Christopher Walker Anaheim Bankruptcy And Estate Planning Attorney 2020-02-03T13:03:18Z https://www.cpwalkerlaw.com/feed/atom/ WordPress chr_dev <![CDATA[Putting a stop to creditor contact by filing for bankruptcy]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=65 2020-02-03T13:03:18Z 2019-10-04T14:57:03Z On behalf of Christopher Walker on Friday, October 4, 2019. It's not easy for a person to make the choice to file for bankruptcy. It can feel embarrassing to take this step for some, while others may feel like they will never be able to get back on their feet if they move forward with this. In [...]

The post Putting a stop to creditor contact by filing for bankruptcy appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>

On behalf of Christopher Walker on Friday, October 4, 2019.

It’s not easy for a person to make the choice to file for bankruptcy. It can feel embarrassing to take this step for some, while others may feel like they will never be able to get back on their feet if they move forward with this. In reality, bankruptcy protection can offer many benefits to overwhelmed consumers like yourself.

One of these benefits is protection from creditors and debt collectors. One of the most stressful aspects of having an overwhelming debt burden is the fact that you may get phone calls all the time, bills in the mail every day and threats of losing your personal property if you don’t pay. You may already feel like you’ll never be able to find stability again, and this treatment can only make you feel worse. Thankfully, there are things you can do to put a stop to it.

Make the contact stop

Filing for bankruptcy protection will enact the automatic stay. This goes in effect when you file, and it means that creditors and debt collectors can no longer call you and try to contact you. It also halts various types of processes that could have a negative effect on you. While there are many practical benefits to the automatic stay, you may especially enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the threats of collection are no longer hanging over your head.

The automatic stay means that you will no longer get those annoying phone calls, but you will also be able to keep your paycheck. Wage garnishment will stop, as well as repossession and foreclosure processes in action against you. It could mean that you can keep your utilities on and stop the threat of eviction, depending on your individual situation.

Limits to the automatic stay

The automatic stay cannot help with every type of balance and debt you may have. For example, it cannot protect you from proceedings related to past-due child support or tax debt. It also cannot prevent or halt any type of criminal proceeding in which you are involved.

A better future

Through bankruptcy, you may be able to secure a better financial future. Depending on which chapter you file, you can deal with types of unsecured and secured debt, eventually emerging from the process with your well-being and opportunities intact. Speaking with an experienced California bankruptcy attorney can help you see if this is the right way forward for you.

The post Putting a stop to creditor contact by filing for bankruptcy appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Have you named beneficiaries to your transfer on death accounts?]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=68 2020-02-03T13:02:11Z 2019-07-10T15:03:41Z On behalf of Christopher Walker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. The idea of getting your final worldly affairs in order can be intimidating. You understand the importance of estate planning, but you may dread the idea of having to comb through every asset that you have and decide who gets what. Of course, this action is not [...]

The post Have you named beneficiaries to your transfer on death accounts? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
On behalf of Christopher Walker on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

The idea of getting your final worldly affairs in order can be intimidating. You understand the importance of estate planning, but you may dread the idea of having to comb through every asset that you have and decide who gets what. Of course, this action is not exactly necessary for estate planning, and each person’s plan and the way that he or she plans is different.

If you do not yet feel ready to dive directly into getting the necessary forms, such as a power of attorney document or even a will, in place, you may want to start somewhere simpler. Your possible transfer on death accounts could be a wise starting point.

What is a TOD account?

Certain accounts allow the account holder to name beneficiaries to whom the assets will transfer in the event of the account holder’s death. This means that if you have a savings account that qualifies as TOD, you could utilize the beneficiary designation portion of your account information and name a person to receive the assets at the time of your passing. Other accounts that often qualify as TOD include insurance policies, investment accounts, bank accounts and some property deeds.

Why is a TOD account useful?

Naming beneficiaries to TOD accounts is fairly easy, which is why it may be a good way for you to get started with your estate planning journey. Having these accounts taken care of may spark your desire to get other affairs in order as well. Additionally, your TOD accounts do not have to go through the probate process. As a result, your named beneficiaries do not have to wait until that legal process is complete in order to obtain the assets in those accounts.

Is it really that easy?

In most cases, it is easy to set up your beneficiary designations for your TOD accounts and for your beneficiaries to receive the assets after your passing. However, complications could arise if you do not review and update your beneficiaries as necessary. If you name a person to a TOD account and that person passes before you, the account could have to go through probate in order to determine who receives the assets if you do not update the designation.

Still, you may have questions about TOD accounts, beneficiary designations and other aspects of starting your estate plan. Fortunately, you do not have to blindly walk into the process. You could obtain help from an experienced California estate planning attorney.

