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Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Warm Thanks to Our Clients and Colleagues For the Holidays

Posted by Ryan Blay on December 21st, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dear Friends:

Lakelaw wishes to extend our sincerest thanks this Holiday season to the colleagues, clients, staff, and administrators who make our jobs so rewarding. So often we hear complaints – about sloppy attorneys, rude judges, untrustworthy clients – and there is much that needs to be done to fix the justice system and make it accessible for everyone. But we are fortunate here to have a fine legal system with dedicated professionals helping to ensure the processes run smoothly. The staff, judges, clients, and others we’ve encountered have been helpful and dedicated to public service, and we appreciate this.

Bankruptcy and foreclosure defense in particular are areas of law that deal with very sensitive concerns – the loss of a home, the loss of a lifestyle, threats from creditors. We recognize the need to be sensitive and compassionate and hope that we meet the high standards we hold for ourselves. The genuine thanks of our clients and the opportunity to see consumers obtain a fresh start and relief from debts are two of the benefits we enjoy above all.

So thank you all again and we will be here to help in 2012 and beyond.

Saving Your Home Through Bankruptcy

Posted by Ryan Blay on December 19th, 2011 in Bankruptcy Information, Chapter 13, Foreclosure - Saving Your Home, Illinois, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense, Mortgage Modifications, Uncategorized, Wisconsin

While each bankruptcy case is different we attorneys at Lakelaw see a common theme among many bankruptcy filers: the threat of losing a home in foreclosure. This post tries to explain some of the options debtors have when facing foreclosure.

The first question anyone must answer is whether or not to try and save the home. Someone wishing to walk away from their home without a final foreclosure could have two options: Attempting a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure or agreeing to a Short Sale

In a Deed-in-Lieu, the offer is to give the home back to the bank to stop the foreclosure. However, mortgage defense attorneys have not seen much success with this lately. Due to so many homes already foreclosed (and those that are still going to be foreclosed on any day now), banks are often refusing to accept a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.

A second is a short sale. A short sale involves a homeowner, with the help of a realtor, finding a buyer who is willing to buy the home at a reduced value. The bank would then have to agree to waive the difference between what the home sold for and what was owed—the deficiency—or the homeowner would have to bring money to pay the difference at closing. Banks like the idea of having a waiting buyer instead of waiting through months of foreclosure, but they do not like the idea of walking away from the deficiency amount.

What if you want to try and keep your home? If you and your bank are working well with each other, a home modification could be an option. The bank would be willing to work with the borrower and try to find a payment plan that works. It should be noted that the Wisconsin branch of Lakelaw has seen some promise in mortgage modification within the Chapter 13 modification program set up in the Eastern District of Wisconsin bankruptcy court).

Another option is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This may be the best option a debtor has to save their home. When the debtor files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy an automatic stay goes into place. This means the bank must stop the foreclosure and the borrower can stay in the house as long as they are making payments to the trustee and a payment to the mortgage company after the bankruptcy filing. The goal is to find a way to cover the regular monthly mortgage payment plus an additional amount to catch up on the arrearage. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a difficult process and is different for each person, so it is always best to speak with an attorney about your particular situation.

If you have questions about saving your home, the professionals at Lakelaw are here to help. We serve our clients with Care, Kindness, Courtesy, Respect, Professionalism and Dedication. We can be reached at 1-800-LAKELAW in Illinois and 262.694.7300 in Wisconsin. Give us a call so we can help you with your finances and your home.

This post was drafted by Attorney Nicholas Strom

What to Look For When Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney

Posted by Ryan Blay on December 2nd, 2011 in Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Information, Chapter 13, Chapter 7, Illinois, Wisconsin

Hiring a lawyer for any reason can be stressful. There are so many factors to consider – including the one nobody wants to talk about – cost. For people seeking bankruptcy protection, cost is an even bigger concern. Filing bankruptcy means financial distress. It means not paying creditors and barely getting by. The cost of an attorney is often the number one priority for a client. We urge anyone to consider the downside of hiring a bankruptcy attorney on the cheap.

Sometimes a basic bankruptcy attorney is all you need. Some people can even file simple bankruptcies “pro se”, without an attorney. This is fine if the bankruptcy is easy and there aren’t any problems or unusual issues that appear. However, if problems do arise or the bankruptcy is complex, a low cost, quick fix attorney is probably not qualified. We have had clients walk into our office after hiring a low cost bankruptcy attorney and see the consequences of their choices.

One couple came in to see us after hiring a cheap bankruptcy attorney who knew nothing about mortgage foreclosures. Because of the attorney’s lack of training, the clients are in a much worse position and will probably not be able to keep their house now. Another person came into our office after hiring a low cost attorney and asked why they were still getting mortgage payments in the mail at a high rate. The answer was simple: the quick fix attorney never took the proper steps to inform the mortgage company that the debtors and the mortgage company reached a deal reducing the rate. A third consulted us after failing to tell the courts in her bankruptcy papers that she had a personal injury lawsuit pending when she filed. Now she runs the risk of losing control over the settlement of the case and having the creditors take more than what they would have been entitled to if she had had an attorney tell her that she is responsible for listing any possible lawsuits or claims against anyone.

The professionals at Lakelaw know bankruptcy inside and out and are willing to take the time to work with you all the way through the bankruptcy and other matters that may arise. We offer a free initial consultation and will give you the chance to discuss your personal situation and what you must do to stay strong. Lakelaw will treat you with Care, Kindness, Courtesy, Respect, Professionalism and Dedication. Call us at 1-800-LAKELAW or (262) 694-7300 in Wisconsin.

Attorney Nicholas Strom contributed to this post


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