Blog Archives

“Best Bankruptcy Attorney in Georgia” is Brian R. Cahn…

according to one of his colleagues, a well-known lawyer from Cartersville:

“Brian Cahn is one of the brightest legal minds that I know! I have never met a better bankruptcy attorney. He is thorough as they come. I highly recommend him to all of my clients looking for a bankruptcy attorney.”

Reviews from some of his clients –

Brian, we received our discharge paperwork today. We wanted to thank you again for all your help and advice. You are a really kind and good person who does more than a “job”. We learned so much and value your hard work. We wanted to make certain you know how much you are appreciated. Please also thank your staff as they are amazing and we could not have accomplished this without their help as well. With gratitude, Marc and Kerri

When we visited the law office of Perrotta & Cahn, we were very much in need of professional assistance. We had no idea what our options would be. Mr Cahn looked at the information we provided, he gave us his professional opinion, but most of all Mr. Cahn answered our questions. He made us feel very at ease through our situation and his staff is always available to answer questions. Mr. Cahn continued answering our questions and made us feel at ease throughout the entire process which included office visits and court appearances. We have and will continue referring our friends and family members to Perrotta & Cahn.  Darin & Donna B, Paulding County, GA

Perrotta & Cahn is a top tier law firm with a friendly, easy going way of taking care of business. Brian Cahn has been our go-to guy for personal and now our business legal matters since 2003. He is a pro.  GHH – Hiram, GA

I cannot say enough about the law firm of Perrotta & Cahn, specifically my attorney, Mr. Brian Cahn. I was referred to Brian Cahn through a close friend who used his services earlier.

Unfortunately, I was experiencing severe financial difficulty, and I needed to inquire about the possibility of declaring bankruptcy. I was already upset and embarrassed that I was in this situation. However, upon meeting Brian, and explaining my situation to him, I began to feel comfortable and reassured. Brian explained that he would work hard to provide the best outcome for me. He is also an excellent strategist.

Brian was always readily available whenever I had questions or concerns. He is a consummate professional who I felt was extremely dedicated to my case. The services provided to me by Brian Cahn have been invaluable. I also felt his prices were reasonable and fair. The office staff was also very professional and courteous.

Should anyone I know need the services of an attorney, without hesitation, I will always highly recommend Mr. Brian Cahn, of Perrotta, Cahn.  Dominic R. – Atlanta, GA

At the darkest time of our lives a very good friend recommended Brian Cahn to help us. We were scared, unsure of how to proceed and unfamiliar with the process. Brian treated us with respect, led us each step of the way and answered all of questions and concerns. He stood beside us and for us in a way that we will never forget. He represented us with integrity and consideration. To say that we highly recommend him is an understatement. We recommend only him and it is our privilege to do so.  Pam and Tony W. – Canton GA

My family and I found ourselves in a situation that was unique for us and required a swift decision. Working with Mr. Stephens and Mr. Cahn proved to be efficient, professional, and reliable. The peace-of-mind this law firm gave my family was priceless.”

Good luck and best wishes. We owe you a debt of gratitude – but that’s the only debt we have left!! (pardon the pun). KK and RK

My husband and I have referred many of my friends to Brian Cahn’s firm. They helped us and stayed right with us through the bankruptcy process. They went out of their way to ensure we were taken care of. Very kind and concerned as we were going through a very rough time in our lives and it helps when you have people like these guys willing to take the time to make the process a little easier. Thanks guys for all your hard work and always being there for us through a very diffucult time in our lives. Thanks to you we are back on track with our financial situation. J and J, Cartersville, GA

I would like to say Brad Stephens and all the folks in the law office treated me with respect and kindness. The kind of treatment a friend would give. My business was carried out just as Brad explained it. Every time I had a question he was emailing or returning my call. AAA+++. Thank you Brad for taking a difficult time in my life and handling business!!! J, Cartersville, GA

Thanks so much fots. You and your team helped me to get a fresh jump-start on life. You are absolutely going to be my first call for any legal needs in the future. RDR, Bartow County, GA

For a FREE CONSULTATION with Brian Cahn, call the office: (770) 382-8900

Perrotta & Cahn

http://www.NorthGaBankruptcy.com

Cartersville | Dallas | Calhoun | Dalton

Advertisements

Debt Settlement vs. Bankruptcy – Which Option is Better?

Nobody wants to file for bankruptcy, but when creditors become aggressive, all options must be considered. Every situation is different, but here are some things to consider:

Advantages of Debt Settlement:

Settlement of debts has the advantage of avoiding the stigma of bankruptcy. Furthermore, a properly-structured settlement can mitigate the damage to your credit, while substantially lowering the balance.

Many debts can be settled for pennies on the dollar. According to the “Collections and Credit Risk Newsletter”: One of the largest collectors, Midland Funding, has paid more than $2.1 billion to purchase about 40 million accounts with a face value of about $66.4 billion, or about three cents on the dollar, mostly from banks, credit card companies and cellphone companies that had written off the bad debts, the attorney general’s office said.

So, if collection agencies are acquiring the debt from the origianl creditor for as little as 3 cents on the dollar, you can certainly settle the debt at a substantial discount. One debt settlement company advertises an average settlement amount of only 19% of the original debt.

Drawbacks of Debt Settlement:

“Debt Settlement Companies” spend a whole lot of money on TV and radio ads. They also have a long history of problems. See the Federal Trade Commission website for some details –

Although a debt settlement company may be able to settle one or more of your debts, consider the risks associated with these programs before you sign up:
1. These programs often require that you deposit money in a special savings account for 36 months or more before all your debts will be settled. Many people have trouble making these payments long enough to get all (or even some) of their debts settled. They drop out the programs as a result. Before you sign up for a debt settlement program, review your budget carefully to make sure you are financially capable of setting aside the required monthly amounts for the full length of the program.
2. Your creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate a settlement of the amount you owe. So there is a chance that your debt settlement company will not be able to settle some of your debts — even if you set aside the monthly amounts the program requires. Debt settlement companies also often try to negotiate smaller debts first, leaving interest and fees on large debts to grow.
3. Because debt settlement programs often ask — or encourage — you to stop sending payments directly to your creditors, they may have a negative impact on your credit report and other consequences. For example, your debts may continue to accrue late fees and penalties that can put you further in the hole. You also may get calls from your creditors or debt collectors requesting repayment. You could even be sued for repayment. In some instances, when creditors win a lawsuit, they have the right to garnish your wages or put a lien on your home.Beware of Debt Settlement Scams

Some companies offering debt settlement programs may engage in deception and fail to deliver on the promises they make — for example, promises or “guarantees” to settle all your credit card debts for, say, 30 to 60 percent of the amount you owe. Other companies may try to collect their own fees from you before they have settled any of your debts — a practice prohibited under the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) for companies engaged in telemarketing these services. Some fail to explain the risks associated with their programs: for example, that many (or most) consumers drop out without settling their debts, that consumers’ credit reports may suffer, or that debt collectors may continue to call you.Avoid doing business with any company that promises to settle your debt if the company:
•charges any fees before it settles your debts
•touts a “new government program” to bail out personal credit card debt
•guarantees it can make your unsecured debt go away
•tells you to stop communicating with your creditors, but doesn’t explain the serious consequences
•tells you it can stop all debt collection calls and lawsuits
•guarantees that your unsecured debts can be paid off for pennies on the dollar

Researching Debt Settlement Companies
Before you enroll in a debt settlement program, do your homework. You’re making a big decision that involves spending a lot of your money — money that could go toward paying down your debt. Check out the company with your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agency. They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you’re considering doing business with. Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.Enter the name of the company name with the word “complaints” into a search engine. Read what others have said about the companies you’re considering, including news about any lawsuits with state or federal regulators for engaging in deceptive or unfair practices.Fees

