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Hess Kennedy Company (Posted: Sep 25)
HESS KENNEDY COMPANY - HESS KENNEDY LAW FIRM

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm "Let an attorney settle your debts!" is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. We currently manage $6.8 Billion Dollars for 3500 clients worldwide. While our core concentration is that of asset protection and wealth management, we have expanded our areas of practice into other disciplines.

Through a series of sophisticated disciplines, Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm has established an effective manner of dealing with original creditors, third party debt collectors, and consumer credit reporting agencies.

Our certified accountants and paralegals at Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm will put together and analyze your personal income statement, in order to determine as to whether or not you qualify for a consolidation loan; informal re-organization plan through an approved 501(c)(3); debt settlement program; or a formal bankruptcy proceeding.

We will ensure that your rights are well protected and curb collection abuse. Our strategy is extremely effective.

Some of the global services that we offer are:
• Bankruptcy Protection
• Wealth Management
• Credit Counseling
• Debt Settlement
• Asset Protection
About Us

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. We currently manage $6.8 Billion Dollars for 3500 clients worldwide.

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm believes that integrity, honesty, and values play a major role in the culture of a company. Therefore we take great measures to ensure that all of our staff shares in our vision and commitment to professional excellence. We believe that it is upon this cornerstone that sets our company apart from others and our clients feel a sense of true security and well being the minute they engage with our company. When it comes to the details and consideration of the things that really matter you can rest easy knowing that when you work with Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm nothing is overlooked.

Contact Us

Please fill out our short form below, and we will contact you shortly!

USA OFFICES:
CLC Coral Springs Florida
210 North University Drive , Second Floor
Coral springs , FL 33071
Florida@hesskennedylaw.com
954-345-7848 Tel.
954-344-8438 Fax.

CLC New York City
1622 York Avenue
New York , NY 33432
New.York@hesskennedylaw.com

CLC London United Kingdom
c/o Edward Cherry
10th Floor, 1 Stephen Street
London , W1T 1AT , UK
London@hesskennedylaw.com

CLC Hilton Head South Carolina
112-A Arrow Road
Hilton Head , SC 29938-6658
South.Carolina@hesskennedylaw.com

CLC Costa Mesa California
1011 Brioso Drive, Suite 101A
Costa Mesa , CA 92627
California@hesskennedylaw.com

CLC Chicago Illinois
954 WEST GRACE STREET
CHICAGO , IL 60613
Illinois@hesskennedylaw.com

CLC Stockholm Sweden
WARFVINGES VAG 24
P.O BOX 30107
SE-104 25 STOCKHOLM
Sweden@hesskennedylaw.com

CLC Grand Cayman
WALKER HOUSE, 87 MARY STREET
GEORGETOWN
GRAND CAYMAN, KY1-9001
CAYMAN ISLANDS
Grand.Cayman@hesskennedylaw.com

Hess Kennedy Company Bankruptcy Protection

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm explains Bankruptcy is defined as a legal finding that declares the inability or impairment of ability of a debtor whether an individual or a business entity, to pay its creditors. An insolvent individual debtor, that is a debtor with more liabilities than assets, can use the personal bankruptcy process to legally avoid paying almost all of his or her personal liabilities either temporarily or permanently.

Bankruptcy law in United States which is codified in Title 11 of United States Codes as Bankruptcy Code aims to give an honest debtor a "fresh start" in life unburdened by most of his former debts. An individual debtor can seek relief by filing petitions according to the chapters in the code that deal with personal bankruptcy. For individuals, the two most relevant chapters in the code are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. If you have any questions regarding this please contact Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm.

Chapter 7 gives a discharge to the debtor by allowing a court appointed trustee to liquidate the non exempt assets of debtor and distribute the proceeds among the creditors. Chapter 13 allows the debtors to payoff whole or part of their debts through a trustee according to a court approved repayment plan usually lasting from three to five years.

Debtor has to decide which method suits him best. While debtor can get a discharge fairly promptly by filing under Chapter 7, this method might entail losing important personal property like the home, if it is not exempted. If you need help understanding this please contact Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor the use of property and consolidates his debts together. However since the debtor has to stick to a repayment plan, he must have a regular income and accept the fact that full discharge can only come at the completion of repayment plan.

Concerns of the debtor

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm wants to make it clear that another advantage to the debtor that results from personal bankruptcy filing is that all actions already started against the debtor must cease and no further actions can be initiated by creditors once the petition is filed, due to the 'automatic stay' that comes in to effect.

Bankruptcy filing is a matter of public record, but in practice hardly anybody will find this out unless they are personally involved in the case. However, the bankruptcy filing will be on the debtor's credit record for ten years. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm explains more. Debtor can hope to obtain fresh credit fairly quickly after he is discharged, in comparison to a heavily burdened debtor. Decision of course depends on the new creditor and is fairly complex with many other factors also contributing.

Whether a personal bankruptcy filing will affect the husband or the wife of the debtor will depend on the State the filing is done and on whether some of the debts are secured.

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm wants you to know that in 2005 Congress made several changes to bankruptcy law to prevent abuse. These include, 'means testing' and filing of tax returns to see whether debtors can in fact pay the debts instead of avoiding them, a two year residency requirement in the State concerned to prevent debtors taking advantage of differences between states as to property exemptions etc., and mandatory debt counseling before filing among others.

Hess Kennedy Company Wealth Management

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm says for wealth management whether you are planning for college, a new career, marriage, or retirement, at Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm we realize that making decisions around these life events can be challenging. We have the tools to get you started, and our Financial Advisors can help lead you where you want to go-just talk to us.

Retirement
Create a retirement strategy to fit your needs and lifestyle, no matter what stage of your career or retirement you are in.

Job Change
If you're thinking of changing jobs, carefully consider your options before making any decisions regarding funds in your employer's retirement plan-the choice you make now can have a significant impact on retirement savings.

College
Parents and students-find out about the best way to save and pay for an education.

Major Purchase
It may be your dream to buy a boat, take an extended vacation, or purchase a new home. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm can help make a major purchase become a reality.

Change in Marital Status
When you have a change in marital status, you should also consider how the change will impact your finances.

Inheritance
Inheriting a large sum of money can be a once-in-a-lifetime event that could help you create a solid financial foundation.

Estate
Estate planning is not just for the very wealthy. If you wish to control the distribution of your assets and reduce the tax burden to your heirs, you should have an effective estate plan in place.
Hess Kennedy Company Credit Counseling

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm will work with approved debt consolidation organizations that negotiate with over 50,000 creditors and we are confident that we will be able to help you to develop a debt consolidation repayment plan or credit card management plan that will fit your budget and help you to reach your goal of becoming DEBT FREE! Remember THERE IS LIFE AFTER DEBT and we will help you get back on track

Credit Card Management

If you carry a balance, a credit card debt can be like a very expensive loan made by banks, gasoline companies or department stores. These credit card debts yield high profits to their issuers for several reasons. The most important is the high rate of interest (as high as 33% each year).

Interest from a credit card alone can account for the bulk of the profits earned by the bank that issued you the credit card. Also, many credit card companies charge an annual fee for issuing you the credit card, and most of these companies charge late fees, over-the-limit fees and other miscellaneous charges. Finally, the banks and loan companies profit by charging the merchants and service providers a fee each time a customer uses the loan company's credit card in the merchant's establishment.

Our debt consolidation and credit card management program can help you put an end to these high interest credit card debts. A Certified Debt Counselor will contact you within the next 24 hours with your free consultation. Please have your most recent Credit Card Statements available and we will show you how to consolidate them to save you from 20% to as much as 60% in monthly payments!

