Common Reasons Banks Reject NJ Short Sale Offers

nj short sale, nj short sale attorney

There is a lot of ambiguity in the world of short sales. During the whole NJ short sale process, no one knows if an offer will be accepted or rejected from the bank except the bank itself. Short sales require complex documentation and listings can be misleading—not every property advertised as a short sale is a short sale. When listing agents advertise a property as a short sale, sometimes they are just hoping the bank will take a low offer. Because of the abundance of uncertainty involved in short sales, it is important to know the top reasons most banks cite as reasons for rejecting an offer.

Despite common belief, a seller does not have to be in foreclosure or bankruptcy for a short sale to occur. If the selling fees on top of the remaining mortgage are enough to put a seller under water, the sale of any property can proceed as a short sale. However, banks almost always require a ton of documentation before they will consider a short sale offer. While a NJ real estate agent who has experience handling hundreds of short sales could probably tell you if a bank will accept or reject an offer, it can be an arduous task for real estate agents unfamiliar with the process.

To give your offer the best chance of getting accepted, pay attention to these common reasons banks decline short sale requests:

The Price Is Too Low

The listing price of a short sale has little bearing on the price a bank may or may not accept. Often, listing agents will try to keep the list price low to attract more interested buyers and competitive offers. A bank, however, will not accept a list price that is too low—even if the seller accepts the offer. Banks can request one or multiple appraisals to determine the value of the property. It is helpful for the short sale agent to submit a comparative market analysis to justify the price of a potential offer. No matter what, the final sales price of the property is completely at the discretion of the bank. If they think they could make more money through foreclosure proceedings, they will reject the short sale offer.

Documentation Is Incomplete

Without every single required document, the bank will typically reject a short sale offer. A short sale package is a complex series of documents and even one mistake on any of the paperwork can cause a bank to reject the short sale. This is why working with a New Jersey law firm experienced in short sales (alongside your NJ realtor) can save you a lot of headache down the road. Be aware that banks are notorious for losing documentation. Keep copies of every document you provide in the event your paperwork gets lost.

The Buyer Does Not Qualify

Just because a buyer is motivated and can afford a mortgage does not mean they are qualified to purchase a property. The bank will look at the buyer’s credit history, employment history, debt, and evidence of sufficient assets. Buyers will need to have evidence of a loan prequalification or a loan pre-approval letter included in their short sale paperwork.

The Seller Does Not Qualify

If the seller is seeking debt forgiveness, the bank will need to receive sufficient evidence from the seller that they truly are unable to pay back the shortfall difference due to financial hardship. The seller typically stands a better chance of getting the short sale offer accepted if they are able to work with the bank to create a repayment plan. If the bank determines the seller does not have sufficient evidence of financial hardship, they may reject the short sale offer.

Our team at Veitengruber Law has years of experience helping clients negotiate real estate sales and complex short sales. We know what banks want to see in a short sale offer and will work with you to create an offer that has a high chance of being accepted. Call us today at 732-852-7295 for your free consultation and to start discussing your real estate plans.

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What if I Can’t Pay Back my Personal Loan?

personal loan

Personal loans, unlike student loans, mortgages, or auto loans, can be used for almost anything. If approved, you receive a lump sum that must then be paid back in monthly installments. From big purchases to home renovations to consolidating debt, a personal loan can be a useful financial tool. But sometimes, as with anything else, “life happens.” Unexpected financial difficulties like a pay cut or medical expenses can disrupt even the most carefully planned budget. When a financial set-back occurs, it can be difficult if not impossible to keep up with bills and payments. Often, it is loans and credit cards that are the first payments to be put off. What do you do if your situation has changed since being approved for a loan and you can no longer make payments on your personal loan? Today we’ll give you a few examples of steps you can take to remedy the situation.

