Overdue Bills

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Lawyers Anthony Bucacci and Robert Simonian (508)673-9500


What Debts Must I Continue to Pay During My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are some debts that you must or should continue to pay.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe out many types of debt and help you get a fresh financial start. But not all obligations will go away. Find out which debts you should continue to pay if you file a Chapter 7 case.

What You’ll Pay During Chapter 7

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an excellent way to get out from under dischargeable debt, such as credit card balances, medical bills, personal loans–especially if you don’t own much property, and you meet income requirements (you’ll know after taking the means test).

But Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn’t help you get rid of everything you owe. Here are two types of debt that you’ll want to continue paying during your case.

Post-Petition Debt: Bills Incurred After Filing for Bankruptcy

When your bankruptcy case is pending, it’s common to get a bill and wonder whether the balance will be included in your matter. If you incurred the debt after filing for bankruptcy, the court won’t include it in your bankruptcy. It’s a post-petition debt and you should pay it.

Examples of common post-petition debts include:

  • domestic support obligations, such as child and spousal support
  • utilities
  • rent and lease payments
  • condo or homeowners association (HOA) fees
  • most taxes, and
  • insurance.

Whether the court will wipe out a balance that existed before the bankruptcy filing will depend on whether the obligation qualifies for a discharge. For instance, a utility balance predating the bankruptcy will likely get wiped out because most utility bills are dischargeable. By contrast, child support arrearages aren’t dischargeable, so you’ll continue to owe any outstanding arrearages after the case.

Debt Secured by Collateral: Mortgages, Car Loans, and More

When you purchase expensive property on credit, the lender often requires collateral in case you fail to pay the loan. Known as a “secured debt,” this type of loan is used when taking out a:

  • mortgage
  • home equity line of credit
  • car loan, or
  • a loan for business property, such as fixtures or equipment.

Whether you can discharge a secured debt will depend on if you return the property you pledged as collateral. If you give the collateral back to the bank, the loan associated with it will be dischargeable in your bankruptcy case.

By contrast, if you want to keep collateral in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should continue making regular payments until you satisfy the loan. Otherwise, the lender can use its lien rights—a type of ownership interest in the property—to take back the property in a foreclosure or repossession.

If you fall behind while you’re in bankruptcy, the bank must file a motion and get permission from the court to proceed against the property; however, once the case ends, the lender is free to pursue its lien rights.

Most Payment Responsibility Stops During Bankruptcy

Even if you can’t discharge all of your debt, you still might get a brief payment break. The automatic stay protection that stops most creditors from engaging in collection attempts during bankruptcy extends to most debts that you can’t discharge, including:

  • student loans
  • most taxes, and
  • government or court fines and penalties.

Keep in mind, however, that once your bankruptcy case is closed and the automatic stay is terminated, you will remain legally obligated to pay those nondischargeable debts. (Learn which debts cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.)

How much you’ll have to pay after your Chapter 7 case will depend on whether you have property that isn’t protected by a bankruptcy exemption. Since many Chapter 7 filers can keep all of their property, most nondischargeable debt balances will remain the same.

The amount you owe should drop, however, if the bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case can sell nonexempt property and use the funds to pay down creditors according to the priority payment system. The system ensures payment of important debt (such as nondischargeable support obligations and taxes) before less essential obligations (such as credit card balances and student loan debt).

Example. Carter couldn’t make the monthly payment on his credit card balance of $25,000. He also owed $2,000 in child support arrearages and $1,500 from the prior year’s taxes. Needing a fresh start, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, even though he couldn’t protect his skeet shooting guns worth $10,000. The trustee sold the guns and, following payment priority rules, paid the child support and tax arrearages in full before applying the balance toward the credit card debt. Because the remaining credit card balance qualified for a discharge, at the end of his case, Carter was free of debt.

Voluntary Debt Repayment

You might decide to repay a debt that would be discharged in your bankruptcy—especially if you owe money to a friend or relative, or wish to continue seeing a particular medical provider. Keep in mind that you can’t use assets that creditors are entitled to receive. To avoid trouble, the simplest approach might be to wait to make the voluntary debt repayment until after your bankruptcy closes.

Source : nolo.com


WHAT BILL COLLECTORS CAN AND CANNOT DO

Bill collectors can be very persistent while trying to collect money, as many may know. However, people may not know that The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act extends substantial protection to people from collectors by making certain practices illegal in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States.