If you do business with a debt settlement company, you may have to put money in a dedicated bank account, which will be administered by an independent third party. The funds are yours and you are entitled to the interest that accrues. The account administrator may charge you a reasonable fee for account maintenance, and is responsible for transferring funds from your account to pay your creditors and the debt settlement company when settlements occur.A company can charge you only a portion of its full fee for each debt it settles. For example, say you owe money to five creditors. The company successfully negotiates a settlement with one of your creditors. The company can charge you only a portion of its full fee at this time because it still needs to successfully negotiate with four other creditors. Each time the debt settlement company successfully settles a debt with one of your creditors, the company can charge you another portion of its full fee. If the company’s fees are based on a percentage of the amount you save through the settlement, it must tell you both the percentage it charges and the estimated dollar amount it represents. This may be called a “contingency” fee.Disclosure Requirements

Before you sign up for the service, the debt relief company must give you information about the program:
•The price and terms: The company must explain its fees and any conditions on its services.
•Results: The company must tell you how long it will take to get results — how many months or years before it will make an offer to each creditor for a settlement.
•Offers: The company must tell you how much money or the percentage of each outstanding debt you must save before it will make an offer to each creditor on your behalf.
•Non-payment: If the company asks you to stop making payments to your creditors — or if the program relies on you to not make payments — it must tell you about the possible negative consequences of your action, including damage to your credit report and credit score; that your creditors may sue you or continue with the collections process; and that your credit card companies may charge you additional fees and interest, which will increase the amount you owe.

The debt relief company also must tell you that:
•the funds are yours and you are entitled to the interest earned;
•the account administrator is not affiliated with the debt relief provider and doesn’t get referral fees; and
•you may withdraw your money any time without penalty

Tax Consequences
Depending on your financial condition, any savings you get from debt relief services can be considered income and taxable. Credit card companies and others may report settled debt to the IRS, which the IRS considers income, unless you are “insolvent.” Insolvency is when your total debts are more than the fair market value of your total assets. Insolvency can be complex to determine. Talk to a tax professional if are not sure whether you qualify for this exception.

Advantages of Bankruptcy:

Whether filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, certain advantages exist when compared with debt settlement:

■Filing for bankruptcy may stop debt collection activities such as wage garnishment and repossession of a car
■Filing for bankruptcy does not subject a consumer to a tax on forgiven debts
■Filing for bankruptcy offers a fresh start for those unable to repay their debts

Consumer bankruptcy cases are inexpensive. Chapter 13 cases, for example, are filed for a cost of $351. Chapter 7 cases usually cost between $1,000 and $1,600 – so that cost, compared to the amount of debt being eliminated, is usually minimal.

Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, debt free. You can use your fresh start as a platform to rebuild your credit. We often see situations where our clients rebuild their credit faster AFTER bankruptcy, than they could have while participating in a drawn-out debt settlement program.

Drawbacks of Bankruptcy:

Bankruptcy isn’t the right fit for every case, and it does impact your credit. Some of our clients have too much income, or too many assets, to qualify for the best types of bankruptcy relief.

Summary:

There’s absolutely no drawback in visiting our law firm for a free case evaluation. We have years of experience, and we can assess your best option with only 1 concern – your best interests. As you can see from our client testimonials, we have represented thousands of satisfied clients. We would be honored to help you accomplish a fresh financial start.

For a free consultation, call Perrotta & Cahn today: (770) 382-8900.

Brian R. Cahn
http://www.NorthGABankruptcy.com
http://www.Perrottalaw.com

Under Chapter 13, what is notice of transfer of claim?

If you’re in a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, your creditors don’t get paid unless they file a proof of claim.  The proof of claim form gets filed with the court at the beginning of the plan.

Debts, notes and receivables are frequently sold from one creditor to another.  For example, if you owe a debt to Capital One for a credit card, Capital One may file a proof of claim in your chapter 13 plan.  However, if Capital One sold your debt (the receivable) to a collection agency (usually at a discount to the collection agency, not you), the collection agency files the proof of claim.  The filing of your chapter 13 does not prevent the collection agency from selling the receivable to yet another collection firm.

Some collection firms, such as “B-Line” or “E-cast,” seem to specialize in buying receivables that are in chapter 13 bankruptcy plans.  I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I suspect that B-Line and E-cast are buying the receivables for pennies on the dollar.

