Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Your Arizona Bankruptcy Homework Assignment

Why do I want you to do homework BEFORE you come to see me for the first time? Because then our meeting may be productive! If you don't do the homework, I can sympathize with you, but I can't tell whether I can help you very much. Kinda like a doctor and the x-rays. You can't set the arm without the x-rays, you know?

Seriously. Want help? Do the homework!

And as a quick preliminary issue, who am I and why should you retain me to help you? If you've already done extensive credential and experience and qualification and specialized training and certification and testimonial comparisons, ignore this issue.  Many consumer bankruptcy clients don't care much about credentials, and go straight to the client reviews, but some business clients do care about Board Certification, AV rating, and so on. I would, but that's just me.

I'm going to have you watch 9 short videos (two are just to introduce you to Heidi and Nina!), read one short article about exemptions in Arizona, and fill out one short form, which is below.

I. The Videos I Want You to Watch:

-What is a Good Result in a Consumer Chapter 7 Case in Arizona?

-What Happens At a First Meeting of Creditors in Phoenix, Arizona (or anyplace else in AZ)?

-When Is a Liquidation Not Like a Liquidation?

-How Much Will My Bankruptcy Cost, and Where Do I Find the Dough?

-Play 20 Questions with Me!

-Meet Heidi, the Bankruptcy Angel, My Paralegal!

-Meet Nina Kovacevic, my associate (she is a brilliant, compassionate young bankruptcy lawyer)!

-Will You Return My Phone Calls? 

-How Long Will My Bankruptcy Take? 

II. Articles I Want You To Read:

-Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions

Next, subscribe to my bankruptcy blog (it's free, and you can unsubscribe any time you want); I want you to subscribe, because you may be a client for five years, and this is one way you can find out about changes in the law sooner than other people! Do it now! You know you want to!

Enter your email address:

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Next, make a written list of YOUR questions, so you can get the maximum benefit from your initial half-hour "getting to know you" visit with me (you may wind up talking to my brilliant young lawyer associate Nina Kovacevic if I'm in Court or jammed up, but that's only if you're lucky; I never hire anybody unless they're smarter than I am).

NOTE WELL: I have a pretty office next to the Biltmore Golf Course at the top of the rise. It's got a bunch of glass panels and low-hanging certificates, with matte paint that doesn't wash off very well. It's not a child-proof office, so please make arrangements for a babysitter and don't bring your kids to my office. The last one kicked the heck out of the wall and every time I see the scars on the wall, I'm reminded what a cute little rascal he was!

NOTE BETTER: If you have a cold, stay home, and we'll do a phone conference!!

Go to my Google Place Page so you can find my office. It's right next door to the golf course at the Arizona Biltmore Resort, at the top of the rise, but every now and then some people seem to have trouble finding it.

III. Finally, FILL OUT THE VERY SHORT FORM BELOW, and email it back to my office prior to your appointment with me! The form below is for my office's analysis only, and is not the very long, semi-horrible form you'll be filling out so I can file a bankruptcy for you.






(H) Phone:_______________ (W) Phone:_______________ (Cell ph.)_______________


Debts:(note that you must list all your debts on schedules: it's a crime to intentionally fail to do so! What you are filling out here are not your schedules, and are only to give me an idea whether I can help you):

1. Secured:$ ____________(secured debts are like mortgages and car loans)

2. Unsecured:$__________ (these are like credit card debt, medical bills and personal loans)

3. Tax Debt:$___________(these probably will not be discharged, but you have to list 'em anyway!)

4. Student Loans:$_______(you won't get them discharged, but you must list them anyway!)

5. Child support or alimony: $_______(ditto; you'll keep both kinds of debt, but must list 'em)

6. Other Debts:$ _________(to be consistent, I'll tell you that you must list them!)

Real Estate (real estate is dirt; like a house, or a building, or a piece of land)

First Property

1. Home value:$_____________________(use to determine value; the trustee will!)

2. First mortgage: $_________ Monthly payment:$_______

3. Second mortgage: $_______ Monthly payment: $ ______

4. Trustee sale date (if any) :_______

Additional Properties (same questions apply)(use another piece of paper if you need more room!)

Motor vehicles

1. Monthly payment: $____________

2. Delinquency total: $___________

3. Current Value: $____________(use excellent condition, private party value on; the trustee will, so you need a preview of the trustee's starting number!)

4) Loan Payoff: $_____________

5) Equity (subtract the loan payoff from the value): _________

Additional Vehicles (same questions apply; I'm particularly interested in how many cars you have, and how much equity you have in each car! If Junior's car is still in your name, list that car here, also.)


