient knowledge to avoid may of the pitfalls associated with filing a Bankruptcy Case. It is much more likely that your case will result in an investigation by the Trustee assigned to administer the Bankruptcy Estate, the U.S. Trustee’s Office, and the Court in general. Once that occurs, the Attorney charging lower fees will openly admit that he/she is in over their head and lacks the necessary experience to address the problems. At that time, you will be forced to pay much higher fees to a qualified Attorney to resolve the problems that have been created because you wanted to save a few hundred dollars up front. Ultimately, it will cost you more than if you were to simply do it right the first time by choosing an Attorney that has the reputation, knowledge, and experience necessary to avoid the problems in the first place. Hiring the right Attorney may cost you a few extra hundred dollars, but the peace of mind associated with avoiding problems far outweighs the perceived savings. JLT Law charges fees that are extremely competitive with other quality Bankruptcy Attorneys in the District of Utah.
    • Free Bankruptcy
      Spoiler alert, nothing is “free”. Many colleagues in the Bankruptcy field engage in advertising methods of sending out letters and postcards inferring that their firm will file a Bankruptcy case for free or an extremely reduced price. These advertising schemes are intended to reach a person when they are in dire straights and suffering from significant financial distress. For instance, right after a Judgment has been entered against them. Not only does the Attorney then describe the worst case scenario possible (i.e.; garnishment, foreclosure of home, etc.), but they also attempt to present a deal that sounds too good to be true. It invariably is. In the past some Attorneys have actually stooped to the extent that they themselves have violated provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code by arranging for potential Clients to obtain loans from companies that the Attorney holds an interest in, then requires the Client in advance to agree not to include the debt within their Bankruptcy filing. In essence, the Attorney suggests the Client to commit perjury to assure that the Attorney’s own financial well being is placed tantamount to that of the Client. It should be no surprise that the schemes being promoted by these less than ethical means are far from free, and subject both the Attorney and Client to potential sanctions the least of which is to be denied relief from the Debts which caused you to contact the Attorney in the first place. True and honest Debtors are entitled to discharge their debts under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code; anything less than that is suspect regardless of whether it is originally suggested by the Attorney for the Debtor. You get what you pay for, and “free” is not worth anything.
    • Easy Payment Plans

      You are paying an Attorney a significant amount of your hard-earned money to relieve you from your indebtedness. If the Attorney is not paid his fees entirely up front, the debt you owe to him is legally discharged just like any other debt. There is no exclusion for Attorneys fees in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In other words, any Attorney that is willing to allow you to make payments after the Bankruptcy is filed is probably not telling you the entire story. He or she is looking out for their own financial interests instead of yours. If they were being entirely honest, they would tell you that their legal fees are discharged just like any other Creditors debt. Of course they are not going to tell you that because they want you to pay them. Do you really want to hire an Attorney that is only telling you part of the information that is in your interest, and hiding the part that is in his/her financial interest?

    • 0.00 Down Bankruptcy
      There is no such thing as a “$0.00 down” Bankruptcy. JLT Law does not engage in deceptive marketing ploys. $0.00 down Bankruptcy is an advertising scheme to get you into the Attorney’s Office. There are filing fees and mandatory education fees that need to be paid. No Attorney is going to pay for you to file Bankruptcy! If an Attorney is going to mislead you just to get your business, is that the type of Attorney you want working for you? Such Attorneys are being investigated by the U.S. Trustee’s Office, the U.S. Attorneys Office, and are being sanctioned by the Bankruptcy Court for such marketing claims. By filing with such an Attorney, your personal name is being associated with such conduct.