The post Have you named beneficiaries to your transfer on death accounts? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[What does the latest credit card data mean for you?]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=74 2020-02-03T12:41:36Z 2019-05-10T15:04:59Z On behalf of Christopher Walker on Friday, May 10, 2019. Like many other California consumers, you may have a credit card that you use for daily purchases. Like others who have credit cards, you may find that you rely on them as sort of an emergency fund as well. Data suggests that many Americans have more credit [...]

The post What does the latest credit card data mean for you? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>

Like many other California consumers, you may have a credit card that you use for daily purchases. Like others who have credit cards, you may find that you rely on them as sort of an emergency fund as well. Data suggests that many Americans have more credit card debt than they can reasonably handle, leaving many in a precarious financial situation.

Due to accumulating interests, even a few late or missed credit card payments can quickly spiral into a serious problem. If you find yourself with a significant amount of credit card debt, you are not alone. It may help to understand more about this problem facing many Americans, as well as what you can do to secure a better financial future for yourself and your loved ones.

A growing problem; a complex solution

The latest data about credit card debt is alarming. Due to a strong economy, lower unemployment and other factors, consumer confidence is high. This means more spending, most of the time using credit cards. However, there are many reasons to indicate that more and more consumers are facing a difficult time managing the debt they do have.

One sign of a problem is the increase in the charge-off rate. The charge-off rate is the amount of debt that credit card companies are confident they will never collect. In the first quarter of 2019, the charge-off rate increased to 3.82%, which is the highest it has been in approximately seven years.

What does this mean for you?

There are many practical reasons why it is not smart to allow your personal credit card debt to reach unmanageable levels. Even if you do not think that your situation is too pressing or at a point where you need to be concerned, it is always best to take action before an emergency arises.

Credit card debt can affect other areas of your financial health. If you cannot manage this type of debt, you may find that you struggle with other types of bills and expenses as well. It’s worthwhile to find solutions that allow you to look to the future with confidence.

Dealing with your debt

Overwhelming credit card debt can be a sign of poor financial health. One of the possible options available to you is to file for bankruptcy. This may not seem like a beneficial option, but it may allow you to discharge certain types of unsecured debt and stop harassment from creditors and debt collectors. It may help to seek an assessment of your case and explanation of your options from a bankruptcy attorney.

The post What does the latest credit card data mean for you? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[You get what you pay for with DIY estate planning]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=472 2020-02-03T12:50:33Z 2019-04-08T20:38:56Z Naturally, you are always on the lookout for ways to save money. Anything you can do around your house means you won't have to pay someone else to do for you. If you can change your own oil in your car, you can save a few bucks. If home remedies work for your colds and [...]

The post You get what you pay for with DIY estate planning appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
Naturally, you are always on the lookout for ways to save money. Anything you can do around your house means you won’t have to pay someone else to do for you. If you can change your own oil in your car, you can save a few bucks. If home remedies work for your colds and aches, why run to the doctor?

It is important to know, however, that sometimes seeking the advice of a professional is the safest way to avoid unpleasant consequences. This is true for your home and your health, and it is also true for your legal matters. While you may be able to save some money by using an online, do-it-yourself estate planning document, you may not accomplish your goals.

Online estate planning is a risk

A DIY will or trust is typically a blank form you can download from a website. You fill it in, print it out and sign it. However, if you do not know that the laws in California require a valid will to have two witness signatures, you may miss this important stipulation, and this could result in your heirs disputing the authenticity of your will. Some of the other drawbacks of an online estate plan include these:

  • They are intentionally vague in order to have a nationwide appeal, but this vagueness may also overlook critical state-specific probate laws.
  • You may never realize your estate plan does not comply with California laws, leaving your loved ones to deal with the confusion.
  • Estate planning websites assume you understand the options available and know what you want, but you may not fully comprehend the most appropriate tools for your situation.
  • If you have questions about your estate plan, a DIY site may offer little more help than an FAQ page or a limited consultation with an attorney.
  • Most online estate planning forms cannot accommodate any unique circumstances, such as heirs with special needs, blended families or charitable giving.

Since only about 40 percent of adults in America have an estate plan in place, you may think that using an online DIY service is better than nothing. However, if the poor quality of your estate plan leads to disputes among your heirs, this could result in prolonged and expensive probate litigation. Saving a few dollars on your oil change is one thing, but for complete and thorough estate planning, it is wise to rely on a skilled attorney.