While most people are reluctant to talk to their lender in the event of a financial set-back, this is often the best thing you can do. In fact, most lenders will respect a proactive approach to handling the situation and appreciate your dedication to paying back the loan. The sooner you make your lender aware of the problem, the more likely they are to work with you. On the other hand, simply ignoring missed payments can result in an accumulation of late fees, collection efforts, a drop in your credit score, and even default. If there is a valid reason you cannot make the payments, your lender should understand and work with you to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Once you have taken steps to make your lender aware of your situation, they may be willing to revise the terms of your loan to make monthly payments more manageable for your new financial circumstances. Lenders who are willing to negotiate will look at your expenses, other debts, and income to determine a more realistic monthly payment. So while the total principal of the loan will remain the same, payments can be made more affordable. The solution might even be as simple as changing the monthly due date of the payments to a time when it does not conflict with other bills. You may even be able to negotiate a deferment on your payment—it doesn’t hurt to ask!

If your lender does not work with you to revise the terms of your loan and is still demanding on-time payments, you will have to find different ways to make the payments. Consider areas in your budget you could cut back on, even if it is only until you’ve paid back the loan. Determine which expenses are necessities (like food, utilities, transportation to work, etc.) and which are extra. If it is possible, try selling high dollar items, like a second car. You may even consider doing side work or getting a part-time job to help offset the cost of the loan payments. Explore all of your budget-revising options to avoid missing payments.

In the event you still cannot afford to make the payments on your loan, don’t assume all hope is lost. When you’ve done all you can do to remedy your finances and you’re still struggling, it is time to reach out for professional help. At Veitengruber Law, our team of experts has years of experience dealing with difficult lenders and assisting borrowers in getting back on the right financial track. We will negotiate with lenders on your behalf to find effective solutions for real financial relief.

We understand that not every debt problem is the same and we will work diligently to come up with a customized solution for your specific situation. Bankruptcy is not the only solution to unmanageable debt, although it may be the best solution for your circumstances. Our team will perform a holistic financial analysis to help you make informed choices about your financial future.

NJ Estate Planning for Small Business Owners

NJ estate planning

No one wants to plan for their untimely death. It’s a terrifying prospect that your family could be suddenly left without you. However, planning for your estate is an important part of being an adult. You need to designate what happens to your possessions and who will care for your children. What most people don’t realize is that planning for your business is just as important, if not more so. With careful planning, small business owners can ensure that their business endures and will help support their families for years to come.

Succession Planning

What is your plan for your company’s future without you? Do you want to pass on your business to your family to continue to run or do you want to make it easy for them to sell it? Do you have a plan for your employees and have you ensured that their futures will be safe without you? These are just some of the questions to consider.

Your family may not want to continue in your footsteps and these are conversations you will want to have with them before you start planning. While starting and growing your business may have been your dream, it might not be theirs. Make sure that if you plan to leave your business in the family that it is not a burden for them after you’re gone.

Death and Taxes, the Two Certainties in Life

Tax law is ever-changing and it is important to modify your plan accordingly. The good news is that New Jersey’s law recently changed and no longer imparts an estate tax (also known as the death tax) on deaths occurring in 2018 and afterwards.

New Jersey does still impose an inheritance tax, but close relatives such as parents, grandparents, spouses, and children are exempt. Other relatives will be subject to the inheritance tax which can range from eleven to fourteen percent depending on the amount inherited. These relatives can include siblings and spouses of deceased children.

There is good news when it comes to the federal estate tax as well. Businesses valued at less than 11.4 million dollars are exempt from the tax. Most small businesses fall under this valuation. If your business does meet this criterion, there are several actions you can take to minimize your tax exposure. You can develop a family limited partnership or divide the estate into several trusts depending on the size of the business.

Life and Disability Insurance

These two policies are essential for ensuring that your family and business continue to thrive without you. First you want to set up policies that will benefit your family. Then you will need policies that benefit your business. The payouts from the policies will enable the business to continue to operate during the transition between owners, enable payments to estate taxes, and/or buyout from other owners and partners in the business. Term life policies are expensive but the alternative is leaving your family and business without a safety net.

Keep Updating Your Plan

Approximately thirty percent of small business owners have no estate plan. Among those who do have a plan, the majority are over five years old. If your business is growing, your estate plan may no longer match your needs and it most certainly is not taking advantage of the ever-changing tax code. Once established, you should review and update your estate plan every three to five years. This is why it is so important to enlist the help of an experienced estate planning team like Veitengruber Law. We can help you create your last will and testament and other documents pertaining to end of life like power of attorney, living will, succession plan, and estate plan. With careful planning, you can ensure the success of your business and the security of your family in the future.