When one collector buys a receivable that’s in chapter 13 from another collector, they’ve got to notify the trustee and the court.  If they didn’t, the disbursements from your chapter 13 plan would continue to go to the original claimant.  Therefore, they file a NOTICE OF TRANSFER OF CLAIM.  The Notice tells the court and the trustee that the receivable was sold and instructs the trustee to remit future disbursements to the new entity.

How does the transfer impact you or your case?  The answer is simple: it doesn’t.  No need to worry.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to review the claims filed in your chapter 13 with your attorney.  I’ve seen many erroneous claims: some claims were duplicates of others, some claims were filed in the wrong case, some claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations, etc.  If you suspect a problem with one or more claims in your case, you’re entitled to object.  If your objection is sustained, the claim may be reduced, re-classified, or even disallowed.

If you’d like to discuss the details or implications of chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy, shoot me an e-mail or give me a call.  The consultation is always free.

Brian Cahn,

Senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn & Associates

Perrotta, Cahn & Associates represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

It is possible to eliminate a second mortgage through bankruptcy

Things can get tricky when filers have second mortgages or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) when they file for bankruptcy. And thanks to the housing market that collapsed in 2007, many Americans currently do have multiple mortgages or loans attached to their homes.

A common misconception is that mortgage liens can not be removed through bankruptcy. In fact, 2nd mortgages (and HELOCs) CAN be stripped and/or discharged through bankruptcy.

Here’s how they’re treated by the bankruptcy court:

  • A HELOC in Chapter 13 bankruptcy: In Chapter 13, filers are required to make payments to their primary mortgage lender and to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee distributes these payments among priority debtors. After the case concludes, the HELOC may be eliminated (discharged). The lender will have gotten a percentage of trustee payments during the case.
  • A HELOC in Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Chapter 7 may cancel the debt on a home equity credit line, but it cannot cancel the lien that creditor has on the house. In fact, a HELOC lender may still be able to foreclose on a filer’s house after bankruptcy is over (though if there’s no equity in the house, this would be unlikely). One way to avoid post-Chapter 7 foreclosure is to reaffirm payments to a HELOC lender in during bankruptcy.
  • Second mortgages in Chapter 13: Second mortgages that are no longer secured by a home’s value can be discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Underwater homes may have second or third mortgages that are not secured any longer by the house’s value (that is, the amount of the loans totals more than what the house is currently worth). However, discharging a second mortgage will not affect what a bankruptcy filer owes on a first mortgage.

Brian Cahn,

Senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn & Associates

Perrotta, Cahn & Associates represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

Repeat Filings: How Often Can You file, or Re-File, Bankruptcy?

 How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

If you have filed for bankruptcy before and received a discharge then the bankruptcy code specifies when you can file bankruptcy again and obtain a discharge. If you did not get a discharge in your previous bankruptcy case then you can file for bankruptcy again without consideration of the time limits described below. You can file for bankruptcy twice or even three times, even if you have received a discharge. The key is that you will often have to wait a certain period after you have filed and have received a discharge, to file for bankruptcy again and get a full discharge. If you file for bankruptcy again prior the the time limits, then you will not be entitled to a discharge, and your remaining debts will survive the bankruptcy.

Can I File for Bankruptcy Twice?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – If you have previously filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge in your previous case then you can file for bankruptcy again and you can be entitled to another discharge in the following situations:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy– If you need to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy after you have filed a previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, then you need to wait 8 years from the date you filed your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you file prior to the 8 years, then you will be denied a discharge. If you are denied a discharge, then you will still be legally responsible for your debts. You start to count the 8 years from the date you filed your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you filed your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy in  July of 2000, then you are eligible to file again and get a discharge in July 2008.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – If you need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy after your have obtained a discharge in a previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy then you will need to wait 4 years to obtain a complete discharge. In order to discharge your credit card debts, medical bills and personal loans you need to wait 4 years from the date you filed your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you file within 4 years of your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy then your unsecured debts will not be discharged. This time limit only applies if you obtained a discharge in your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The 4 year period begins to run from the date you filed your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This means that if you filed in February of 2000, then  you would be eligible for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge in February of 2004.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – If you have previously filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you received a discharge in your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy then there are time limits for filing another Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can file for bankruptcy again, but there are time limits in order for you to obtain a full discharge of your debts.

