Friday, July 14, 2017

Why does my bankruptcy attorney ask me for this - Auto and other personal property valuations (pt 3) final

Like real estate, attorneys need to have values for vehicles, electronics, furniture, and other personal property to determine whether any of the property is outside the debtor's exemptions. For the most part, personal property is covered by the federal exemptions. But we still need to go through the process of valuing it.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
The value of the property is the value at the time you are preparing to file bankruptcy and usually not the original purchased price. Also, items should be valued separately when possible. For instance, many people buy a "bedroom set" for a single price, which may include a bed, dresser, two nightstands and maybe lamps. They pay one price for it all. But each item has its own value.

Cars are pretty easy. Our trustees accept print outs from Kelley Blue Book and NADA. NADA also value other motor vehicles and recreational vehicles. Other items are a little more difficult. Valuing things like computers, bicycles, and exercise equipment pose a bigger challenge. This is a website that will give you values for Apple products. I have used websites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist to estimate values on other personal property. Sometime you just need to be creative.

For basic necessities like clothing, kitchenware, etc., I ask my client to tell me how much they would pay for the items if they were buying them in a second hand store or how much they would deduct from their taxes if they were to donate the items.

Whatever values you use for your bankruptcy, you need understand how you arrived at the values and to be able to support them. It is important to have accurate values.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

 #bankruptcy Chapter7 #Chapter13 #MontgomeryCounty #lawfirm #BucksCounty #Pennsylvania

Friday, July 7, 2017

"Does your mother have a living will?" a personal account - Estate Planning

My mother went into the hospital for semi-elective surgery. It wasn't necessary for her survival but she wanted the procedure hoping it would improve the quality of her life. She wanted to repair injuries to her body left from other surgeries after a serious illness two years ago.

Image courtesy of artur84
My sister is a nurse and works in the hospital where my mother was being treated. She is my mother's designated healthcare agent.

After the surgery, things did not go as well as we expected. She was in the hospital about two weeks with some good days and some bad days. My sister is usually calm, cool, and collected but I could tell even she was concerned.

One morning she called me to tell me the hospital called her at 3 AM and ask her, "does your mother still have a living will?" As my sister was talking the hair on the back of my neck raised up. Obviously, my mother was having some serious issues and they wanted to preform a procedure.

Two issues arose immediately. First, my sister knew (and I agree) my mother probably would not have wanted the procedure the doctors were recommending. Second, my sister knew my mother was aware and capable of making her own decision. The doctors may have known my mother would reject their advice.
My sister told the doctors, "my mom can make her own decision and we can talk to her later." Later that day, the hospital offered my mother three options. The first option and their recommendation would have significantly increased her chance of survival but would have further diminished her quality of life. To what extent we were not sure. The second option was a temporary solution which would give her body time to heal if it was able. The third option was to do nothing and the doctors were pretty sure she would not survive.
My mother selected the temporary option. We knew she would terminate the treatment as scheduled no matter what the result. If fact, she terminated the temporary treatment five days early anyway. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact my mother decided to risk death over surviving but with a degradation in her quality of life. But that was her choice.
My sister may not have made the decision for her as her healthcare agent but she did protect my mother's right to decide for herself.  Without the living will giving my sister authority to answer for my mom, the hospital may have imposed its judgment upon my mother.

By the way ... my mother survived this ordeal and has more mobility than she would have if she followed her doctors' advice. She is a tough old bird ... living on her own ... raising cane as she always has.

It is good my sister had the authority of the living will and that we knew what my mother wanted for her life and in her death when the time comes. It made a tough experience less stressful. 

If you want to work on your estate plan, need assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

#Bucks_County #lawyer #lawyers, #MontgomeryCounty #Souderton #Law_Firm #Wills #Power-of-Attorney #Living_Will #Healthcare #Trusts 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

USCIS Introduces Redesigned Form for Green Card Applicants

Direct from the USCIS Bulletin:

"Today [06/26/2017] we published the following news release, available here on our website.

WASHINGTON U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today published a revised Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). The new Form I-485 and instructions have been substantially updated to reduce complexity after collecting comments from the public and stakeholders.

