• Famous Bankruptcies: Ulysses S. Grant

    As millions of Americans consider which candidate they think is the best man to be president, this week’s famous bankruptcy will look back on one of the former presidents that numerous polls rank as one of the worst. The administration of Ulysses S. Grant was marred by numerous scandals such as Black Friday in 1869 and the Whiskey Ring in 1875. “My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent,” Grant wrote to Congress at the conclusion of his second term.

    The two years Grant spent traveling the world with his wife and dining with foreign dignitaries at the end of his second term depleted most of his savings. At the suggestion of his son, Buck, Grant placed nearly all of his financial assets into a partnership with Ferdinand Ward. However, Ward mismanaged and embezzled the money, bankrupting the company and leaving Grant’s family deep in debt.

    Suffering from throat cancer, Grant struck a publishing deal with Mark Twain to use the memoirs to repay his debts and provide for his family after his death. The terminally ill former president worked tirelessly on the project in the final year of his life and finished his autobiography just days before his death. The book received widespread praise upon publication with Twain calling the book “a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.” “There is no higher literature than these modest, simple Memoirs,” Twain said. “Their style is at least flawless, and no man can improve upon it.”

    The corruption that occurred on Grant’s watch during his time in office was unprecedented at the time and has certainly contributed to his low placement in historical rankings. However, the memoirs as well as his advocacy for civil and human rights-most notably toward American Indians and African Americans-during Reconstruction have helped his reputation improve over time.

    Despite the scandals that plagued his time in office, Grant’s efforts and the methods employed to pay off his debt before his death can be an inspiration to anybody about to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy . If you are looking for a fresh start financially, contact my firm to schedule a consultation to see how I can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Cramming Down Car Loans in Chapter 13

    Cars begin to depreciate as soon as they are driven off the lot, so I deal with many clients who end up owing more on an automobile than it is actually worth. However, debtors filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can reduce that debt to a lower amount by utilizing a “cramdown.” When debtors cram down car loans, they are proposing that lenders get what the car is actually worth instead of the entire loan balance.

    There are, of course, a few requirements in order to cram down a car loan. First, the car must have been purchased at least 910 days (or around 2 ½ years) before you file bankruptcy. Second, the loan must be the loan you used to buy the car.

    The good news for debtors cramming down a car loan in Chapter 13 is that the interest rate on the loan will often be lowered to less than the original rate. Even better, any unpaid balance left after you pay off the value will be wiped out when you get your Chapter 13 discharged.

    It should be noted that you can also cram down mortgages on real estate that is not your principle residence. Cramming down a mortgage also has enormous benefits, but mortgage cramdowns can be even more difficult to get approved than car loan cramdowns. If you are upside-down on either a car loan or a non-residential mortgage-or if both apply in your case-you should contact my firm at (866) 930-7482 today to set up a consultation to see what I can do to help you get a fresh start.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer