Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bankruptcy - How can I file bankruptcy with $50,000 in my retirement account?

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee
Too many times people walk into my office to file bankruptcy after have spent down their entire retirement account. It is especially disheartening when it is someone who is fast approaching retirement age. It is unfortunate when people spend their retirement savings and find themselves filing for bankruptcy anyway. The truth is their account was probably protected under bankruptcy law.
The purpose of bankruptcy is to help people get back on track. The law recognizes that retirement savings is important to stay on track after everything is done. As a result, most retirement accounts that are funded by pre-tax dollars from an employer or hold tax exempt money deposited by the account owner are fully exempt from creditors in a bankruptcy case, That means 100% of the money in a retirement account may be protected and the debtor would be allowed to keep it.

Having money in a retirement account should not stop a person from filing bankruptcy. A retirement account may be a reason to file bankruptcy. Because the money may be protected, thinking about tapping into that account may be the warning sign people need to admit it is time to file for bankruptcy.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bankruptcy - How long should it take to file a case?

This is a hard question to answer. I have had several conversations with other people and carefully reviewed the histories of my own cases and practices. The professionals have told me cases should be filed as quickly as a week or two after being retained to others believing up to 90 days is reasonable. A review of my files showed me I have filed non-emergency cases as quick as three weeks and a few cases took months to get filed.  

There are many variables. Obviously, a pending garnishment or sheriff's sale can require almost immediate filing with the minimal information. A debtor still must complete credit counseling before filing but it can be done rather quickly.

The law firm's resources and attorney's style can influence the timing as well. If a firm has staff dedicated to its bankruptcy practice, it can reduce the time to file. Some attorneys may rely more on what a client tells them and others may want more documents before filing.

One of the main variables is the clients and debtors themselves. Many people do not realize the number of records required to prepare a bankruptcy case. Attorneys have a duty to investigate the case before it is filed.

The bankruptcy petition, schedules and statements contain information on a debtor's family, income, inventory of assets, debts, leases, banking, payment history, law suits, repossessions and much more.  When an entire bankruptcy package is complete and ready for filing, it is approximately 45 - 60 pages of information.

In order to complete these documents, debtors need to provide the previous six months of paystub, at least 3 months of bank records, four years of tax returns, valuations on real estate and automobiles, official social security card, loan documents, etc. Many attorneys hand out questionnaires and checklists to help a client gather the necessary records.  It takes time to gather this documentation and assemble the bankruptcy package.

To me, two weeks seems a little quick. When I have regular contact and the cooperation of a client, my goal is to have the case ready to file within thirty days.  The preparation can easily slip to 45 days when people are working or lack the technology to gather records. If a client is really working with me to get the case filed and giving me the things I need, I think any time over 60 days is too long.

There is no set time it should take to file a bankruptcy case. It will depend on the attorney's style, workload, and the client's ability to provide the necessary information. My goal is 30 - 45 days providing my clients have the time and fully cooperate.

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

Saturday, December 12, 2015

USCIS - Updates Forms I-824 and I-817

It is important to check the dates on the forms and the instruction page on the USCIS website to make sure you are using the most current form. If they are accepting the earlier forms, it will state that on the website. Here are some changes ...

Direct from USCIS Bulletin:

"USCIS has published an update to:

·        Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition. New edition dated 10/21/15. (Starting 02/08/16, USCIS will only accept the 10/21/15 edition. Until then, you can use the 09/30/13 edition).

·        Form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits. New edition dated 10/05/15. (Starting 02/08/16, USCIS will only accept the 10/05/15 edition. Until then, you can use the 06/26/13 edition).

For more information, please visit USCIS Forms Updates page."
If you want assistance, legal representation, or just 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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

USCIS - Deadline to Register for Nepal TPS is Dec. 21, 2015

Deadline approaching quickly. Direct from USCIS Bulletin:

"The deadline for eligible nationals of Nepal (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) to register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. This deadline marks the end of the 180-day initial registration period. The TPS designation for Nepal runs from June 24, 2015, through Dec. 24, 2016.


To be eligible for TPS, you must demonstrate that you meet all eligibility criteria, including that you have been both “continuously physically present” and “continuously residing” in the U.S. since June 24, 2015. You must also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS.


To register for TPS, you must submit:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status;
  • The Form I-821 application fee (or a fee-waiver request);
  • The biometric services fee (or a fee-waiver request) if you are 14 years of age or older;
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether you want an Employment Authorization Document (EAD); and
  • The Form I-765 application fee (or a fee-waiver request), but only if you want an EAD. If you do not want an EAD, no application fee is required. There is no Form I-765 fee for initial applicants under the age of 14 or over 65; these applicants may receive their initial EAD cards for free.

Fees and Fee Waivers

If you cannot pay the fee, you may request that we waive the Form I-821 application fee, Form I-765 application fee, or biometric services fee by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submitting a written request. You must also submit supporting documentation with your fee-waiver request. We will reject your TPS application if you do not submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

Additional Information

For more information about the designation of Nepal for TPS—including guidance on eligibility, the application process and where to file—visit, the Nepal TPS page or the Federal Register notice.

This Web alert is also available in Nepali.

For more information, visit our website."
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 #LawFirm

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Small Business/Personal Finance - things people can do to plan for income tax

As the year winds down and people prepare to take time to enjoy their holiday season, accountants, tax attorneys and other tax professionals start gearing up for the tax season that follows. While we have little control of our tax code, we can control how we take advantage of the benefits allowed by the code. I found this article that explains some of the simple things people can do lessen their tax burden.

Image courtesy of ratch0013 at
"Gail MarksJarvis: 8 easy ways to cut your taxes now" on the Miami Herald's website runs down a list of steps people can take to manage their tax burden. One of the suggestions may be particularly helpful to small business owners. The article mentions the idea of delaying income. I would suggest another consideration is taking as much income as possible this year too. If a company is just starting up or in a building phase, it may be advantageous to take income this year if the plan is to dramatically grow next year. Discussions about potential changes in tax rates between years due to growth may be a reasonable query. These are consideration a business owner should be discussing with their tax professional now.

Other steps include contributions to retirements funds, considering medical treatments that have been put off, pay school bills early, and dump bad investments before the end of the year. Check out the article for these ideas. If people find any of these options seem worthy of consideration, they should consult their accountant to ensure the moves will accomplish what they intend to accomplish with their tax planning. If there are legal issues connected to the options, people should include their attorneys in the discussion. 

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 #LawFirm #smallbusiness