Hess Kennedy Company Debt Settlement

NOTICE TO CONSUMERS
IMPORTANT PLEASE READ

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm says if you are having debt problems, you may fee overwhelmed and powerless. During periods of financial hardship, you may not have the resources to pay pressing debts, to meet family needs, and to get legal help. You may feel helpless to fight debt collectors pressing you for payment or threatening to seize your home, car, or other possessions.

We will help you make the best choices possible despite difficult financial circumstances. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm will help you decide whether there are debts you can ignore and what your options are when you cannot ignore a particular debt. Most important, we will make sure that your rights as a consumer are protected. Many state and federal laws are designed to help people facing financial problems.

Most people in financial distress will first want to deal with the worst symptoms of a deteriorating financial situation. However, you should never make a decision based upon what a debt collector tells you. If you have an issue, have the debt collector call your attorney three-way to confirm what they have just said. Or, tell the debt collector that you need to call your attorney first, or better yet, ask the debt collector to contact us directly.

When your financial condition is such that you cannot meet your monthly payment requirements, we are here to develop a long-term strategy to deal with your debt problems. This strategy involves figuring out those debts that you need to repay, and understanding the likely consequences if you cannot pay certain debts.

The first discipline that you need to learn is keeping a log of your income and expenses for a few months. You should have already submitted an income statement worksheet to the lawyer referral firm that referred you to our law firm. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm will make sure that we have this.

The second discipline is determining the priority of your debt. Debts with collateral are top priority. These include mortgages, rent, car loans, and loans secured by household goods. Debts without collateral are low priority debts. These include credit cards, charge cards, medical bills, gasoline cards, payday loans, and loans from family or friends.

The third discipline involves identifying those debts that should be paid first.
Always pay family necessities. This means food and unavoidable medical expenses.

Next pay your housing related bills. Pay your mortgage or rent if at all possible. If you own a home, pay your non-deferrable real estate taxes and your insurance unless they are included in the monthly payment. Failure to pay these bills can result in the loss of your home or apartment. If you are having a serious problem that requires you to move, you might stop paying the mortgage or rent. When you do so, do not spend this money. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm says save this money as a fund to use when you move, and to put down any required down payment.

Pay the minimum required to keep your essential utility service. You should pay the minimum payment necessary to avoid disconnection. It would not make sense to work hard to keep your house or apartment only to not be able to live there because of no utility service.

Pay car loans or car leases if you need to keep your car. If you need your car to get to work or for other essential transportation you should make your car payment your next priority after food, housing costs, and utilities. You may want to pay for the car first if the car is necessary to keep your job.

You must pay your child support debts. A child support debt will not go away. If you need to modify a final order of child support obligation, then do it. You will have to prove that your financial condition has dramatically changed, and some states have minimum thresholds. However, if you do not make these payments, you can lose your license and go to jail.

Income tax debts are a high priority. You must pay income taxes you owe that are not automatically deducted from your wages. You must pay file your federal income tax returns, even if you do not have the money to pay the tax liability. The government has powerful collection rights that other creditors do not have, particularly if you do not file your returns. If your income has been reduced due to a change in circumstances, you can have your tax liability reduced.

Loans without collateral are low priority. Most credit card debts, doctor and hospital bills, and other debts, such as open accounts with merchants, and similar debts are low priority. You have not secured any property with these debts, and in the short term, creditors cannot hurt you.

Do not move a debt up in priority because a creditor or debt collector threatens to sue you. Many threats to sue are not carried out. Even if the creditor does sue, it will take a while before the collector can seize any property, and much of your property may be exempt from seizure.

Court judgments against you move a debt up in priority, but less than you think. After a collector obtains a court judgment, that debt is often higher priority because the creditor can now ask a court to seize certain pieces of property, wages, and bank accounts. However, as to whether or not it is a serious threat will depend upon your state’s law, the value of the property, and your income.

Debt collection efforts should never move up a debt’s priority. Be polite to the debt collector, but make your own choices. Debt collectors are unlikely to give you good advice. Debt collectors may be most aggressive when trying to get you to pay debts that should be paid last, if at all. You should never listen to what a debt collector says until you have had time to contact your lawyer or paralegal.

Threats to ruin your credit record should never move up a debt’s priority. Many collectors that threaten to report your delinquency to a credit bureau have already done so. If the creditor has not yet reported the status of your account to a credit bureau, it is unlikely that a collector hired by that creditor will do so.

Refinancing is rarely the answer. You should always be careful about refinancing. It can be very expensive and it can give creditors more opportunities to seize your important assets.

You have retained this law firm because you can no longer afford the required payments to your creditors each month. The objective is to achieve a settlement on the balances owed to your creditors. Although in our experience, creditors accept settlement offers, we must disclose that there are inherent risks with not making payments to your creditors. Some of these risks include: late fees, penalties, and interest will continue to accrue on the consumers debt until the creditors accept and receive a settlement; (2) a creditor(s) may still sue to collect on the debts and garnish your wages; (3) interest rates applicable to the debt may increase; (4) any money saved in negotiating a settlement with a creditor must be treated as income for tax purposes; and (5) a debt settled for less than the full amount owed may result in a negative notation on your credit report. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm

Hess Kennedy Company Asset Protection

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm is your premiere source for asset protection and financial privacy when it comes to business and individual assets. With offices in Florida, New York, California, Grand Cayman, Singapore, and soon opening in Sweden, Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm will consult with you to ensure confidentiality of all your information and to make sure your service is personalized specifically for your needs.

You are a very successful business owner, entrepreneur, or professional who has worked all your life to grow your wealth to give you and the people you love lifelong financial peace of mind and security. In one brief meeting we will show you to what extent your assets are at risk.

Some Threats to Your Assets Abound
• Frivolous lawsuits
• A negligence or injury claim, whether justified or not, that exceeds any insurance coverage you may have including an umbrella policy
• Breach of contract through no fault of your own
• A professional malpractice suit
• Lawsuits from disgruntled business partners or employees
• Loan guarantees
• Huge fines and penalties for violating state or federal law because of the actions of an employee
• Seizure of your primary residence or other assets without due process by a government agencies with forfeiture power-The Patriot Act
• Collection attorneys
• Creditors
• The IRS-huge tax bill and escalating penalties following an IRS audit
• Divorce
Customer Service - Hess Kennedy Company

CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm says it may take time to contact your creditors and assist you with your request, so please give us 3 business days (please be advised that holidays may delay response time) to research and respond to you with a resolution to your request. It is very important that you include the telephone number or e-mail address at which to contact you. If you are asking for a call back please indicate the best time to reach you. Please remember to continue to monitor your statements. Thank you.

If you prefer to speak directly with a Customer Service Representative you may call us at 1-866-681-2263. Please note the most efficient way to contact Customer Service is in filling out the form below.

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm Payment Address and Instructions

The following payment instructions are only for clients that have already formally enrolled in the program by making their first payment.

PAYMENT ADDRESS

After making the first payment all subsequent payments should be mailed to:

Hess Kennedy & Company
PO Box 854
Syosset, NY 11791

VERY IMPORTANT
1. All payments must be made payable to "Hess Kennedy & Company".
2. Hess Kennedy & Company will not accept cash or personal checks as payment.
3. Hess Kennedy & Company gladly accepts certified checks, money orders, bank checks, and Western Union Quick Collect. Please see instructions below.
4. Please make sure you clearly print your name and social security number on all payments.

As a means of ensuring timely payments, we recommend the use of Western Union "Quick Collect" Service. The cost of Western Union "Quick Collect" Service is approximately the same as a guaranteed overnight delivery service.

