Archive for December, 2011

Have you been the victim of fraud?

Friday, December 30th, 2011

A person’s money problems may stem from losses arising out of improper conduct by others.  This type of loss can have wide ranging effects that can lead to a various type of legal problems including criminal charges, civil litigation, divorce and/or bankruptcy.  Some people resign themselves to the loss, while others lament the loss while still doing nothing about it.  They may feel cheated and tell friends they have not been treated fairly, but still do nothing about it.  Rather than just suffer the loss in silence or complain to others about the loss, it is a sound idea to investigate and evaluate whether there is recourse available under the law.  If so, there may be a way of preventing the kind of money problems that can lead to legal further difficulties.  It is important, however, to understand that the law does not consider every transaction that does not work out to one’s satisfaction as providing a legal basis for the disappointed person to sue the other party.  In order to pursue a legal action there must be a cause of action along with specific types of proof.

One of the more egregious types of loss is that which is caused by fraud.  To pursue a fraud claim there must be certain specific types of proof met. There is more than one way a person can be defrauded.  A common type of fraud is through the use of untrue representations.  A person who wants to pursue a claim for being defrauded through an untrue representation must meet applicable standards for doing so under the law of the appropriate jurisdiction.  This means that person may have to have facts to support his or her allegations and meet all of the elements of fraud by untrue representation required in the jurisdiction.  While each jurisdiction may have its own requirements, a party who feels defrauded by an untrue representation should review his or her fact situation with an attorney to see if the following elements are present in his or her fact situation.

  • Did the other party make representations to you?
  • Were the representations untrue?
  • Were the untrue representations as to a past and present fact?
  • Were the untrue representations of material importance?
  • Were the representations susceptible of knowledge?
  • Did the person making the untrue representation know them to be untrue or assert them as his or her own knowledge without knowing them to be true or false?
  • Were you induced to act on the untrue representations?
  • Did you act in reliance upon the untrue representations?
  • Did you suffer damage by the untrue representations?
  • Was the damage suffered caused by the untrue representations?

The above questions may be useful, but not determinative of whether there is a sufficient basis to proceed with a fraud claim for untrue representation.  It is important to know the law of the appropriate jurisdiction as to fraud and to evaluate whether you meet the requirements of that jurisdiction to proceed with this type of fraud claim.  It is a sound idea if you believe to have been legally harmed to contact a law firm to meet with an attorney who can advise you as to your rights and options.

This article is not intended to give legal advice and does not do so.  The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed lawyer.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Dealing with debt pressures

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Debt pressures can undermine a person’s ability to cope with everyday living. Sometimes these pressures become so all consuming that they distort a person’s judgment. Debtors have often mistakenly entered into illusory so called debt cutback programs only to find out later that they are in worse trouble than before. Debt can come out of one or more different situations including being wrongfully terminated from a job, discriminated against at the job, sexual harassment, expenses related to civil litigation, a divorce, medical bills, or business reversal. A debtor should make sure to know all of the available options for debt relief/elimination before jumping into a so-called debt resolution program. Beware of anything you get in the mail that promises to cut back debt. Get the true facts before considering any program that promises to help a person in financial difficulties. Not all programs that promise to help a debtor are the same and/or equally effective.

A licensed lawyer can help a debtor assess debt relief options no matter whether that person is experiencing financial troubles caused by investments that have become problematic, credit that is overextended, mortgage problems, past due rent, creditor harassment, or other related financial concerns such as threats of garnishment,  mortgage foreclosure or repossession. A debtor can explore with the attorney his or situation. At the meeting there can be a bankruptcy evaluation, which includes conducting a preliminary means test. A consumer can find out whether he or she is qualified for certain types of debt relief including Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If there are other legal issues that need to be explored such as in the employment, family or criminal law areas these should also be discussed with a lawyer as well. Dealing with a person’s legal issues in a timely manner is important and can help minimize exposure to greater debt and/or other legal problems.

