Bankruptcy Archives


Inflation … you’ve heard about it in the news, felt the impact in your wallet – you may have even searched for “chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers near me”. There’s no doubt that rising costs are having an impact on our daily lives.

Gas prices in Michigan have risen more than a dollar per gallon since the beginning of the year (Source: Gas Buddy). Food prices have risen about 10% since last year (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics). All of this is straining family budgets to the limit.

As a bankruptcy lawyer, clients sometimes ask me what they can do to try to balance their budgets and avoid bankruptcy.

The choice to declare bankruptcy is a difficult one. I believe that bankruptcy should not be seen as a negative. When you fall on hard times due to job loss, illness, or rising costs the process is in place to help honest people get a second chance.

Time for a Financial Health Check

Any time is a good time for a financial check-in, particularly if you’re feeling your money is being stretched more now. Before start searching for a “chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer near me,” here’s a few things to consider:

  • Do you track your monthly spending? If not, it could be time to start a budget.
    Tracking your spending allows you to see where your money is going. Include even the smallest receipts – those small purchases can add up fast! Check out these Money Management tips from Michigan State University.
  • Ditch the subscription services
    Subscriptions are the silent budget-killers. You sign up for low-cost plans, only to forget to cancel them once the price goes up. Even worse, many services make it difficult for you to unsubscribe. Set aside time to go through your credit card bill(s) and look for subscription services you don’t need, then cancel them and watch the savings add up!
  • Do you have assets you can sell?
    If you’re deep in debt, you may need to look at selling some of your assets. No one likes to think about selling a cottage, vehicle, or family heirlooms, but if you need cash to pay off debts, that’s the first place to start.
  • Consider debt settlement
    Debt settlement is where a creditor is convinced to accept a smaller amount to pay off a debt. They do this because they know if you file for bankruptcy, they may get little or no money. If you think debt settlement might be right in your situation, reach out for a free consultation.

You can learn about other steps you can take to avoid bankruptcy in our blog Alternatives to Filing for Bankruptcy in Michigan.

A Qualified Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help in So Many Ways

As an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, I know first-hand how confusing and difficult the bankruptcy process of filing for bankruptcy can be.

Whether you’re filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, want to know about debt consolidation, debt settlement, or fighting back against bill collector harassment, you’ll receive professional, positive, and patient advice to help you get back on track.

You Can Afford a Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you’re thinking that your debts mean you can’t afford a bankruptcy lawyer, think again. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will practically pay for themselves.

They’ll give you confidence with every step of the process, and provide personal advice to help you get the best possible outcome. They’ve been through the process many times – this is likely your first time. So count on an expert to help you do it right.

The job of a bankruptcy lawyer is to protect your most important assets from debt collectors and find a way to free you from financial burdens. After your bankruptcy, they can provide assistance and advice to help get you back on track.

Does Your Bankruptcy Lawyer Offer Affordable, Flexible Payment Plans?

When you search for “chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers near me,” I hope the Law Office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer comes up in your results. I have the experience you need when you need it the most. I offer affordable fees with flexible payment plans to make sure you get the results you need with costs you can afford.

Whether you need protection from debt collectors, or advice and help filing for divorce, contact my office to get started – I’ll take some of the worry off your shoulders.

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As a bankruptcy lawyer in Michigan, I see many clients with debts – large and small – who don’t know what to do. Credit agencies may be calling work and home, trying to collect on outstanding bills. They may be facing lawsuits or the loss of their home. And on top of it all, the reason they may be in debt, like illness, job loss or divorce is still weighing on them.

Rising costs, rising debts, pressures at work, worries about your family – facing bankruptcy can feel overwhelming. But you are not alone. And there is help for you.

If you need to file for bankruptcy, my job as a bankruptcy lawyer in Michigan is to make the process as comfortable and understandable as possible. The last thing you need is more complication and worry. As your bankruptcy lawyer, I will be with you 100% of the way, helping you understand your options. I will do what it takes to guide you through the process and help you start your new life.

