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Tim is teaching a seminar on bankruptcy basics. The seminar will be held on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 9 AM at Tim's office, 2140 – 4th Ave., North, Anoka, MN 55303. The seminar is scheduled to last for one hour.

Here is the description of the seminar:

This seminar covers the basics of bankruptcy for consumer and small business debtors, including the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, exemptions and ways to keep non-exempt property, and what to expect at the Meeting of Creditors and other bankruptcy-related court hearings.  Intended for consumer and small business debtors, as well as attorneys who do not handle bankruptcy cases, this seminar will introduce you to bankruptcy.

ATTORNEYS: One standard CLE credit has been applied for.

WARNING: Tim is a debt-relief agent, and his office is a debt-relief agency.  Tim helps people like you to file for bankruptcy relief.

For more information or to register, please visit:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bankruptcy-basics-everything-you-need-to-know-about-bankruptcy-tickets-27031482893


 
 
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I am often asked what you should do if somebody owes you money. The short answer is that you should probably sue in conciliation (or "small claims") court, although the longer answer depends on what you are owed money for and how much money you are owed.

The jurisdictional limit for suing in conciliation court – or the most you can ask for – is $15,000. So, if somebody owes you $15,000 or less, I would probably recommend suing in conciliation court. However, if you have provided professional services or have done work on a titled piece of personal property (the most common is probably a motor vehicle), then you may have a lien for the amount of your services that could be enforced outside of conciliation court. Of course, if your claim is for more than $15,000, you should consider suing in District Court, where damages are not limited.

To win in conciliation court, you must prove both liability and damages. In other words, you must prove that the defendant actually owes you the money, and the amount that they owe you. If you win your conciliation court case, you will wind up with a conciliation court judgment for the amount of your claim that you were able to prove. The conciliation court judgment will be stayed for a period of time to allow the defendant to appeal, if the defendant wishes.

Once the time for appeal has passed, you should immediately docket (or transfer) the judgment from conciliation court to District Court by filing a document called an Affidavit of Identification of Judgment Debtor. A District Court judgment shows up on a person's credit report, so the defendant will be unable to obtain major financing – such as a mortgage loan – with your judgment on their record. In addition, having a judgment in District Court gives you the right to garnish wages and bank accounts to collect your judgment.

I can't really speak for other attorneys, but I know that I will collect on a judgment for a contingent fee of one third of any amounts collected, less expenses. Typically, I require an expense retainer in advance. Collecting on a judgment is hard work. Whether you are able to collect anything depends on several factors, including but not limited to if the debtor is working, receives public assistance, and has an active bank account set up at a bank or credit union.

Tim represents creditors  – both consumer and business – in collection matters. Tim also represents consumer and small business debtors in bankruptcy, and brings this perspective – the perspective of an attorney representing debtors – to collections. I somebody owes you money, or if you have a judgment that you need help collecting on, please give Tim a call at 763-450-9494 to set up a consultation. Tim charges $250 for a consultation, and will advise you about your rights under the law and options available to you.

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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I am often asked when is the right time for a person or business to file for bankruptcy protection. The short answer is that you should file as soon as possible, and unless there is a good reason for not doing so.

For example, you might want to wait for a period of time if you have recently paid a large amount of money to a creditor or made a major purchase not in the ordinary course.  If you do not wait, the bankruptcy trustee can undo that payment or transaction and take the money back.  However, if you can qualify to file bankruptcy now, and there is not a good reason for waiting, then I would generally recommend filing for bankruptcy sooner rather than later.

Individual persons can file for either chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Individuals who make their living from farming or fishing have a few different options as well. Small businesses are limited to filing for Chapter 7, although businesses can also file for chapter 11 – but chapter 11 is far beyond the scope of this blog post.  Personally, I like chapter 7 better because it wipes all of your debts out at once and is a lot faster than chapter 13. However, your net income (your gross income after payroll deductions and expenses) has to be below a certain level for your family size in order for you to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

I prefer to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on behalf of the debtor, unless there is a good reason for choosing chapter 13 bankruptcy. A good reason for choosing chapter 13 would be if the debtor makes too much money to qualify for Chapter 7, or if the debtor has a lot of equity in a house.  Your bankruptcy attorney will be able to explain to you the differences between chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and which one is a better option for you.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer and small business debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Please note that only individual debtors can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, not businesses.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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I am often asked whether a debtor can keep personal property – such as a bicycle, television, etc. – when that person files for bankruptcy. The short answer is that there are 3 ways for a debtor to keep such personal property.

Normally, when a person (called the debtor) files for bankruptcy, property owned by that person becomes the property of the bankruptcy trustee. As a bankruptcy attorney, my goal in my job is to find as many ways as possible to keep the debtor's personal property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee.

There are three primary ways to keep property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. Each of those ways will now be discussed in turn.:

The first – and primary – way is if the property is exempt. The law provides that a certain amount of property is exempt and is automatically excluded from the property taken by the bankruptcy trustee. For example, there are exemptions for household goods and furnishings, motor vehicles (up to a certain value), jewelry, and many others.

Some states – in Minnesota is one of those states – permit debtors to choose between the exemptions provided by federal law and the exemptions provided by state law. Most of the time, the federal exemptions are the most appropriate. I especially like the wildcard exemption provided by federal law – that can cover any property, such as a lawn more, that would not normally be exempt.

The second way is for a debtor to reaffirm the debt. Reaffirm is a fancy word for continuing to make the payments. Most often, if a debtor is making monthly payments on a particular item of property, such as a motor vehicle, and the creditor – the person to whom the money is owed – could repossess the property unless the payments in such a case, the debtor might reaffirm the debt, or promise to continue to make the monthly payments in order to keep the property reaffirmation agreements are most common for motor vehicles, but sometimes exist for mortgages as well.

Most of the time, the exemptions, combined with reaffirmation agreements, cover all of the property that a debtor may own. However, if the trustee seizes an item of the debtor's property, the debtor can offer to buy that property back from the trustee. That is the third option, and it primarily comes up when the debtor is a small business with a large inventory or a lot of equipment.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer and small business debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Please note that only individual debtors can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, not businesses.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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Tim is teaching a seminar on Bankruptcy Basics: What Everybody Needs to Know about Bankruptcy. The seminar will be held on Friday, January 29, 2016 from noon to 1 PM at Tim's office, 2140 – 4th Avenue North, Anoka Minnesota 55303. This seminar is intended for consumer and small business debtors, as well as attorneys who do not practice in the area of bankruptcy.

Space is limited, so preregistration is required. For more information and to register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bankruptcy-basics-everything-you-need-to-know-about-bankruptcy-tickets-20485575909.

ATTORNEYS: This seminar has been approved for one standard CLE credit. The event code is 214745.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer and small business debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Please note that only individual debtors can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, not businesses.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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I am often asked whether a person can keep all of their property when they file for bankruptcy. The answer is generally yes, but  the answer depends on whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and whether you are using the state exemptions or the federal exemptions.

When you file bankruptcy, all of your property goes from where you own and control it to where it is owned and controlled by the bankruptcy trustee.  As a bankruptcy attorney, my goal is to keep your property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. I can do this in one of 3 ways.

First, the property might be exempt under applicable state or federal law. The law provides that certain property is exempt, up to a certain limit. My job as a bankruptcy attorney is to find it as many exemptions for your property as possible. I want you to be able to keep as much of your property as possible.

Second, if you are making payments on a secured property, which the creditor could take back from you if you did not make the payments, you can do what is called reaffirm the debt. In other words, you can promise to continue making the payments, and then keep the property. In order to keep secured property, you have to reaffirm the debt and do not have a choice in the matter.

For most people, the first two options are sufficient. Between reaffirming secured debt and the exemptions, you get to keep most – if not all – of your property. However, if for some reason you have too much property that you want to keep, and this happens most frequently with a small business, you have options. If chapter 13 will not work for you click here for an article that discusses the differences between chapter 7 in chapter 13 bankruptcy), you can buy nonexempt property back from the bankruptcy trustee.

Again, this usually happens when you are dealing with a small business bankruptcy, or with the debtor who has a lot of property. If the debtor is an individual and has regular income, chapter 13 might be an appropriate way for the debtor to keep most if not all of his or her property. However, if the debtor is a corporation, then chapter 7 may be the way to go. The best option really depends on the individual debtor's circumstances.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer and small business debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Please note that only individual debtors can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, not businesses.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.







 
 
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I am often asked when a person should consider filing for bankruptcy. Generally, if a person has one or two debts, I recommend trying to negotiate a more favorable payment arrangement with the creditor. However, if a person is drowning in debt and is constantly being harassed by debt collectors, then bankruptcy may be an appropriate option to consider.

There is no bright line or amount of debt that you have to have in order to qualify to file bankruptcy. Lots of people just like you are in the same situation, where there is too much month and not enough money. Bills keep piling up, and debt collectors keep calling and sending threatening letters. Perhaps you have even been sued by a debt collector. That happens sometimes.

I help people just like you to get bankruptcy relief under the law. Everybody's situation is unique, and everybody deserves special attention. Please give me a call at (763) 450 – 9494 to discuss your specific situation and needs. Also, please mention that you read this blog post to receive a free consultation. Normally, I charge $150 (in 2015) for a consultation, but will waive that charge for readers of this blog.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer debtors and small businesses in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  This blog post may constitute attorney advertising.  Further, Tim is licensed only in Minnesota state and federal courts, and the information that is provided here is applicable only to those jurisdictions.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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There were two decisions this week on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  In the first decision, the Court of Appeals concluded that an applicant quit employment when that applicant applied for unemployment benefits.  The second decision is unique because it addresses the issue of whether an overpayment of unemployment benefits is a debt subject to Revenue Recapture and contains a dissent.

