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Information about Chapter 7

Generally speaking, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a kind of debt liquidation. It allows you to discharge all your debts (with some exceptions) without having to pay them back. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a tremendous fresh start. The greatest thing perhaps about filing for bankruptcy is that it immediately stops all creditor harassment, creditor calls, lawsuits and wage garnishments. It automatically puts a stop to collection calls, garnishments, pending  court dates, foreclosure and repossessions. If you are behind in house payments and facing foreclosure however, Chapter 7 will force you to either pay the full amount of all back house payments or simply give up the house. Many people actually find this to be a good option, because when you lose the house, you lose all the ongoing responsibility that goes with it. This includes getting rid of the first mortgage, second mortgage and any delinquent property taxes. If you want to keep your house and can’t come up with the back payments, you will need to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

5 Reasons Why Family Vacations are Better for Children than Gadgets or Toys

Do you remember that camping trip you had with your family in 4th grade or that time when you were lost in a carnival in your childhood? Research indicates that family vacations create lifelong cherishable memories for children. These childhood memories act as a happiness anchor for them throughout their adult life.

In this post, we’re going to list five reasons why parents should choose family vacations over fancy toys for their children.

  • Create happy memories for life: The digital age has pulled families apart. It is quite common to grow apart with all the gadgets and attractions. Going on a family trip with your children will create cherishable memories for the entire family. Studies have found that happy memories are likely to stay longer with people and can even help them counter painful memories/experiences.
  • Learn real-life lessons: Interacting with people from a different culture is an educational experience for your kids. They will not only understand cultural diversity, but they will develop a deeper understanding and respect for other cultures. Facing problems and dealing with them during vacations could help children learn real-life lessons.
  • Strengthen the family bond: A study done by Kelton research firm found that families tend to be more joyful, affectionate, and excited during vacations. Not only that, family trips help everyone discover new things about themselves. Furthermore, even parents enjoy spending more quality time with their children, and they are ready to give up on habits like extra sleeping, coffee, or other hobbies just to spend more time with their kids.
  • Higher concentration and focus: Nature can do wonders for children. Research has identified that being in nature for as short as 20 minutes could improve the concentration and attention levels in children. For adults and seniors, exposure to nature can help reduce stress levels and regulate healthy blood pressure. Who knew that a camping trip had so many added benefits!
  • Advance cognitive development: We all know how much fun it is to play with children, but parents rarely get enough time to see their children let alone play with them. For children, a family vacation helps accelerate cognitive development. By just playing with your children on a family vacation, you active critical neuro systems including PLAY and SEEKING systems. These systems are crucial for the development of explorative traits and execution efficiency in a person, a gift for their adult life.

So the next time you are about to buy a video game, drone, or gadget for your kids, think again and take them out for a vacation.

What is Sears Doing After Bankruptcy?

Sears is a classic case of getting caught off guard, in that it didn’t evolve with the changing market, and paid its price in the form of a recent bankruptcy auction. Lucky for Sears its largest shareholder, Edward Lampert, came to its rescue and bought the company with his hedge fund. The rescue cost was a whopping $5.2 billion.

Lampert has already set plans to run a lean organization by cutting the number of stores to 223 for Sears and 202 for Kmart stores.

Sears: From a retail leader to bankruptcy

Sears is synonymous with the American retail industry. In its 133 years, the company led the market in toys, apparels, and appliances. After its merger with Kmart in 2005, the combined entity had over 3,500 stores and more than $55 billion in revenue. However, over the years, Sears lost sales to the likes of Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and online retailers like Amazon. Sears has not returned a profit since 2010, with the number of stores declining every year.

How Lampert plans to change the future of Sears

As the current CEO of Sears, Lampert is ready to implement huge cost-cutting measures, starting with smaller stores, a rather common move in the modern retail industry. Lampert told the Wall Street Journal that the company would either sublease or sell its loss-making stores in an attempt to limit losses.

The smaller store format will come under the name of Sears Home and Life with an area of 10,000 to 15,000 square feet unlike its typical size of 160,000 square feet. Sears will start with three of these stores in Anchorage, Overland Park, and Lafayette towards the end of May.

Another major change moving forward will be a focus on appliances and hard tools in Sears stores instead of apparels. While its a good move in reshaping Sears, but experts fear that Sears no longer enjoys the top market share in once dominated appliances segment, which could affect its net sales over the coming years.

In addition to a lean operational structure, Sears plans to roll out “Shop Your Way” loyalty program to entice customers and regain their trust. The company has plans to raise up to $650 million through real estate sales in the next three years.

Conclusion: Moving forward with caution

Lampert is on the right path with a leaner operational structure and smaller stores; however, gaining its previous customers would be a challenge for Sears. Additionally, Sears will need some top management changes to make a comeback in the cut-throat modern retail industry.