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – If you received a discharge in your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you need to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy then you will need to wait 6 years from the date of filing your Chapter 13 bankruptcy to receive a full discharge. You can obtain a full discharge of your debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, even if you file within 6 years, but you must have paid your unsecured creditors 70% or more during your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you did not pay your unsecured creditors at least 70% during your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy within 6 years of filing Chapter 13, then you will not be entitled to a discharge. You must wait at least 6 years from the date of filing your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy, to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge (unless the exception applies).
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – If you have received a discharge in a previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy and need to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy again, then you need to wait at least 2 years from the date of filing of your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you file within 2 years of filing your Chapter 13 bankruptcy then you will not be entitled to a discharge in your new bankruptcy case.

It is important that you understand whether your previous bankruptcy affects your ability to obtain a complete discharge of your debts in your new bankruptcy case. Make sure you inform any bankruptcy attorney of your previous bankruptcy case, so that they can assess whether you can file for bankruptcy and obtain a full discharge of your debts.

If you’re still not sure if you qualify for another bankruptcy, please contact our office for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

Brian Cahn, senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn & Associates

Perrotta, Cahn & Associates represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

 

Should you sign a reaffirmation agreement?

One of the benefits of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, is the ability to keep (or “reaffirm”) debts secured by property the debtor needs for his or her fresh start.  Typically, clients need their vehicle and house and reaffirming the loans on those items seems like the right thing to do.

Maybe.  Maybe not.

More often than not, I will advise clients NOT to reaffirm their mortgage loan, especially under the following circumstances:

  • (1) if there is a 2nd mortgage;
  • (2) if my client is self-employed or has fluctuating pay; or
  • (3) if the property has little or negative equity.

Under the new bankruptcy laws, a mortgage company could foreclose on the property if a reaffirmation agreement is not signed, even if the debtor is current with their mortgages (I will blog about ipso facto clauses in the near future).   However, in 17+ years of bankruptcy practice, I have never seen a mortgage company attempt to foreclose when a reaffirmation is not signed and the debtor remains current.  The chances are very slim that the mortgage company would want to foreclose when the loan is current, especially in today’s real estate market.  By not signing the reaffirmation agreement, the debt would be discharged and would show up on the credit report as being discharged.  But as long as the debtor continues making regular mortgage payments, there is a great chance that they would be able to keep the property, and own it outright at the end of the loan.  There is no guarantee, but chances are very good that the mortgage company would never foreclose if the account remains current.  And in two to three years after the bankruptcy, the borrower could qualify to refinance their house!

Another debt that most individuals may want to reaffirm is a car payment.  I will typically advise my clients to reaffirm their car payment IF they’re one-thousand percent certain they can afford the payment; the car is worth at least what’s owed; and the account is current.   If a debtor wants to keep their car through the bankruptcy, they probably need to sign a reaffirmation agreement.  Car creditors, unlike mortgage companies, can and do repossess collateral (the car), even if the payments are current, but a reaffirmation agreement is not signed!  Why?  The new bankruptcy laws gives the creditor this remedy.  Why are they doing it?  It could be to go ahead and cut their loses?  Or, as I believe, it could be a way for them to scare debtors into signing the reaffirmation agreement.  Some debtors may need to sign a reaffirmation to keep their car, but usually most individuals can and do qualify to purchase another vehicle soon after their bankruptcy is over.  Therefore, one should really think twice before signing a reaffirmation for their car.