WESTERN UNION

How to use Western Union "Quick Collect" Service:
1.Go to a Western Union designated facility.
2.Select the Western Union "Quick Collect" form (Blue Form).
3.Complete the left-hand side of the form. Your account number will be your social security number. The city and state code will be "CCOADMP, FL". Remember to make the payment payable to "Hess Kennedy & Company".
4.If you need assistance, ask the cashier.

ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER

Hess Kennedy & Company can have your monthly payments electronically withdrawn from your bank account. This process is called Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT.

Before enrolling, we would like you to read the following "Frequently Asked Questions". If you would like to enroll in the EFT program, there is a button at the end of this section that will link you to the appropriate form. You must print and complete the forms and fax it back to Hess Kennedy & Company.

EFT Frequently Asked Questions

When a counselor sets up an eft at the onset of the program, how long does it take to get started?

If your account was set up on EFT by your counselor, the second payment and all future payments will be withdrawn from your checking account on the date you requested.


How long will it take to set up an account on the EFT program when it is set up through customer service?

Once you fill out the required paperwork we will process your EFT within 72 hours.

What dates are EFT payments pulled?

EFT’s are pulled on the date you specified when you first joined the program. Your creditor due dates should be 15 days after your EFT is pulled.

Can a due date be changed once the EFT is established?

You may change your due date but you must be aware that in doing so you may have to change creditor due dates. If this is not done you may incur late fees from your creditors. Your creditor due date should be 15 days after the EFT debit date. Please be aware if you change your EFT date it might cause a delay or loss of APP benefits.

What happens if a payment is returned for insufficient funds?

If your EFT payment is returned twice in a row, we will not attempt to withdraw the funds again. You will need to contact customer service to reestablish the EFT.

Does the client get charged for insufficient funds?

Insufficient funds for EFT payments are the same as bouncing a check. Your financial institution may assess a fee. Hess Kennedy & Company will charge a $25 insufficient funds handling fee. This fee will be added to your next EFT debit.

What if I want to stop the EFT program or need to change the bank information?

To stop an EFT or change bank information, we must receive an updated kwik pay form along with a copy of a voided check reflecting the new account info at least 3 business days prior to the date the funds are to be transferred. To expedite your request, please fax the information to 866-681-2266.

What if I want to increase/decrease the amount of the money you deducted from my account?

If you want to change the amount of money deducted from your account, you must call Customer Service 3 business days prior to the date the money is scheduled to be debited. If you are increasing a creditor's payment per their request and you have missed the EFT due date for the current month, send the increased funds directly to the creditor for that month only. Call Customer Service to increase your EFT payment for the following month. Example: Your EFT will be debited within 3 days and you received a letter to increase Creditor A from $20 to $25. Send Creditor A $5 directly for the current month and call Customer Service to have EFT increased by $5 for the following month.

Can I pay an account(s) off through EFT?

Accounts can be paid off through EFT. You must call 3 business days prior to the EFT due date to increase the amount deducted from your account. After the increase payment has been deducted, it is important that you call Customer Service to adjust your payment back to the regular payment amount.

There is a $5,000 limit on EFT's. If you would like to payoff accounts and the amount exceeds $5,000 please call Customer Service and they will assist you.

Is there a minimum payment required for EFT?

No.

Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm Important Information For New Clients

IMPORTANT -READ CAREFULLY

Please be sure to read your information package that we mailed to you. During the 30-90 day negotiation period, the proposed payment suggested by your counselor may not meet the minimum requirement of your creditors. We encourage you to pay your creditors the difference of the proposed payment and the minimum payment on your statement during the negotiation period. Once your proposal is accepted by your creditor, this will not be necessary.

To view your proposed payment amounts, please click here

Our program is, in part, a self-help program and we depend on you to take an active role in making the program a success. Telephone calls from your creditors are an indication that adjustments need to be made on your account. If your creditors are calling, it is your responsibility to assist us in determining the root of the problem as a measure of ensuring that program benefits are applied. Failure to follow up with your creditors may lead to program benefits not being applied, which may cause your balances to increase. In many cases this involves you calling your creditors to determine the reason why you are being called or why your statements due not reflect program benefits.

Following is a list of reasons why your creditors may be calling and how you can assist in stopping the calls:
• Your creditors have not received a scheduled payment - If you have been making timely payments through our program and your creditors are calling, you may need to adjust your due date with them. Your creditor due dates should coincide with our disbursal date which is usually 6 business days after we receive your payment. These payments should post within 15-20 business days after you made your payment to us. Call your creditors and advise them of payment disbursal dates and amounts based on the information that is provided for you on our info link. If they have not credited payments that were sent to them, the payments may still be in transit or they may be in the process of posting them to your account.
• Your Creditors did not accept or process your proposal-When you speak to the creditor, if they did not process a proposal and need another one or if it was denied, please contact us so we may adjust your account and/or send a new proposal. Try to get a fax # from your creditor so we may expedite the proposal acceptance process.
• It is normal to receive calls from your creditors after making your first payment. Refer them to Hess Kennedy & Company's Creditor Service number: 1-631-940-2418. Hess Kennedy & Company will confirm that you are enrolled in the program.
• Negotiation Period -After you enroll by making your first payment, the initial 30-90 day period is considered the negotiation period. Your creditors will not receive payments from us until you make a second payment to the program. Your creditors want to see evidence of commitment to the program. It is important that your second payment is made on time or your creditors may not accept your proposal. At the end of the negotiation period (30 - 90 days after your first payment), we encourage you to call your creditors to ensure that they processed and accepted your proposals. Some creditors may not re-age your account (bring your account back to a current status) until your proposal has been accepted and you have made three consecutive payments.
It is very important to remember to monitor your monthly statements to ensure you are receiving the appropriate benefits.

Hess Kennedy Company – Hess Kennedy Law Firm

The Fourth Circuit Denies Litigation Immunity Defense to FDCPA Defendant

The Fourth Circuit held that there is no immunity for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims that accrue during or after litigation. In Sayyed v. Wolpoff & Abramson, 485 F.3d 226 (4th Cir. 2007), a consumer sued National Debt Collection firm Wolpoff & Abramson alleging that the debt collector violated the Fair Debt collection Practices Act by misrepresenting the amount of the debt during discovery. This ruling opens the door for claims against debt collectors even when they sue a consumer. Any consumer currently involved in litigation with a debt collector or that has been contacted by a debt collector should email: info@hesskennedylaw.com, Hess Kennedy Company – Hess Kennedy Law Firm for a free consultation.

The Federal Trade Commission Fall Workshop May Produce Debt Collection Reforms

The Federal Trade Commission is requesting comments in order to convene a fall workshop regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Federal Agency responsible for consumer protection will investigate Abusive Credit Practices, the growth in the Debt Buyer Industry, Abuse of the Courts, Abuse of Mandatory Arbitration, and the Use of Electronic Collection Methods. Any consumer who has been contacted by a third party debt collector should email: info@hesskennedylaw.com, Hess Kennedy Company – Hess Kennedy Law Firm for a free consultation.

A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, has prepared a brochure, Your Access to Free Credit Reports, explaining your rights under the FCRA and how to order a free annual credit report.

A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.

How do I order my free report?

You can order your free annual credit report online at annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

When you order, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.

A Warning About "Imposter" Sites

The FTC advises consumers who order their free annual credit reports online to be sure to correctly spell annualcreditreport.com, or link to it from the FTC's website to avoid being misdirected to other websites that offer supposedly free reports, but only with the purchase of other products. While consumers may be offered additional products or services while on the authorized website, they are not required to make a purchase to receive their free annual credit reports.