Nebraska Wage Garnishment: Why You Should Seek Expert Help

Having a wage garnishment order issued against an individual is one of the worst things to happen to someone. Most of the people panic upon receiving wage garnishment orders, primarily because of a limited understanding of the law. However, it is possible to claim exemptions against a wage garnishment order, and depending on the circumstances, one could even avert such orders. Let’s find out what you need to know about Nebraska wage garnishment law.

What is wage garnishment?

A wage garnishment order is issued from a court against the defendant, and it requires the defendant’s employer to withhold a specific portion of the defendant’s income and pay it to a creditor.

Understand Nebraska wage garnishment exemptions and restrictions

As a resident of Nebraska, you must understand the circumstance under which a creditor could receive a wage garnishment order from the court. First, a creditor must have a court judgment to proceed with a wage garnishment against you. However, there are some exemptions such as court-ordered child support money, overdue income taxes, delinquent student loans, and child support arrears under which a wage garnishment can be issued without a court order.

However, Nebraska law has set limitations on how much money can be garnished from your income. The law restricts net garnishments to 25% of your disposable earnings, 15% if you are the head of the household or your disposable earnings minus 30 times of the federal hourly wages for Nebraska, whichever is lower.

How you can object a wage garnishment order

It is possible to appeal against a wage garnishment order, and either reduce the total garnishment amount or even avert it altogether. The first step is to find expert legal advice, and do understand that these matters are time sensitive, so make a call immediately after receiving a court garnishment order. Start with a thorough review of the wage garnishment order and ensure that the claims set forth by the creditor are legitimate. In case of an error, you can challenge the order in the court. Secondly, you must act preemptively and discuss a debt repayment plan with your creditor upon the receipt of the first delinquency notice. It is quite likely that the creditor will welcome your initiative.

Bankruptcy is an option

If you are under acute financial stress and have little chances of surviving the order, consult a bankruptcy lawyer and seek legal advice. Do understand that there are specific financial conditions under which you can pursue the bankruptcy option, and it should always be your last resort. If you file for bankruptcy, any wage garnishment orders are automatically nulled.

When faced with a legal challenge like a wage garnishment order, make sure you get legal aid and get out of the situation unharmed or at least with minimal penalty/repayments.

Understanding the Financial Aftermath of the Flooding in Nebraska

The entire Midwest is facing one of the worst flooding events to date, submerging huge landmasses, farms, and ranches in Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and nearby areas. Nebraska is among the worst hit areas, and sadly for the local farmers and ranchers, the financial losses are already in millions of dollars.

How did it happen?

Heavy downpours and snow melting in the region caused massive floods in the state. Locals were nothing but shocked to see large floating ice chunks crushing through barns and ranches. In the case of Nebraska, the failure of 90-year old Spencer Dam coupled with downpours and melting ice made the floods even worse. The flood has already drowned several small villages and has resulted in thousands of evacuation across the region.

Analyzing the financial impact of Nebraska floods

According to the initial observations, the devastating economic effects of these floods in Nebraska are estimated to be around $500 million in ranches and $400 million in grain losses, respectively. Furthermore, the impact of floods is not limited to these direct financial losses, but the entire infrastructure for agriculture has incurred damages. The New York Times has reported damages to the rail lines and road networks used for trading and transportation purposes. As the second-largest cattle state in the country, the floods in Nebraska are likely to have a direct impact on an average American’s food expenses.

Not the only financial crisis for farmers

To the average reader, these floods might appear to be the only immediate challenge in front of the farmers; however, the truth couldn’t be any further. The ongoing trade war with China has already put massive financial stress on the US agriculture industry. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture promised food purchases worth $1.2 billion half-a-year ago, their actual purchase orders stand at only 11% of the promised amount.

Additionally, the financial stress of American farmers has become a topic of national discussion. Records indicate that Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection filing figures in the Midwest rose 19% in the last year, highest levels in over a decade. The New York Times report included personal comments from several farmers discussing their ever-growing financial stress.

Conclusion

With the initial economic losses close to $1 billion, these figures are likely to rise over the next coming days. Experts are opined that these floods, coupled with other financial challenges, will affect farmers for the next several years. The upcoming years are likely to overburden farmers with additional financial stress.

What you don’t know about public service loan forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, designed to provide financial aid to professionals working in the government sector or not-for-profit organizations, has found its place in the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget. The Trump administration has proposed eliminating the program in an effort to streamline the student-loan system. This is not the first time when the Trump administration has proposed such an action. The administrative authority floated a similar proposal in 2017 with no fruition. Let’s find out more about the PSLF program, and the impact its elimination could have on the American public.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: What is it

Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was initiated to offer financial aid for student debt repayments to professionals choosing low-paying critical government jobs such as firefighters, teachers, civil law representatives, and individuals working in the not-for-profit sector. PSLF program has strict eligibility requirements in terms of the nature of employment, length of employment, type of student loan, choice repayment plan, and 120 qualifying repayments. PSLF program is built to forgive only Direct loans, with an added benefit of tax-free forgiveness.