This article is not intended to give legal advice and does not do so. The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Avoiding post job loss financial problems

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Employees often fall into the trap of believing that everything will be all right, no matter what, if they just do their job.  For some that may be true, but for other people it just is not in the cards.  This is especially true for people who may be target for illegal treatment by an employer based on illegal discrimination, harassment or because of retaliation for whistle blowing.  A worker who falls into one of these groups may, despite excellent job performance, be fired.  The loss of a job can be devastating for many reasons, including it can become related to a criminal charge, civil litigation, an attack on a professional license or result in the need to file bankruptcy

Employees who feel unfairly treated may try to track what occurs at the workplace by taking careful notes of what happens, when it happens, who is causing it and the names of any people who may have witnessed the event.  This is especially important if the worker faces a complaint against his or her occupational or professional license.  These types of employment related claims could have devastating consequences. An attack on an individual’s license may have more than one negative effect, including causing harm to the employee’s professional and even personal reputation, loss of income, loss of an asset base—such as a home or retirement plan, and even in some cases be accompanied by a related criminal charge or involved complex litigation.  A worker who is the subject of illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination of employment and/ or attack on a professional license should make an appointment to consult with a licensed attorney as soon as possible.  Timeliness is of the essence in legal matters.  Too many times people wait too long to try to assert their legal rights. 

One method to avoiding getting into deep financial trouble following the loss of employment is to cut back on expenses.  People who have lost their jobs often believe that their next job is just around the corner and rely on their credit cards to fill the gap between their former income and whatever income is available through unemployment or severance.  Relying on credit cards to fill the income gap, however, is a slippery slope.  If it takes longer than expected to find a new job, or the new job does not pay as well as the old job, people can find it difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to pay their credit card bills and keep their house and/or car payments current.  Sometimes, even the house and car payments that were affordable when employed become impossible when the sole source of income is unemployment compensation, assuming the employee is eligible for unemployment, or the income from the new job is less than that of the old job. 

The first step in protecting against severe financial and legal problems is to meet with a licensed attorney who can help an employee evaluate his or her legal rights and responsibilities.  If the person is already experiencing financial difficulties and in need of debt relief, the lawyer can conduct a bankruptcy evaluation which would include the means test to determine eligibility for bankruptcy relief.  This may include qualification for filing under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  At that time a person can also discuss whether there are alternatives to bankruptcy and whether such alternatives are feasible under the circumstances.

This article is not intended to give legal advice and does not do so.  The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Inattention to finances is never a sound business strategy

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

 Many small businesses fail early on because of a lack of insight into dealing with financial pressures.  While undercapitalization is a common problem there are many other factors that also come into play in undermining a small business financially.  A small business owner should from the start set up a proper set of book keeping procedures that will enable him or her to understand what is happening with the business’ finances.  A small business should keep proper records so there can be a clear record that can be reviewed when necessary any day the businesses financial situation.  This record should include information on the businesses assets and liabilities.  In assessing liabilities it is important to keep a proper record that can be reviewed of the business’ ability to pay for regular expenses, total amount of debt outstanding, financial status on all real estate related matters of the business, accounts receivable, judgments, if any, held by the business against others, judgments by creditors against the business, bank loans, utility payments, medical insurance, credit card obligations, contractual obligations, checking account balances, motor vehicle loan payments, medical insurance premiums, worker’s compensation insurance premiums, contents and liability insurance premiums, and tax obligations.

While each business must assess its own unique financial condition, there are some common type of situations that lead to financial instability resulting in the need to close the business and/or declare bankruptcy. What follows are some common types of situations that may lead to severe financial problems:

  • Making purchases without research and comparison-shopping.
  • Making large purchases that are beyond the business current ability to pay for them.
  • Purchasing things under payment arrangements that call for high interest rates.
  • Purchasing items with a credit card that are not affordable under the circumstances.
  • Utilizing a credit card to pay on bills and/or bills due on other credit cards
  • Inattention to the interest rate that a credit card carries with it.
  • Spending beyond the credit limit set by an account and incurring charges for being over the limit.
  • Spending money on advertising that is beyond what is reasonably budgeted in the hope that it will generate enough new business to pay for itself right away.
  • Taking large salaries that are beyond the current income of the firm.
  • Keeping too little cash in reserve to handle business slow downs, declines in income or emergencies.