Why Might Bankruptcy Not Be Right for You?

You may be unwilling or unable to file for bankruptcy. It’s a difficult choice. A bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, making it more difficult to obtain credit in the future. You will likely also lose property you cherish. Bankruptcy may not get rid of some of your larger debts like student loans or tax debts.

And if you have filed for bankruptcy in the past, you may be unable to file again.

So what are the alternatives to filing for bankruptcy?

First – Talk to An Expert

The first step to take back control is to talk to an expert who understands your situation, and the law. That can be an approved credit counselor or experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Michigan. They’ll help you understand your options and provide solid advice and action you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Start Debt / Credit Counseling

Credit counseling is another simple step you can take to start taking back control of your life. While ultimately you may need to file for bankruptcy, sound financial planning can help put you in a better situation. Plus, credit counseling is a requirement for filing for bankruptcy, so it could put you a step ahead.

Debt-Settlement – Reduce or Discharge Your Debt

I work on debt-settlement with many of my clients. It’s a good alternative to bankruptcy, especially if you are unable to file.

Debt settlement is when a creditor you owe money to agrees to accept a smaller amount to pay off the debt. Sounds a little crazy, right? Why would they do that? Companies you owe money to realize they may get little or no money back if you file for bankruptcy. So they may be persuaded to reduce the amount you owe, and accept a lump sum payment to pay off your debt.

If you are interested in learning more about debt-settlement, you can contact me any time for a no-obligation consultation.

Selling Property or Assets

Take a look at what you own – properties, jewelry, stocks, vehicles. Is there anything you can sell to get quick cash to pay down your debts? It’s not an easy choice. You will likely have emotional connections to a vacation property or family heirlooms. Letting go will be hard. But the relief of being debt-free could outweigh any sadness you feel.

Loan Consolidation

Another option is loan consolidation. In this option, you simply move money around, perhaps combining some loans and negotiating longer payment terms with reduced payments. A credit counseling agency or qualified bankruptcy lawyer in Michigan can help you understand your options and counsel you on the best strategy. You may end up in debt for longer, but it could be easier to make the reduced payments to discharge your debt.

Renegotiating your Mortgage

For many, a home is their most valuable asset. And their most treasured. Many of my clients are worried about losing their home during the bankruptcy process. Renegotiating mortgage terms, or borrowing on the value of your home is a simple step to reduce debt. Simple doesn’t mean painless though. You may be paying off your mortgage for longer than you expected. But if it allows you to keep your family home, then it could be worth it in the end.

In order to refinance your home, however, you may have to requalify for the new mortgage. And if you’re already in debt, or have a poor credit score, your application could be turned down.

In Debt and Need Help? Contact Stephanie Krane-Boehmer, Your Expert Divorce and Bankruptcy Lawyer in Michigan

I’ve said it before. If you’re in debt and overwhelmed, there IS hope. Reach out to me for a no-obligation consultation to explore your options. I also offer affordable fees and payment plans. Deciding to file bankruptcy is not easy. But the process can provide financial relief to honest people who need to start over. Get help, contact the Law Office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer today.

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An experienced Michigan bankruptcy lawyer helps many clients manage their debt or file for bankruptcy each year. Bankruptcy is on the rise in America. According to debt.org, bankruptcy filings have steadily increased in the past century, hitting an all-time high in 2005, when more than 2 million bankruptcy cases were started.

While the good news is that so far, an expected bankruptcy surge from the pandemic has not happened, there are still a lot of financial worries and challenges that lie ahead. If you live in Michigan, you may need a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer to help you manage your debt now, or in the years ahead.

Why Do People File for Bankruptcy?

Many people feel shame over their financial troubles. And while some cases of bankruptcy are caused by overspending, in many cases the cause of financial trouble is beyond my client’s control. As a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer, here are some of the top reasons clients come to me:

1) Medical Bills

Whether or not you are covered by insurance, out of control medical bills are a top reason many people end up filing for bankruptcy.

