• Stopping Federal Tax Intercept & Keeping Your Tax Refund

    Federal Tax Intercept occurs when the Internal Revenue Service takes (intercepts) a tax refund you think you are getting in order to pay off government debt.  Federal Student Loans are one such qualifying government debt that can lead to a tax intercept. Often, the IRS will not notify you in advance of the intent to have your tax refund intercepted. You typically find out the hard way when you realize you did not receive your tax refund. Most often, you have received several notices from collection agencies or loan servicers well in advance which may include a warning that a tax intercept is possible.

    How Do I Stop A Federal Tax Intercept?

    Stopping a Federal Tax Intercept is not easy, but it can be done. The first thing is to get ahead of it by taking action before filing your tax returns. Most often, it requires preparation of several documents, which can be confusing. A trained Student Loan Lawyer like Benjamin Brand can create a strategy with you, prepare and file the necessary documents. Consolidating loans, performing rehabilitation or changing your current arrangement to an Income Driven Repayment plan before things get bad can help to avoid or resolve the default before the federal tax intercept scenario can occur. Some variables that come into consideration when preparing a strategy include:

    • Marital Status
    • Child Support and Alimony
    • Income type and source

    Does My Spouse Lose Tax Refunds as Well?

    Not necessarily. It depends on the filing status with your spouse. If you file jointly, your spouse has generated enough income that part of the tax refund is theirs and you incur a Federal Tax Intercept, your spouse does have an option.  Your spouse can file the Injured Spouse form with the Internal Revenue Service and receive a refund in a proportional amount your tax return justifies as their portion of the refund.  This is somewhat discretionary on the part of the IRS as it does not have to agree with the amount you feel your spouse is due. However, the IRS is most likely to go with the refund amounts calculated directly from the tax return. If you do not file joint tax returns, your spouse will most likely not have their tax refund intercepted due to your federal student loan default.

  • Do You Have Federal Student Loans in Bankruptcy in Chicago?

    Federal Student Loans are not the same as other debts when in bankruptcy.  In fact, if you are considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Chicago, there are ways to have your federal student loan payments count towards IDR. Do you know how to negotiate this? At Benjamin Brand attorney in Chicago, they do. Ask them about your IDR payment and how to get on an Income Driven Plan if you are not already on one. These plans can lower your monthly payment and lead to alleviating you of any remaining balance after 20, 25 or 30 years depending on your scenario.

    How low can my payment be while in bankruptcy

    Federal Student Loans can be modified in bankruptcy in Chicago to be as low as $0 or to take priority discriminately meaning that more money goes towards them lowering your payment to credit cards and other debtors so you get more benefit for the federal student loan. This requires modifying the payment schedule you submit with your Chapter 13 bankruptcy through your attorney in Chicago and completing the necessary documents as needed. This is important because your federal student loan is not discharged in bankruptcy and you want your payments during bankruptcy to count towards the final payment requirement. Since your bankruptcy can take up to 5 years, you don’t want that period of time to be disqualified.

    This does not mean your Federal Student Loan can get all the money in the plan instead of other debtors while in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but bankruptcy in Chicago can account for this disproportionate payment if you use the right bankruptcy expert. Benjamin Brand is one of the rare attorney in Chicago that can do this for you. They know the process and techniques to get your IDR payment to count and have the payment adjusted to be acceptable to the courts. This process is not just about submitting your financial plan but proper negotiation with the trustee.

    What is a Trustee

    A Trustee is important to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Chicago as they are a court-appointed representative who has decision making power to keep the bankruptcy plan fair for all involved.  Being able to negotiate with the trustee takes talent and experience as well as an understanding of how everything in bankruptcy relates. A good attorney in Chicago knows this and can maneuver to get you the best financial options in bankruptcy.

    Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Chicago

    When filing for bankruptcy in Chicago, you want to make sure you are in Chapter 13 in order to take advantage of the federal student loan payment plan options.  A chapter 7 bankruptcy offers you little protection or advantage towards your federal student loan.

  • Attorney Kevin Chern sued by former employer for civil conspiracy, the suit against Chern assets causes of action for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act and unjust enrichment, in July 0f 2015

    In the latest of a series of lawsuits linked to a claimed theft of proprietary software by a competitor, Chicago bankruptcy law firm chief Peter Francis Geraci is seeking $1 million in damages from a former associate.

    Filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, the suit alleges that Kevin Chern, who last worked for Geraci’s firm in 1997, participated in a claimed conspiracy to allow the Legal Helpers bankruptcy firm to make use of Geraci’s software, the Cook County Record (http://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/510629987-geraci-alleges-rival-formerassociate-chern-aided-taking-of-proprietary-software) reports.

    “By using … software owned by Geraci, Chern reduced substantially the development costs associated with creating the type of proprietary software necessary to operate a sophisticated consumer bankruptcy law practice in direct competition with Geraci, and saved himself and his former law [firm] in excess of $1 million in development costs that Geraci incurred,” the complaint says.

    Chern had worked for Legal Helpers immediately after leaving Geraci’s employ, but he is now amanaging partner at another law firm. Other Geraci employees participated in the claimed software conspiracy, too, Geraci has alleged in prior litigation, the Record article reports. At least one federal lawsuit is still pending.

