November 18, 2018

Tax Amnesty

A Guest Blog by Joshua M. Dickinson, CPA

Now is the perfect time to come clean and catch-up on your outstanding tax obligations. Connecticut has introduced “CT Fresh Start” which is a Connecticut tax amnesty program which runs through November 30, 2018. Almost all tax types are eligible under the program including both business and individual income taxes, payroll withholding taxes, business entity taxes, gift taxes, and sales & use taxes. A taxpayer is eligible if they failed to file a return, or failed to report the full amount of tax on a previously filed return, for any return due on or before December 31, 2016. The program is generally not available for taxpayers who have already received a bill for unpaid taxes or are currently under audit by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. The benefits include no assessed penalties on the outstanding obligation as well as interest at 50% of the normal rate. The program also allows for a limited look-back period for eligible non-filers of only three years and no criminal prosecution. Connecticut has not offered a tax amnesty program in quite a few years and the window to apply under the program is relatively short, so don’t miss out! To see if you can take advantage, please contact Joshua M. Dickinson, CPA of Walsh & Dickinson at 203-447-0550 immediately.

Special thanks to my colleague, Joshua M. Dickinson, CPA (pictured here on the right with me and Attorney Karen Zarkades on the left), for submitting this article to my newsletter and blog. He is a partner at Walsh & Dickinson, a full-service CPA firm operating out of Shelton, Connecticut, specializes in the needs of small to medium size privately held business and individual clients. Josh has over 22 years of diverse experience helping clients located throughout Connecticut. Please contact Josh at Walsh & Dickinson at 203-447-0550 or www.cpaswd.com. Thank you.

October or…Never?

MEANS TEST NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN

 

Bad News in the Bankruptcy World:

Bankruptcy qualification is based solely on household income. Every six months or so the Office of the United States Trustee changes the Means Testing figures. Come Novermber 1, 2018, the Means Testing Numbers are going down. This directly results in less people being qualified to file for Bankruptcy.

Good News For You:

If you are contemplating Bankruptcy, I am urging you to get tested as soon as possible to see if you qualify and can file in October before the changes take effect. During the remaining days of October, I am offering FREE Consultations 7 days per week and FREE Means Testing. Click HERE to schedule your appointment right away.

What’s your focus?

At Consumer Legal Services, LLC, we offer a variety of ways to help get you out of debt. Since every person has a different situation, we offer many different solutions.

If filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the best choice for you, we can discuss what is involved and how the process works at a free in-person consultation.

However, we believe other options should be explored before deciding on Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy should always be your last resort.

We’re here to help, to listen, and to offer advice.  We’ll be with you every step of the way.  If filing for Bankruptcy is the best option for you, you will be taken through the process from the Free Consultation, to the signing of the Petition, to the Discharge.  It will be done in a friendly, pressure-free way with courteous and diligent services.

Many famous people and companies have had to restructure and start over.  There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.  Bankruptcy is a path to a fresh start.

Consumer Legal Services, LLC is dedicated to achieving the best outcome for every client.  With Consumer Legal Services on your side, you will see things through a new pair of glasses!

Financial worries do not need to consume your every thought. We have the solutions you’ve been looking for.

Give us a call at 203-713-8877 or text “help” to 203-814-0600.

  • Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray is admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is also a member of the Federal Bar for the Districts of Connecticut and Massachusetts. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, where she majored in Legal Studies. She worked several years as a paralegal before heading to Law School, during which time she developed practical experience which she used to start her own Law Firm where she focuses on helping consumers with financial issues in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense.

    Credentials:

    • Attended Quinnipiac University as an undergraduate
    • Attended the University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth, earning her Juris Doctor
    • Certified in Chapter 7 electronic filing of Bankruptcy within the Federal Court
    • Member of the Milford and West Haven Bar Associations
    • Wife, Mother and Attorney at Law
    • Owner and Sole Member of Consumer Legal Services, LLC, a Law Firm and Debt Relief Agency operating under the Bankruptcy Code

Click HERE to schedule your Free Consultation.

THIS WEEK: HUD Home-Buyer’s Seminar in West Haven

HUD Home-buyer’s Seminar at the West Haven Main Library, 300 Elm Street on Wednesday, September 12th from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Join in learning the ins and outs of buying a home. They will be covering topics such as housing rights, loans, home buying programs, and more!

Registration is required:
Please call (203) 937-4233

Cheers to Nine Years!

Nine years ago today, on 09/09/2009, I filed the requisite Articles of Organization to register Consumer Legal Services, LLC, with the Connecticut Secretary of the State, and opened my very own solo law practice.

A dream come true…a dream I had since I was a little girl!

In the last nine years, I have had the honor and privilege of representing hundreds and hundreds of clients, helping them start fresh with bankruptcies, save their homes through foreclosure defense, restructure their families with divorce mediation and protect their futures with estate planning. 

The story of how it all came to be has inspired many others to seek their own second chance. 

The mission of Consumer Legal Service, LLC, is to help during times of crisis and in times of peace when we can focus on strategically planning for your future.

In that regard, and in honor of our nine year anniversary, we are offering a discount on all estate planning packages for the next 9 days (because everyone needs a will).

