Should You File for Bankruptcy After the Holidays?

The decision of whether or not to file for bankruptcy is always a stressful one, but when you have to make it around the holidays, it’s even worse. You might be wondering whether it’s better to just get it over with or if there are smart reasons to wait until after. While consulting with experts such as Brent George Law in person is probably your best bet, here are some of the things that will need to be considered.

There are two types of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In order to determine which you are eligible for, your income for the six calendar months prior to filing will be taken into consideration. This means that if you file in December, Christmas or end of year bonuses will not be included. This is true whether the bonuses are in the form of check or cash. If you wait until after the holidays, then this additional income will be included in your income determination.

Holiday Expenses
No matter how poorly you’re doing financially, you’re probably going to be spending some money on gifts. According to the laws surrounding bankruptcy, anything you purchase within three months before or three months after the Christmas holiday cannot be included in the bankruptcy filing, meaning it is debt that won’t be forgiven. Whether you pay that debt off immediately or agree to a payment plan, you must pay for these debts unless the purchases during these months were for things you legitimately needed.

Income tax is another area to consider when deciding when to file for bankruptcy. The IRS always gets paid eventually, no matter what type of bankruptcy you file. If you’re filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you have no assets, you’ll have to make a payment plan with the IRS. If you do have assets, then they can be sold off to pay your debts, of which that owed to the IRS comes first. If filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll likely want to do it after taxes are due. Among the benefits to this are that you will be able to pay off other debts first and you will avoid penalties and interest added during your case.

There are much more intricate details that you will want to think about when determining when you should file for bankruptcy, but these are a few of the key items to bear in mind when making the decision around holiday time. Because of the complexity and fine legal print involved, meeting with a specialist in bankruptcy like Brent George Law can help you decide if you are a good candidate for filing and when the best time to do so would be.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions – our first consultation is free!

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Avoid These Mistakes That Can Bankrupt Your Business

Owning a business is more challenging than most people expect. Every decision you make has the potential to affect the bottom line, both short and long-term. Furthermore, the people you work with may not have the same vision for your business as you, or they might not have the same work ethic necessary.

For the same reason, hiring a good, reliable staff can be difficult as well. In the end, you can create a great culture with the best staff and have problems keeping your business afloat.

Not all mistakes are the learning opportunity you hope for. Some mistakes can actually lead to bankruptcy for your business. Here are some tips to help keep you from having to call a bankruptcy attorney.

Beautiful Office Space

Many people imagine their ideal office space location in a downtown hub where all the activity is. A cool office with a great location means real business, right? The reality is, prime office space costs money and adds to your overhead. If you’re just laying the foundations, so to speak, it’s best to start modestly until you can gain your financial footing. Most startups can run from home and are probably better off that way in the beginning. Hold off getting yourself into debt before your business is mature enough to handle it.

Hiring Staff

If possible, holding off on hiring full-time employees may be a money-saver. If you have a task that needs to be done that is beyond your experience, consider hiring a freelancer. You can budget for particular projects without taking on the overhead of an employee. Many small businesses don’t have the workload to support such an employee early on. Take your business one step at a time.

That being said, if your company is ready to expand, don’t hinder its growth by holding back. Investing in the human capital necessary to grow your business could make all the difference in helping your business reach its full potential.

Saving Money

Always make an effort to save money. Before you even make your first dime, set up these five accounts: income, owner’s compensation, taxes, profit, expenses and savings. Any money that comes into your business should go into the income account. Twice a month distribute the money among the accounts based on a predetermined percentage.

Don’t be afraid to run your business lean. You want to be able to pay your bills, but by limiting the money available for expenses you become more intentional with your spending habits. It also frees up money to put aside for emergencies. Instead of waking up one day and realizing your finances are a mess and you may need a bankruptcy lawyer, you can fall back on your savings to get through the rough patch.

When running a business, it is easy to get caught up in what others are doing. Your business has its own special needs. Maybe you don’t have that fancy office downtown or have the most expensive computers or the largest staff, but you do have a business that is turning a real profit.

If ever you find yourself struggling financially and may be considering bankruptcy, contact Brent George Law, or reach us at 805-494-8400. Our first consultation is free.

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Can I File Bankruptcy If I Recently Used Credit Cards?

What happens if you use your credit card before you file for bankruptcy? We explain in our latest information video:

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How Does Bankruptcy Affect the Economy?

When an individual, business or corporation finds themselves overwhelmed by debt, they are faced with the option of bankruptcy. There are different types of bankruptcy, but they all involve finding ways for the floundering borrower to come to terms with the lenders. This may involve a payment plan, the selling of assets to pay the loan, a discharge of debt or other solution. When big corporations declare bankruptcy, it makes the news; however, there are smaller bankruptcies taking place around the country almost every day. This begs the question, is it healthy for the economy?