How has it worked so far?

The proposal to eliminate the PSLF program by Trump’s administration is likely to be perceived critically by program beneficiaries as well as program supporters, especially considering its below 1% success rate. Out of the 49,669 applications received for loan forgiveness as of September 30, 2018, only 423 were approved by the PSLF service, and out of these, 206 loans were discharged. Student advocates have often called PSLF requirements too strict to fulfill, a fact confirmed by the rejection of over 32,000 applications for not meeting program requirements.

What impact will it have

Americans have a net student debt of over $1.5 trillion, and this move is nothing short of a setback for professionals working towards loan forgiveness. It is important to note that student loan is the second highest debt category in the U.S after mortgages. At least 44 million Americans have some student debt, with a default rate of roughly 10.7%. If the Trump administration is successful in getting the bill approved, it could be a huge discouragement for students aiming for government jobs or a career in non-profit organizations.

Conclusion

As of now, the elimination of the PSLF program is only a part of the President’s budget, and according to experts, it is highly unlikely to make its way into enactment. Professionals seeking relief under the PSLF program should continue making repayments, and seek expert advice when required.  

4 Simple Steps to Help You Manage Your Debt

 

Nowadays a large percentage of the population is in some form of debt. Whether your debt is large or small, it still needs to be managed. The first thing you should do is carefully monitor all your incoming repayments, and follow the below tips, which will help you repay your debt faster.

1) Know how much debt you own, and to who you owe.

First of all make a list of all your debts, including information about creditor, the total amount of the debt, the amount of monthly payment, and the date you would finally pay it off. Keep the list at hand, and make updates as needed. Without having updated information about how much debt you own, it is difficult to develop a plan to clean it up.

2) Make a calendar

Make a calendar on your personal computer or phone with information of coming payment dates and amounts. Do not miss any payments, and strictly follow the deadlines. Missed payments can charge you extra fees and interest for late payment and can trigger reporting to credit bureau which can adversely impact your credit worthiness in future.

3) Figure out minimum payment amount

You must know very well how much you have to repay during the month. Plan the outflow of the funds. If your financial status makes you capable to pay extra amounts, do it. With extra payments you will pay off the debt faster. First of all, get rid of the loans which have high interest rates. These are usually credit cards. Start from the credit card with the highest interest rate. Also, make extra repayments on your mortgage. The extra payment on a mortgage can significantly shorten the length of the mortgage.

4) Think of Refinancing

Always keep your eye on other loan options. Review the interest rates offered by concurrent credit companies, and if there are options with more comfortable terms for you, then refinance your loans. It can be an option for you to get rid of small loans by refinancing them with one larger loan. This can help you to reduce the quantity of payments you do during a month, and you no longer have to remember all repayments and dates. This also can bring the interest rate down, because usually small loans have higher interest rates than larger ones.

Can Bankruptcy Help You with Medical Debt?

Medical Debt_Skrupa Law

At Skrupa Law Office LLC, we realize that bad things in life can happen at the worst possible times. Believe it or not, medical bills are one of the main reasons our clients file for bankruptcy in Omaha and Lincoln. The main reason many fall behind on bills isn’t neglect. Instead, it’s usually caused due to health insurance never covering the large costs of emergencies that happen. In most cases co-pays for prescriptions and doctor visits are affordable; however, when an unexpected event happens you might find yourself in a terrible situation. Continue reading “Can Bankruptcy Help You with Medical Debt?”

Skrupa Law Discusses Why it’s Important to be Truthful When Submitting Your Paperwork to Bankruptcy Court

Filing for Bankruptcy_Skrupa Law

The great majority of bankruptcy petitions get through the system without a hitch. Let’s face it, the Bankruptcy Process can be a scary thing for a lot of people; the last thing you need is to get in trouble for what would otherwise be a routine procedure. We want to make sure you are one of those people who receive that fresh start! Continue reading “Skrupa Law Discusses Why it’s Important to be Truthful When Submitting Your Paperwork to Bankruptcy Court”

Bankruptcy Myths You Shouldn’t Take to Heart

Bankruptcy Myths_Skrupa Law

Bankruptcy isn’t a “bad” thing. Millions of Americans have used the Bankruptcy System to provide for themselves and their families a fresh start. However, when people hear the word “bankruptcy” many fears come to mind. You won’t have to live in a van down by the river, walk to work, or have all your possessions taken from you. As silly as these examples are, the financial problems they represent are real concerns for many people. This isn’t to say that losing a car or house is a possibility, but it’s not because of bankruptcy. If anything, it can help the situation. Our Omaha Bankruptcy Experts and Lincoln Bankruptcy Experts at Skrupa Law Office, LLC want to put these myths to rest today. Continue reading “Bankruptcy Myths You Shouldn’t Take to Heart”

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