Many people do not know their rights under the law, but having an understanding of your rights can protect you from harassment and intimidation. Below is a list of many things that bill collectors cannot do while trying to get money for a bill, and what you can do if you believe that your rights have been violated. Also listed below is what bill collectors cannot do while trying to collect money.

What Collectors Cannot Do

  • Collectors cannot call after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.
  • Collectors cannot call many times a day about the same bill.
  • Collectors cannot contact a person if the person sends the collectors a letter that says the person does not want to be contacted again regarding the bill.
  • Collectors cannot call the person’s job if the person asks the collectors to stop.
  • Collectors cannot show up at a person’s job.
  • Collectors cannot harass people who owe money.
  • Collectors cannot threaten the people who owe money. This includes: using inappropriate language, threatening violence, threatening to take property away illegally, or threatening to have someone arrested.
  • Collectors cannot threaten to sue without meaning it.
  • Collectors cannot lie about which company the collector works for. Collectors cannot pretend to be attorneys, the government, or to work for a credit bureau.
  • Collectors cannot lie about the amount of money that is owed.
  • Collectors cannot say a form that was sent was a legal document if it wasn’t.
  • Collectors cannot publicize the fact someone owes money. Collectors cannot tell anyone besides the person who owes the money, the person’s spouse, and the person’s attorney about the money owed.
  • Collectors cannot publish the bill’s existence somewhere that someone else may see it, including on a post card.

If a collector does anything which violates the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, the person may contact the state’s attorney general, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or an attorney for help.

However, there are many things that a collector can do to try to get the money owed.

What Collectors Can Do

  • Collectors can call daily, in between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm.
  • Collectors can send frequent letters.
  • Collectors can try to find out a person’s current contact information by calling family and friends.
  • Collectors can sue for the money.
  • Collectors can call a person’s workplace until the person asks the collector to stop.
  • Collectors can try to get the money owed even if too much time has passed for the collector to sue the person.
  • Collectors can sell the money owed, and another collection company may take over.

Being pressured by collectors can be extremely stressful and you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. Even if the collectors are acting lawfully, their contact can still be annoying and disruptive. It can also be hard to tell when a collector crosses the line from legal to illegal territory. Contacting a bankruptcy attorney can take care of a lot of the stress from the collector, and the person who owes the money can be certain that their rights are being protected and advocated for. If you are being contacted by a collection agency and looking to erase your bills by filing for personal bankruptcy, please contact the Law Office of Bucacci and Simonian at 508-673-9500 for your free and confidential bankruptcy attorney consultation.

Debt is Threatening Retirement Dreams

Many Americans are bringing more than just their bucket lists with them into retirement. According to a recent analysis by MagnifyMoney, a growing number of Americans are carrying burdensome debt into their 50s and beyond.

The biennial MRRC study surveys more than 20,000 Americans 50 and older on a range of financial topics. MagnifyMoney found the latest results revealed a number of debt trends that threaten to undermine the retirement goals of many older Americans.

Debt On the Rise

Both the percentage of older Americans carrying debt and the amount of debt they’re carrying are on the rise. As recently as 1998, roughly 37 percent of Americans age 56 to 61 carried debt, with an average debt load of $3,634 in 2012 dollars, according to MRRC research. By comparison, today, 42 percent of Americans that age carry debt and with an average debt load of $17, 623.00.

The trend isn’t explained away by higher mortgage costs, either.

According to MagnifyMoney’s analysis, almost one-third (32 percent) of older Americans carry non-mortgage debt on a month-to-month basis, with an average of $12,490. Of that, $4,786.00, on average, is credit card debt, represents its own significant challenge for Americans as they near retirement.

Credit Card Debt Weighs Heavily

Some 40 percent of older Americans have at least $5,000 in credit card debt,; 22 percent owe more than $10,000 — an amount exceeding what most of them have in their checking accounts.

Saving For Retirement

When you are caught in the trap of using your paycheck to pay credit card or debt minimum payment and they find yourself using the available credit to buy essentials like food, gas and medicine you start to get on an endless treadmill and accumulate no saving for your retirement. Many American stop contributing to their 401(K) plans and retirement plans so they can have extra money in their pay check and make minimum payments on debts that never seem to go down.