How will my Spouse’s Debt Affect me?

When you meet someone new, finding out their credit score is typically not your go-to first date conversation starter. In the whirlwind of new romance, money matters tend to remain ignored. It is often much later in the relationship—after a couple has already become financially entwined through marriage or the sharing household bills—that financial issues come to the surface. You may be surprised to find out your spouse has accrued a substantial debt that you had no idea about. When facing this startling new information, it may be difficult to know how to move forward with your partner. Here are some tips to dealing with a spouse who has debt.

1. Hold Off On Making Judgements

In situations like this, emotions can run high. You may feel lied to or betrayed by your partner for concealing their debt. Breathe through your initial reaction. When people feel attacked they tend to shut down or become defensive. Keeping an honest, open space for communication with your spouse will allow you to move forward to fix this problem together. This also goes for making judgements about their current financial choices. If you see your spouse making consistent efforts towards paying off a debt, don’t chide them for their purchase of a new pair of shoes. Paying off debt is a process that you cannot expect your spouse to complete overnight.

Keep in mind that debt accumulates for many reasons and a past debt does not necessarily mean your partner cannot be financially responsible now. Maybe they were overzealous with their first credit card or are struggling with student loan debt. Unemployment, divorce, and medical expenses can also add up quickly. Don’t judge too harshly until you have the full picture of your spouse’s debt.

2. Get the Details

The amount of debt your spouse has makes a difference, so it is important to know the exact number they are currently working to pay off. How your partner is paying off the debt matters, too.  Is the repayment situation short term (over a year or two) or long term (5-20 years)? If it is a long term repayment plan, you can expect this debt to impact your life together for years to come. This is also the time to check your spouse’s credit report with them. This will give you the full picture of any late payments, high balances, legal judgements, or bankruptcy filings they may have.

3. Know When You’re Liable

Many people assume that once you get married, you automatically take on your spouse’s past debt. This is not true. Your credit histories will remain separate for any debts or financial troubles that occurred before your marriage. New Jersey is a common law state, meaning that even after marriage you’re only responsible for debt accrued in your name.

This changes once you open joint accounts, apply for joint credit, cosign on loans, or include your spouse on an account as an authorized user. These actions will show up on your credit report and you will be responsible for the debt. If at any point your spouse cannot make payments, even if it is on debt they personally accrued (after the date of your marriage), you will be responsible for the full payment of the debt.

4. Decide How You’ll Make Purchases Going Forward

Your spouse’s debt, and its impact on their credit score, may make it difficult for you to make big purchases together for the duration of the repayment period. Depending on how much debt they have and how low their credit score is, you may be looking at taking on the full weight of big purchases for awhile. You may be hesitant to apply for joint credit, cosign, or add them as an authorized user on your accounts. Have an honest conversation about how you will make big purchases together going forward.

At Veitengruber Law, we know the stress of large debt can create a lasting impact on marriages and families. Our experienced legal team can help you sort through the debts and create a future path that looks bright. Our comprehensive approach to resolving debt problems can help relieve the stress on you and your spouse.

 

 

Can a NJ Bankruptcy Forgive Gender Reassignment Surgery Debts?

NJ Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is one of the more maligned aspects of the law. Unfortunately, some people feel like bankruptcy means they are a financial failure. But the truth is that bankruptcy can be a true lifeline when all other options have been exhausted. People on the brink or already in financial ruin can be given a clean slate and a chance to start over.

One specific group of the population for whom mounting debt is a real problem are those undergoing gender reassignment surgery. In some cases in NJ, gender reassignment surgery can be covered by health insurance when deemed medically necessary. However, even if a patient’s plan does cover the surgery, the costs can still be overwhelming. The process can span over a few years, and includes ongoing treatment including hormone therapy. Many gender reassignments require multiple procedures and/or surgeries as well.

Many aspects of a person’s transformation are considered “cosmetic” by health insurance companies and are therefore not covered. Some of these include voice alteration, jaw reduction, chin implants, hair removal, lip reduction, pectoral implants, and more. The costs can quickly spiral out of control. Medical bills can easily cripple your finances and declaring bankruptcy may be the only viable solution.

 

What Chapter Is Right for You?

