Will I Lose My Timeshare if I File for Bankruptcy?

timeshare

Photo courtesy of Krystal Vacations

Many Americans are able to enjoy fairly lavish getaways through a partial ownership of a vacation property known as a timeshare. Timeshares are essentially vacation homes that are owned by a number of people who share usage of vacation time at the home, condo, apartment or townhouse. Also shared are the maintenance responsibilities in the form of monthly or yearly payments. Investing in a timeshare makes what may otherwise be an unaffordable getaway attainable for average households around the world.

As you are not the sole owner when you invest in a time share home, you may be wondering what will happen to your percentage of the timeshare if you file for bankruptcy. This is actually a pretty common concern and question among bankruptcy clients, because of the fact that a timeshare simply isn’t a straightforward property ownership situation.

In our experience, clients who are already deep into debt often just want to be relieved of the timeshare responsibilities and upkeep payments. If this is the case for you, unloading a timeshare is possible but be prepared to lose money. According to financial experts – a timeshare is a poor investment even in the best financial market.  They simply don’t increase in value. In fact, many desperate timeshare owners just want to be out from under the yearly maintenance fees, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars.

You can sell your timeshare on the open market on sites like eBay if your goal is to be rid of the maintenance fees at a time when your finances are already unmanageable. More specific websites focus solely on timeshare sales, making it quite simple to unload your vacation time – if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Keeping a timeshare through a bankruptcy is a little tricky, but it can be done if you follow some rules, and if there is an exemption available for timeshares in your bankruptcy filing. You may find the most success in transferring your timeshare over to your bankruptcy trustee, if s/he is open to the idea. This solution may permit you to still enjoy taking a week-long vacation during the year in which you are filing for bankruptcy, if you can work out an agreeable deal with the trustee. If the trustee is unable to sell the timeshare right away, it’s possible that s/he may be amenable to renting to your family for your vacation week.

The above scenario will most likely only occur during the first year after transferring ownership of your timeshare to your bankruptcy trustee, because chances are high that the trustee will want to sell it as soon as possible to avoid accumulating debt of his/her own.

If you happen to own the timeshare completely, another scenario may present itself: repurchasing the timeshare back from the estate. In order for this to work out in your favor, you’ll need the right bankruptcy attorney to ensure that the right investor purchases the Note in order to bring in enough money to satisfy creditors, and giving you the ownership of the timeshare once again. It is vitally important that you find a qualified attorney who has solid working relationships with a variety of investors, and respectable experience handling bankruptcy matters.

For more information regarding filing for bankruptcy, timeshares, and getting your financial life back in order, call our office today, or click on over to our contact form. Want a free consultation? All you have to do is “like” us on Facebook!

U.S. Domestic Adoption Facts and Statistics

6172826106_8586b765a8Photo courtesy of Children’s Bureau Centennial

Adopting a child or children is an increasingly popular way to expand or create a family.  The fact that adoption numbers are steadily on the rise is nothing but good news for all involved. Long-range studies have shown that children who grow up in orphanages have lower IQ levels and delayed language development than their peers living in foster care or adopted families. Due to a lack of proper care and attention in children’s institutions, those who remain unadopted for long periods of time, their intellectual development suffers. Brain development that occurs soon after being born is often delayed in children who are neglected and under-stimulated.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, has revealed through their Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) that approximately 500,000 United States children do not have a permanent place to call home, but they are lucky enough to be living with a foster family. Among these half a million youngsters, around 115,000 are eligible for permanent adoption. Unfortunately, nearly half of them will likely have at least a three year wait before their “forever family” finds them and adopts them. Older children are far more likely to remain in orphanages or foster care for extended periods of time when compared with infants or very young children/toddlers.

Because many couples or single parents long to raise a child from infancy, many people turn to international adoption because of the high number of babies living in orphanages overseas.  Although a baby may very well be placed with them, the process of adoption internationally can be grueling and usually involves a period of residency in that country by the prospective parents.

Those who wish to avoid the length and intensity of international adoption, turn to domestic adoption in the United States. However, even adopting in your own country has its share of trials, tests, and tribulations (and lots of paperwork). There are also several different types of domestic adoptions, as well:

Closed Adoption – No identifying details about the birth mother or parents is shared with the adoptive family, and vice versa. The families also have no contact before or after the birth and adoption process. Prior to adoption, the prospective parents will receive information about the baby or child, minus any specific, identifying information. Once the adoption is finalized, records are sealed and can only be opened by the child himself when he turns eighteen years old.

Open Adoption – This type of adoption permits a certain level of communication between the birth parent(s), adoptees, and adoptive parents. The communication ranges from pictures and letters to phone calls, letters, and visits. Adoption of an older child is usually open, due to the fact that the child herself  may want to remain in contact with her first family on some level.

Agency Adoption -The details of an Agency Adoption are taken care of by a certified adoption agency.

Private Adoption – All private adoptions involve an intermediary such as a lawyer, doctor, or other facilitator, and do not involve a licensed adoption agency. These types of adoptions will not afford the birth parents or adoptive parents with any assistance throughout the adoption process, and are, in fact, illegal in some states.

Foster Adoption – In these cases, a child who is placed with a foster family with the intention of the family to eventually make the situation official through adoption. It’s also possible to adopt a child directly through the foster care system without fostering them first.