    In addition to civil conspiracy, the suit against Chern assets causes of action for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act and unjust enrichment.

  • Peter Geraci accuses Kevin Chern (formerly with Total Attorneys and Currently with Upright Law) of Stealing Proprietary Information

    A Chicago lawyer has brought his battle over allegedly stolen bankruptcy software to federal court after the suit he filed four years ago in state court failed to reach final judgment.

    Peter Francis Geraci, known to avid television viewers throughout the Chicago area for his “bankruptcy info tapes,” originally filed suit in 2010 in DuPage County Court against R. William Amidon, a former employee, and others.

    He claimed Amidon copied and shared his trademarked bankruptcy law practice management software — Geraci Automated Program (GapC)– when he created similar software for rival bankruptcy firm Legal Helpers.

    Filed Friday in Chicago’s federal court, Geraci’s suit, which seeks more than $1 million in damages, again names Amidon and Thomas G. Macey, founder of Legal Helpers, though the names of several co-defendants in his state court suit are not included.

    The suit again accuses Amidon of violating Geraci’s copyright to the software and handing the code at its heart over to Macey. It alleges the duo’s actions violated the Illinois Trade Secrets Act and that Amidon breached a contract.

    According to his recently-filed federal complaint, Geraci hired Amidon in 1996 to develop GapC, software Geraci asserts he designed to streamline the process of generating bankruptcy-related forms and managing appointments, litigation and client information.

    Geraci asserts he fired Amidon in 2006, and then in 2010, discovered Amidon had been “working secretly for Macey.” Geraci claims he uncovered an exact copy of his computer code on Macey’s server, along with a similar program called “LH1” that Geraci’s forensic experts determined was based on the code Amidon and Macey had stolen from him.

    In the suit he filed in 2010 in state court, a DuPage County judge found in favor of the defendants, but a panel of the Second District Appellate Court in December ruled in favor of Geraci and remanded the case for further proceedings.

    The defendants unsuccessfully sought rehearing and review from the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Geraci’s suit, which goes on to note the appeals panel in February entered a protective order in the case requiring all documents to be filed under seal.

    Geraci non-suited Amidon before the appeal, and is proceeding to non-suit the rest of the state court action in light of Macey dissolving his bankruptcy law practice and being an involuntary debtor in bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of New York. No final judgment was rendered against Amidon or Macey in the original case.

    In his federal suit, Geraci levels new allegations at Kevin Chern, a former employee of his own firm and a law school friend of Macey. Chern, however, is not named as a defendant.

    Geraci accuses Chern of “stealing client information and giving it to Macey,” and claims that when confronted about it, Chern quit and went to work for Macey.

    “Macey and Chern decided to copy Geraci’s law practice, and steal his trade secrets. They decided they could not accomplish this because a multi-office, multi-state consumer bankruptcy practice would not be profitable without software such as Geraci’s, so they hired Amidon to steal Geraci’s software,” Geraci’s suit alleges.

    Geraci contends that Amidon would leave his “office with daily copies of software updates, or builds, and go to Macey’s office and give them to Macey in exchange for small sums of money, while he remained on Geraci’s payroll.”

    According to Geraci’s allegations, a widespread conspiracy of former firm members followed.

    “Macey and Chern then hired numerous attorneys from Geraci’s office who were familiar with his software and algorithms and trade secrets,” his suit asserts.

    Geraci claims those attorneys who had worked for him went over to Macey’s firm and used their knowledge of his business model to copy his practice.

    Several former members of Geraci’s firm who were named in the original DuPage County case are accused of betraying him to go become partners at Macey’s firm, but are not named as defendants in federal suit; among them Shobhana Khasturi, Jeffrey Aleman and Richard Gustafson. Also mentioned by name were former Geraci attorneys Richard Melendez and Guillermo Guisse.

  • Personalized Service from Benjamin Brand, LLP

    At Benjamin Brand, LLP, our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated to helping people get out of debt and fix their credit. Our foreclosure attorneys offer customized, personal service, so that all clients feel comfortable in our firm. Each of our bankruptcy lawyers is dedicated to making our clients feel at home from the moment they set foot in our office.

    If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Chicago , choosing the right bankruptcy lawyer is one of the most important steps. This video provides a brief look at the representation offered by Benjamin Brand, LLP. As leading Chicago bankruptcy attorneys, our mission is to change people’s lives. To accomplish this mission, our foreclosure attorneys go over every option and case strategy with our clients, allowing them to make an informed decision when filing for bankruptcy. Our foreclosure attorneys can help explain foreclosure alternatives, including loan modification options.

