How You May Be Able to Protect Your Tax Refund during Bankruptcy

When a person is facing debt substantial enough that they are considering filing for bankruptcy as a way to get a fresh financial start, every asset and amount of money that he or she has is important and can make a huge difference in his or her life. Thus, the tax refund money that a person may receive after filing their taxes can be extremely important or even be the difference between being able to afford basic living necessities, such as food and housing. However, when a person files for bankruptcy, particularly Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any assets and sums of money they have are considered part of the bankruptcy estate, meaning that they can be used to pay off some of their bills and loans. As such, any person in this situation may be very anxious about their ability to keep the money they receive as their tax refund.

Although tax refund money is typically considered part of a debtor’s estate that is eligible to be liquidated or used to pay off debts, this does not mean that a person in this situation is without options for keeping their tax refund money. In order to do this though, a person must be careful and should consider the following possible options:

  • Spend the tax refund money prior to filing for bankruptcy. This is a touchy issue, as doing this can be seen as fraud or the objects purchased with the money considered part of the bankruptcy estate. As such, if you choose to delay your bankruptcy filing, you should discuss the particulars with a bankruptcy lawyer and make sure to spend any tax refund money on essentials, such as food and bills.
  • Claim certain bankruptcy exemptions. When filling for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person is allowed to exempt certain assets and funds from being used to pay off debts. These exemptions are unique to each state’s regulations, so it can differ from state to state; however, most of the time a debtor has the option of using a wildcard exemption. This exemption allows a person to exempt any property or assets up to a certain amount.

Keeping your tax refund money is difficult, but not impossible. However, with legal support it may be easier for you to find a way to keep this much-needed money.

The Problem with Transvaginal Mesh

Women of a certain age may notice that when they laugh or cough, a little pee comes out. It is not that bad yet, but as women grow older, it can get pretty bad. This is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which results from the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Another medical condition that may result from this weakness is pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in which the bladder, uterus or rectum slips from its normal position and impinge on the vagina, sometimes bulging out. When SUI or POP is severe, women normally turn to surgery to treat the problem. Among the most popular treatment methods was the placement of transvaginal mesh—that is, before the vaginal mesh lawyers started being called in.

Surgical mesh, per se, has been used safely for years to repair hernias. As a treatment for POP, the use of a specially prepared mesh may have seemed like a good idea. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the use of transvaginal mesh without requiring manufacturers to conduct safety trials because it was substantially the same as a previously approved product i.e. surgical mesh. Unfortunately for some women, something got lost in the translation. The transvaginal mesh caused painful and costly complications that would leave these patients permanently damaged.

What went wrong? The first part of the problem was the site of the surgery. “Transvaginal” means the surgery was done through the vagina, and that part of a woman’s anatomy is never completely sterile; natural flora blooms there which is great for overall feminine health but problematic when it comes to surgery. The chances of infection are high.

Another problem with transvaginal mesh is that it shrinks and shifts because the vagina is constructed to expand when needed; the mesh can’t keep up. As a result, rough edges develop which tears into vaginal walls and nearby organs.

The tragic thing is that there are other, safer alternatives to POP and SUI treatment which these women may have chosen if they had the right information. The manufacturers could also have saved a ton of money in personal injury claims if they had taken the time to study the product design. With proper testing, the problems of transvaginal mesh use mentioned above could have been prevented by using a different design, or perhaps different material.

The shortcut from the drawing board to the surgical table has cost thousands of women a lot of pain and suffering, both in the physical and emotional sense, not to mention the financial consequences of additional treatment, surgery and hospitalization. It is just right that the victims should have the opportunity to make the manufacturers pay compensation with the help of transvaginal mesh lawyers.

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

click hereDebt is an issue that millions of Americans have to deal with, and for some, overwhelming debts may be too much to handle. In these situations, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a viable option for returning to financial normalcy. The following are steps you should take if you are considering pursuing this route:

  1. To begin with, it is necessary to see if you are qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can do this by taking a “Means Test”, which determines if your family’s income is within the maximum limit.
  2. Get mandatory credit counseling, and complete the necessary forms, documents, and petitions. This will give information about your expenses, debts, property, and income. You must include all your debts and the names of your creditors, properties you choose to exempt, and what to do with your secured debts. If you get confused and overwhelmed, ask your bankruptcy attorneys to help you with all the necessary documents.
  3. File your petition in the bankruptcy court. They will then appoint a trustee who will review your documents to make sure they are correct, and see which properties are to be sold. After you have filed for bankruptcy, your creditors will then be prevented from harassing you. There will soon be a creditors meeting, but before you go to the meeting, you must provide your trustee a copy of your most recent tax returns as well as your paycheck stubs.
  4. Attend the meeting with your creditors; this is the time where you can discuss your property and financial affairs. After this, you must accomplish the post-filing of Personal Financial Management Instruction Course, which should be completed within 45 days of the creditors meeting. If you forget or neglect this post-filing, your case might get dismissed.
  5. After a minimum of 61 days after the meeting of creditors, you shall be informed of the final agreement that your debts have been discharged.

West Explosion Responder Arrested for Pipe Bomb

A paramedic who was among the first responders to last month’s West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion has been arrested for being in possession of a pipe bomb. So far, police are not disclosing whether his arrest is linked to the April 17 explosion, which killed 14 people, injured dozens more, and destroyed numerous homes in the small town north of Waco.

Bryce Reed was arrested after he admitted that explosive materials found on April 26 belonged to him. Police were alerted of these materials by an unsuspecting man who said Reed gave them to him.

While investigators were initially treating the explosion as an industrial accident, they opened their investigation up to include the possibility that it was a criminal act shortly after.

The investigation into Reed has turned up some rather unusual behavior from him, especially in the few weeks after the deadly explosion.

With the fear of domestic bombings gaining fuel in the United States, Reed will need an experienced attorney defending him from the severe charge possession of a destructive device he is facing.

The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement in the Event of Divorce

People usually enter marriage after they have established their professional life to ensure financial stability, especially during the first months of marriage. Despite the decision the couple will make to willingly share all their individual assets and properties with each other after marriage, many still find it wiser to enter into a prenuptial agreement first. Though there is no real intent of contracting divorce in the future and that separation or divorce would be the last option if the marriage turns sour, a prenuptial agreement will prove totally helpful as it will protect the interest of both spouses. Aside from that, it will also help greatly in settling divorce-related issues, such as alimony, child custody, visitation rights and division of debts.

A prenuptial agreement is primarily intended to save both spouses from financial and personal losses that will render them economically unstable in case of separation, divorce or even death of one of the spouses. Thus, its drafting can be adapted according to you and your spouse’s unique situation and relationship.

Though a prenuptial agreement can never be a romantic topic to discuss with your future spouse, talking about its importance and in mature and perfectly candid ways is necessary. In fact, lawyers and financial experts consider such agreement as wise financial moves. In his book Premarital Agreements, lawyer and an author Joseph P. Zwack gives tips on who should consider entering into such agreement. According to him these people are those who:

  • have assets like a home, stock or retirement fund
  • have a business
  • may be receiving an inheritance
  • have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage
  • are much wealthier than their supposed-to-be spouse
  • have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents
  • have or are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession
  • see a substantial increase in income due to growth of business or more promising career

For those about to enter into marriage, a prenuptial agreement is no longer an odd thing, but to make sure that you have the right agreement drafted it is wise that you have knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorneys working on your behalf. Save yourself from costly legal battles in case of separation or divorce; hire a divorce attorney for a prenuptial agreement that will suit your interests.