It’s important to have a lawyer on your side who can help you navigate the confusing differences in the various bankruptcy filings. Veitengruber Law can guide you through the process of determining which chapter will be right for you and your future financial health.

Individuals can file for New Jersey bankruptcy in one of two ways: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. There are important differentiations between these two types of bankruptcy and it’s important to choose the right one for your unique situation. If the medical bills from gender reassignment surgery are your chief debt, you can find relief through debt discharge in both of these filings.

 

The First Step

Before any individual may file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they must receive credit counseling from an approved non-profit counseling agency within 180 days.  Veitengruber Law can assist you in this process. We can help you choose an agency that qualifies, that will work with you on the fees if necessary, and that will be the most beneficial for your financial education. The main objectives to the credit counseling are to instruct you on how to remedy your current poor finances and how to achieve and maintain financial health.

It is entirely possible after credit counseling to discover that filing for bankruptcy isn’t actually necessary for your situation. You may be able to work out payment plan(s) or pay negotiated sums to pay off your medical debts. In addition to your medical debts, you can naturally include other non-medical debts within the same bankruptcy. Some creditors will be more willing to accept reduced balances if they are aware that you are beginning bankruptcy procedures. To them, a portion of repayment is better than discharged debt, which will mean they end up with no payment at all. If, however, you are unable to come to a solution after attempted negotiations, bankruptcy may in fact be the best course of action.

 

Chapter 7

If you don’t own property or many assets, this may be the course for you. In Chapter 7 cases, the debtor’s assets are given to a trustee who sells them off to pay your creditors. Certain personal property is considered exempt, however it is important to know the rules specific to your state. There is a list of federal property exemptions and NJ state exemptions. You can choose which list you are going to use, but you cannot use both. That is why consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney can be the difference in saving thousands of dollars of lost property. If you have no personal property to liquidate, it can still be possible for you to file for Chapter 7 with the help of an experience New Jersey bankruptcy attorney.

After your assets are liquidated and creditors paid based on priority, the remainder of your debts will be discharged – with certain exceptions – like student loan debt.

 

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it gives the debtor a chance to reorganize. The petitioner must file a plan of repayment to creditors that will usually take place over a period of three to five years. After the repayment period ends, the debtor will receive a discharge of the remaining debts. The key difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that in Chapter 13, the debtor remains in possession of their assets. If you own a home or other property, you will want to consider Chapter 13. This is another situation in which a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney like George Veitengruber is invaluable, because he can guide you to the type of bankruptcy that will be most beneficial for your situation.

 

Post-petition Debts

From the date that you file your claim, any additional debts you incur will not be included in your bankruptcy case. This can be a major consideration in your decision to file if you are trying to clear debts from gender reassignment surgery. Medical bills can be extremely slow to process. Each doctor’s office must bill medical insurance, wait for the claim to process, receive the claim, and then bill the patient. It can be weeks or months from the date of a procedure to when you receive the bill. If you are accumulating debt from multiple procedures, you may want to wait until after you have been billed for all of your procedures and appointments before filing. When you file your bankruptcy claim you will be required to provide a detailed list of all the creditors and amounts due. Any debts that are incurred after the date your petition is filed, will not be discharged and you will be responsible for paying them back.

Undergoing a major transformation like gender reassignment is a life-changing experience. If you need to go through bankruptcy proceedings, don’t be intimidated.  George Veitengruber is an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process every step of the way: seeking credit counseling, negotiating credit balances, choosing the right chapter, maximizing your property exemptions, minimizing your post-petition debts, and making sure much of your debts are discharged, including medical debt from gender reassignment surgery.

What Should my Budget Look Like After a New Jersey Bankruptcy?

New Jersey bankruptcy

When overwhelming debt and missed payments start to control your life, bankruptcy can offer a fresh start to begin rebuilding your finances. It is important to take advantage of this clean slate by doing everything in your power to learn from past financial mistakes and create better habits for your future. Debt can accumulate from overspending, a medical emergency, or the loss of employment or income. No matter how you found yourself in debt and filing bankruptcy, there are steps to take to make sure it doesn’t happen again. One of the best ways to become more aware of your finances and prepare yourself for unexpected expenses is to create a household budget.