Consider Filing for Bankruptcy

If you are approaching retirement within 15 to 20 years and find yourself on the endless treadmill of paying minimum payments and not saving for your retirement you may want to consider filing bankruptcy. You can get a fresh financial start in life, get you feet on the ground and your head above water. Call us today for a free, confidential, no obligation bankruptcy consultation today.

When is it Time to File Personal Bankruptcy?

Most people don’t like the idea of filing for bankruptcy, even when debt issues are growing and growing, causing them to lose sleep, affecting their relationships with others and threatening their mental and physical wellbeing. It is common for people in debt to think they just aren’t trying hard enough or that if they can just get that better job or get a particular debt paid off they’ll be in better shape. Meanwhile, past due balances and high interest rates, penalties and fees continue to grow and grow and cause the problem to get worse and worse.

It’s often difficult for people to see that it’s time to file for bankruptcy. People in debt may think of filing bankruptcy as giving up (which is simply not true) or think it’s not bad enough to consider bankruptcy just yet. Often they may be afraid of losing important assets like their home or car which is almost always not true. Often people take advice from family and friends and search the internet for answers and get more and more confused. However, when bankruptcy is in order it’s important to get it done before the situation gets worse. Below is a list of indicators that strongly suggest that bankruptcy should be considered as an option and a consultation with a Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyer may be beneficial.

Indicators that it may be time to file for personal bankruptcy

Financial problems are like an illness or a disease. The more symptoms a debtor suffers the greater likelihood that filing for bankruptcy is in order. It is really no different than going to a doctor when your symptoms start becoming more and more serious. Most individuals and families who can benefit from filing for bankruptcy experience several of the following:

  • The financial hardship keeps getting worse and worse — interest rates and penalty fees and other factors exceed the payments you make and cause your debt load to increase in month rather than decrease
  • Can’t afford payments that will pay off debt within three years (36 months) — if payments are too low, interest rates and penalty fees can keep a debt going on forever so a debtor can’t get out from under it; debtors should be sure to include future interest when calculating how much it will take to pay a debt off in three years
  • Borrowing to make debt payments — this is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it, yet many debtors resort to this just to get aggressive creditors to go away even if it’s just temporarily
  • Can’t afford to pay minimum payments on all credit cards, loans and other debts — sometimes it’s not the size of any one debt or the size of the required payment for a single debt but rather the impact of many debts piled together; failure of a debtor to make minimum payments on all his/her debts will cause penalty fees and interest to accrue until the debt load is out of control. Paying on some debts while ignoring others is a strong sign that bankruptcy might be an option
  • Paying debts with retirement funds — the closer a person is to retirement the worse of an idea this is, yet seniors, who can least afford to jeopardize their retirement income, are those most likely to do so to avoid bankruptcy because of the stigma this generation traditionally puts on bankruptcy. Retirement money is protected in bankruptcy for a good reason which is that you will need it someday. Using retirement funds usually on puts a Band-Aid on the situation and only provides temporary relief. The stigma of bankruptcy is all but gone. No one will really know that you filed unless you tell them
  • Others will suffer if situation continues — the more dependants a debtor must provide for, the less they can afford to make payments to credit cards and other unsecured debts rather than save money for emergencies or pay for health insurance; if any single symptom can indicate a need for bankruptcy, this one is it, yet trying to continue making those payments could result in foreclosure or eviction and everyone ends up without a home. When you feel as if you are one financial problem away from disaster you should consider a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer
  • Creditor collection calls threaten employment — if a creditor calls to garnish wages for a judgment and upsets your employer, the debtor may be in jeopardy of losing his/her job, which will make it impossible to keep up with any of their debts. It is common for employers to get nervous about your employment at their company if you start receiving collection calls at work. Your employer could look to the person with financial trouble if money or property is missing
  • Other options are not available, practical or helpful — insufficient income, poor credit scores and other factors put options like debt settlement programs, consolidation loans, negotiating with creditors, loan modification, lifestyle changes, or gifts from relatives out of reach, but they should be considered before filing for bankruptcy. People in debt can only cut back so much. When a person in debt starts buying less food and having insufficient insurance on their vehicles to save money it is an indicator that bankruptcy may be an option.
  • Upside down on their home with a second mortgage and/or equity line of credit — many debts secured by real property will survive a foreclosure and the debtor will still owe any remaining balance after the property is sold and proceeds subtracted from the balance; bankruptcy, however, can completely discharge these debts

The Next Step Is To Call A Bankruptcy Attorney For A Free

Anyone who suffers any of the above symptoms, or a combination of 2 or more, should strongly consider filing for bankruptcy. The next step is to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help the debtor confirm that bankruptcy is the best solution. If it is, the attorney will file the case in court and notify creditors, which will put a stop to all collection efforts until the bankruptcy process is complete or the bankruptcy court lifts the stay.