 

Too many small businesses wait too long to do an evaluation of their financial situation.  A small business finding itself deeply pressed financially can contact a law firm that handles business financial issues to arrange to meet with a licensed lawyer.  At the meeting with the lawyer there can be a discussion of the legalities involved with the situation and, if desired, bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy that might be available.  In situation where there is a great amount of unpaid debt the business owner can explore potential legal help including relief under the federal bankruptcy law.

This article is not intended to give legal advice and does not do so.  The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed lawyer.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Failing To Recognize The Importance Of Employees

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Many business leaders have fallen into the trap of looking at employees as liabilities rather than assets. This viewpoint neglects what builds and sustains a business namely its employees while sowing the seeds for future problems such as labor unrest, employment claims, lower productivity and even the risk of bankruptcy. A myriad of legal problems are brought about by management neglecting to understand that its employees are a tremendous asset that can build good will and resulting profits. Neglecting to understand their importance starts a business on the slippery slope to deep problems. Often civil litigation against a business is based upon a failure to nurture and build its employees strengths and by proper training, supervision and encouragement of good habits and positive feedback. When employees feel neglected and/or unfairly treated it is difficult for them to be productive. Similarly when they are not properly trained or demoralized by discrimination, harassment or retaliation it is hard to avoid a weakening of performance by them which can lead to problems for a business. Instead of recognizing the importance of employees some businesses wrongly view workers as liabilities that can be cut by terminating jobs. In some cases employees who have reported suspected violations of law at the workplace have been punished. An employer who fails to correct reported problems but instead attacks the reporting worker only worsens the existing difficulty. Some employers have created a hidden agenda of not only wrongfully terminating employees who are whistleblowers but falsely accused them of bad conduct as not only a basis for the termination, but to hurt the employee’s credibility and future career. Another harmful practice of some employers is not to recognize the importance of having experienced workers. Instead these employers view older workers as a great liability based upon the fallacious thinking that Older workers have established higher salaries and benefits that if cut will make the business more profitable. Losing experienced workers not only cuts down on productivity but creates other problems as well. Minority employees can sometimes be the target for a business who fails to recognize the importance of workers. Employees who may be classified by the employer as having a minority status may also be vulnerable for wrongful discharge of employment. Rather than admit that it is necessary to cut employees and run the risk of either a breach of contract or discrimination claim by an employee, the employer creates a false accusation against the employee as a pre-textual basis for the termination of that employee’s job. A positive work environment that aims to build a strong and happy work force is an excellent safeguard to protect a business from a number of different potential financial and legal problems. When a business is experiencing legal related problems it is a sound idea to contact a law firm that provides legal service for the type of difficulty involved in the situation. An appointment should be set up to meet with a licensed lawyer who can advise on applicable legal rights and responsibilities. Fair business practices and being law abiding are important to the success of any business.

This article does not give legal advice and is not intended to give legal advice. The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed lawyer.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Can My Boss Fire Me For No Reason?

