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Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota Blog

Bankruptcy and Executory Contracts: You Have Options

Executory-ContractIn a recent experience with a client (“Jane Doe”), she began by telling me that after six months of infusing her franchise with cash directly from her retirement accounts, the franchise was doing poorly and she had no idea how to get out of the hole. To add salt to the wound, she had personally guaranteed i) the lease to the commercial space; ii) the franchise agreement; and the small business loan that the business needed to get started. This is obviously a worse case scenario for a business owners, especially if the business isn’t making any profit because its only a matter of time before the business shuts down and the creditors start coming after the business owner. After an hour of getting a sense of her personal and business finances, I began to explain to Mrs. Doe, the different options she had and how these “Executory Contracts” would be treated within her bankruptcy.


WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY CASE

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It is nearly impossible to predict what the future holds in life. Therefore, when you enter a five-year chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, you never know what life changes may be thrown your way during the plan period. You may lose your job, obtain a significant increase in income, or receive an inheritance amongst other possibilities. This blog will explore how common life changes will impact your chapter 13 plan and what your options are to react to those changes.

Making Decisions for Elderly Loved Ones

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As we move through life, our parents who cared for and protected us in our youth often become the ones in need of care and protection. Illness, disease and natural aging erodes memory, faculties and routine decision-making skills. This is undoubtedly a confusing and frightening experience for the parent who now struggles with day to day activities. It is equally taxing on the children who must balance the emotions and responsibilities they feel while witnessing their once revered and trusted parent deteriorate. At some point, it may become necessary for the child to make decisions in the best interest of the elderly parent regarding their finances or medical treatments. New Jersey law recognizes two simple documents through which the elderly parent can voluntarily cede decision making power to a trusted individual in the event of incapacity. These documents are called powers of attorney and advance directives for health care. The contents of this article will analyze and explain the process and benefits to having a power of attorney and advance health care directive. 

A New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Road Map

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Foreclosure is the judicial process by which a lender takes title and possession to property after a homeowner stops making mortgage payments. Generally, a “mortgage” is comprised of a promissory note (the “Note”) and a mortgage (the “Mortgage”). The Note memorializes the money lent to the homeowner to fund the purchase, the terms of repayment, and the borrowers promise to repay the money lent. The Mortgage is the “security” for the Note i.e. it gives the lender the right to take the property if the Note isn’t repaid. The Sheriff then sells the property at public auction and the money received is given to the lender as repayment for the Note. New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state, meaning the lender must go through the courts to foreclose upon a property. A lender cannot resort to “self-help” by changing locks or just showing up and demanding the owner vacate the premises. 

Business Owners Beware – You Can’t Simply Shut the Doors of a Failing Company and Walk Away

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 Every day new companies open their doors, employ a workforce, and provide valuable services and products to help sustain our economy.  Clearly, not all businesses are successful, particularly small businesses.  Most businesses in operation in the United States are defined as a small business, which the U.S. Small Business Administration defines as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses, which each are commonly undercapitalized and lacking the necessary skills to operate a business, are particularly vulnerable to the incumbent risks that all businesses face. Only about half of small businesses will survive past the five-year mark.  So, what does a business owner do when the business no longer can pay its debts as they come do?

Understanding and Winning Your Trip-and-Fall or Slip-and-Fall Personal Injury Case

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           One of the most common personal injury actions relate to an individual losing their balance and subsequently suffering injuries from a fall. Generally, when a fall occurs you can’t help but ask yourself, did I trip on something? Did I slip on something? While the distinction between a trip and slip may seem nonsensical, the legal distinction is important for a successful personal injury action. This blog will explore the differences between a slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall case, and how to obtain a successful outcome

The Effect of Jointly Owned Property and Bankruptcy

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In many instances, marital couples intertwine their financial affairs. This causes the vast majority of both real and personal property owned by the marital couple to be jointly owned property. This blog will explore the effect that jointly owned property has on a bankruptcy case for purposes of residential real property and jointly owned bank accounts.

Putting the Screws to a Bad Home Improvement Contractor

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Remodeling or adding to your home is often a necessary undertaking to stay current and accommodate a growing family. It is also a stressful and costly endeavor. During the process, homeowners struggle for months, if not years, over plans, drawings, finances, carpets vs. hardwood, paint color and especially, which contractor to trust with the job. These are just the initial stressors of the undertaking and can be the least of a homeowner’s problems if the wrong contractor is hired. Luckily, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“NJCFA”) applies to most “home improvement contracts” and can be useful tool in the event of unforeseen delays, defects, disagreements, or rising costs.

Evaluating Whether to File A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Proceeding When You Own A Home

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Often, individuals who are contemplating bankruptcy have some equity in their residence and are debating whether it will be better to file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding. This blog will explore what happens when you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and how you should evaluate your decision making.

April 15th is Approaching: Are you Eligible to Discharge Income Taxes Through Bankruptcy?

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According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average refund this tax season has decreased by 8.4%. This, of course, is mainly due to the recent changes in tax laws and the loss of certain tax deductions that were available in previous years. With the April 15th tax deadline right around the corner, this could potentially mean that you could be owing taxes when you really expected a tax refund. And if you already owe income taxes for previous tax years, you could be facing an even larger tax debt when the dust settles. With that said, you still have options, and the filing of a bankruptcy can help minimize your already existing tax debt. This blog will explore how bankruptcy can help you get rid of some of that tax debt.

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