  • A Look at What Foreclosure Means for You

    Missing one mortgage payment or accidentally paying the incorrect amount doesn’t necessarily mean you will face foreclosure and the prospect of filing for bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to stay current on multiple mortgage payments, your lender may try to repossess your property and sell it to pay back your debt. In fact, your lender can get a court order cancelling your property rights if you continuously fail to make your monthly mortgage payments, which is why it’s so important to enlist the services of a foreclosure attorney. Foreclosure Attorney Chicago

    If you begin to fall behind on your monthly mortgage payments, it’s a good idea to consult a Chicago bankruptcy attorney . As your bankruptcy lawyer will explain, your lender ne eds t o give you an opportunity to make payments or obtain a loan modification before beginning a foreclosure proceeding. Even though the legal requirements vary by state, you generally need to be considerably behind on your payments for foreclosure to begin. If you are filing for bankruptcy in Chicago, this will result in an automatic stay, which will immediately stop creditor activity on your property. However, every bankruptcy case is unique, so it’s important to discuss your financial situation with a foreclosure attorney in your area.

  • Reasons to Hire a Foreclosure Defense Attorney

    As soon as you are served with a foreclosure notice, you should consult a Chicago bankruptcy attorney. A Chicago foreclosure attorney can help you delay the foreclosure process through a Chapter 7 petition or save your home altogether by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. If you are filing for bankruptcy, the court will automatically issue an order for relief, which prohibits your creditors from continuing their collection activity and can postpone a foreclosure sale.

    Representing You in Court
    Foreclosure Defense Attorney in Chicago Even after filing for bankruptcy, you may have to go to court in order to prese rve your homeownership. Without the help of a foreclosure attorney, it will be much more difficult to state your case and protect your interests. The banks you face in court will have legal representation, so you will be at a disadvantage if you go to court without a foreclosure lawyer by your side. If you are filing for bankruptcy in Chicago, a bankruptcy lawyer can maximize your chance of keeping your home, ensure that you never miss a legal deadline, and help protect your rights during this stressful time.

    Responding to a Foreclosure Notice
    Once you receive a foreclosure notice, you have a certain time period to respond. This time frame is even shorter once the foreclosure summons and complaint are filed in court. Usually, you and your bankruptcy lawyers will have only a few weeks to investigate the complaint and challenge your bank. In fact, banks count on you not being able to file on time, which will result in a default judgment for the bank. Consulting with Chicago bankruptcy attorneys will keep you on track so you don’t miss this deadline.

    Investigating Foreclosure Alternatives
    As a bankruptcy attorney will explain to you, there are many alternatives to foreclosure. Once you consult a Chicago foreclosure attorney, he or she will investigate your case and provide you with a detailed analysis of your options. Foreclosure attorneys are experts at investigating foreclosure alternatives, including loan modifications and short sales. A foreclosure attorney can also help you reduce your monthly payment or reduce the interest rate on your mortgage.

  • How can our law firm help protect your home?

    If you are currently at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, the first thing that you need to do is contact a foreclosure defense attorney from our law firm. Our firm is known for providing active, aggressive help in these cases. Not only can we answer the claim, but we can defend it in state court. Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Chicago

    In modern times, cases of foreclosure can be difficult because of how often ownership is transferred. It is not uncommon for a mortgage to be packaged with securities and then sold multiple times. When this happens, it can become convoluted and difficult to determine who has the right to foreclosure.

    Therefore, when we take on a case, one of the first things that we will do is make the bank prove that they actually have the right to foreclose, which can be extremely difficult in most cases. Should they face an error in the chain of securitization or title, it may be nearly impossible for them to prove that they have the right. Due to this level of difficulty, many banks may accept a loan modification proposal.

  • Understanding the Basics of the Home Affordable Modification Program

    The Home Affordable Modification Program is available to people who are employed but are having difficulty making their monthly mortgage payments. By participating in HAMP, a homeowner can lower his or her monthly payments, making them more affordable and sustainable in the long-term. This can help a petitioner facing financial difficulties avoid filing for bankruptcy, escape foreclosure, and still keep his or her home.

    Home Affordable Modification Process Chicago If someone is considering filing for bankruptcy, he or she should discuss HAMP with a bankruptcy lawyer. A Chicago bankruptcy attorney can help a petitioner determine whether or not he or she is eligible for HAMP. In general, petitioners need to have obtained their mortgages on or before January 1, 2009 in order to be eligible. In addition, petitioners must owe up to $729,750 on their primary residences or single unit rental properties. In order to qualify for HAMP, a homeowner should consult a foreclosure attorney to ensure that his or her income is sufficient to support a modified payment plan. Someone participating in HAMP also can’t have a felony conviction within the last 10 years in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.

    The best way for someone to determine his or her HAMP eligibility is by consulting a mortgage service provider. This will help the petitioner determine whether or not his or her mortgage company participates in the program. If the mortgage company doesn’t participate in HAMP, it might be willing to discuss other foreclosure prevention programs. A mortgage company may also offer loan modification options, so it’s important for a petitioner to discuss these options with a bankruptcy attorney .

    In applying for HAMP, a homeowner needs to complete various forms and file them with his or her mortgage provider. A Chicago foreclosure attorney has the experience to ensure that these documents are completed accurately. Chicago bankruptcy attorneys understand how to fill out the Request for Mortgage Assistance Form and related IRS paperwork in Illinois. In addition, Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help homeowners determine which mortgage loan modifications are best suited to their financial situations.

  • Welcome to Benjamin Brand Attorney Blog

    Welcome to our blog.