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

A common question that employees raise is can their employer fire them under a particular set of circumstances? To answer a question like this it takes knowing all the facts, what contracts may be in effect and the applicable law for a particular jurisdiction. Each state has its own employment laws. In general the belief that an employer can fire a person anytime with or without reason tends to be in inaccurate. The right to fire an employee may generally be weakened by a number of factors such as if there is a contract in effect, if the firing is based on retaliation for reporting a suspected violation of law or based upon illegal discrimination. An employee should not take for granted that his employer can do anything he, she or it wants to do, but rather consult with a licensed lawyer. An experienced employment lawyer may be able to provide helpful information to a person who is concerned with being fired or already has been fired. The termination of an employee may be based on a hidden agenda of the employers. Some employers retaliate against employees by not only terminating their employment but falsely accusing the employee of bad conduct as not only a basis for the termination, but to hurt the employee’s credibility and future career. Employers also sometimes find that their business may be experiencing financial pressures and figure that firing an employee will save the cost of paying wages and benefits. Older workers who have established higher salaries and benefits may be especially vulnerable to this type of termination of employment. Employees who may be classified by the employer as having a minority status may also be a target for losing their job by being wrongfully fired. Instead of admitting the need to cut down staff and run the risk of either a breach of contract or discrimination claim by an employee, the employer creates a false accusation against the employee as a pre-textual basis for the termination of that employee’s job. An employee who faces what appears to be an unreasonable firing should take immediate steps to have his or her situation investigated and evaluated to determine his or her legal rights. Time is of the essence in dealing with legal matters so an employee should not hesitate to consult with a lawyer where there are potential legal problems at the workplace including being fired. An aggrieved employee should contact a law firm who handles employment matters and set up an appointment to meet an employment attorney to discuss the situation and get answers to troubling legal questions. If an employee is experiencing severe financial difficulties it is a sound idea to make an appointment to consult with a licensed lawyer who is experienced in handling debt relief. Some law firms have attorneys who handle both employment legal matters and provide bankruptcy services. In meeting with a bankruptcy attorney a debtor can learn what laws may be available to help deal with financial pressures. At a meeting with a bankruptcy attorney there can be a discussion and evaluation of the potential for qualifying for bankruptcy.

This article does not give legal advice and is not intended to do so. The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed lawyer.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Troubled By Debt Pressures

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Debt pressures can become such a burden that they interfere with a person’s ability to cope with other daily needs. When this happens a consumer often thinks seriously about pursuing bankruptcy. This type of debt relief does have specific requirements that must be met. Not every person who is deep in debt may automatically meet these requirements to declare bankruptcy. It is important for a consumer who is interest in bankruptcy to understand that the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, also known as BAPCPA and passed in 2005, established a means test to help debtors determine if they are eligible to file a bankruptcy. The purpose of this test is also to determine who may be able to repay some of their debt and who will need many of their debts to be discharged. The bankruptcy means test is not just a matter of plugging in numbers. This test requires careful calculations and thorough analysis of a debtor’s financial circumstances. The means test may be said to contain more than one component. It is wise for a debtor who is contemplating bankruptcy to gather all related financial information including recent tax returns, a copy of a monthly budget, complete list of all debts, written breakdown of assets and earning records and make an appointment to go to a Minnesota law firm to meet with a bankruptcy attorney.  At a meeting with  a licensed lawyer there can be an evaluation of these material to determine a consumer’s eligibility for bankruptcy. That consideration by the lawyer may include taking your monthly income from all sources, and then determining whether any of your income might be excluded from the income calculations. Once your current monthly income (CMI) is determined, it can be compared to the median income for your area. If you meet this threshold, you may be on your way to potentially passing the Chapter 7 means test and be eligible to declare bankruptcy. There is however, still more evaluation that needs to be completed to determine if there are any other issues that might impact a consumer’s ability to qualify for bankruptcy and specifically which type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, best fits that person’s needs given the applicable facts. given the complexity of the factors to be considered and there importance to a consumer it is wise for him or her to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney that is licensed in the applicable state to get help in the consideration of whether bankruptcy is an available option for relief given the facts.

This article is not intended to give legal advice and does not do so. The reading of this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship or substitute for consulting with a licensed lawyer.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Cod

Financial Problems Related To Litigation

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

There are many drains on a business’s finances that can lead to bankruptcy. One of these drains are expensive litigation involving employees. A business should avoid problems with employees for a number of reasons besides just trying to save on the expense of litigation. Disputes with employees can seriously hurt employee morale and lead to low productivity. The following are a few suggestions on minimizing conflict at the workplace.