Large-Scale Advantages of Bankruptcy

Whether talking about consumer or corporate bankruptcy, one of the main benefits of bankruptcy is that it provides a way for borrowers to get out of debt, even if it has some downsides to the individual or company going through it. This provides some safety in case unforeseen problems occur, which makes borrowing money a little less risky for consumers and businesses. This facilitates borrowing to stimulate the economy through buying goods, property or taking risks in business. Creditors also know that they have a last recourse in case they are unable to collect outstanding debts, so they feel more secure in giving out riskier loans.

Additionally, consumers have a chance to stimulate the economy even when they are in massive debt. If it were not for the option of bankruptcy, many of them would be forced to quit their job and not own any property out of fear of assets seizure. With the option for bankruptcy, these individuals have a chance to work with a bankruptcy lawyer, such as Brent George Law, to find a solution that allows them to continue to work, pay taxes and consume, all of which stimulates the country’s economy.

The Negative Impact of Bankruptcy

When individuals and/or businesses start to enter bankruptcy in large numbers, it does have the potential to negatively impact the economy. This is generally a sign of a large-scale problem in the economy, such as a depression or recession. When there are large numbers of bankruptcies, then consumers and companies start becoming more conscious about lending and spending beyond their means, which could stifle the economy. When consumers stop spending, this could lead to more companies losing profits and facing bankruptcy themselves.

Generally, bankruptcy is a positive influence on the economy. It allows consumers to find a way out of massive debt so they can once again start engaging in the economy through buying goods, services and large-scale assets such as vehicles and real estate.

For more information or inquiries about bankruptcy, visit our contact page, or call The Law Offices of Brent George at 805-494-8400. Our first consultation is free.

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Bounce Back From Bankruptcy

Filing bankruptcy can give you the opportunity for a fresh financial start. Working with a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer such as Brent George can relieve pressure from creditors and stop garnishments or other collection activity. Once the bankruptcy is discharged, it’s time to rebuild credit and focus on the future.

Budget Spending and Saving

First, understand your spending habits. After tracking income and expenses for a couple of months, develop a budget that you can adhere to. Make saving part of each month’s budget so you’re ready for unexpected expenses or great opportunities. As your circumstances change over time, update your budget to reflect these changes.

Monitor Your Credit

Even though your credit score may have gone down due to past delinquencies, it’s never too soon to start rebuilding. Make sure your credit report accurately represents your credit activity. You may want to discuss options for correcting errors with your bankruptcy lawyer.

Make Timely Payments

By making timely payments, your credit score can start to improve. It’s also important to avoid bouncing checks, incurring overdraft fees, or taking out payday loans. When these credit options are on your credit report, they may give your creditors the impression that you’re experiencing cash flow issues.

Rebuild Credit with Credit

While you may use cash or debit for the majority of purchases, you may also look for opportunities to purchase on credit when possible. It can be helpful to set up a credit card account and use it only when you plan to fully repay the balance each month. In addition to helping rebuild credit, you may also earn awards such as cash back, airline miles or discounts.

Once you have a couple of credit accounts established, you may not want to add or move accounts for at least a couple of years. Although you may qualify for a lower rate or introductory offer, opening and closing accounts, or adding too many accounts, may lower your credit score in the long run.

Postpone Making Major Purchases

You may be able to find lenders to finance automobiles or other major purchases immediately after bankruptcy. If possible, postpone these types of purchases for at least a couple of years. You may qualify for better rates and terms once you can show positive payment history.

Share Your Story

Bankruptcies occur for many reasons. Sharing your story with potential creditors, including the steps you’re taking to rebuild your credit, may positively influence their credit decisions. Consult with your bankruptcy lawyer on how to present your circumstances in the best light as you move forward with rebuilding your credit and bouncing back from bankruptcy.

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How Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit Score?

When considering options for debt relief, it is important to be aware of the impact your choices may have upon your credit score. There are various factors that influence a credit score rating, and while filing for bankruptcy will undoubtedly lower your credit score, having your debts go to collection agencies will also have a negative impact. It is not unusual for a credit score to go up as much as 100 points within 12 months after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In some instances a debtor’s credit score has increased as such as 150 points within the 12 month post-filing-period. If you find it difficult to understand all your debt relief options, Brent George Law in Ventura County is here to help.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

The two types of bankruptcy used for personal debts are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. How many points they knock off your credit score is partly based on how good your score is prior to filing. Higher scores tend to fall farther than lower scores, although other factors such as the amount and type of debt also play a role. The drop in the credit score can range from 150 to 260 points. The main difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is how long they stay on your credit report. Chapter 13 may be on your report for seven years and Chapter 7 lasts as long as 10 years.