Before You File for Personal Bankruptcy:

Information About Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Produced in cooperation with the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program.
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 launched a new era: With limited exceptions, people who plan to file for bankruptcy protection must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within 180 days before they file. They also must complete a debtor education course to have their debts discharged.

The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program approves organizations to provide the mandatory credit counseling and debtor education. Only the counselors and educators that appear on the U.S. Trustee Program’s lists can advertise that they are, indeed, approved to provide the required counseling and debtor education. By law, the U.S. Trustee Program does not operate in Alabama and North Carolina; in these states, court officials called Bankruptcy Administrators approve pre-bankruptcy credit counseling organizations and pre-discharge debtor education course providers.

Counseling and Education Requirements

As a rule, pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and pre-discharge debtor education may not be provided at the same time. Credit counseling must take place before you file for bankruptcy; debtor education must take place after you file.

In general, you must file a certificate of credit counseling completion when you file for bankruptcy, and evidence of completion of debtor education after you file for bankruptcy – but before your debts are discharged. Only credit counseling organizations and debtor education course providers that have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program may issue these certificates. To protect against fraud, the certificates are produced through a central automated system and are numbered.

Pre-bankruptcy Counseling

A pre-bankruptcy counseling session with an approved credit counseling organization should include an evaluation of your personal financial situation, a discussion of alternatives to bankruptcy, and a personal budget plan. A typical counseling session should last about 60 to 90 minutes, and can take place in person, on the phone, or online. The counseling organization is required to provide the counseling free of charge for those consumers who cannot afford to pay. If you cannot afford to pay a fee for credit counseling, you should request a fee waiver from the counseling organization before the session begins. Otherwise, you may be charged a fee for the counseling, which will generally be about $50, depending on where you live, the types of services you receive, and other factors. The counseling organization is required to discuss any fees with you before starting the counseling session.

Once you have completed the required counseling, you must get a certificate as proof. Check the U.S. Trustee’s website to be sure that you receive the certificate from a counseling organization that is approved in the judicial district where you are filing bankruptcy. Credit counseling organizations may not charge an extra fee for the certificate.

Post-Filing Debtor Education

A debtor education course by an approved provider should include information on developing a budget, managing money, using credit wisely, and other resources. Like pre-filing counseling, debtor education may be provided in person, on the phone, or online. The debtor education session might last longer than the pre-filing counseling – about two hours – and the typical fee is between $50 and $100. As with pre-filing counseling, if you are unable to pay the session fee, you should seek a fee waiver from the debtor education provider. Check the list of approved debtor education providers at Approved Providers of Personal Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education) Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 111 or at the bankruptcy clerk’s office in your district.

Once you have completed the required debtor education course, you should receive a certificate as proof. This certificate is separate from the certificate you received after completing your pre-filing credit counseling. Check the U.S. Trustee’s website to be sure that you receive the certificate from a debtor education provider that is approved in the judicial district where you filed bankruptcy. Unless they have disclosed a charge to you before the counseling session begins, debtor education providers may not charge an extra fee for the certificate.

Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Credit Counselor

It’s wise to do some research when choosing a credit counseling organization. If you are in search of credit counseling to fulfill the bankruptcy law requirements, make sure you receive services only from approved providers for your judicial district. Check the list at Credit Counseling Agencies Approved Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 111 or at the bankruptcy clerk’s office for the district where you will file. Once you have the list of approved organizations in your judicial district, call several to gather information before you make your choice. Some key questions to ask are:

What services do you offer?
Will you help me develop a plan for avoiding problems in the future?
What are your fees?
What if I can’t afford to pay your fees?
What qualifications do your counselors have? Are they accredited or certified by an outside organization? What training do they receive?
What do you do to keep information about me (including my address, phone number, and financial information) confidential and secure?
How are your employees paid? Are they paid more if I sign up for certain services, if I pay a fee, or if I make a contribution to your organization?

For More Information and Assistance

The U.S. Trustee Program promotes integrity and efficiency in the nation’s bankruptcy system by enforcing bankruptcy laws, providing oversight of private trustees, and maintaining operational excellence. The Program has 21 regions and 95 field offices, and oversees the administration of bankruptcy in all states except Alabama and North Carolina. For more information, visit U.S. Trustee Program.

If you have concerns about approved credit counseling agencies or debtor education course providers, such as the failure to provide adequate service, please contact the U.S. Trustee Program by email at USTCCDEComplaintHelp@usdoj.gov, or in writing at Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Unit, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 8000, Washington, D.C., 20530. Provide as much detail as you can, including the name of the credit counseling organization or debtor education course provider, the date of contact, and whom you spoke with.

Asset Protection – Hess Kennedy Company

What is asset protection planning?

Asset protection planning involves figuring out and applying a lawful series of techniques that protect your assets from claims of future creditors. Hess Kennedy Company - Hess Kennedy Law Firm explains the techniques are designed to deter potential creditors from going after you, and frustrate them if they do, generally by making it difficult or impossible for future creditors to grab hold of your assets or collect judgments against you.

In cases where significant sums are involved, asset protection planning often includes setting up a series of trusts, partnerships and/or off-shore entities to hold legal title to your assets. A future creditor who recognizes how difficult it would be to collect on any judgment it may win, might decide it makes little sense to pursue a claim, or be willing to settle for pennies on the dollar.

There is a very sharp dividing line between "legal" asset protection planning on the one hand, and actions to defraud creditors, which are criminal, on the other. For that reason it is essential to have an attorney guide you through the process.

We urge all visitors to Free Advice to beware of some operators, sometimes posing as foreign trust companies, that market packages of services that they claim will protect your assets. Some of them are criminal enterprises that will steal your assets. Some are fast buck artists that will leave you with no protection. Some will open you up to serious criminal charges. Many will do all three - take your money, leave you with no protection, and set you on the road to prison.

Why might I need asset protection?

If you are "wealthy", "comfortable" or even if you just have some positive net worth, most likely you are concerned about keeping what you have, and preventing others from taking it. This concern is real, as there are people who will take advantage of any opportunity to take what you have.

If you are a physician you are aware of horror stories about colleagues who lost everything after being held liable for medical malpractice in amounts far beyond their malpractice insurance.

Asset protection planning enables you to employ legal techniques to prevent anyone from taking your assets. However, there are limitations as to what you can and cannot do.

Your degree of exposure to risk of liability, the type of assets you own, and your total net worth are essential factors to consider when you and your lawyer develop a strategy for asset protection. Your occupation can be one indicator of the risk of liability -- for example, a pyrotechnics engineer has tremendous occupational exposure. Statistics can help you decide your risk factor, and help you to assess what kind of asset protection you need.

Insurance is the most common asset protection technique. By "transferring" the risk to an insurance company, you can usually protect your assets. But even if you buy insurance, it might not cover all possible risks that you face, or the amount you buy might not be sufficient, or the insurance company may be able to deny the claim (perhaps it could claim there were misstatements made in your application), or the insurance company may become insolvent. Asset protection planning helps you prepare for these "wild-card risks".

What are some simple asset protection techniques?

Many of the traditional forms of estate planning can be used effectively as asset protection techniques. Gifts of property not intended to defraud creditors remove the assets from your estate. If your child owns the farm, it is no longer at risk from your creditors - although your son's creditors and his spouse may pose a risk.

Retirement plans have a considerable amount of asset protection built in due to federal and state law. Spendthrift provisions in life insurance contracts and certain trusts can prevent creditor attack while the assets are outside the hands of the beneficiary. Conduction business as a corporation, using limited liability companies, limited partnerships and other business entities afford considerable personal liability protection as well as possible tax advantages.