Follow fair employment practices that are consistently applied to workers. Make sure that the employment practices meet all legal requirements. Keep appraised of your legal responsibilities and obligations. Regular and timely consultation with a licensed lawyer is very useful. The lawyer can provide important advice on employers legal rights and obligations. If there is an employee handbook it is important that that everything in it is consistent with prevailing law and is updated as needed. An employee handbook or other employment rules should be well distributed. It is important that employees have fair, adequate and timely notice of all rules they are expected to follow.

Make sure that the workplace promotes equality of treatment of employees. Employer should ensure that business is free from discriminatory conduct. All team leaders, supervisors, managers or officers dealing with employees should be properly trained on correct approaches in dealing with workers. The training should emphasize making sure that they understand that employees must be treated in a nondiscriminatory manner.

If a business makes a promise to worker it should be kept. It is important for a business to understand that the broken promises by it can lead to costly civil litigation.

In dealing with employees it is important to keep proper documentation of their activities and progress on the job. If there are difficulties with an employee they should be well documented. In situations where an employee does something wrong that person should be promptly and fairly appraised of the difficulty with what has taken place. The incident of improper conduct, witnesses to it, evidence of it and what was said to an employee about it should be very well documented. Providing written notice of a problem with an employee’s conduct should be provided to him or her in a timely manner. Proof of such notice is an important type of documentation.

Employers should be very careful in making sure that they have proper documentation of improper conduct by an employee and have provided fair notice to an employee of such inappropriate behavior to the employee before rushing into a termination of the employees conduct. Rushing into firing employees without adequate proof of improper conduct, documentation and notice can lead to costly litigation.

Terminating a worker is a serious step that should be well thought out before embarking on it. Prior to firing a worker it is a sound idea to contact a law firm to set up a consultation with an employment attorney to make sure that all proper legal steps are taken by the business.

This article does not give legal advice and is not intended to give legal advice. The reading of it does not establish an attorney-client relationship and does not substitute for consulting with a licensed lawyer.

We are debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the bankruptcy code.

What Debt Relief Is Right For YOU?

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Money problems play havoc present a wise range of problems for many people.  Financial pressures not only can prevent a person being effective at work, but also cause collateral problems. The result of these money problems is that a debtor may find that he or she wants a fresh start to get free of debt.   There is a common solution that is proposed by friends and relatives to a person who is experiencing  financial problems.  That solution is for the person to declare  bankruptcy. Notwithstanding to commonality of this advise the question still remains, is Bankruptcy for right for you?. The reality is that each person must examine his or her own financial situation to determine what must be done to clear it up. A debtor who is searching for a resolution to financial pressures needs to examine his or her financial situation in an objective manner. This means not only gathering all of the financial information, organizing it and analyzing it, but learning all available options to resolve outstanding financial difficulties. A first step is to gather the following:

  1. All income documentation for the past six months including not only pay stubs, but also any other financial assistance provided to the consumer as well as all income from other sources for both the debtor and his or her spouse.
  2. A complete list of all monthly expenses.
  3. A list of all secured debt such as mortgage and/or automobile payments.
  4. The past due amounts, if any, on all secured debt.
  5. All income from investments, interest, dividends, pensions, retirement income, social security benefits, disability benefits, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, child support, alimony or spousal maintenance.
  6. All business income. This should include gross receipts from the operation of the business, the cost of goods sold as well as all business expenses.
  7. Contributions to household expenses and income from others, such as spouses, partners, roommates, family members and others who contribute to the debtor’s income and/or expenses, whether they reside with the debtor or not.
  8. The debtor’s household size including all persons currently residing with the debtor such as the debtor’s spouse, if any, children, other family members such as parents, brothers, sisters, other relatives, roommates, significant others, partner and other household members.

If the debtor is married and his or her spouse resides elsewhere, then information about the spouse’s income and expenses will be needed as well. After all of the information has been gathered and reviewed it is a sound idea to consult with a licensed lawyer who can go over the facts with you and provide information on available debt relief. At that time there can be consideration of whether the debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The means test may be used to evaluate the qualification of a consumer for bankruptcy. This review of eligibility covers a consumer’s financial ability to deal with his or her current financial circumstances.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.