Other secured debts that my clients like to reaffirm are furniture loans, or loans for jewelry or a computer (typically Dell Financial).  Again, I also advise them NOT to sign reaffirmation agreements for these items.  If a reaffirmation is not signed on a furniture debt, the debt is discharged and the only recourse for the creditor is to pick up the furniture.  What are the chances that the creditor will pick up their furniture.  Very, very, very slim.  The reason is simple.  Most furniture depreciates as soon as you take it out of their store.  Further, the creditor can not sell used furniture for more than what it would cost them to pick it up.  So, the best course of action is to NEVER sign a reaffirmation for a furniture debt and take the chance that they do not come and pick up the furniture.

What about loan companies that made you pledge everything of value as collateral for the loan?  Do NOT reaffirm this loan.  The Bankruptcy Code gives us the ability to avoid the finance company’s lien on your household items.  Yes, we can eliminate the loan, and you keep your household items.  I will explain the details to you at your free consultation.

All in all, the only two debts that consumers should ever consider reaffirming are their house or their car.  The main objective is to avoid biting off more than you can chew.  Sure, reaffirming the debt helps your credit and will guarantee that the lender won’t take your car or home as long as you stay current.  But the risk of future financial problems frequently outweighs the benefit of reaffirmations.

Brian Cahn, senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn & Associates

Perrotta, Cahn & Associates represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

When declaring bankruptcy, where do you start and what do you bring?

There’s a right and wrong way to handle any situation. For example, this is the wrong (but hilarious) way to declare bankruptcy.

If you’re getting calls from collectors, falling behind on mortgage or car payments, or just curious about your legal rights to eliminate or manage your debt, the right thing to do is GET A FREE CONSULTATION FROM AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY. The starting point is a phone call.

The lawyers with Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto offer free consultations. Our phone number is (770) 382-8900. We can meet with you at your convenience in any of our offices. We have offices located in Cartersville, Calhoun, Dallas and Dalton.

Make sure to bring a list of bills, or the bills themselves. If you’ve been sued, bring the lawsuit.

We have a worksheet that you can print and fill-out. The worksheet covers almost every question and issue that we need to guide you in the right direction.

Finally, make sure to bring your last-filed tax return, and all pay stubs you and your spouse have received in the past 60 days.

Your consultation is confidential and free. We give you INFORMATION and OPTIONS. We help empower you to protect your property, and get the fresh start you deserve.

Brian Cahn, senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn and Prieto, P.C.

Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton, Atlanta and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

Rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy

A bankruptcy discharge is the formal order entered at the successful completion of the case.  The discharge is your ticket out of bankruptcy and the beginning of a fresh financial start.

Building and maintaining good credit after bankruptcy is critical to a fresh start. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate on credit cards, mortgages and auto loans.

No sooner than 4-months after receiving your discharge, but no later than 9-months after discharge, your first step should be to secure a copy of your credit report to see where you stand. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and you can get it easily by going to www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.   Beware of other web sites that sound “free,” because they probably require you pay a fee or enroll in a monitoring service at a cost.  The only service that I’m aware of that’s absolutely free (no strings attached) is www.annualcreditreport.com.

Once you get your report, check it for accuracy: you will be surprised how often mistakes show up.  The bankruptcy case should say “Discharged” (not “Dismissed”).  Each account that was discharged should say “Discharged in Bankruptcy.”  Conversely, any account that was reaffirmed should say “Account in Good Standing” if you’re current.  Verify that each creditor listed is actually one you either use or have used in the past, and dispute any errors – including old or outdated addresses.

Tips to rebuilding and maintaining good credit

  • Open a checking or savings account. Having a financial history will help you secure a loan.
  • Pay your reaffirmed or post-bankruptcy bills on time; take advantage of auto-pay to avoid late-fees.
  • Keep balances as low as possible on “revolving credit” (i.e., credit cards).
  • When possible, pay off debt instead of transferring it to low-interest rate cards.
  • Don’t open lines of credit you don’t need.
  • Protecting your credit from identity theft is another pro-active way of maintaining good credit; if your identity is stolen and fraudulent charges appear, it will take some time to straighten it all out.