The post You get what you pay for with DIY estate planning appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Can I Repair My Credit After Bankruptcy?]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=659 2020-01-31T01:06:36Z 2019-04-08T00:41:17Z If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debt, chances are it is affecting many areas of your life. You may wake up in the night feeling anxious, and your work may suffer because of your lack of sleep. You may feel short-tempered with your loved ones, and your debt troubles may be taking a toll [...]

The post Can I Repair My Credit After Bankruptcy? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debt, chances are it is affecting many areas of your life. You may wake up in the night feeling anxious, and your work may suffer because of your lack of sleep. You may feel short-tempered with your loved ones, and your debt troubles may be taking a toll on your physical health. You may have exhausted all your resources, taken a second job and cut back as far as you can on expenses.

Are you putting off seeking information about bankruptcy? This is not unusual. Bankruptcy carries a stigma many do not want to deal with. In addition, you may be like many who worry that the damage a bankruptcy can do to your credit report is not worth it. What you may not realize is that recovering from bankruptcy is not as difficult as it seems.

Taking steady steps forward

Whether you know it or not, your credit is already suffering. Delinquencies, repossessions and defaults all make their marks on your score and remain there for years. While a bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to 10 years, the impact it has on the decisions of potential creditors decreases as time passes and you continue to make good choices with your money. Some of the positive actions you can take to improve your credit after bankruptcy include the following:

  • Switch to a cash system to avoid spending money frivolously.
  • Ask your utility companies to report your good payment record to the credit companies to improve your credit history. Only one credit company, Experian, accepts such reports.
  • Apply for a secured credit card, which allows you to charge only the amount of money you have on deposit, so you can repair your score and prove your creditworthiness.
  • Do not fall for any scams that offer to repair your credit for a fee. You can do the work yourself with a little discipline and diligence.
  • Pay all your bills on time. Late payments make up 35 percent of your credit score.

Perhaps the most effective way to ensure you pay your bills on time is having a solid, workable budget. Not only will this help you keep track of what you owe when, but it is also key to learning money management and being prepared for unexpected expenses.

If you are still confused about whether bankruptcy can benefit you in your circumstances, you would do well to obtain as much information as possible from an experienced California legal professional.

The post Can I Repair My Credit After Bankruptcy? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Making mistakes with your estate plan could cost you]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=661 2020-02-03T13:00:00Z 2019-03-15T01:11:15Z Estate planning is a smart step for people of all income levels. It does not matter what you earn or the size of your estate, planning for the future, protecting your assets and planning for the protection of your loved ones is a smart effort. However, some people make mistakes in their estate plan, and [...]

The post Making mistakes with your estate plan could cost you appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
Estate planning is a smart step for people of all income levels. It does not matter what you earn or the size of your estate, planning for the future, protecting your assets and planning for the protection of your loved ones is a smart effort. However, some people make mistakes in their estate plan, and the result is complications and problems in the future.

Often, people are not aware of the mistakes and missteps they are making with their estate plans. Errors and mistakes can result in the invalidation of part or all of your will, or it could lead to complications with your beneficiaries. If you have not put a plan in place or you have not reviewed your plan in a while, it can be helpful to learn about common missteps so you can avoid them.

What to avoid

People draft estate plans with the best of intentions in mind, yet they often make mistakes because they don’t understand what they are doing or they are unfamiliar with the legal issues that could impact their plans. Some of the most common mistakes people make include the following:

  • Failing to name a person as a beneficiary on retirement accounts or insurance policies
  • Forgetting to change the beneficiaries on certain accounts and policies after a divorce or death of a spouse
  • Failing to name specific types of investments in your will
  • Selling property to family members for a low cost as a way to remove that property from your estate
  • Not thinking through the repercussions for your heirs of estate planning decisions you make
  • Not planning on unexpected things to happen, such as a disability

The above are just a few examples of how well-intentioned plans can lead to problems for beneficiaries. It will save everyone time, money and stress to simply work carefully to avoid missteps when drafting or adjusting your estate plan.

The right help 

One of the most efficient ways to avoid issues with your estate plan is to work closely with a California attorney who can help you navigate the challenges and issues that arise in the estate planning process. A review of your situation can help you understand what steps you need to take to either fix existing problems or avoid new ones down the road. It is worthwhile to ensure your interests and those of your loved ones are secure for years to come.

The post Making mistakes with your estate plan could cost you appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Is Your Career On The Line If You File For Bankruptcy?]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=663 2020-02-03T12:34:34Z 2019-02-12T01:13:00Z When debt starts to overwhelm you, you may have some difficult choices to make. You may already have made some changes in your spending by cutting back on items like cable, gym memberships and eating out. Maybe you have even sold your second vehicle or put some valuables for sale online. Perhaps you took a [...]

The post Is Your Career On The Line If You File For Bankruptcy? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
When debt starts to overwhelm you, you may have some difficult choices to make. You may already have made some changes in your spending by cutting back on items like cable, gym memberships and eating out. Maybe you have even sold your second vehicle or put some valuables for sale online. Perhaps you took a second or third job.

If these steps still leave you drowning in debt, you are likely considering filing for relief through bankruptcy. This is a decision to weigh carefully, especially if you have concerns about how bankruptcy will affect your job. Your first step is to obtain as much reliable information as you can about the process and its ramifications.

Hiring and firing

One important fact that may bring you comfort is that bankruptcy is a right provided in the U.S. Constitution. Because of this, most private employers cannot terminate you simply because you have taken advantage of this constitutional right. If you apply to obtain or renew a professional license, enter into a franchise, or request a job permit, the agencies involved may not refuse your request based on a bankruptcy. Your boss cannot discipline you in any way because of your bankruptcy.

On the other hand, your history managing your finances may be just reason for your employer to take action against you, especially if your job requires you to manage other people’s money. Repossessions, foreclosures or other negative actions in the recent past may make you a risk in some industries. While a bankruptcy may not be a lawful reason to fire you, an employer may make such a decision based on your overall credit rating.

While government agencies cannot consider your bankruptcy when making hiring decisions, there is no such restriction on private employers. If you are seeking a job in the private sector, a potential employer may ask if you have ever filed for bankruptcy and reject your application if you have.

Pros and cons

Every industry has its own standards. While a bankruptcy on your credit history may not affect your career prospects in one area, it may greatly influence your chances in another. In many cases, such as obtaining a security clearance, investigators will look more deeply than the notation on your credit history to determine if you will be a benefit or risk to their company.

You have many factors to weigh, including the enormous relief you may feel after the discharge of your debts. Before you make your decision, you would benefit from obtaining complete information as it relates to your circumstances by consulting with a California attorney.

The post Is Your Career On The Line If You File For Bankruptcy? appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Take The First Step Of Estate Planning By Identifying Your Goals]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=665 2020-02-03T12:57:30Z 2019-01-11T01:15:35Z Most likely, when people are having a fun time at a party or other gathering, estate planning does not come up as a topic of conversation. Many California residents may think of this topic as morbid, and as a result, they put off talking about end-of-life planning. Of course, if they put off the actual [...]

The post Take The First Step Of Estate Planning By Identifying Your Goals appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
Most likely, when people are having a fun time at a party or other gathering, estate planning does not come up as a topic of conversation. Many California residents may think of this topic as morbid, and as a result, they put off talking about end-of-life planning. Of course, if they put off the actual planning as well, they could end up putting themselves and their loved ones in difficult positions.

If you have not yet started your estate plan, you may have one reason or another for not doing so. You may think that you do not need a plan because you do not have many assets, or you may think that you have years left to think about what you should include in your plan. However, it may be more realistic to understand that a serious incident could happen at any time that could leave your family in need of instruction for handling your affairs.

Getting a start

When it comes to starting on your plan, you do not have to feel ready to jump in with the major aspects of estate planning. Instead, you can start with relatively small details, like identifying the goal or goals of your plan. Brainstorming about your goals does not have to mean that you create formal documents, but when you do have your goals in mind, it is wise to implement a plan through legally binding documents that would help you reach those goals.

Identifying goals

If you do not have much information on estate planning, you may not even know what types of goals these plans could help achieve. Some examples of common estate planning goals include the following:

  • Reducing or avoiding estate taxes
  • Preparing for the care of your minor children in the event of your death
  • Controlling what happens to your assets after your death
  • Planning for charitable giving
  • Protecting wealth and assets
  • Ensuring that certain inheritances are for specific purposes
  • Preparing for the care of your pets in the event of death or incapacitation
  • Avoiding probate

These examples represent only a few goals that estate plans could help you achieve. The exact goals of your plan may depend on your personal desires and factors involving your family and the estate itself.

Getting help

Once you have your goal or goals in mind, you may feel ready to take more steps in the estate planning process. Understandably, you may still feel uncertain about how to create your plan, and fortunately, you can seek help throughout the process. A knowledgeable attorney can answer your planning questions and help ensure that you create your documents properly.

The post Take The First Step Of Estate Planning By Identifying Your Goals appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Addressing Your Tax Debt Through Bankruptcy]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=667 2020-02-03T12:59:20Z 2019-01-08T01:16:54Z Tax season is here, and you may soon receive documents from your employer that will help you file your taxes. However, you may already dread this season because you have a substantial amount of tax debt that has affected you and your finances for years. For whatever reason, you did not have the ability to [...]

