Gone Broke: 5 High Profile Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

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bankruptcy attorneyIn 2013, there were a lot more Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings than Chapter 11 — 728,833 to 8,980 to be exact, out of the estimated 1,071,932 total filings. Chapter 11 bankruptcies, however, tend to be of a much larger scale than Chapter 7, which are usually personal cases. As any bankruptcy attorney will tell you, Chapter 11, which also often referred to as a “reorganization plan,” is most often used to reorganize a business, corporation, or partnership, so as to allow the organization to continue doing business but to pay back debt at a reasonable rate. Check out these high-profile Chapter 11 filings — more people and well-known companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy help than you probably expected:

Enron: The massive energy giant Enron filed for Chapter 11 in 2001 after it was destroyed by a scandal caused by its fraudulent accounting practices. At the time, it’s value was at $65.5 billion.

General Motors: In June of 2009, at at a value of $91 billion, GM went down. The historic automobile giant was delivered its final blow after the financial crash after years of weakened sales.

Washington Mutual:The now infamous domino effect of the 2008 financial crisis, catalyzed by Lehman Brothers, toppled over Washington Mutual on its way down. When regulators seized the company, customers had already withdrawn $16.7 billion over 10 days — one part of the biggest rush on a bank since the Black Tuesday.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
In 2001, California’s largest energy company, PGandE, became a victim of the state’s energy crisis. Blackouts became common and energy costs skyrocketed, which many people blamed on the state’s deregulation of the energy industry in 1996. Enron, also on this list, worsened the crisis by cutting off power in a deliberate move to manipulate prices. At the time of bankruptcy, PGandE was valued at $36.15 billion.

Thornburg Mortgage
Thornburg was liquidated at a value of $36.5 billion after the housing crisis. Even though the company “specialized in making mortgages larger than $417,000 to borrowers with good credit,” they couldn’t save themselves from the subprime mortgage bubble.

Some of these companies restructure and bounced back; some had to liquidate their assets and completely dissolve. All of them relied heavily on their bankruptcy attorney for help with when and how to file for bankruptcy.

Chapter 7, 11, and 13 Bankruptcy Proceedings: The Basics

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bankruptcy proceedingsNot many people know the ins and outs of bankruptcy proceedings. We’ve all heard of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but what do they really mean? What is the difference between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy? What about the difference between Chapter 7 and 11?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
  • At over 700,000 filings in 2013, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy in the United States. It takes about six months to complete. Chapter 7 handles the liquidation of assets. Anything owned that isn’t protected under bankruptcy laws will be sold off to pay back creditors. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, and costs about $300 to file.

  • Did you know? In 2012, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star Gary Busey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
  • In 2013, over 300,000 Chapter 13 bankruptcies were filed. Whereas Chapter 7 bankruptcy focuses on liquidation of assets, Chapter 13 sets up a repayment plan. Bankruptcy proceedings are held to determine how you’ll repay your debt to creditors. These repayment plans typically last between three and five years, depending on the amount of debt. Another contrast to Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that, since liquidation does not happen, typically you can keep all of your assets.

  • Did you know? Sherman Hemsley, better known as George Jefferson from All in the Family and The Jeffersons filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 1999.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy:
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings are more complex than the previous two. In 2013, only about 9,000 Chapter 11 bankruptcies were filed. It is similar to Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the sense that both allow a company to remain in business. Chapter 11 allows debtors to reorganize and restructure their debt. Due to its complexity, there are far fewer bankruptcy lawyers that handle Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  • Did you know? Famous businessman and politician Donald Trump has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy four times since 1991.

If you have any questions, feel free to share in the comments.

Beat the Ticket Before it Happens: Tips to Prepare You for Fighting a Speeding Ticket

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fighting a speeding ticketGetting a speeding ticket is no fun, but according to the 41 million tickets issued every year, you’re bound to be a recipient sometime or other. While the number one tip for fighting a speeding ticket is don’t speed, slip-ups happen. If you get caught by the flashing lights and sirens, here are a few tips to reduce your ticket and possibly remove it altogether.

Reduce stress
If you see the flashing lights of a police car behind you, the absolute best thing you can do is put your hazards on, pull over, and turn your interior lights on. Once all of that is done, make sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel, where the officer can see them. Getting pulled over is not only a high-stress situation for you but for the police officer as well. The more you can do to ease the tension, the better.

Be polite
Basic manners are an absolute must when being pulled over. The fewer excuses you can give an officer to speak out against you in court, the better. Practicing basic manners and following the officers instructions calmly and without complaint are little things, but they can go a long way in court. Taking a ticket to court is much easier with no other offences, and as generic of a case as possible.