Tips on protecting your credit

  • Guard your mail from theft by shredding it before discarding it – especially mail containing personal information, including charge receipts, credit offers and applications, insurance forms, doctor’s statements, discarded bank checks and statements, and expired credit cards.
  • Be protective of your personal information.
  • Be cautious when giving out your credit card number, address, or other personal information. When possible, only share this information with reputable organizations.
  • Never carry your Social Security card. Leave it in a secure place at home or in a safe deposit box if you have one.
  • Use secure online purchases (https://) whenever possible, and look for graphic images of a lock and key at the bottom corner of your browser or the words Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
  • Avoid using your card as identification. Thieves can use this information to assume your identity and open bank accounts, make purchases – even get a job or apartment using your identity. Only use your credit card at recognized and reputable merchants.
  • If you suspect fraud, contact the bank that issued your card and have them put a “credit freeze” on your account. A credit freeze will flag your account and make it difficult for would-be-thieves to open a new line of credit under your name.

Tips if you are a victim of identity theft and fraud

  • If you suspect fraud, the first thing to do is place a Fraud Alert on your credit file. This alert will stay in place for 90 days and will require creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.
  • If you have already been a victim of fraud, fill out an Identity Complaint Form with the FTC and have them place an extended fraud alert on your credit file which requires all creditors to actually speak with you before issuing credit. The extended fraud alert stays on your file for 7 years.
  • Repairing your credit will take time. It’s similar to building your credit from scratch – but more challenging since the blemishes from the past will be on your file for a while.

Tips on improving or repairing your credit

  • Pay your bills on time. The length of time you’ve paid your bills timely impacts your credit score.
  • Get current on all your accounts. If you are behind, creditors will send your accounts to collectors and this will negatively impact your credit file.
  • If you fall behind on payments, contact the creditors or see a credit counselor and let them know your situation. This will give you a chance to work something out with the creditors – possibly delaying reports of delinquencies to the credit agencies.
  • Get your credit report a few times a year to monitor your progress. Although it takes time to raise those scores, watching them rise should serve as motivation to reinforce these new habits.

Disputing Errors on your Credit Report

If your credit report does not accurately reflect accounts discharged in bankruptcy, or other material information, it’s important to send a dispute letter to all 3 bureaus ASAP.   Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit bureau is required by law to correct any disputed items within 30-days.  Here’s a sample dispute letter:

Date Your Name Your Address Your City, State, Zip CodeComplaint Department Name of Credit Bureau Address City, State, Zip Code

Dear Sir or Madam:I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please investigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Your name

Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing)

Brian Cahn, senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn and Prieto, P.C.

Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton, Atlanta and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

How do I pick a bankruptcy lawyer or attorney?

How do I pick a bankruptcy lawyer or attorney?

“You want an experienced attorney.  You don’t want somebody that just started practicing bankruptcy law.   There has been so much change and there is so much information under the umbrella of bankruptcy law that you need someone that’s been doing it for a while.  I can say I’ve been a bankruptcy lawyer, doing exclusively bankruptcy work, for over 17 years now.  I think I’ve seen almost every aspect that a case could present so I know how to deal with problems; I know how to see them before they come up and take measures before the case is even filed to prevent the case from being contested or a problem case.”

Brian Cahn, senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn and Prieto, P.C.

Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton, Atlanta and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy laws were formulated to give the honest debtor a fresh financial start. However, bankruptcy is not intended to give debtors an unfair advantage over their creditors. This requirement comes from the United States Bankruptcy Code, Title 11 of the United States Code, and it is not intended to protect the debtor who has acted in bad faith in an attempt to defraud creditors. The United States Bankruptcy Code is broken down into Chapters. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases are most frequently filed by individual debtors with consumer debts, while Chapter 11 cases are most often filed by businesses as a means to restructure debt.   Perrotta, Cahn and Prieto are among the leading bankruptcy attorneys in North Georgia and with offices in Cartersville, Calhoun and Dalton, we are convenient to your home or business. If you prefer to closer to your office, we have locations as well in Atlanta and Dallas.

Brian Cahn, senior partner with Perrotta, Cahn and Prieto, P.C.

Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton, Atlanta and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.