1. Your annual gross income from all sources: $___________(gross; that's before deductions)

2. Spouse’s annual income from all sources: $_________(gross; that's before deductions)

3. Any Income from operation of a business?: $_______

4. Number of People Living in Your Home: ____Are They Dependents on Your Taxes?______

5. Do You Pass the Means Test? _____________ (use the Nolo Calculator, and don't panic if you fail!)

Business Ownership Issues:

Do you own a business:__________if you do, read this and then continue. And remind me when you come in that you own a business! Also tell me if you just closed down your business!


Are you currently involved in a lawsuit: ________

Has a judgment been entered against you? _________

Are you being garnished? __________

General Considerations:

Have you used any of your credit cards within last 90 days? ____

Have made any payments to relatives within the last year? _____________ Amount of payment: $_________ Date of payment: _______________

Have you ever filed bankruptcy before? ___________ If so, when? __________ What chapter? ___________

Have you lived in Arizona for a FULL two years? ____________

Is there anything special, extraordinary or unusual I should know before I decide whether I can help you (for instance, is there a warrent for your arrest for murder currently going the rounds of the Phoenix Police) ?__________________________________________________________

Make sure you look at the mandatory legal disclosures required by the 2005 Amendments; I wrote about those on the very first page of my blog, on the left hand side. Look to the left hand side of my blog and scroll down! And remember: if I file a bankruptcy for you, you had better list all of your assets and debts on your schedules and lists, because if you don't, you could go to jail. No kidding.


                                         HOW DO YOU HIRE ME?

And after we meet, IF YOU HAVE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK AND E-MAILED IT BACK, AND PRINTED IT AND BROUGHT IT WITH YOU TO OUR FIRST HALF-HOUR MEETING, and if I believe I can help you, and if I think we are a moderately good fit for the one year to four years that you will be my bankruptcy client, then I will quote you a retainer amount, and that will go in the scary five-page retainer agreement I will email to you, and then you will write me a check and sign the retainer agreement; if you want to move forward and don't have the entire retainer in your checkbook right now, we'll talk about it and decide what you'd like to do. If you decide that you'd rather not retain me after we meet, for no reason whatsoever, that's fine with me, too.

If you retain me, by signing the retainer agreement and providing me with checks for the retainer and the filing fee (two separate checks, please), then you will get what we call "The Keys to the Kingdom", which is really a password so you can start filling in your information on our online system, as well as a suggestion as to pre- and post- consumer counseling services (remember that I can't file for you if you haven't taken the first time-wasting class, and you won't get a discharge if you don't take time-wasting class number 2, so take that second class the day after we file for you! And make sure you get the certificate to Heidi the Bankruptcy Angel so she can file it with the Court!). 

Note that you are not a client for any purposes whatsoever until the office has received both the fully signed retainer agreement and the full retainer and the separate check for the filing fee. You'll be paying for the time-wasting pre-and post- consumer credit counseling courses, which will run less than $50 or so.  

And then (when your information is true, correct, and complete) you hit "send", and then you get in line with the clients ahead of you, and if AND ONLY IF you pass the means test, and after your forms pass muster with Heidi, and then with me or Nina, we will all agree on a day after you have spent your most recent paycheck with a debit card and that is reflected in your bank statement, and then and ONLY then we file your case electronically.

                                      WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
                                            Here's the timeline!



Some people would rather watch a movie than read a book, and so I built a bundle of educational bankruptcy videos about the process involved in filing a bankruptcy in Arizona. There's another bundle on a site called THELAW.TV, and they're really short!

They are all fairly short, because I know you need time between them to refill the popcorn bowl and get another soda. Which is how I suggest you watch them, by the way! 

In the videos, I talk about filling out forms (yes, you have to list all your creditors and all your assets!), the First Meeting of Creditors, the Discharge, how long your case will take, and other topics which are close to the hearts of all Arizona bankruptcy lawyers and debtors.

If you want to watch 'em all, you will know a lot more when you visit me. It's not mandatory that you watch all of them (that will take you a couple of hours), but you'll sure know more about all of this if you do!

And if you subscribe to my Bankruptcy Blog, you'll get updates almost every day!

And I have a health and longevity blog, where I beg you to take vitamins, especially Vitamin C and D; read it if you want, but remember to check everything I suggest with a real doctor, and not get your medical advice from a bankruptcy lawyer with an office in Phoenix!

Really finally, if you stumbled onto this Arizona Bankruptcy Homework Blog by mistake, well....

Contact an Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney

Friday, January 28, 2011

Here Are Some Bankruptcy Videos, Just for Fun!

These are a little shorter than my other videos, and therefore contain less substantive bankruptcy law and practice.

But some folks would rather hear the short version than the long, after all.

So enjoy watching these videos about frequently asked bankruptcy questions and answers! 

Contact an Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Top Ten Bankruptcy Articles This Week from My Arizona Bankruptcy Blog


Most Popular Bankruptcy Information Articles This Week, From My Arizona Bankruptcy Blog!