When considering an asset protection plan, these traditional forms of asset protection should be the first ones considered. But they may not be enough.

How do I know if I need to employ additional asset protection techniques?

Together with an experienced lawyer you should first perform an asset risk analysis to assess both the likelihood and extent of your exposure -- in light of your occupation and other activities that could create liability - and the nature and extent of your assets, your family situation, as well as your own personal wishes and desires. You and the lawyer, perhaps with input from other professionals, would evaluate the various risks and exposures you face, and figure out how far you are willing to go to protect your assets from attack. Sometimes, and for some people, merely buying more insurance or incorporating your business will suffice. For others, more would be required to give you the level of confidence you desire.

Can I own property without exposing it to risk of loss?

A seasoned attorney, before filing a lawsuit, often conducts an "asset search" of the proposed defendant. The person filing the lawsuit will want to know whether it is worthwhile to sue, and whether a judgment would be collectible.

Information about you and your assets is readily available from public records. An investigative firm can quickly gather all sorts of information about you -- the location of your real property, bank and brokerage accounts, ownership of automobiles and water craft, business interests, any bankruptcy petitions you may have filed, plus all kinds of other personal information for a surprisingly low fee. Thus an attorney will be able to tell if the lawsuit is worth taking, based upon the ability to collect the potential judgment. Be aware that this information is available to almost anyone who knows how to go about obtaining it.

One key to an asset search is your name. By changing the name of the registered owner of a piece of property, you can change the ownership records, and your property will "disappear" from your asset information. Simple changes, such as recording the name of the owner of a piece of real property from William Smith to Bill Smith, or putting a piece of property in your spouse's name is not good enough. However, more innovative name changes can keep the true identity of the owner confidential.

It is important to note that changing the name of ownership may have other unintended consequences. For example, in California, if a parcel of real property is transferred to a family limited partnership, real property tax reassessment will be triggered. So if William Smith transfers his personal residence to the "Secretive Limited Partnership," his purpose of concealing the true name of the property owner will be achieved, but the local tax collector may investigate this change of ownership to see if his property tax can be increased. In addition, changing the ownership may trigger Federal gift taxes. So before you change the ownership of your property, consider the unintended consequences.

Transferring property out of your name may also result in a loss of control. Some people will trade a lower degree of control for the benefits obtained. The amount of control that you want to have over your property will help you to determine what asset protection technique should be used. As a general rule, the less control you have over your assets the greater the degree of your asset protection.

Do I have to employ asset protection for all types of assets?

All assets are not treated in the same manner. Some assets are exempt from attack, while others need more protection. For example, your bank account can be more easily attacked than the home you share with your spouse. Consider the difference between exempt and non-exempt property as you develop your asset protection plan.

Some examples of exempt property include:

(1) public and private retirement benefits;
(2) household furniture and furnishings;
(3) personal effects, such as clothing and jewelry;
(4) disability and health benefits;
(5) proceeds of life insurance and annuity policies;
(6) social security benefits; and
(7) tools of a trade or business.

State law governs whether property is exempt or non-exempt. When looking at your state law, be sure to check to see how much of an exemption is allowed for the particular type of property - it may be completely exempt, or exempt only up to a certain amount. For example, jewelry, heirlooms and works of art may be exempt up to $X, while 100% of the assets in your pension plan may be exempt.

Using the applicable exemptions, you and a knowledgeable attorney can structure your property holdings to turn non-exempt property into exempt property. For example, instead of putting cash into a bank account, you might decide instead to fund a retirement program.

Using the allowable exemptions is one of the most cost effective techniques for asset protection. Unfortunately, exemptions alone are insufficient to protect many of your assets; more sophisticated techniques may be required.

How can I protect my personal residence?

Depending on your state of residence, the "homestead" exemption may protect some or all of your interest in the house and the adjoining land that you occupy as a home. Creditors may not be able to force the sale of homestead property. The amount of the homestead exemption that is available is set by state statute.

If the equity in your residence exceeds the exemption allowed, one way to decrease it is to borrow against the property. You can use the proceeds of the loan to acquire additional exempt property. This strategy enables you to maximize the exemption available for a dwelling or a declared homestead.

Some state homestead examples are:

(1) California - between $50,000 and $100,000 (depending on the circumstances).

(2) Florida - up to 160 acres of contiguous land together with the improvements thereon if the homestead is located outside a municipality, or up to one-half acre of land together with the residence located thereon if the homestead is within a municipality.

(3) Texas - up to 200 acres of land, in one or more parcels, together with improvements thereon if the homestead is not located in a town or city, or not more than one acre of land, together with improvements thereon, if the homestead is located in a city, town or village. In Texas it does not matter if your homestead is worth $10,000 or $10 million.

How can I use a retirement plan to protect assets?

If your retirement plan is qualified under the Federal Employee Retirement Income and Security Act (ERISA), your ownership in the plan is exempt. No third party is able to get to retirement funds held in ERISA qualified plans. This makes an ERISA qualified plan an excellent asset protection technique.

Conversely, a private retirement plan that is not ERISA-qualified is not automatically exempt from judgment creditors. This does not mean that the funds are non-exempt, it just means that formalities - such as filing a Claim of Exemption in the event of a levy - must be followed in order to protect these assets.

Self-employed retirement plans, IRAs and annuities are exempt only to the only to the extent provided by state law. For example, in California, the only non-ERISA retirement plan assets that are exempt are those necessary to provide for your support when you retire, and for the support of your spouse and dependents, taking into account all resources that are likely to be available for your support when you retire.

From an asset protection standpoint, you should consider maximizing the earnings that are placed into your ERISA retirement plan. In addition to the deferral of income tax, you obtain substantial protection against creditors while the funds remain in the retirement plan. In most instances, funds are protected until they are distributed out of the retirement plan and placed in your hands.

What techniques can I use with my business property?

The legal structure of your business is extremely important. State law enables you to create a legal entity - a separate "identity" from your own person - under which you can transact business, without the risk of exposing your assets to any personal liability that might arise out of your business affairs.

Sole proprietorship affords the least amount of asset protection. Anything you or your employees do in a business that is a sole proprietorship exposes your assets.

In terms of asset protection, being a general partner can be even worse. Anything that one partner, or any employee, does in the course of the business affects all of the partners, because each partner of the of a general partnership is personally responsible for all obligations of the partnership.

To avoid risking personal liability for activities arising out of business, you need to consider other available forms of business organization which provide greater protection. Changing the form of business ownership will involve some legal work, documentation, filings with various government agencies, and have some tax impacts. They should be discussed with an attorney.

Some of the more common forms of business ownership which reduce personal liability are discussed in the sections on Corporations and Partnerships.

Questions on Asset Protection – Hess Kennedy Company

What protection is available by a revocable ‘living’ trust?

A revocable living trusts is a vehicle that is very helpful in avoiding probate. During your lifetime, you can transfer ownership of your assets to the revocable trust so that it is owned by the trust at the time of your death, and thus not subject to probate.

A revocable trust is not a very good asset protection technique - assets that you transfer to the trust will remain available to your creditors. However, it does make it more difficult for creditors to access these assets; before doing so, the creditor must petition a court for a charging order to enable the creditor to get to the assets held in the trust.