A household budget will allow you to track your spending and find opportunities to build your savings. Every budget will look different for every household, which is why you need to make sure you are creating a realistic budget that works for your household. Learning how to use this helpful tool will help you manage your money and bounce back fast after bankruptcy. Here are some steps to creating a household budget while recovering from bankruptcy:

1. Track Your Expenses

Take the first thirty days after bankruptcy to track how much money you are spending and what you spend your money on. The best way to do this is to create a spreadsheet listing different categories of expenses and then tracking these expenses throughout the month. Make sure you include every purchase you make to ensure you are getting the most holistic view of your finances. After you spend one month tracking your expenses, subtract your total expenses from your total monthly income.

2. Adjust Your Spending Habits

What are the results? Pay attention to where your money is going. You should never be spending more than you earn in a given month. If you have more money going out than coming in, it’s time to figure out where to make some spending cuts. You should start by determining which expenses are essential, like groceries and utilities, and which expenses are not. Start cutting back on any non-essential expenses.

3. Allocate Your Income

Once you know where your money is going and where you can start to make some cuts in spending, it’s time to figure out how you’re using your money. The best way to do this is to determine what percentage of your monthly income goes to specific expenses. For instance, if your monthly income is $4,500 and you spend $1,000 a month for your mortgage payment, you’re spending 23% of your monthly budget on your house. Here are some suggested percentages to compare with your budget:

  • Medical: 5-10%
  • Housing: 25-35%
  • Transportation: 10-15%
  • Savings: 10-15%
  • Food: 10-15%
  • Utilities: 5-10%
  • Insurance: 10-20%
  • Recreation: 5-10%

These percentages are only meant to serve as rough guidelines and they will not work with every household, but this is a great jumping off point for creating your household budget. If you find your spending in the above categories is significantly higher than recommended, you may want to start cutting back on those costs.

4. Finalize Your Household Budget

Based on the above information, you should be able to create a monthly budget that works for your household. Continue to track your expenses to keep yourself accountable for your spending and to make sure your budget is realistic. Staying aware of your spending habits will help prevent former bad habits from resurfacing. Pay specific attention to growing your savings and emergency funds. These financial reserves can really save you in the event of an emergency.

At Veitengruber Law, we know that life is unpredictable and rarely goes according to plan. A monthly budget can’t account for everything life will throw at you, but it can help you prepare for unexpected life events and sudden expenses. Creating a household budget will help bring some stability to your financial status and ensure you can weather the set-backs. If you need help making your post-bankruptcy budget, we can help!

Protecting Senior Relatives From Scams: What You Need to Know

senior scams

No one is immune to being scammed, but older Americans are a particularly vulnerable segment of our population. While victims of scams may be reluctant to report their losses due to embarrassment or reluctance to engage in legal disputes, the Federal Trade Commission estimates that over 7% of seniors aged 65 to 74 and over 6% of those over 75 become victims of fraud, losing billions of dollars annually.

If you are helping to care for aging loved ones, it’s vital that you do your best to keep them informed of current scams. Any elderly person who is experiencing deteriorating cognition, should have someone review their finances regularly. By staying current on their financial situation, you will be able to nip anomalies in the bud before they’ve lost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The following guide to protecting your senior loved ones from scams in the year 2019 is intended to help prevent fraud, but read to the end if you need to report a fraud that has already occurred; we’ve got links to put you in touch with the right authorities.

1. Be wary of seemingly official communication that evokes fear or panic.

As we all know, we don’t think clearly when our negative emotions have been strongly triggered. That’s why scammers use sneaky tactics to scare senior citizens into sharing personal information or outright forking over their hard-earned savings.

Tell your loved ones that anyone who contacts them and says that there is an urgent reason for them to reveal private data (bank account numbers, credit card numbers, SSN) is not to be interacted with.

A bank isn’t going to call and request such information, and no governmental organization—whether Social Security or the greatly-feared IRS—is going to call and threaten them at home.

Under no circumstances should sensitive information be shared with cold callers. No matter your age, do your due diligence to make sure personnel are legitimately associated with their cited organization.

2. Even if your loved one does want to make a purchase, advise a waiting period.

No trustworthy sales person will pressure someone to buy immediately. Sales people who advise taking little or no time to mull over a financial decision are using fraudulent tactics to manipulate their target into making a bad decision.