While insurance can cover most day-to-day medical procedures and expenses, patients with rare or serious medical conditions can rack up high bills…quickly. Patients without insurance are often at a loss to cover even smaller medical bills. Many families go through their retirement savings, education savings, and even home equity, only to find they still owe thousands of dollars for their lifesaving medical care. This may leave bankruptcy as the only option.

2) Loss of Job

Job loss is another big cause. As a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer, I have seen more than a few people worried about their finances because of a job loss or uncertain employment. Sometimes the job loss comes as a result of illness, piling one terrible situation on top of another.

While some receive a severance package, or have enough in their emergency fund to cover temporary unemployment, many make only enough to barely cover the daily expenses, meaning a job loss hits particularly hard.

Soon debt collectors start harassing you, and even if you find another job quickly, the bills racked up can keep you in debt for years.

3) Overspending, Poor Credit, Over-use of Credit

Overspending can be a result of a lack of money to cover your basic expenses, or living beyond your means. In today’s social media world, there is a huge pressure to “keep up with the Jones”. We see our friends buying new cars or going on vacations and feel bad if we don’t have enough money to afford the same lifestyle.

In many cases, credit counselling, debt consolidation, and debt settlement can help. But in the end, the only course for some to get out of debt is to file for bankruptcy.

4) Divorce or Separation

This is another big one I see. I’m not only a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer, I’m a divorce attorney as well, and I’ve seen first hand how divorce and separation impacts family and personal finances. The cost of running two households, support, and wage garnishments can push many over the edge into bankruptcy.

Although I don’t like to see it happen to my clients, specializing in both divorce and bankruptcy allows me to help them through to the other side of these two life-changing challenges.

5) Disasters and Unexpected Expenses

With luck and hard work, maybe you have a rainy-day fund. Or enough credit to help you get through an unexpected expense like large home repairs. Or good insurance coverage in case of a natural disaster, like a flood or storm.

But sometimes even the financial best planning can be blown away in an instant, leaving you wondering what to do next.

If you’re facing harassment from bill collectors, threats of legal action from people you owe money to, or may lose your home because of your debt, a bankruptcy lawyer can help.

Worried about bankruptcy? Contact Stephanie Krane-Boehmer, Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyer, for Help!

Stephanie understands how difficult the decision to file for bankruptcy is for her clients. She works hard to make the process as simple and understandable as possible. She is with you through every step of your case, providing the trusted advice and expertise you need to get out of debt and get on with your life.

If you live in Michigan, and are worried about bankruptcy, get in touch with Stephanie today.

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If you are experiencing serious issues with your finances, it’s a good idea to ask a bankruptcy lawyer before you pay back friends and family.

Say your best friend loaned you money to help you buy a car, or maybe your parents loaned you money for a down payment on a house. They are considered creditors if the agreement was that you would pay them back.

When friends, family, coworkers, neighbours, or anyone close to you lends you money, they are “insider creditors”. You have a close relationship with them, and they probably loaned you money because of that relationship.

Because of that, it’s natural to want to pay back your closest friends. It shows how much you care. But ultimately paying off friends and family could lead to a sticky situation if you need to file for bankruptcy.

Payments to Friends and Family Can be Clawed Back During Bankruptcy

There are provisions in place in the Bankruptcy Code to protect all of your creditors. When you file for bankruptcy, you must report any payments you made – including those you made to friends and family – in the previous year leading up to your bankruptcy.

When the bankruptcy process begins, a trustee is put in charge of working with your creditors to settle debts fairly and legally. The trustee could decide to claw back any payments made to your insider friends and family in order to pay off other creditors.

Despite your best efforts to pay them back for their support, this could leave your friends and family in financial hardship.