The revised version gives applicants better information to accurately complete Form I-485, including clear navigation to the parts of the form and instructions that are relevant to the applicants’ specific situations. These updates should increase the efficiency of the adjudication process by reducing errors and requests for evidence.

Applicants living in the United States file Form I-485 to adjust their immigration status and become lawful permanent residents, which allows one to live and work permanently in the United States.  Adjusting status is a critical step for those seeking U.S. citizenship.

USCIS also revised the Form I-485 Supplement A and Form I-485 Supplement J (as well as each supplement’s instructions), to provide applicants with more detailed information about how to properly complete, file, and submit evidence if those supplements are applicable to their situation.

Beginning today, there will be a 60-day grace period during which USCIS will accept both the  01/17/17 and 06/26/17 editions of Form I-485 and Supplement A and J. Beginning Aug. 25, USCIS will only accept the revised Form and Supplement A and J of Form I-485 and will no longer accept earlier versions of either form.

What’s New? USCIS improved Form I-485 to include:
  • Better flow and organization of questions to make it user-friendly for both the applicants and USCIS. In addition, readability has significantly improved due to new spacing, columns, flow, white space, and formatting.
  • The questions about biographic information (Form G-325A) so applicants will no longer need to file a separate form;
  • A list of 27 immigrant categories, which allows applicants to identify the specific immigrant category under which they are applying; and
  • A comprehensive, updated list of admissibility-related questions. The added questions to ensure USCIS officers have the necessary information to better assess the applicant’s admissibility and eligibility.
What Remains the Same

While both Form I-485 and its instructions may look different from earlier versions, the process for filing Form I-485 and Form I-485 Supplement A and Form I-485 Supplement J remains the same. Applicants must still submit their paper applications to the location listed in the form instructions.

Further information

Visit the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status  page and the Form I-485 Supplement A page for further information about the new forms and instructions.

Applicants can visit the USCIS Green Card Eligibility Categories page for information on eligibility requirements for each immigrant category.

All USCIS forms are free on our website at

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and Instagram (@uscis)."

 If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Medvesky Law Office, LLC, check out my website at

#BucksCounty #Immigration #lawyer #lawyers, #MontgomeryCounty #Souderton #Law_Firm

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Why does my bankruptcy attorney ask me for this - Tax Returns (pt 2)

The bankruptcy law requires debtors to be current with their tax filings. The most current year must be filed with the trustee 7 days prior to the creditors meeting. Also, the bankruptcy attorney needs to verify annual income the two previous years of income for the filing of the case. The easiest way to confirm this is to see the tax returns. I request the last 4 years of tax returns.

If debtors do not have copies of their tax returns, they can request transcripts of their returns from the IRS on this webpage - Transcripts are acceptable.

Asking for documents is not to make people crazy. These documents are the proof requested by the trustee.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter7 #Chapter13 #MontgomeryCounty #lawfirm #BucksCounty #Pennsylvania

Friday, May 12, 2017

Why does my bankruptcy attorney ask me for this - Bank Statements (pt 1)

I think ... sometimes ... my clients think I am nuts for asking for some of the documents I ask for and the way I need them. One set of documents I need are bank statements. That sounds easy enough, right? In this day and age, it is harder than you think.

Most clients do not receive their bank statements. They relay on electronic banking. They belief the screen print is a bank statement. It is not and most if not all of the trustees in this jurisdiction will not accept the electronic summary. I need the statement. It can be electronic and most times in can be found on the client's on-line banking site but it is not always easy.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

The next caveat is it must be the full statement. After people find their statements, they tend to remove the blank pages or pages with "required" disclosures and announcements. I appreciate the effort to not load me up with unnecessary information. But the trustee wants the complete statement.

The statement is not just for the trustee though. Bankruptcy attorneys need to scrub them as well. The trustee will look for money transfers, influx of cash, and anything that is inconsistent with the documents the client filed to start the bankruptcy. The attorney should try to have the answers before the trustee asks.

Asking for documents is not to make people crazy. Statements are required to protect the client during the bankruptcy and required by the trustee.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

#bankruptcy #Chapter7 #Chapter13 #MontgomeryCounty #lawfirm #BucksCounty #Pennsylvania