It’s a good idea for everyone to wait at least 24 hours before acting on a decision to purchase. If you can, wait a full week and think through the implications of any big-ticket item.

3. The Grandparent Scam is new again.

In this take on the classic scam, someone calls an older person and pretends to be their grandchild. They spin a sad story—again, designed to spark a wave of disorienting emotion—that they’ve been in a car accident, or have been robbed, or even imprisoned, and beg for money to be wired over immediately.

While younger people who are scammed are more likely to wire funds, older adults mail cash. They’re taken for a median individual loss of $9,000.

Claiming to be avoiding loss of money in the mail, these unscrupulous crooks ask their victims to stuff cash into several envelopes, then lay the envelopes between magazine pages and mail them out.

Should your loved one receive a call from a distressed “family member,” they should take the time to call that person on their usual line and verify their whereabouts and situation. Don’t mail cash under any circumstances.

4. Natural disaster relief is rife with scammers.

After a natural disaster, scammers waltz in, targeting the victims and their family members/friends. These scams may begin with cold calls, social media outreach, emails, or even with a personal visit.

Scammers may pretend to be a charity or federal agency. They’ll ask for donations or personal information, often saying they need this information to complete official forms requesting funds for direct disaster relief.

If you or your loved ones are victims of natural disaster, use NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® disaster assistance tool to locate legitimate sources of aid.

5. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

You may receive advertisements or emails advertising prescription drugs that work just as well as (and for less money than) the ones you’re paying for now. These are, largely, fake. These drugs may not even be real, and the people behind them are just trying to get your insurance information or credit card number. Alternatively, the drugs may be counterfeit, essentially acting as placebos. This is obviously severely dangerous to your health and potentially fatal. Elderly people consume about one-third of all prescription drugs in the U.S., despite making up less than 15 percent of the population, and scammers take aim at this need for cheaper prescriptions.

Here’s who to contact if you need to report a scam.

The FBI deals with blue- and white-collar crimes. If the scam happened online, they’ll look into it.

The FTC handles telemarketing and phishing scams.

If you’ve made a misplaced investment in an opportunity only to realize you’ve been scammed, report it to the SEC.

The SSA is who to inform if you’re scammed with regard to your social security number.

If an online business has fraudulent practices, report it to the BBB. Their website identifies businesses across the country who have attempted to scam customers.

Will a New Jersey Bankruptcy Resolve My Plastic Surgery Debt?

new jersey bankruptcy

Medical debt is one of the leading causes of excess debt in the US. Even when covered under medical insurance, many NJ residents find themselves facing bankruptcy as they struggle under the pressure of medical debts. Bankruptcy can seem intimidating, but it can be a great way to get a fresh start if you find yourself struggling to pay back medical debts. Whether you choose to fully discharge these debts under Chapter 7 bankruptcy or enter into a more manageable repayment plan with a Chapter 13 New Jersey bankruptcy reorganization, filing for bankruptcy can set you on the path to financial health.


Bankruptcy is meant to allow people to move forward from previous financial mistakes or setbacks.


What about plastic surgery debt?

While it is true that plastic surgery is a medical procedure, it is elective and that choice makes the difference when filing for bankruptcy. Plastic surgery is considered a luxury debt. Luxury debts include any goods or services you purchase with a credit card that are not considered necessary to the maintenance of you or your dependents. Also in this category are jewelry, home décor, beauty products/services, vacations, electronic devices, and even alcohol. It is important to include any luxury debt when you file for bankruptcy, but that doesn’t mean these debts will be discharged.

The timing of the purchase of these products and services is what is crucial to whether or not they will be discharged in your bankruptcy case. In NJ, if the debt was accrued within the 60 days immediately before you file for bankruptcy, it is within the right of the credit card company to refute your claim. The credit card company could argue that you made the purchase using credit you had no intention of paying back. This is called constructive fraud, or fraud that occurs when a debtor’s actions imply fraud even if their intentions weren’t to commit fraud. Any luxury purchases totaling $1,150 or more made in the 60 days just prior to your bankruptcy is filed could be scrutinized as constructive fraud.