1. A14-1418, Amanulah Dharsee, Relator, vs. Rubber Industries, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) determination that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits, arguing that he did not have a fair hearing because he did not have an interpreter (although the ULJ continued the hearing so that Relator could obtain an interpreter) and that the ULJ erred in finding that he quit his employment.  Dharsee’s doctor concluded that he was still unable to return to his former position but possibly able to do light-duty work. Dharsee contends that others contacted Rubber Industries on his behalf and learned that no light-duty work was available. In February 2014, Dharsee applied for unemployment benefits, asserting that he had been discharged from his employment. Rubber Industries concluded that Dharsee quit when it received notice of his application for benefits.  The ULJ concluded that Dharsee quit, thereby making him ineligible for unemployment benefits, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

2. A14-0727, Eunice Smith, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Eunice Smith challenges a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) unemployment law judge’s (ULJ) decision that she owes a debt recoverable under the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act. Relator argues on appeal that she owes no debt because the November 20 order opinion reversed without remand and therefore eliminated any debt owed to DEED for overpaid benefits. DEED argues that the November 20 order opinion reversed only the fraud penalty and that the remaining debt is properly subject to recapture. Both parties agree that the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act procedures were followed and that the sole issue on appeal is whether relator owes a debt.

The Court of Appeals ruled that because the November 20 order opinion is unambiguous in reversing relator’s fraud penalty and determining that relator had not appealed or argued the overpayment issue, the law of the case requires the conclusion that a debt exists and that it is recoverable under the Minnesota Revenue Recapture Act.

In dissent, Judge Chutich wrote:

I respectfully dissent because I disagree with the majority about the effect of our previous order dated November 20, 2013. Without attacking that order collaterally, I note that the plain terms of the order unambiguously reversed the unemployment-law judge’s April 16, 2013 decision on reconsideration. The reconsideration order, in turn, reaffirmed an order dated January 7, 2013, in which the unemployment-law judge specifically considered not only the fraud issue, but also the issue of whether Eunice Smith performed 32 hours or more of services in a week.

Moreover, the January 7 order contained language suggesting that it was a consolidation of the previous decision (issued on December 28, 2012) that pertained to the same two issues (fraud and overpayment), but was simply issued to inform Smith of the amount of the fraud penalty.

Finally, in the words of the dissent, "[the] proceeding [i]s an astounding procedural morass," created by the ULJ, the applicant, and the Department itself.  For all of these reasons, the dissent would reverse the decision of the unemployment-law judge that a debt existed that could be subject to revenue recapture.  However, the dissent is just that: the dissent, meaning a disagreement with the majority opinion, and the majority -- not the dissent -- has the final say, expresses the official opinion of the court, and carries the day.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.  

 
 
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Tim is teaching a seminar called "Bankruptcy 101: Everything You Need to Know About Bankruptcy"  The seminar will be held on Friday 11/21/14 from noon - 1:00 p.m. at Tim's office, 2140-4th Avenue, Anoka MN 55303.

Space is limited, so advance registration is required.  For more information and to register, please visit:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bankruptcy-101-everything-you-need-to-know-about-bankruptcy-tickets-14175181349

Here is the official description:

This seminar covers the basics of bankruptcy for consumers and small business, including the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, exemptions and ways to keep non-exempt property, and what to expect at the Meeting of Creditors and other bankruptcy-related court hearings.  Intended for consumer and small business debtors, as well as attorneys who do not handle bankruptcy cases, this seminar will introduce you to bankruptcy.

ATTORNEYS: One standard CLE credit has been applied for.

WARNING: Tim is a debt-relief agent, and his office is a debt-relief agency.  Tim helps people like you to file for bankruptcy relief.

 
 
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Tim is teaching a seminar called "Bankruptcy 101: Everything You Need to Know About Bankruptcy"  The seminar will be held on Friday 9/5/14 from noon - 1:00 p.m. at Tim's office, 2140-4th Avenue, Anoka MN 55303.

Space is limited, so advance registration is required.  For more information and to register, please visit:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bankruptcy-101-everything-you-need-to-know-about-bankruptcy-tickets-12695828565

Here is the official description:

This seminar covers the basics of bankruptcy for consumers and small business, including the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, exemptions and ways to keep non-exempt property, and what to expect at the Meeting of Creditors and other bankruptcy-related court hearings.  Intended for consumer and small business debtors, as well as attorneys who do not handle bankruptcy cases, this seminar will introduce you to bankruptcy.

ATTORNEYS: One standard CLE credit has been applied for.

WARNING: Tim is a debt-relief agent, and his office is a debt-relief agency.  Tim helps people like you to file for bankruptcy relief.