Build rapport
If you’re still planning on fighting a traffic ticket before it gets to court, try to set up a meeting with the officer who issued it. Most officers are more than willing to speak with you about your violation, but walking in and asking immediately for the ticket to be repealed isn’t a good tactic. If anything, this will give you a good opportunity to build rapport with the officer and potentially avoid future tickets.

Follow the rules
Fighting a speeding ticket is difficult enough, but it’s even more difficult if you’re fighting the court at the same time. The most helpful thing you can do is communicate and follow all of the rules set forth by the court. Call the court clerk frequently for any updates and other information, and speak with a traffic ticket lawyer to ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines.

Know your violation
Every day, as many as 112,328 people receive an average of $150 in speeding fines. The court processes all of these cases so often that they could probably do it in their sleep. You, on the other hand, need to do your research. Granted, fighting a speeding ticket isn’t as difficult as filing for bankruptcy, but having as much knowledge as possible before you walk into your court date can help you reduce, or even eliminate the charges against you.

The best tip for fighting any kind of traffic ticket is to be cautious. Speeding and related accidents cause over $40 million in damage and even more in personal tragedies. Stay safe on the road, and if you do happen to get a ticket, these tips may be able to help you!

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Get a Speeding Ticket

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traffic lawyer Virtually every driver will one day hear the inevitable sirens behind them, take a deep sigh, and signal to the right, resigned to their fate. The fact is, sometimes staying within the speed limit is hard, and in many areas, speeding traps or unclear signage don’t make it any easier to adhere to the law. Around 41 million speeding tickets are issued every year, speaking in testament to both the often uncontrollable need for speed, and a flawed system that requires expensive and time-consuming surveillance… but no matter what, the fact is that when you get slapped with a fine, it can really ruin your day.

Fighting a speeding ticket can be a huge headache, but there are other reasons why it’s best to avoid speeding tickets, or really a moving violation of any kind. Check out this list and remember to consult a traffic ticket lawyer as soon as you can if you find yourself in this predicament.

Every day, about 112,328 people are given an average fine of $150 for speeding. The monetary fine is one of the biggest incentives for not getting a speeding ticket, and indeed, the prices can far exceed $150. As a traffic lawyer will tell you, in most states, the faster you were going, the higher your fines will be. The cost of traffic tickets in general is clearly a large source of income for states — the National Highway Traffic Security Administration estimates that the collective cost of speeding and related accidents is around $40.4 billion every year.

Most everybody knows that one of the worst consequences of a speeding ticket is the deduction of points from your license, which could jeopardize it if enough points are taken off. Not to mention possibly the worst result of a speeding ticket…

The fewer points there are on your license, the more proof your car insurance company has that you are a liability, and the more justified they are to jack up your insurance premium. Many people try to counteract this particular effect by taking traffic courses, or otherwise proving their trustworthiness to an insurer.

Taking a ticket to court is something many people are reluctant to do, but can often be the only way out of many of the effects of a speeding ticket. Get tips for traffic court, and help with your case in general, from a traffic lawyer.

Are You Struggling Financially? Three Things You Should Know Before Declaring Bankruptcy

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bankruptcy caseBankruptcy might seem like a rare occurrence, but in just one year in the United States, there were approximately 1,071,932 bankruptcy cases filed. While some of those were businesses and larger companies, many were filed by citizens with an outstanding amount of debt. However, it’s not as easy as filling out a few forms. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, there are a few things you should know about the options available to you.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you have an outstanding amount of debt and not have the financial ability to pay it, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best option for you. The fee for filing this kind of bankruptcy is currently $306, and the process typically takes about six months to complete. This type of bankruptcy eliminates any unsecured debts you might have, such as credit card bills, personal loans, and medical bills. In addition, you will be protected from any kind of lawsuits against you. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not, however, eliminate what are known as secured debts, such as car loans or mortgages.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
This type of bankruptcy case does not typically apply to individuals. Of the over 8,000 Chapter 11 cases filed in the year 2013, nearly all of them were by businesses. Often called business reorganization, Chapter 11 bankruptcy exists to relieve some existing, unsecured debts, and restructure the way other debts are paid. This type of bankruptcy is a long and involved process and requires an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to be completed correctly.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Unlike other forms of bankruptcy cases, Chapter 13 does not eliminate any unsecured debts. Rather, it is designed to help you if you’re falling behind on debts such as student loans, mortgage payments, and other secured types of debt. This type of bankruptcy must be completed under court supervision, and typically sets forth a timeline of no longer than five years for you to get back on schedule with your payments.

No matter the financial struggle, if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, make sure you’re choosing the plan that best fits your situation. Even more importantly, make sure you consult an experienced professional before doing anything else. Bankruptcy affects your credit, and could impact your future financial position when applying for loans. As with any legal or financial matter, don’t jump right in, and make sure you’re properly informed.