In Massachusetts, bankruptcy and debt solutions attorneys Robert Simonian and Anthony Bucacci can assist in identifying the best options and solutions for your situation and put a plan into action that will resolve your debt issues and get you back on your feet. Call our office at 508-673-9500 to schedule a free consultation today or visit us at www.massbklaw.com

All Debts Discharged

Are all of the debts discharged?

Bankruptcy: not all debts discharged. The debts discharged vary under each chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 523(a) of the Code specifically excepts various categories of debts from the discharge granted to individual debtors. Therefore, the debtor must still repay those debts after bankruptcy. Congress has determined that these types of debts are not dischargeable.  Public policy reasons do not allow the discharge of certain debts.  Debts incurred for drunk driving injuries to another is one example.

Chapters 7, 11, 12,  lists 19 categories of debt excepted from discharge. A more limited list of exceptions applies to cases under chapter 13.

Generally speaking, the exceptions to discharge apply automatically if the language prescribed by section 523(a) applies. The most common types of nondischargeable debts are certain types of tax claims, debts not set forth by the debtor on the lists and schedules the debtor must file with the court, debts for spousal or child support or alimony, debts for willful and malicious injuries to person or property, debts to governmental units for fines and penalties, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or benefit overpayments, debts for personal injury caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, debts owed to certain tax-advantaged retirement plans, and debts for certain condominium or cooperative housing fees.

The types of debts described in sections 523(a)(2), (4), and (6).  Obligations obtained by fraud or maliciousness not automatically excepted from discharge. Creditors must ask the court to determine that these debts excepted from discharge. Discharge can apply to the debts listed in sections 523(a)(2), (4), and (6).  Only with the absence of an affirmative request by the creditor and the granting of the request by the court.

A slightly broader discharge of debts is available to a debtor in a chapter 13 case than in a chapter 7 case. Debts dischargeable in a chapter 13, but not in chapter 7.  This includes debts for willful and malicious injury to property, debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable tax obligations.  Also debts arising from property settlements in divorce or separation proceedings. Although a chapter 13 debtor generally receives a discharge only after completing all payments required by the court.  There are some limited circumstances under which the debtor may request the court to grant a “hardship discharge.”  Even though the debtor has failed to complete plan payments.

Such a discharge is available only to a certain debtors.  Failure to complete plan payments is due to circumstances beyond the debtor’s control. The scope of a chapter 13 “hardship discharge” is similar to that in a chapter 7 case. With regards to the types of debts that are excepted from the discharge. A hardship discharge also is available in chapter 12.  Failure to complete plan payments.  If due to “circumstances for which the debtor should not justly be held accountable.”

If you have specific questions please call Bucacci And Simonian at 508-673-9500 or visit our website.

Medical Bills Can Stack Up Quickly – Is Bankruptcy the Answer

Medical Bills Can Stack Up Quickly - Is Bankruptcy the AnswerWith everything that is going on, many people are concerned about their health and on going prescriptions. One’s medical bills can cause great concern and keeping up with them can be a real challenge and finical concern. The question many have is “what can I do?”

Filing Bankruptcy is one possible option and many people are not sure what will happen to their assets and property if they decide to choose that course of action. If you decide to pursue the options, both pro and con, of filing Bankruptcy you may be surprised.

Will I be able to keep my house if I file Bankruptcy because of overdue Medical Bills ?

Will I be able to keep my car if I file Bankruptcy because of overdue Medical Bills ?

How will this impact my credit score?

People have many questions about Bankruptcy and really have no solid clue about the process and options on doing so. We are here to go over all the options you have regarding filing your Bankruptcy.

When filing Bankruptcy it is best to work with someone that can explain what option you have and what may be best in your particular situation. This is what we do when preparing to file your claim.