To learn more about which type of domestic adoption would be most suitable for you and your family, visit AdoptUSKids. If  you are ready to enter the adoption process, be sure to have a qualified and knowledgeable attorney by your side to ensure that your adoption remains 100% legal and goes off without a hitch.

Bankruptcy, Death, and Avoiding Fraud Charges

Photo courtesy of Ken Mayer

If you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy in order to get your financial affairs squared away, you more than likely have a plethora of questions about the nitty-gritty details of the Bankruptcy Code. Without the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, the many provisions and sections of the Bankruptcy Code will set your head spinning for sure.

As you delve deeper into the filing process, you will eventually come across a provision known as the “windfall provision” of the Bankruptcy Code. This provision can be found in section 541(a)(5), and states as follows, “from 180 days after the bankruptcy filing date, the bankruptcy estate includes any bequest, devise, or inheritance; property distribution as a result of a property settlement from a divorce proceeding; and proceeds as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or other death benefit.”

If that sounds like a bunch of confusing legalese to you, let us translate the meaning of section 541(a)(5) into English.

Although in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, the context of the windfall provision is more complex, in a Chapter 7 filing, which most of our individual clients pursue, this provision allows for unforeseen circumstances regarding income and/or other monies that come your way after you have filed for bankruptcy.

As there is extremely close monitoring on bankruptcy cases, you cannot give a friend or family member loads of your freed up cash, only to have them return the money after the bankruptcy has been filed. This is known as fraud and will be punished quite severely. Attempting to outsmart bankruptcy laws will only end badly for you. However, there are instances where you may come into money after you have filed for bankruptcy that are perfectly legal and legitimate.

Suppose a close relative of yours passes away soon after you have filed your bankruptcy with the New Jersey Court system. The question many of our clients ask is, “Will I have to surrender any inheritance or life insurance proceeds I receive after I have filed for bankruptcy?”

Any result of a life insurance payout will be subject to the bankruptcy estate under section 541(a)(5). However, the New Jersey exemption plan allows that any proceeds you may receive it from a term life policy would be fully exempt from collection by your creditors or by the deceased’s creditors.

Such a life insurance policy would be exempt from collection only as reasonably necessary to allow continued support and life maintenance of you and any of your dependents. In other words, if you receive boatloads of money that hugely exceed your financial needs, your chances of keeping it all…..are slim. The good news, though, is that you will more than likely get to keep at least some of the proceeds.

Any proceeds that were left to you in a will become full property of the bankruptcy estate in the amount that were not protected by exemptions. To learn more about how to handle the proceeds of a Last Will and Testament after recently filing for bankruptcy, it’s advisable to be in close contact with your bankruptcy attorney so he can walk you through the correct procedures, in order to avoid inadvertently committing fraud. For help today, call our office, or even better, like us on Facebook and your consult is Free with Veitengruber Law.

Does Your Flood Insurance Have You Covered?

flood

Many New Jersey residents are still dealing with the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy; it’s been a long and slow road to recovery ‘down the shore.’  Now, Summer 2013 is ready with another challenge for the Garden State by bringing a new deluge of rain to the area, making this June the wettest since 1894!  July 2013 is predicted to be just as rainy, and the forecast has many New Jersey homeowners quite fearful of more flooding when it seems they’ve only just managed to drip dry after Storm Sandy.

Unfortunately, many New Jerseyians were not prepared for the intense flooding that the past year has brought to the area.  The hardest hit locations are along the Jersey shore, but many other areas have experienced a fair deal of water damage, too. Whether on the coast or 50 miles inland, what remains a constant is the unwelcome surprise that homeowner’s insurance coverage doesn’t typically cover damage caused by floods.

The vast majority of Sandy sufferers didn’t have adequate flood damage coverage, at least according to their homeowner’s policies, leaving them in a real bind.  In fact, many homeowners hit hardest by Sandy ended up homeless, jobless, and not sure what to do next. Luckily (we use that term loosely in this context), the counties of Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union, were declared federal disaster areas by President Obama in October 2012, after Sandy hit the coast. This entitled homeowners and business owners in the disaster areas to be eligible for supplemental Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) flood damage assistance.

FEMA procedures and policies can be tricky to navigate, so if your property suffered seemingly irreparable damage after Hurricane Sandy, but you’ve been denied by the Federal Government, seek professional assistance in the form of an attorney who has extensive experience dealing with real property and flood insurance matters.

The current excessive rainfall amounts hitting New Jersey are causing new flooding issues that don’t fall under a federal disaster ‘umbrella.’ Although a new superstorm hasn’t hit the area, the intense rains that have been falling on a daily basis have certainly caused their fair share of damage. The difference now is that homeowners must deal with the damage without help from FEMA, and many people are finding themselves at odds with their flood insurance carrier.

For example, most flood insurance policies have pages and pages of items that are not covered, and many homeowners are dismayed to discover just how lacking their flood coverage really is. The number of insurance claim disputes is on the rise, and this number will only get higher as long as the rains continue to hit the area.

If you are dealing with property damage caused by recent flooding, and are having difficulty getting what you feel you rightly deserve from your insurance company, contact Veitengruber Law today to find out how we can help. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for a free consultation, and call our office today to schedule an appointment.