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Good day world! We are happy to be here…and happy to have the new SC Homestead Exemption.

March 11th, 2007    •  by Showell    •   Comments Off on Good day world! We are happy to be here…and happy to have the new SC Homestead Exemption.

Well, if you have ever been to this site, you’ll note that it launched on 11/25/06. I really was hoping to do a general announcement that we were, you know, happy to be here hopefully providing a motherload of general and some specific information about bankruptcy law, instead of just being a cyberyellowpagead.

Well, I’m a little late.

Since the site was launched, the In re Evans case was decided by Judge Burris on December 5, 2006, with all 3 SC Bankruptcy judges agreeing with the outcome. The background is that the SC Legislature amended the exemption statute May 26, 2006 by increasing the Homestead Exemption from the paltry $5000 per individual (which it has been since 1982, I believe) to $50,000.00 per individual. This should protect most debtors in SC. However, several chapter 7 trustees objected to several debtors’ claiming it, using, I believe, an 1898 SC Supreme Court case which said that a debtor could only claim the exemptions in effect at the time the debt was made. This did not void the exemptions; rather, it just will be a while before anyone filing bankruptcy would be able to use the exemption to protect their assets, as no debtor would be able to claim the higher exemption until all of his debt was incurred after May 26, 2006. Litigation ensued and the entire SC bankruptcy bar waited for the result which came down in favor of allowing any debtor to use the exemption.

Also since the site launched, I have seen more and more creditors sending 1099’s to the IRS for debts they have written off, which is yet another reason to file chapter 7 if you have a lot of debt, rather than to settle with creditors.

I went to Washington DC on February 12, 2006 to help the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys lobby Congress to help the middle class/working families and to conduct oversight hearings to see if the new law is doing what the creditor lobbyists said it would. I met with Congressman John Spratt and representatives from Senators Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, all of whom were helpful.

This Thursday I am going to “Max Gardner’s Boot Camp” where Max Gardner, the unofficial dean of national consumer advocacy, opens up his farm in North Carolina for 4 days of instruction to small classes of 10 people covering the gamut of ways to recover funds for debtors whose creditors have harmed them. I hope it adds a shiny new twist to my practice and ability to help debtors in the bankruptcy court. I think I will be the third SC attorney to attend and we are planning to work together where we can.

The number of filings has increased since this site was launched and the number of inquiries has increased substantially. I find that most of the folks I have seen probably qualify for the type of bankruptcy now that they would have qualified for pre-BACPA, which is good. It means that, for South Carolinians, the new law is mostly just a bunch more paperwork and hoops to jump through. There are, however, a few folks whose options it limits.

Now that I actually have blogged, I plan to blog on a regular basis and discuss topics which may be of interest, such as what I have learned at a seminar, what I have read on the webite of NACBA or the American Bankruptcy Institute, or what new or weird question of law is being discussed/determined/disputed in the bankruptcy courts this week.

I am going the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys National Convention and Seminar in Philadelphia in April in order to catch up with the latest trends and see what attorneys on the cutting edge of debtor representation are doing.

  • Can I go to Jail for not Paying my Bills?

    No, not unless you committed a crime in the creation of the debt (for example, fraud). Simply borrowing money and not being able to pay it back is not a crime. Many creditors representatives will tell you lies on the telephone and say that they will have you put in jail. Perhaps they are too ignorant to know they are wrong or that it is illegal for them even to say that. See More Bankruptcy Q&A