Credit Recovery

There are some steps What can you do after a bankruptcy to improve your credit score? The first step is to monitor your credit report on a regular basis. Check it for inaccuracies and make sure that as your debts are discharged they are no longer listed as delinquent on your credit report. You should apply for credit that has less stringent requirements, such as car loans and department store cards. Also keep your older lines of credit active, if possible. That credit card you’ve had for 20 years gives you extra points on your credit score for the length of its credit history. With careful and judicious use of credit, after a few years you can emerge from your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing with better financial health.

Professional Help

Be sure to seek professional help when dealing with debt. Brent George Law can assist you in wading through all your options. They have the experience and qualifications to advise you with your finances. It is difficult to live without good credit. Everything from renting a home, getting a job, and buying furniture on the installment plan can be affected by your credit rating. No one plans for a bankruptcy, but it may give you the clean slate you need to start over. With Brent George Law of Ventura County on your side you can get the competent help you need to make an informed decision.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Four Ways an Attorney Protects You

Filing for bankruptcy is a difficult decision. If it’s one you’re facing, you are likely wondering if you can afford to hire a bankruptcy attorney. To make the right decision, you need to understand how they can help. You also need to know what you’ll be facing if you proceed on your own. Only then can you make the best choice for your situation.

Knowing Which Chapter to File

Many problems that occur during a bankruptcy come from prebankruptcy decisions. Deciding which chapter to file is one of those, as different chapters protect different things. Many people who represent themselves file under the wrong chapter for their situation simply because the law is so complex. In fact, some people don’t need to file for bankruptcy at all! Having an experienced, reputable firm like Brent George Law behind you will prevent that.

Filing Documents

There is a plethora of documents that must be filed to start the bankruptcy process. There are even more during the process as well as after the hearing. Incorrect or missing documents can disrupt the entire case. Using the wrong property exemption forms can cause you to lose assets you hoped to protect. A well-versed attorney will save you time, frustration and potentially costly mistakes.

Meeting Requirements

There are specific requirements that must be met prior to filing that many people misunderstand or miss. A vivid example of this is the requirement of credit counseling in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. The counseling has to come from an approved provider and usually requires a certificate of completion to be filed before the bankruptcy itself. People representing themselves often don’t realize this and either miss it completely or receive the counseling from a firm that isn’t an approved provider. A bankruptcy attorney knows the requirements you’ll need to meet, as well as when and how you have to meet them.

Preparing for the Unexpected

During the hearing itself, creditors can file motions for a variety of reasons. If you’re representing yourself, you may not know how to respond or defend yourself. This can also result in the need to file additional documents that you don’t understand or are unable to complete inaccurately. This is where a bankruptcy attorney is of the most value, as their expertise will let them respond immediately.

Making Your Decision

Understanding the complex requirements of filing for bankruptcy is only part of what you need to know. Understanding how just one incorrect form can lead to your case being dismissed or property being lost is just as critical, if not more so. Hiring a bankruptcy attorney will protect you from unnecessary loss, save you time and be the expert you need in this already difficult time. Call the Law Offices of Brent George for a free consultation on your case.

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What Happens After You File for Bankruptcy?

You’ve filed for bankruptcy but you have questions about what happens now and what else you need to do before the bankruptcy court discharges your debts. That’s understandable. If you’re represented by a bankruptcy attorney, he or she can answer those questions, but if you’re representing yourself, who do you turn to for answers?

You may not know that you can hire an attorney at any time during your bankruptcy, but you can. However, if you’re thinking of doing so, talk to one as soon as possible so he or she not only can answer your questions, but also review the papers you’ve already filed.

These are the “steps” in a bankruptcy proceeding:

Automatic Stay

When you file for bankruptcy you are assigned a case number and an immediate stay goes into effect. That means your creditors can’t harass you once they’re aware you’ve filed. If you’re represented by a bankruptcy attorney, he or she will send letters to all your creditors and none of them will contact you. If you’re representing yourself, memorize your case number and give it to any creditor who calls or sends you a letter.

Creditors’ Meeting

If you’re represented by a bankruptcy attorney, you’ve already given him or her your tax returns and other documents. If you’re representing yourself, your bankruptcy trustee will ask you for them. The trustee will schedule a creditors’ meeting, usually within 4-5 weeks. You must attend this meeting. The trustee will ask you questions about your paperwork and you must answer truthfully. Your creditors also can attend this meeting and ask you questions, but usually they don’t attend.

Dealing With Your Debts

What happens to your debts during bankruptcy depends on which type of bankruptcy you filed. If you filed a Chapter 7, you won’t have to pay anything to anyone unless some of your debts are exempt. If you filed a Chapter 13, you’ll need to construct a repayment plan, submit it to the court, and begin making payments within 30 days thereafter.

Debtor Education Program

You’ll need to attend a debtor education program that will teach you how to manage credit, create a budget, and make future financial plans. You’ll need to file your completion certificate with the court.


