Thursday, October 19, 2017

Always check the numbers ... Bankruptcy

I always tell my clients to check my work. Like every professional I know I do my best not to make mistakes. But I am human and sometimes I divide when I should multiple and transpose numbers just like every other normal person. Never assume something is correct just because someone else did it for you. Clients should understand and agree with the work an attorney has completed for them. Legal work is a team effort.

I had two cases this week I initially made small errors. The first case was a simple case and it was easy to turn around rather quickly. The first error was the way I was reading my client's paystubs. Unfortunately, paystubs are not universal. They contain most of the same information but the layout and abbreviations can vary greatly. I misunderstood some deductions.

As I was going through everything with my client, she stopped me at one point and said, "that doesn't sound right." Sure enough, as she went over the paystubs with me, we found the issue. It was an easy fix and everything is good.

The second case dealt with paystubs as well. This was a much more complex case with business records and two different sets of paystubs. It was further complicated because it was "on again and off again" over the last year.

My clients thought they wanted to do it and then they thought the could handle their finances without bankruptcy. I found myself with almost a year worth of records. I had duplicate and gaps. I had documents that became too old and I had to collect updated documents as time passed. I finally thought I had everything I needed.

I did all my calculations and sent the everything to my clients to review before our meeting. They said they went through it all and we were ready to meet. We went through it again line by line and page by page. Before we ended the meeting we found a couple more things I needed but nothing major.

I received the information, starting conducting my final review before filing, and started preparing the final documents. I had this little buzzing in my head thinking, "something isn't right." Sure enough I was not accounting for all the income. I do not know if my clients just missed giving me all the paystubs or I missed them in all the e-mail and record exchanges. Again, an easy fix but I would have like to have caught it earlier in the process.

I'm not sure how closely they reviewed the calculations I sent them. But the client needs to sign the filing. They also need to testify at the creditors meeting that they reviewed the documents, understood them, and they were accurate.

If you are in that position, you really need to make sure that is true. So do not hesitate to question things if they do not seem correct. Your attorney should be able to explain everything to you. No one wants to make mistakes but we all do. Always check the numbers...

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 www.whhmlaw.com.

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?

I found this article on ProPublica written by Paul Kiel









 





The article has good information and gives a reader a broad sense of bankruptcy. Keep in mind different states and district courts may have different local practices.

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 www.whhmlaw.com.

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


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 FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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 www.whhmlaw.com.

 #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
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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 www.whhmlaw.com.

#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 www.uscis.gov/forms.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov 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 www.medveskylaw.com.

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