Medical bills are, sadly, often unforeseen and can add up quickly and filing Bankruptcy may just be the answer.

Speaking with a Bankruptcy Attorney and going over your situation to find out what options you may have is always a good idea. After all, you will what to know what options you have to eliminate the stress and concern you have regarding any outstanding debt you may have.

Meeting with a Bankruptcy Lawyer is not an admission of guilt or fault. After all, we are hear to help in every way we can to get you back on track with a fresh start.

The process of filing Bankruptcy is not the same for every person, each situation is unique.

If you find yourself in an uncomfortable position and are over whelmed with outstanding medical bills? You should seek professional advise.

We are here to help and get you back on track, give us a call today.

Medical Bills Massachusetts Bankruptcy


Medical bills & Massachusetts bankruptcy. The cost of healthcare in the United States has increased in recent years.  As a result, Americans have taken on large amounts of medical debts and bills that they cannot afford.  This affects Massachusetts residents.

This problem is bad.  Charities use donations to pay peoples medical debts. This means, charities buy the debts from medical providers so that the patients no longer owe money to the provider.

Medical bills and debt are a very big cause of bankruptcy for Americans

People need relief from these debts.  If charitable relief is not available then people often have to resort to filing bankruptcy. Medical providers often resort to hiring collection agencies.  For patients that are unable to pay medical debts are sued in court. Unfortunately for many, medical bills & Massachusetts bankruptcy go hand in hand.

Experts feel that this is an indication that our health care system is broken.  The cost of healthcare is very high.  The cost of medical insurance is very high.  The deductibles that people must pay are often very expensive.  Bankruptcy may be the only option for many patients that cannot pay their bills.

Approximately 21 million Americans have $46 billion of medical debt as of April 2021.  They face collections or lawsuits for the money owed.  If they cannot afford to pay then Americans and Massachusetts residents have to file bankruptcy due to medical debts.

Americans spend far more on health insurance than other countries compared to Germany and the Netherlands.  Healthcare is not affordable to many Americans.  As result of rising cost, people do not have medical insurance that meets their needs.  Some people have health insurance plans that they cannot afford.  The insurance premiums and deductibles exceed what their incomes allow them to pay.  Americans are pushed into bankruptcy because medical debts are overwhelming.  This can cause a lot of stress and concern. Many people do not have medical insurance.  A medical emergency will cause Massachusetts residents to file bankruptcy.

Quality health care is not affordable for an estimated 46 million Americans

Medical debts cause Massachusetts citizens to file for bankruptcy.  Emergency room visits account for a lot of medical debt.  Doctor visits and medical specialists account for a large portion of medical debt in America.  Childbirth and related medical expenses drive people into bankruptcy if they cannot afford the medical bills.  Dental care and related medical expenses cause people to file bankruptcy for the bills they cannot afford to pay.

There are many reasons that people file for bankruptcy. Medical expenses do have an effect on people’s financial situations.   Some financially responsible people have to file for bankruptcy. For others, the expenses are the final push over the financial cliff and into bankruptcy.

The debate over medical expense bankruptcy will continue for the foreseeable future.  Politicians spin the numbers to work for the votes they need.  Medical expenses influence people to file for bankruptcy in America.  Bankruptcy petitions include medical bills.  Bankruptcy discharges medical bills.  If you have questions about bankruptcy and medical bills that you can’t afford please visit our website.

Researchers disagree on the evidence for medical bills causing bankruptcies

The reasons for filing do not have to be stated when a debtor files for bankruptcy. As a result, estimates are based on surveys.  The answer will depend on how researchers phrase their questions, and how the survey respondents define the cause of their bankruptcy filing.

A variety of factors cause bankruptcies. Many people with medical debt have other debts like credit cards debts and personal loans. The low income, those without savings and loss of a job now trigger a bankruptcy filing. Medical bills & Massachusetts bankruptcy filings are related.

Medical debts are often unexpected and many Americans live paycheck to paycheck for a number of reasons including the economy in Massachusetts.  Unexpected or sudden medical bill causes problems in the financial lives of people.  This often leads to bankruptcy.  Many people are not aware that a particular hospital or medical provider was not part of their insurance plan.  As insurance companies deny insurance claims people file for bankruptcy.