There are a plethora of myths and misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy proceedings. Turn to an expert when you have questions.


If either your credit card company or plastic surgeon decide to sue for nondischargeability of the debt, you will become the defendant in a lawsuit. It will be your responsibility to prove to the court that the purchase was necessary. You will also have a chance to defend yourself against the suit if you can prove you had the intention to repay the debt and show that you made an effort to do so before filing for bankruptcy. If the court decides this purchase was unnecessary—or that it was considered fraudulent—your plastic surgery debt will be deemed non-dischargeable and you will still be responsible for paying off this debt.

Luckily, this only applies to luxury debt accrued within the 60 days before filing for bankruptcy. It is very likely that debt from plastic surgery accumulated before the preceding 60 days will be included as dischargeable debt in the final decision for your bankruptcy case. Whether the plastic surgery debt was from elective surgical or non-surgical medical procedures should not make a difference in making it eligible to be discharged under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is meant to allow people to move forward from previous financial mistakes or setbacks, and plastic surgery debt is no exception.

There can be a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy proceedings. Veitengruber Law is experienced in providing full-service debt relief solutions. We understand the stress caused by seemingly insurmountable debt and we work hard to offer solutions to even the most difficult financial problems. We know that bankruptcy is not the end of the line, but a chance for our clients to get back on their feet and on the road to financial health. We offer customized bankruptcy analysis based on your specific goals and financial needs. Call us today at 732-852-7295 for your free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced team of bankruptcy experts.

A Relative Stole My Child’s Identity: What Are My Options in New Jersey?

nj identity theft

Having one’s identify stolen is stressful, and remedying the breach is complicated and time-consuming. This is all doubly true when it is not your own identity that is stolen, but rather your child’s. Worst of all: realizing that you are one of the thousands of Americans whose own relative has stolen your child’s identity.

6 in 10 of the children who are victims of identity theft know their perpetrator well. By contrast, a scant 7% of adult victims of identity theft were acquainted with the person who had stolen their information.

While it might seem obvious to you that your kindergartner couldn’t possibly have taken a weekend trip to go scuba diving without you noticing, that won’t make it any easier for you to straighten out the chaos left in the wake of child identity theft; regretfully it’s just as complicated as adult identity theft.

A child’s SSN can be even more valuable than an adult’s; after all, a child’s identity is a blank slate. That means it can be used as part of a con to seek government benefits, to open lines of credit or bank accounts, and to rent housing without conflicting information showing up on the radar.

The following guide will take you step by step through the procedure you’ll need to follow once you’ve discovered that your child’s identity is being used illegally.

1. Contact The Authorities

If your child’s identity has been stolen by a relative, you may be feeling conflicted about reporting your relative to local authorities. Even when we’re betrayed by a family member in such a reckless and selfish manner, many of us would rather not see a loved one prosecuted.

Unfortunately, credit institutions will require a police report detailing the crime of identity theft before they’ll permit you to rectify your child’s good name and credit standing. You must set aside your feelings for your family member and allow the law to intervene.

Before you contact the police, prepare yourself for the reality that is soon to follow. Turning in your loved one means accepting the likelihood that they’ll receive a felony conviction. New Jersey Identity Theft sentencing guidelines suggest prison terms ranging in length according to the severity of the financial damage and hefty fines to go with them.

2. Place a Fraud Alert

The next step is contacting one of the credit reporting companies and placing a fraud alert. The one you choose is supposed to alert the other two, but if you want to be sure this happens, it would be wise to follow up and make sure it’s been done.

Here are the contact numbers for the 3 major credit bureaus:

Experian (TRW) 888-397-3742

TransUnion 800-680-7289

Equifax 800-525-6285

3. Submit a Report to the FTC

Complete the form online here. Once this form has been submitted, you’ll be given a full report on your identity theft and an individualized recovery plan. This report serves as proof of your child’s identity having been stolen, so under no circumstances should you skip this step.

What’s Next?

Once the above steps have been completed, you’ll begin the potentially lengthy process of contacting each institution or individual who has been duped by the con.

Contact the fraud departments for each point of theft and inform them that your child is a minor who is not legally permitted to enter into contracts. Attach a copy of your child’s birth certificate, if necessary.