In general, payments under $600 will not be clawed back during bankruptcy proceedings. But to be sure, it’s a good idea to ask your bankruptcy lawyer.

I’m Getting A Tax Refund – Should I Pay off My Friends?

It’s almost tax season, and you may be expecting a tax return. Using that return to pay off your insider debts is a good idea, right?

Sadly, the answer to that is no. Over and above the reasons previously mentioned, there are cautions around tax refunds when you are declaring or considering declaring bankruptcy:

  • If you are already in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your tax refund will be held until you discharge your debt. That means you will not receive your tax refund until your bankruptcy is completed.
  • In addition, the Michigan Department of Treasury can withhold your return to repay certain debts such as back taxes, state agency debts, garnishments, or child support.

Paying Back Friends and Family – Timing is Key

As with most issues around bankruptcy, timing is key.

  • Paying back friends and family BEFORE bankruptcy – as discussed, they can be forced to pay back money you have given them. This can involve legal action which could lead to bad feelings or broken relationships, despite your good intentions.
  • Paying back friends and family DURING bankruptcy – once you start bankruptcy proceedings, you will be provided with a budget for your living expenses. You are not allowed to make “insider” payments to friends and family within that budget.
  • Paying back friends and family AFTER bankruptcy is the best way to ensure you can pay them back legally. Again, there are some times where this is not necessarily an option. Your bankruptcy lawyer can help you make the right legal decisions in these cases.

You are Allowed to Include Money Owed to Friends And Family in a Bankruptcy

Money you owe to insider creditors can be included in your bankruptcy. If that happens, your friends and family will be treated the same as any other person or organization you own money to. Depending on your financial situation, they may get partial repayment…or perhaps no money at all.

Looking for a Bankruptcy Lawyer You Can Trust?

If you are considering bankruptcy, contact Stephanie Krane-Boehmer for a free consultation. Stephanie takes a hands-on approach and tries to make the process of filing for bankruptcy as comfortable and understandable as possible. She takes pride in her expertise and always gives 100% to guide you through the process. Take control of your debt. Reach out to Stephanie today at 248‑293‑0048.

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You don’t have to be searching for a bankruptcy lawyer to want to control your holiday spending. It’s amazing that no matter how carefully you plan, your holiday budget can spin out of control. So, what can you do to manage holiday spending?

Tip 1: Budget in Advance and Set Aside Money Each Month

If you’re reading this in December, it’s too late for this year. So let’s get started next year! Make a list of everyone you are buying for this holiday. What you bought and how much you spent.

And I mean every gift. Even small gifts for teachers, those gifts of wine, cake or flowers you give during holiday visits. Extra tips you give out to your hairstylist or barber. Add the money you spend on holiday entertaining, or even buying a dress for the holiday party. These little bits add up and burn a hole in your wallet faster than you imagine.

Now take a close look at the list. Was it reasonable, or did you overspend? If you overspent, by how much? Make a reasonable budget for next holiday season, divide by 12, and start putting money aside in a holiday giving fund.

Tip 2: Be Realistic with Your Giving, and Communicate your Intention

Not everyone wants or needs gifts. Sure, we feel great giving a gift, but too often gift giving comes with a feeling of obligation on the part of the receiver. They get you a gift in anticipation of you giving them a gift. And vice-versa. It becomes a never-ending cycle.

How many gifts end up in the back of the closet? How many do you re-give? Young families might not have enough money to give a lot of gifts. Older parents may not have much they need.

With all this in mind, take a look your list and consider two factors:

  1. Do you really need to buy this person a gift? If the answer is no, strike them off your list.
  2. Would you be worried that they may feel they need to return the favor and may not have the money? If the answer is yes, put a question mark beside them.

Let these people know you are planning on cutting down on spending. You’ll be surprised at how many will understand – and support you.

If you are going through a bankruptcy, and you don’t want it known, you don’t have to tell people you are working with a bankruptcy lawyer. Many people simply want to make the holidays less commercial, and will assume you feel the same.