In addition, in most instances a revocable trust becomes irrevocable, usually upon the death of the grantor. Once it is irrevocable, a typical "anti-alienation clause" protects the assets held in the trust form being used as collateral by the trust beneficiaries. While the assets are held in the trust, the beneficiaries do not have control over the property, and any distributions are subject to the trustee's discretion. Creditors cannot force a trustee to make a distribution to the trust beneficiaries; thus the assets held in a trust can remain outside the reach of the beneficiaries' creditors (until distributed into the hands of the beneficiary).

What protection is available through a family limited partnership?

A Family Limited Partnership ("FLP") is a limited partnership that is formed to manage and control jointly-owned family property. All the requisites of a limited partnership must be followed in order to have a valid FLP. Upon formation, the assets of the family are assigned or transferred into the FLP for ownership, management and control. In most FLP's, the parents are the general partners with a 1% interest, while the children and siblings share the remainder as limited partners. Thus the parents' exposure to risk of loss of property held by the FLP is greatly reduced. Even if a charging order is obtained by a creditor, the partnership can limit distributions (for legitimate purposes) to reduce exposure.

An FLP also can have a dramatic effect on gift and estate taxes. By transferring assets to a FLP, general partners can use valuation discounts to lower values. With lower valuations, the amount of tax imposed can be substantially reduced.

Can I use bankruptcy to protect my assets?

Bankruptcy can protect your assets in several ways. In a Chapter 7 (liquidation) case, the trustee will take all your non-exempt assets for the benefit of your creditors. But sometimes you can convert nonexempt assets into exempt ones prior to filing. Exemption planning requires advice from a local attorney because rules vary between states and even between judges within a single state. If a judgment creditor (someone who has won a lawsuit against you) obtains a lien on your property, and if that lien impairs an exemption to which you’re entitled under the Bankruptcy Code, you can “avoid” that lien. Avoiding the lien wipes it out, which prevents the lien holder from seizing your property and selling it to satisfy your debt. Some states have homestead laws that protect you only from subsequent creditors. In those states, a bankruptcy filing will probably allow you to use the state homestead exemption against all your creditors, even if you file the homestead the day before the bankruptcy.

Finally, in a Chapter 13 case, your plan may allow you to pay off the arrears on your mortgage or car loan, thereby avoiding foreclosure or repossession.

What about foreign trusts and other off-shore entities?

For people who have larger estates, and thus larger potential creditor exposures (running into millions of dollars), "off-shore" foreign trusts can be used to provide a high degree of asset protection. Common destinations for these trusts, such as the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man, have laws which tend to insulate and protect grantors. In establishing a foreign trust, you transfer ownership of your assets a trust that has only foreign trustees (with no offices or agents in the United States), which manages and administers the trust property from the off-shore sites. When your creditors begin looking for your assets, even if they discover the off-shore trust they will have to deal with the foreign trustee. The creditors may then find that there is no available remedy obtainable against an uncooperative foreign trustee. This is because the courts here in the United States have no jurisdiction over foreign trustees, and therefore are unable to provide any relief to creditors. Further, the actual geographic distance between the creditor and the trustee poses significant real barriers to creditors.

However, care must be taken prior to establishing and funding a foreign trust. The grantor should execute a statement of solvency with a balance sheet (or other appropriate financial statement) showing a positive net worth. This is essential in order to establish that you are not entering into this transaction in order to defraud creditors. Such a statement of solvency will also help those who assist you, so that they will not be attacked on the basis that they were co-conspirators in a fraudulent scheme.

Further, not all of your property should be placed into the foreign trust. You should retain locally assets sufficient to sustain your lifestyle, and transfer the remaining bulk of the estate to the off-shore foreign trust for protection. Remember it may be nearly as difficult for your family to recover your money from a foreign trust as it would be for your creditors to do so.

It is also possible to put foreign trusts, corporations, and other entities together into a limited partnership. In this case, creditors may be forced to wade through several layers of protection before they can get to your assets. Multiple entity structures serve to dissuade casual creditors as only the most sophisticated and well financed creditors have the knowledge, resources, and time to penetrate multiple entity structures. While the cost to you to establish multiple entities is increased, often the level of protection afforded is exponentially increased.

Why do I have to be careful about ‘fraudulent transfer rules?’

There are many federal and state statutory prohibitions regarding efforts you take to deter creditors.

Whenever you employ an asset protection technique, you must be careful not to trigger prohibitions against fraudulent transfers. A fraudulent transfer occurs whenever you transfer your property in an effort to stop a legitimate creditor from taking the asset, in order to satisfy a legitimate debt. Further, if you transfer your property away while you know of the existence of a creditor, or have reason to know that a potential creditor exists, such a transfer may be considered fraudulent. The transfer could be undone, and you could be charged with a crime and face fines, restitution orders, probation or incarceration.

Many attorneys are reluctant to assist people in certain asset protection schemes because of the fraudulent transfer rules. An attorney who participates in a fraudulent transfer scheme can be regarded as a co-conspirator in the fraud, and can be subject to the same penalties as his/her client. By creating a statement of solvency prior to the proposed transfer, you can protect the transaction from being labeled as fraudulent.

How can a trust lower the federal transfer tax liability?

Everyone gets a "credit" against Federal Estate Taxes of $550,800 on an exemption amount of $1.5 million in 2004 and 2005 (or $2 million in 2006, 2007 and 2008). (Unless previously used up, in whole or in part, as a result of gifts of more than $11,000 to any one person in any year, or $12,000 to any person in any year starting in 2006).) Individuals and married couples with a total estate value less than the current exemption level don't have to worry about Federal Estate or Gift Tax (the exemption amount slowly increases in steps to $3.5 in the year 2009 but then drops back to $1 million when the estate tax is reinstated in 2011).

For those who are married, there is an unlimited marital deduction. All estate taxes can be avoided upon the death of the first spouse to die. However, the surviving spouse would have to remarry and give his/her entire estate to the new spouse in order to get another unlimited marital deduction. Most people would rather their children or other relatives benefit from the estate than a new spouse and his/her family.

An estate plan can take advantage of certain tax avoidance techniques for those who have accumulated some wealth; this gets more of your property to your intended beneficiaries and less to the federal government. By using a Trust, you can establish a tax by-pass Trust at your death to hold property for your children but enable it to provide for your surviving spouse during his/her lifetime. This enables you to place up to $1,000,000 (or the current exemption amount) in a Trust for the benefit of your surviving spouse and children (which will not be subject to estate tax upon the death of your surviving spouse). Coupled with your surviving spouse's estate and gift tax credit, this enables your spouse and you to send up to $2,000,000 (or the applicable exemption level in that calendar year) to your children free from Federal Estate and Gift Tax. (Some states also have state estate or inheritance taxes.)

How can a trust prevent a conservatorship proceeding?

A Trust is used to hold the property, and the Trustees manage the Trust estate. In the event of your incapacity your pre-appointed Successor Trustee(s) will manage the Trust estate in accordance with the instructions that you have provided. Thus, a properly prepared and funded Trust can enable you to avoid a conservatorship proceeding over your estate. Compared with the cost of a conservatorship proceeding, a Trust can be very attractive.

Since my spouse died, I was thinking about adding the names of my adult children to my house deed. Is this a good idea?

While sharing title to property avoids probate after your death, naming "joint tenants" has legal and tax consequences. In effect, adding a joint tenant to your home deed means that you have now gifted a portion of that property to those named. And when you make gifts in excess of $10,000 (increased in 2002 to $11,000) in value within a calendar year to someone other than a spouse, the IRS may expect you to file a gift tax return, and in some cases pay gift taxes.

When gifting an interest in your home to anyone, you also are jeopardizing your own financial security. If the person named on the deed owns the home in its entirety, then he or she can decide to sell the home out from under you. Also, if you transfer property in some states you may lose certain property tax and other exemptions you enjoy as a senior, veteran, or homesteader.