The post Addressing Your Tax Debt Through Bankruptcy appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
Tax season is here, and you may soon receive documents from your employer that will help you file your taxes. However, you may already dread this season because you have a substantial amount of tax debt that has affected you and your finances for years. For whatever reason, you did not have the ability to pay your tax liabilities, and you now face a serious financial problem.

Luckily, you do not have to feel out of options when it comes to addressing your outstanding tax debt. In fact, you could find the help you need through a common debt-relief option: bankruptcy. Of course, before jumping into this process, you may want to take the time to understand the stipulations involved in relation to tax debt.

Priority debt

In bankruptcy, some outstanding balances take priority over others. These priority debts are paid first during the process, and tax debt falls into the priority debt category. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your tax debt will be among the first paid with the proceeds from your liquidated assets. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must pay the debt in full as part of your repayment plan. Additionally, you cannot discharge your tax debt in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Chapter 7 discharge

If you qualify and file for Chapter 7, the court may discharge your tax debt if your liquidated assets do not generate enough proceeds to pay off the debt. However, your situation must meet the following qualifications in order to have that tax debt forgiven:

  • The related tax return must have had a due date of at least three years ago.
  • You filed the related tax return at least two years ago.
  • You received a tax assessment from the Internal Revenue Service at least 240 days before filing for bankruptcy.
  • You have a legitimate tax return and have not committed tax evasion.
  • You have filed the tax returns for the last four years before the first creditors’ meeting relating to your bankruptcy case.

It is also wise to determine how specific aspects of your case will influence the overall bankruptcy process and your ability to obtain debt forgiveness. Working with an experienced California bankruptcy attorney could help you gain reliable information and provide you with guidance and assistance throughout your bankruptcy proceedings.

The post Addressing Your Tax Debt Through Bankruptcy appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0
chr_dev <![CDATA[Documents Commonly Used In Estate Plans]]> http://cpwalkerlaw.com/?p=669 2020-02-03T12:48:06Z 2018-12-13T01:23:24Z Although you might count yourself among those in California who would rather discuss just about anything other than their own mortality, you may also be among those who understand that it’s important to talk about such things, especially if you are getting ready to execute an estate plan. If you fail to discuss certain issues [...]

The post Documents Commonly Used In Estate Plans appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
Although you might count yourself among those in California who would rather discuss just about anything other than their own mortality, you may also be among those who understand that it’s important to talk about such things, especially if you are getting ready to execute an estate plan.

If you fail to discuss certain issues with your spouse, adult children or others to whom you might designate specific appointments in your plan, it could lead to confusion or discord among your family when the time comes to administer your estate. It’s also a good idea to research the various types of documents available to include in your estate plan, and to speak to someone well versed in estate planning and probate laws for help to determine which documents best serve your needs.

If your focus is will-based

The great thing about planning an estate is that you can customize your plan and update or change it as needed, provided you are of sound mind when you do so. The following list shows the most common types of documents included in the estate plans of many California residents:

  • An advance medical directive allows you to have a certain amount of control over what types of medical procedures you will have or not have if you become incapacitated or are in an emergency situation where you can’t speak for yourself.
  • A final will and testament is the most basic type of estate planning document. This is where you would list your assets, heirs, beneficiaries, etc. and also write any stipulations or terms you wish to attach to an inheritance.
  • A power of attorney allows the person or people you designate to make decisions on your behalf. You might wish to have both a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.

A will-based estate plan is a rather basic plan. If your situation is not complex and you have no need for a revocable trust, it might be the way to go. If you devise a plan and later determine a need to change it, it’s only a matter of writing a new plan and signing it in front of the appropriate witnesses.

Facts about trusts

You may decide to make a trust the main governing document in your estate plan. If so, the following documents may be useful to you:

  • A revocable living trust is a way you can set aside funds that will transfer to the person, people or group you intend, upon your death.
  • A pour-over will is a last will and testament that accounts for any and all assets you do not place in trust.
  • A revocable trust is so-named because you can change it at any time, if you are of sound mind.

In a trust, you can include instructions that pertain to the time while you’re still living, as well as what should happen if you become incapacitated or die. A key factor to a solid estate plan is to make sure you write the terms in a clear manner and that any and all parties you name in the plan understand their roles. If a legal problem arises, you can seek support from someone experienced in reviewing estate plans.

The post Documents Commonly Used In Estate Plans appeared first on Christopher Walker.

]]>
0