If you filed a Chapter 7, the bankruptcy court will discharge your non-exempt debts shortly after you complete the education program, sometimes in as few as 60 days. If you filed a Chapter 13, final discharge doesn’t occur until you’ve made the last payment of your repayment plan. This usually takes 3-5 years.

An experienced bankruptcy attorney like Brent George will guide you through all these steps and make it easier for you to comply. Call Brent George Law for a free consultation.

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Bankruptcy Success Stories

Surviving bankruptcy may take time, but many people have recovered and gone on to have financially successful lives. It may take several years to complete the process, but patience and assistance from bankruptcy professionals like Brent George Law can position you for a second chance and future prosperity. While you navigate bankruptcy paperwork and develop a new financial strategy, you can get inspiration from the success stories of others who overcame significant financial difficulty, including famous entertainers, business leaders, and even presidents.


Abraham Lincoln is known as honest Abe, but honesty did not keep him from going bankrupt. As a young man, Lincoln and a partner owned a general store, but they bought too many supplies on credit, and the venture failed, leaving Lincoln in debt for years. Thomas Jefferson was known for lavish spending habits, and he went bankrupt several times. Other presidents experienced bankruptcy or serious financial trouble at least once in their careers, including Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, James Monroe, Harry Truman, and Donald Trump.

Business Leaders

It is hard to imagine that the man responsible for Hershey’s chocolate ever had financial difficulty, but Milton Hershey’s initial attempts at a candy business failed, resulting in bankruptcy. Walt Disney’s early attempts at a film company also failed. Even Henry Ford went bankrupt with his first automobile company before founding his successful Ford Motor Company. Henry Heinz went bankrupt trying to sell a horseradish condiment before striking it rich with ketchup. Other business leaders who had significant financial difficulties before eventual success include Charles Goodyear, George Foreman, and William Durant.


Entertainer P.T. Barnum was the founder of the very successful Barnum Circus in the 1870s, but he accumulated over a half million dollars of debt prior to his success. A century later, actor Burt Reynolds accumulated over 10 million dollars of debt and reportedly auctioned his famous moustache to help pay creditors. Many other entertainers have experienced bankruptcy or severe financial difficulties and recovered. These include Kim Bassinger, Mick Fleetwood, Michael Jackson, MC Hammer,Jerry Lee Lewis. Mickey Rooney, and Willie Nelson, just to name a few.

Surviving bankruptcy or financial hardship is not easy, but it can help to know that many others have gone through the process successfully. In many respects, bankruptcy offers an opportunity for an economic reset and a fresh start. Brent George Law has assisted numerous clients in managing bankruptcy and other challenging financial situations. Free consultations are available whether you are a business leader, entertainer, president, or anyone else who needs professional advice from a bankruptcy attorney.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop or Delay a Foreclosure?

In the face of foreclosure, you may feel like you have few options. However, bankruptcy is a solution that can sometimes stop or delay an impending foreclosure. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you evaluate the details of your circumstances and provide information on solutions that you may not have considered. If you have missed mortgage payments and are facing foreclosure, it is important to consult with legal experts as early as possible in the process. Brent George Law offers considerable experience in foreclosure and bankruptcy.

The Foreclosure Process

The foreclosure process usually begins when you get behind paying your mortgage. The formal process does not start until you have missed three or more payments. Your lender will start sending you notices of your delinquency. Before formal foreclosure proceedings, you may have the opportunity to negotiate a short sale, loan forbearance, new loan terms, or another arrangement with your lender. If you are unable to resolve the delinquency, your lender will eventually notify you of legal foreclosure proceedings and the lender’s intent to recover the loan by selling your home, typically through auction. You will be asked to vacate your home by some time, usually in three or four months.

The Foreclosure Stay or Delay

If you file bankruptcy, the court will order an automatic stay on all debt collection activity by your creditors, including your mortgage lender. Depending on where you might be in the foreclosure process, your foreclosure can be delayed for several months or stopped. During this delay, you have more time to stay in your home and work out a financial plan. It is important that you use an experienced bankruptcy attorney to ensure that your legal paperwork is filed appropriately.

The Bankruptcy Process

Filing bankruptcy can be like hitting a reset button toward a fresh start and long-term credit recovery, though it may negatively affect your credit score for some time. There are two types of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and an attorney can help you determine which is appropriate for your situation. In either case, a plan for managing your debt will be established involving a repayment plan and debt reduction or discharge. What happens to your house will be decided in this process, and your ability to keep it will depend on your income and other assets.

A consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is a first step in successfully navigating a challenging foreclosure or bankruptcy situation. Brent George Law has helped numerous clients in diverse situations and offers free consultations. Even though it is challenging to face foreclosure or bankruptcy, you do not need to handle it alone.

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