Friday, October 23, 2015

Conflict of Interest - don't be offended - we need to check ...

Since I merged my practice with the long established firm of Wells, Hoffman & Holloway LLP, I feel like potential clients are put off when I tell them we need to do a conflicts check. As a new solo practitioner, I knew almost all my clients by name and a search of my files would quickly confirm no conflict existed. The firm I merged with has decades of clients. As a result, the conflict checks take a little longer.
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But timing doesn't seem to be the issue. Somehow I get the feeling people are taking it personal... not many people but enough to prompt me write this. But it is not personal at all. We have an obligation to check our current and former clients to make sure our new clients are not in a dispute with them.

We cannot represent one person against another when that other person has given us private information that may be used against them. I hope that makes sense. This is an ethical violation and we need to prevent it from happening. It is to protect clients.

Also it is just not good business to switch sides; so to speak even if we were permitted. Counseling people on legal matters takes trust. There is no way to build trust if your clients constantly fear their attorneys might jump sides. 

So, don't be offended if the attorney you call asks questions about the case and the other parties involved. It is an ethical requirement that is meant to protect everyone.

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

#MontgomeryCounty #lawfirm #BucksCounty #Pennsylvania

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What information do I need for my first meeting with a bankruptcy attorney?

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While all attorneys have different methods of working cases, there is some basic information debtors can bring to their first meeting. This will help them and their attorneys to start identifying possible courses of action.

One of the first things attorneys look at are a debtor's preceding 6 months of paystubs. So if a debtor's first meeting is in October, he or she should have paystubs for April through Sept and the most current October stubs. This information is used to complete the "means test," which is a major factor in determining if a person is able to file for chapter 7 protection.

Clients also need to know the balances on secured loans and the value of the property securing the loan.  The most common secured loans are home mortgages and car loans. Take the most current statements showing the most current balances into the meeting. Clients should also have a sense of the value of their homes and cars. For estimated home values, clients can check sites like Zillow and for cars, they can use sites like Kelley Blue Book. This information will help a debtor determine if chapter 7 or chapter 13 is the appropriate choice.

Other good information to bring to the first meeting are copies of any law suits or judgments filed, an understanding of other assets the debtor has like bank and other financial accounts, recent federal tax returns, a recent credit report, and a list of questions. This type of information will help lead to a productive first meeting and aid a client with making decisions.

Some attorneys may want more information to start and some may need less but this provides anyone a good start. This should be enough information to start the decision-making process.

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

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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bankruptcy - major changes to the forms being use to file starting December 1, 2015

Starting December 1, people filing bankruptcy will be required to use new forms approved by the federal court. The Court's website states, "Among other things, the new forms introduce different versions of case opening forms for individual debtors and non-individual debtors. The new forms are easier for debtors to understand and complete and are designed to work with scheduled enhancements to the federal courts’ case opening and electronic case management system."

While it would be a benefit for the forms to become simpler, some of the attorneys I spoke with do not believe they are. Also, many questions I get do not concern the format of the forms but the substance of the information being requested. I'm not sure how new forms will answer questions like, "My name is on the car title too but my dad really owns it, do I need to report it?" So, I'm not sure how much easier these forms will be. The instruction booklet for individuals is 47 pages.

Another short-term problem I see is the gear up time. Software is going to need to be upgraded and there will be a learning curve. I could see a back up occurring after the Dec 1 start date. As intuitive as the new forms are hoped to be, it will still take time to learn the new format.

Finally, as I understand it, the forms will require more detail or forces a debtor to include more detail than the current forms. If that proves to be true, that will require attorneys to do more work to file a case. The result could be higher attorneys fees. Only time will tell.

I guess the moral to this story is, if you are planning or absolutely need to file bankruptcy and want it to happen quickly, it might be best to act now before the new forms go into effect. Also, if you wait, you may see some prices creep up.

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

Form Number Conversion Charts below

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bankruptcy - it may suprise you who files for protection

Most people who walk into my office to discuss bankruptcy feel they are not "the type" of person to file bankruptcy. I think people would be surprised by "the type" of people who do seek protection. I found a blog that pulled some of the statistics out of a study.

"Bankruptcy Statistics:
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1.     Age: The numbers suggest that older people file bankruptcy more often than younger folks. Most of the filers (56%) were between the ages of 35 and 54. And those older than 54 outnumber filers under 35 years old.

2.     Gender: Although more men are filing bankruptcy these days, in general women file more than men.

3.     Race: Bankruptcy filers are overwhelmingly Caucasian (72%), 11% are African American, and Hispanics come in third at 9%.

4.     Education level: The more educated you are, the more likely you may file bankruptcy. College graduates and those with graduate degrees make up more than 57% of filers; those with high school diplomas or GEDs come in second at 36%, and less than 6% of all bankruptcy filers did not graduate from high school.

5.     Income level: Not surprisingly, those with incomes under $20,000 annually were the highest group to file at 38%, with the next highest group (21%) earning between $20,000 and $30,000 annually. Apparently, both these percentages have declined since the study began. The third highest group earned between $30,000 and $40,000 annually – a percentage also on the decline. Finally, those filers in the highest income category (over $60,000 annually) almost doubled to 9% during the 5-year study period.

6.     Job Status: Most filers also had jobs (70%). Only 17% were currently unemployed, and the rest were considered to be out of the job market because they were retired, students, or homemakers.

7.     Marital Status: Married couples make up 64% of all bankruptcy filers, and less than 15% of unmarried filers were divorced."

See more of the article - The Many Faces of Bankruptcy - using the Institute for Financial Literacy five-year study to get a better understanding of who files bankruptcy and why.

Based on my practice, these statistics do not really shock me. But I do find them interesting. I think this study demonstrates that average people ... our neighbors, friends and co-workers find themselves in tough financial straits and need help.

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

#bankruptcy #Chapter_7 #Chapter_13 #Montgomery_County #law_firm #Bucks_County #Pennsylvania

Sunday, October 4, 2015

USCIS - DHS to Create Filipino WWII Veterans Parole Program

Good News - DHS is planning another way for some people to legally enter the US;
Bad News - The program isn't quite ready yet but keep an eye out for updates; and
The Cautionary Tale - watch out for scam artist trying to take advantage of the situation and promising entry into a program not yet launched.
Direct from USCIS:
"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is creating a parole program to allow certain family members of Filipino and Filipino-American World War II veterans to receive parole to come to the United States. This parole program was announced in November 2014 by President Obama and Secretary Johnson as part of the executive actions on immigration and is detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015. The program may enable these eligible family members to provide support and care to their aging veteran family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Parole, as provided for under the Immigration and Nationality Act, gives DHS discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to permit individuals to come to the United States for a temporary period of time based upon urgent humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit. Parole does not give the individual any permanent right to remain in the United States.

USCIS reminds customers that they cannot apply at this time. Any applications received before the program is implemented may be denied. We will inform the public when the application process is in place. Register to receive email updates.

Please remember to be mindful of immigration scams. Visit, for tips on filing forms, reporting scams, and finding a licensed attorney or an accredited representative."
If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

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