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illinois texas homestead exemption lawyerBefore heading into a personal bankruptcy, it is helpful to know as much as possible about federal and state laws and rules affecting your case. Texas has very unique homestead laws that you should know about before petitioning for bankruptcy. If you are thinking about bankruptcy as an option, talking over your situation with an attorney could be extremely helpful for getting your questions answered and putting you at ease.

If you file for bankruptcy, you can protect the total value of your home under this exemption. It’s important to note that there are several critical stipulations in order for a homeowner to be eligible for this exemption. A rural homestead for the head of the family cannot be more than 200 acres including the space the property is located on and a single adult cannot claim any more than 100 acres. In an urban area, the space is limited to ten acres.

In Texas, you are able to choose between the federal bankruptcy homestead exemption or the state exemption, but you cannot flip back and forth between these two systems. You have to elect whether to move forward with state exemptions or federal exemptions for your whole case. If you decide to use the Texas homestead exemption, you have to submit a form to the County Recorder’s Office prior to filing for bankruptcy.

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Believe it or not, financial scammers often do not target the wealthiest individuals. Instead, those facing financial pressures and even considering bankruptcy are most often victimized. Those with money problems may painted into a corner, under immense stress, willing to do whatever it takes for a fresh start, and more susceptible to the dubious claims of scam artists.

refinancing scamStaying educated on the tricks of these con artists will help protect you from falling into their trap. How do scammers seek to steal from vulnerable Texas residents? A few of the most common scams include: Home Affordable Refinance Program Scams (“HARP”): HARP is a program available to those who are not behind on their mortgage but have difficulty refinancing.  Scam artists are well aware that this program exists. They may try to contact you by phone or through the mail, claim that you qualify for HARP support, and ask for money to work through the process on your behalf. The only way to truly know if you qualify for HARP is to check HARP’s website, or contact your mortgage lender. Eligibility for HARP is based on a number of factors listed by HARP. If you are not sure you can check Freddie Mac’s website to gauge your potential eligibility for HARP.

Unfortunately, scammers often use HARP as a way to funnel money their way. The main thing to look out for are third parties asking for large fees to help you take advantage of the program.

 Rent to Own or Lease Back Scheme: This scam can result in loss of your home if you are not careful.  In this trick, con artists try to convince homeowners to sign over the title or deed to their home with no intention of ever giving the house back.  This is done with claims about getting money up-front while leasing the home or renting again in order to buy it back. These scam artists typically target people they know applied to refinance but were denied due to credit.

The best way to protect yourself from a scam like this is to never sign over the deed or title of your home unless you are legitimately selling the property with the aid of lenders, real estate agents, and proper legal professionals.

 Trusted Legal Help If you are dealing with foreclosure, looming debt, and other financial pressures, remember that you do not have to handle it alone. An experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney can help. Our team in San Antonio works with residents throughout the state looking for a fresh financial start.  Feel free to contact us today to learn more.

texas-reaffirmation-bankruptcyFiling for bankruptcy is a difficult decision. However, bankruptcy is an important tool that gives people a second chance despite the curve balls that life may throw. Indeed, the reason behind the United States Bankruptcy Code is an acknowledgment of the reality that life sometimes just happens.

It is unfortunate that bankruptcy has such a negative stigma. Bankruptcy is an invaluable tool, and if used properly, it allows persons to shed off undesired liabilities while retaining useful assets; just ask Donald Trump.

With proper planning, bankruptcy can even allow a person to continue inhabiting the same home or drive the same car while getting rid of undesired debt. This is all thanks to the concept of reaffirmation. Reaffirmation allows bankruptcy filers to choose to remain liable for the debt that encumbers certain assets, thus keeping those assets.

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With the gubernatorial race upon us, and local elections being decided throughout the country, the public will surely continue to be inundated with political ad campaigns and candidates’ appearances throughout the region. One of the most discussed issues involves Texas’ economy, and the correlated issues of unemployment rates and the public debt.

 According to My San Antonio, Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for the 2014 GOP gubernatorial nomination, stated during a recent campaign appearance that Texas’ debt ranks as the second highest among large states in the U.S., while San Antonio holds the highest debt of any city within the state. While this state of affairs is concerning, especially considering the recent actions of cities in financial crisis in other parts of the country, perhaps the public can find some reassurance in the fact that the elections will call attention to these issues and potentially produce proposed resolutions.

Unfortunately, considering the state of economic affairs in the state of Texas, it is not surprising that the citizens of Texas also experience financial strain. While the proposition of filing municipal bankruptcy is something that is generally considered as a last resort and is something to be avoided, individuals do not always have other feasible options. However, bankruptcy should not always be viewed as a negative process, as bankruptcy can offer not only debt relief for those who file, but a fresh start at a positive financial future.

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san-antonio-irs-tax-levySince the economy has taken a turn for the worse, the IRS has be relatively aggressive in coming after income tax debt. If you are being contacted by the IRS about existing tax debt and you are feeling overwhelmed with your finances, you need the advice of a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney.

The IRS can use levies to pay your taxes if you do not make payments or arrangements for payments to cover a tax debt. The IRS can take and sell any type of personal property that you own or have interest in. This includes the cash loan value of your life insurance policy, commissions, your wages, bank accounts, licenses, rental income, dividends, and retirement accounts. The IRS may also seize and sell property such as houses, boats or cars.

The tax levy can be completed after the IRS assessed the tax and provided you with a Notice and Demand for Payment, you refused to pay the tax or ignored the notice, and you received a "Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing." Generally, you will receive this last piece of information about 30 days before the levy. Taxes are extremely complicated and contacting the IRS may not clear up your questions. This is a sign to reach out to a bankruptcy lawyer.

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