Close any accounts that have been opened in your child’s name. When you contact a business or bank who lent money or extended credit to the thief, request letters confirming that these accounts do not belong to your child. This letter needs to declare your child free of these debts and confirm that the accounts have been removed from your child’s credit report.

Consider a Child Credit Freeze

Finally, you may consider freezing your child’s credit until they are old enough to use it themselves. A credit freeze simply restricts access to your child’s file, meaning it’s much more difficult for a thief—related to you or a total stranger—to open new accounts in your child’s name.

Contact a Credit Repair Professional

If you’ve worked your way through all of the steps above or got stuck on one of them, reach out to a NJ credit repair attorney. Repairing your child’s credit now is crucial to their financial wellness later in life.

Avoid Inheritance Conflict with a Proper NJ Estate Plan

NJ estate plan

After a lifetime of hard work, it is only natural for parents to want to use their savings and investments to benefit their children and grandchildren after they are gone. Estate planning is a great way to secure your legacy and establish a plan for distributing your assets among your family members. It is important to note, however, that the execution of an estate plan also has the potential to create inheritance conflict between your loved ones. Even the most tight-knit families may experience some conflict, and for troubled families, the struggle is even worse. Anticipating inheritance conflict and taking proactive steps to defend against it are part of creating a great NJ estate plan. Here are some ways you can squash inheritance conflict before it even starts.

Pre-Plan Funeral Arrangements

Funerals are times of charged emotions and can often bring buried feelings to the surface. Take some of the pressure off of your children by planning your funeral details in advance. Determine if and where you want the services to be held and your preferred form of internment. Especially for re-married widows and widowers, determining in advance where (and with whom) you want to be interred can prevent controversy and hurt feelings.

Name an Executor

Naming an executor of your will establishes a certain order to the process of exacting your estate plan. Instead of leaving it to your family to figure out, name an attorney or unbiased third-party as the executor. If you would prefer to have a family member act as the executor, be sure you have a good reason for making this choice. You may choose to name your oldest child, or a child that has specific legal or financial knowledge. Keep in mind that being an executor is a lot of hard work and this is something you should discuss with them beforehand.

Divide Your Assets Equally

You know your children better than anyone. Some children may have historically relied more on your resources than others. It can be tempting for parents to leave more to these children than to their more self-sufficient or successful children. Resist this temptation. Unequal allocation of assets can open old wounds and create resentment. It can be seen by those who receive less as a final and unforgivable show of favoritism. Treat your children equally. The exceptions to this are if a child or dependent has a significant handicap (and therefore may need more of your resources to get by after you’re gone) or if you know a child would use their inheritance to further an unhealthy lifestyle. In the latter case, you should be certain before you disinherit, which will leave a lasting impact of hurt and rejection with your loved one.

Give Careful Thought to Personal Items and Family Heirlooms

Make sure you have a plan in place for how to divvy up your personal items and family heirlooms. Creating a plan for any valuable family jewels or other pricey objects is important to preventing fighting later. Who gets to keep your ring or the china you received as a wedding gift? Keep in mind that people can be very sentimental over even the smallest of objects. Your watch may not seem important to you, but it may hold immense sentimental value for your son. Do not discount these attachments or the conflict that can arise over dividing these sentimental tokens. Have a family conversation and come up with a plan that everyone can agree on for the selection process.

Explain the Basics, Not the Details

One you have your estate plan prepared, tell your children and loved ones the basics. Call a family meeting so you can all discuss the plans and what impact these plans will have on the children. This is a good time to set realistic expectations of your children’s inheritance. But be cautious about what you choose to share. Estate planning is an ever changing process and you may choose to make changes that differ from the details you shared with your loved ones earlier on. You do not want your children to view these potential changes as a punishment or as though you have “taken away” something from them. Instead, give your children enough information so that they will know what to expect without providing any specific numbers or inheritance details.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Inheritance conflicts ARE NOT inevitable!

Careful and thoughtful planning with an experienced estate planning attorney can save your family a lot of heartache. At Veitengruber Law, we know your most important legacy lies with the loved ones you leave behind. We know every estate plan is different because every family is different. Our compassionate and experienced legal team will work with you to create a thoughtful estate plan that will bring peace and comfort to you and your loved ones.