A better idea is to create a Living Trust and name your children as beneficiaries of the Trust after you die. This has the advantage of avoiding probate, yet it gives you total control of your house prior to transferring ownership. You can also change beneficiaries if you so desire, and also provide for the circumstance if one child predeceases you.

I am middle age, engaged to be married shortly. I have a 19 and 24-year old; my fiancé has a 12 and 10 year old. Each of us has wills leaving our assets to our own children. When we marry, what should be done in regard to our estates? Our assets are not likely to exceed $600,000.

There is no one answer, but what you each seem to want makes sense, seems fair, and reasonable.

The first thing that may make sense is to do a pre-marital agreement that waives claims against the other's estate. It also could provide for you to keep the property you bring into the marriage separate, so if things don't work out neither of you loses what you started with. That's not being "unromantic", just realistic.

The second is to each prepare new wills. One approach is to leave your pre-marital property to your kids from the first marriage, and leave your post-marital (other than any future inheritances) property to each other.

Third, buy an inexpensive TERM life insurance policy on each other to protect each of you financially in the event of the other's death. If you are in decent health and in your 40s-50s, it is very cheap, perhaps $800 per year for a $100,000 policy.

Fourth, agree to re-examine things in 5 years. If you still both feel the same way, leave it. But in 30 years you may feel different.

Fifth, most people's major assets are their life insurance, IRAs and 401(k) and similar plans. Name new beneficiaries, and get the consent from the other to name your own kids as beneficiaries, waiving any spousal rights.

Sixth, for a jointly owned home, consider use of Q-TIP trusts that give the survivor the value of the other's half for life and then at the second death, the value of one spouse's half goes to the first to die's kids unless it is actually needed for the survivor's support.

11 U.S.C. § 109, 111 - Hess Kennedy Company

Hess Kennedy Company – Hess Kennedy Law Firm wanted to provide you with a copy of the listed sub sections below.

Mandatory Credit Counseling
11 U.S.C. § 109

(h)(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), and notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an individual may not
be a debtor under this title unless such individual has, during the 180-day period preceding the date of filing of the
petition by such individual, received from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency described in
section 111(a) an individual or group briefing (including a briefing conducted by telephone or on the Internet) t hat
outlined the opportunities for available credit counseling and assisted such individual in performing a related budget
analysis.
(2)(A) Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to a debtor who resides in a district for which the United States
trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any) determines that the approved nonprofit budget and credit
counseling agencies for such district are not reasonably able to provide adequate services to the additional
individuals who would otherwise seek credit counseling from such agencies by reason of the requirements of
paragraph (1).
(B) The United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any) who makes a determination described
in subparagraph (A) shall review such determination not later than 1 year after the date of such determination,
and not less frequently than annually thereafter. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a nonprofit budget
and credit counseling agency may be disapproved by the United States trustee (or the bankruptcy
administrator, if any) at any time.
(3)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B), the requirements of paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to a debtor who
submits to the court a certification that—
(i) describes exigent circumstances that merit a waiver of the requirements of paragraph (1);
(ii) states that the debtor requested credit counseling services from an approved nonprofit budget and
credit counseling agency, but was unable to obtain the services referred to in paragraph (1) during the 5-
day period beginning on the date on which the debtor made that request; and
(iii) is satisfactory to the court.
(B) With respect to a debtor, an exemption under subparagraph (A) shall cease to apply to that debtor on the
date on which the debtor meets the requirements of paragraph (1), but in no case may the exemption apply to
that debtor after the date that is 30 days after the debtor files a petition, except that the court, for cause, may
order an additional 15 days.
(4) The requirements of paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to a debtor whom the court determines, after
notice and hearing, is unable to complete those requirements because of incapacity, disability, or active military
duty in a military combat zone. For the purposes of this paragraph, incapacity means that the debtor is impaired by
reason of mental illness or mental deficiency so that he is incapable of realizing and making rational decisions
with respect to his financial responsibilities; and ‘disability’ means that the debtor is so physically impaired as to
be unable, after reasonable effort, to participate in an in person, telephone, or Internet briefing required under
paragraph (1).

11 U.S.C. § 111
§ 111. Nonprofit budget and credit counseling agencies; financial management
instructional courses

(a) The clerk shall maintain a publicly available list of—
(1) nonprofit budget and credit counseling agencies that provide 1 or more services described in section 109(h)
currently approved by the United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any); and
(2) instructional courses concerning personal financial management currently approved by the United States
trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any), as applicable.
(b) The United States trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any) shall only approve a nonprofit budget and credit
counseling agency or an instructional course concerning personal financial management as follows:
(1) The United States trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any) shall have thoroughly reviewed the
qualifications of the nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency or of the provider of the instructional course
under the standards set forth in this section, and the services or instructional courses that will be offered by such
agency or such provider, and may require such agency or such provider that has sought approval to provide
information with respect to such review.
(2) The United States trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any) shall have determined that such agency or such
instructional course fully satisfies the applicable standards set forth in this section.
(3) If a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency or instructional course did not appear on the approved list
for the district under subsection (a) immediately before approval under this section, approval under this subsection
of such agency or such instructional course shall be for a probationary period not to exceed 6 months.
(4) At the conclusion of the applicable probationary period under paragraph (3), the United States trustee (or
bankruptcy administrator, if any) may only approve for an additional 1-year period, and for successive 1-year
periods thereafter, an agency or instructional course that has demonstrated during the probationary or applicable
subsequent period of approval that such agency or instructional course—
(A) has met the standards set forth under this section during such period; and
(B) can satisfy such standards in the future.
(5) Not later than 30 days after any final decision under paragraph (4), an interested person may seek judicial
review of such decision in the appropriate district court of the United States.
(c)(1) The United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any) shall only approve a nonprofit budget and
credit counseling agency that demonstrates that it will provide qualified counselors, maintain adequate provision for
safekeeping and payment of client funds, provide adequate counseling with respect to client credit problems, and deal
responsibly and effectively with other matters relating to the quality, effectiveness, and financial security of the
services it provides.
(2) To be approved by the United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any), a nonprofit budget and
credit counseling agency shall, at a minimum—
(A) have a board of directors the majority of which—
(i) are not employed by such agency; and
(ii) will not directly or indirectly benefit financially from the outcome of the counseling services
provided by such agency;
(B) if a fee is charged for counseling services, charge a reasonable fee, and provide services without regard to
ability to pay the fee;
(C) provide for safekeeping and payment of client funds, including an annual audit of the trust accounts and
appropriate employee bonding;
(D) provide full disclosures to a client, including funding sources, counselor qualifications, possible impact
on credit reports, and any costs of such program that will be paid by such client and how such costs will be
paid;
(E) provide adequate counseling with respect to a client’s credit problems that includes an analysis of such
client’s current financial condition, factors that caused such financial condition, and how such client can
develop a plan to respond to the problems without incurring negative amortization of debt;
(F) provide trained counselors who receive no commissions or bonuses based on the outcome of the
counseling services provided by such agency, and who have adequate experience, and have been adequately
trained to provide counseling services to individuals in financial difficulty, including the matters described in
subparagraph
(E);
(G) demonstrate adequate experience and background in providing credit counseling; and
(H) have adequate financial resources to provide continuing support services for budgeting plans over the life
of any repayment plan.
(d) The United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any) shall only approve an instructional course
concerning personal financial management—
(1) for an initial probationary period under subsection (b)(3) if the course will provide at a minimum—
(A) trained personnel with adequate experience and training in providing effective instruction and services;
(B) learning materials and teaching methodologies designed to assist debtors in understanding personal
financial management and that are consistent with stated objectives directly related to the goals of such
instructional course;
(C) adequate facilities situated in reasonably convenient locations at which such instructional course is
offered, except that such facilities may include the provision of such instructional course by telephone or
through the Internet, if such instructional course is effective;
(D) the preparation and retention of reasonable records (which shall include the debtor’s bankruptcy case
number) to permit evaluation of the effectiveness of such instructional course, including any evaluation of
satisfaction of instructional course requirements for each debtor attending such instructional course, which
shall be available for inspection and evaluation by the Executive Office for United States Trustees, the United
States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any), or the chief bankruptcy judge for the district in which
such instructional course is offered; and
(E) if a fee is charged for the instructional course, charge a reasonable fee, and provide services without
regard to ability to pay the fee.
(2) for any 1-year period if the provider thereof has demonstrated that the course meets the standards of paragraph
(1) and, in addition—
(A) has been effective in assisting a substantial number of debtors to understand personal financial
management; and
(B) is otherwise likely to increase substantially the debtor’s understanding of personal financial management.
(e) The district court may, at any time, investigate the qualifications of a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency
referred to in subsection (a), and request production of documents to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of such
agency. The district court may, at any time, remove from the approved list under subsection (a) a nonprofit budget and
credit counseling agency upon finding such agency does not meet the qualifications of subsection (b).
(f) The United States trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any) shall notify the clerk that a nonprofit budget and
credit counseling agency or an instructional course is no longer approved, in which case the clerk shall remove it from
the list maintained under subsection (a).
(g)(1) No nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency may provide to a credit reporting agency information
concerning whether a debtor has received or sought instruction concerning personal financial management from such
agency.
(2) A nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency that willfully or negligently fails to comply with any
requirement under this title with respect to a debtor shall be liable for damages in an amount equal to the sum of—
(A) any actual damages sustained by the debtor as a result of the violation; and
(B) any court costs or reasonable attorneys’ fees (as determined by the court) incurred in an action to recover
those damages.