Tip 3: Stick to Your Decisions

Now comes the hard part. Sticking to it. If you have communicated in advance, and someone still buys you a present, accept it graciously. And don’t feel like you have to return the favor.

This is very difficult, but it’s necessary. If you are already working with a bankruptcy lawyer, or even if money is tight, you need to be strong and stick to your plan. Especially if you need to rebuild your credit.

Buying a gift without expecting one in return is everyone’s right. Expecting a gift in return is not. If you communicated your intention to not buy gifts before the holidays, you have done your part.

Tip 4: Use Only Cash or a Pre-loaded Credit Card

Control your spending by using cash, or a pre-loaded credit card. When the money is gone, it’s gone. Again, this one is hard, but any change can be challenging. If you want to succeed, you need to be honest with yourself and stick to your plans.

Tip 5: Give the Gift of Time

Baking, volunteering, crafts and DIY gifts – all these are great alternatives to store-bought gifts. Even better, the time you spend on them will keep you out of the stores, and away from impulse purchases.

Providing a loved one with something you have put your passion into can make that gift even more special and memorable.

In the end, isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Stephanie Krane-Boehmer is a bankruptcy lawyer and divorce lawyer located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. If you are considering credit counseling, debt settlement or filing for bankruptcy, Stephanie can help you get back on the road to financial health.

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Bankruptcy and death – two things most of us would rather not think about. Similar to our blog on Bankruptcy and Divorce. It’s not pretty, but it does happen. So, here’s what you need to know.

An estate planning lawyer can help with many things, like preparing your will, helping you make sure you communicate your end-of-life decisions. Most importantly, an estate planning lawyer can help make sure your assets transfer to the person(s) you wish to receive those items after your death.

But what happens if a death also involves bankruptcy?

Situation: You have declared bankruptcy, then get an inheritance

An inheritance after you’ve declared bankruptcy can seem to be a saving grace. But as with bankruptcy and divorce, timing is everything.

When you file for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy estate is created with a trustee to administer your assets. The inheritance can be added to those assets if you are in bankruptcy when your friend or relative passes away.

  • Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any cash you inherit is added to your total assets to help pay down debt. Property like cars or houses, unless exempt, will be liquidated and added to your estate.

However, any inheritance received more than 180 days after filing will remain your property. Note that the court uses the date of death as the inheritance date, not the date the inheritance is received.

  • Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the timing of the inheritance may not matter as much. The judge can choose to add your inheritance into your total income, increasing the amounts of your repayments.

Situation: You receive an inheritance from someone who has declared bankruptcy

When a person dies, they can pass their possessions along, but not necessarily their debt. But the inheritance may not end up coming to you if it is required to pay down the deceased’s debt.

  • Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the deceased’s assets are already under the care of the trustee. Debts will be paid off until the bankruptcy is discharged. Any non-empty remaining property is then passed to the heirs.

An Estate Planning Lawyer or Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help

If you are in one of the situations described above, an estate planning lawyer or bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate the courts and your options.

We can work with you to discharge your debt or help ensure you receive the inheritance you deserve.

You can also consult with an estate planning lawyer to set up a living trust for your property. In some cases, property in a trust will not be considered part of the bankruptcy estate. Property isn’t just a home or car. It can include family heirlooms and even cash.

Although a trust sounds like something only a very wealthy person might consider, almost anyone can set up a trust to save their heirs from dealing with probate or the additional challenges of bankruptcy after death.

Need help? Contact Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney Stephanie Krane-Boehmer

Stephanie Krane-Boehmer is an expert Michigan bankruptcy attorney and estate planning, lawyer. Stephanie is happy to help you with all your estate planning questions. Although dealing with legal matters can be intimidating, she will put you at ease with her experience, expertise and down-to-earth approach.

We are located in Rochester Hills and serve Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer Livingston, and Wayne Counties. We are here to support you through all aspects of your legal proceedings.

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