Bankruptcy Protection? Why? Hess Kennedy Company

Hess Kennedy Law Firm – Hess Kennedy Company wants you to fully understand about bankruptcy and bankruptcy protection. Should you ever have any questions please contact info@hesskennedylaw.com right away.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to any business, whether organized as a corporation or sole proprietorship, or individual with unsecured debts of at least $336,900.00 or secured debts of at least $1,010,650.00, although it is most prominently used by corporate entities. In contrast, Chapter 7 governs the process of a liquidation bankruptcy, while Chapter 13 provides a reorganization process for the majority of private individuals with unsecured debts of less than $336,900.00 and secured debts of less than $1,010,650.00 as of April 1, 2007.

When a troubled business is unable to service its debt or pay its creditors, it or its creditors can file with a federal bankruptcy court for protection under either chapter 7 or chapter 11. In chapter 7, the business ceases operations and a trustee sells all of its assets and distributes the proceeds to its creditors. This is done in accordance with statutory defined priorities. A chapter 11 filing, on the other hand, is usually an attempt to stay in business while a bankruptcy court supervises the "reorganization" of the company's contractual and debt obligations. The court can grant complete or partial relief from most of the company's debts and its contracts, so that the company can make a fresh start. Often, if the company's debts exceed its assets, then at the completion of bankruptcy the company's owners (stockholders) all end up with nothing; all their rights and interests are terminated and the company's creditors end up with ownership of the newly reorganized company.

All creditors are entitled to be heard by the court which is responsible for determining whether the plan of reorganization complies with the purposes of the bankruptcy law and provides for fair and equitable treatment of all parties in interest.

Some contracts, known as executory contracts, may be rejected if canceling them would be financially favorable to the company and its creditors. Such contracts include labor union contracts, supply or operating contracts (with both vendors and customers) and real estate leases. The standard feature of executory contracts is that each party to the contract has duties remaining under the contract. In the event of a rejection, the remaining parties to the contract become unsecured creditors of the debtor.

Chapter 11 is reorganization, as opposed to liquidation. Debtors may "emerge" from a chapter 11 bankruptcy within a few months or within several years, depending on the size and complexity of the bankruptcy. Debtors in Chapter 11 have the exclusive right to propose a plan of reorganization for a period of time. After that time has elapsed, creditors may also propose plans. Plans must satisfy a number of criteria in order to be "confirmed" by the bankruptcy court. Among other things, creditors must vote to approve the plan of reorganization. If a plan cannot be confirmed the court may either convert the case to a liquidation under Chapter 7 or, if in the best interests of the creditors and the estate, the case may be dismissed resulting in a return to the status quo before bankruptcy. If the case is dismissed, creditors will look to non-bankruptcy law in order to satisfy their claims.

As with other forms of bankruptcy, petitions filed under Chapter 11 invoke the automatic stay of § 362. The automatic stay requires all creditors to cease collection attempts, and makes post-petition debt collection void. Under some circumstances, creditors or the United States Trustee can ask the court to convert the case to a liquidation under Chapter 7, or to appoint a trustee to manage the debtor's business. The court will grant a motion to convert to Chapter 7 or appoint a trustee if either of these actions is in the best interest of all creditors. Sometimes a company will liquidate under Chapter 11, in which the pre-existing management may be able to help get a higher price for divisions or other assets than a Chapter 7 liquidation would be likely to achieve. Appointment of a trustee requires some wrongdoing or gross mismanagement on the part of existing management, and is relatively rare.

Wealth Management – Hess Kennedy Company

Hess Kennedy Company – Hess Kennedy Law Firm wants you to understand the value and importance of wealth management. Please contact info@hesskennedylaw.com with all questions.

Wealth Management is a term that originated in the 1990s in US with the Broker Dealers, Banks, and Insurance Companies. Wealth Management has generally evolved from high net worth financial consulting for persons who are top clients of any firm. Wealth Management is classified as an advanced type of financial planning that provides individuals and even families with private banking, estate planning, asset management, legal service resources, trust management, investment management, taxation advice, and portfolio management. Thus, wealth management encompasses asset management, client advisory services, and the distribution of investment products.

Persons engaged in wealth management usually work for law firms, accounting firms, brokerage firms, large banks, trust departments, or investment and portfolio management firms. Smaller firms such as Registered Investment Advisors also tend to provide a wide array of family office services.

Wealth management is a high level form of private banking that provides various types of investment, insurance and bank products and services. With the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, financial firms were finally able to provide all three of the above services from the same offices. With the emergence of wealth management as a career opportunity as well as a professional service in high demand, educational programs such as the New York University certificate program, and the American Academy of Financial Management CWM Certified & Chartered Wealth Manager program are providing customized wealth management executive training to corporations and individuals alike.

As wealth management serves a much more affluent community, many government licensed lawyers, CPAs, Chartered and Certified Wealth Manager's and sometimes an insurance professional who is a CFPs are involved in this type of high-net-worth consulting. Keep in mind that only Lawyers and CPAs have a government license to provide legal or tax advice on complex wealth management, estate planning, tax law, retirement or other legal issues such as business succession or divorce. As a note, an RIA (registered investment advisor) with the SEC or a person holding a RIA license can charge fees for investment advice.

Whether you are planning for college, a new career, marriage, or retirement, at Hess Kennedy Company we realize that making decisions around these life events can be challenging. We have the tools to get you started, and our Financial Advisors can help lead you where you want to go-just talk to us.
   

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