Local [Bankruptcy] Rules Effective September 2018

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

LOCAL RULES OF

BANKRUPTCY PROCEDURE
Revised as of April, 2018
Effective Date: September 4, 2018 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Local Rules Of Bankruptcy Procedure For The District Of Connecticut Effective September 4, 2018   (Downloadable PDF)

Part I. Commencement of Case; Proceedings Relating to Petition and Order of Relief

Local Bankr. R. 1001-1  Scope, Incorporation of District Court Rules, and Short Title

Local Bankr. R. 1001-2  Definitions

Local Bankr. R. 1002-1  Commencement or Continuance of Case Without Counsel

Local Bankr. R. 1002-2  Notice to Office of United States Trustee Regarding Filing of a Chapter 11 Petition

Local Bankr. R. 1004-1  Business Entity Petition

Local Bankr. R. 1006-1  Filing Fees – Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments

Local Bankr. R. 1007-1  Lists, Schedules, and Statements

Local Bankr. R. 1009-1  Amendments to Creditor Lists, Schedules, and Statements

Local Bankr. R. 1015-1  Joint Administration

Local Bankr. R. 1017-1  Contemporaneous Petition

Local Bankr. R. 1019-1  Conversion of Case; Documents Required to Be Filed

Local Bankr. R. 1073-1  Assignment and Reassignment of Cases within the District

Part II. Officers and Administration; Notices; Meetings; Examinations; Elections; Attorneys and Accountants

Local Bankr. R. 2002-1  Notice and Service to Creditors and Other Interested Parties

Local Bankr. R. 2002-2  Omnibus Hearing Calendar

Local Bankr. R. 2004-1  Rule 2004 Examinations

Local Bankr. R. 2014-1  Employment of Professionals

Local Bankr. R. 2014-2  Retention of Ordinary Course Professionals

Local Bankr. R. 2015-1  Post-Confirmation Reports

Local Bankr. R. 2016-1  Compensation of Professionals

Local Bankr. R. 2016-2  Compensation of Debtor’s Counsel in Chapter 13 Cases

Local Bankr. R. 2017-1  Committees in Chapter 9, 11, and 12 Cases

Part III. Claims and Distribution to Creditors and Equity Interest Holders; Plans

Local Bankr. R. 3001-1  Proof of Claim: Secured Claims in Individual Debtor Cases

Local Bankr. R. 3003-1  Filing Proofs of Claim or Interest in a Chapter 9 or 11 Case

Local Bankr. R. 3007-1  Claim Objections

Local Bankr. R. 3007-2  Omnibus Claim Objection Procedures

Local Bankr. R. 3007-3  Estimation of Claims

Local Bankr. R. 3015-1  Chapter 12 – Confirmation

Local Bankr. R. 3015-2  Chapter 13 – Confirmation

Local Bankr. R. 3016-1  Chapter 11 – Plan

Local Bankr. R. 3017-1  Transmission and Notice of Plan and Disclosure Statement

Local Bankr. R. 3017-1.1  Consideration of Disclosure Statement in a Small Business Cases

Local Bankr. R. 3017-2  Approval of Disclosure Statement in Small Business Cases

Local Bankr. R. 3018-1  Certification of Acceptances and Rejections of Chapter 11 Plans

Local Bankr. R. 3020-1  Chapter 11 – Confirmation

Local Bankr. R. 3022-1  Application for Final Decree

Part IV. The Debtor: Duties and Benefits

Local Bankr. R. 4001-1  Automatic Stay; Relief from Stay Worksheet

Local Bankr. R. 4001-2  Continuation or Imposition of Automatic Stay

Local Bankr. R. 4001-3  Use of Cash Collateral and Debtor in Possession Financing

Local Bankr. R. 4002-1  Documents to Be Delivered to Trustee Prior to Section 341 Creditors’ Meeting

Local Bankr. R. 4004-1  Entry of Discharge in Individual Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 Cases

Part V. Courts and Clerks

Local Bankr. R. 5003-1  Clerk of Court– General Authority

Local Bankr. R. 5005-1  Filing Papers – Requirements

Local Bankr. R. 5010-1  Reopening Cases

Local Bankr. R. 5011-1  Withdrawal of Reference

Local Bankr. R. 5073-1  Photography, Broadcasting, Recording and Televising

Part VI. Collection and Liquidation of the Estate

Local Bankr. R. 6004-1  Sale of Estate Property – General

Local Bankr. R. 6004-2  Sales and Sale Procedures Motions

Local Bankr. R. 6005-1  Employment of Auctioneers

Local Bankr. R. 6005-2  Employment of Appraisers

Local Bankr. R. 6070-1  Tax Returns and Tax Refunds in Chapter 12 and 13 Cases

Part VII. Adversary Proceedings

Local Bankr. R. 7001-1  Adversary Proceedings – General

Local Bankr. R. 7002-1  Adversary Proceeding Cover Sheet

Local Bankr. R. 7005-1  Service of Pleadings and Other Papers by Electronic Means

Local Bankr. R. 7007-1  Motion Practice

Local Bankr. R. 7007-2  Briefs

Local Bankr. R. 7012-1  Motions to Dismiss

Local Bankr. R. 7016-1  Pretrial Procedures

Local Bankr. R. 7026-1  Discovery; Duty of Disclosure; Filing of Discovery

Local Bankr. R. 7037-1  Discovery Disputes

Local Bankr. R. 7055-1  Default and Default Judgment

Local Bankr. R. 7056-1  Summary Judgment

Local Bankr. R. 7067-1  Registry Fund

Part IX. General Provisions

Local Bankr. R. 9010-1  Appearances

Local Bankr. R. 9013-1  Forms of Pleading of Certain Contested Matters

Local Bankr. R. 9013-2  Motions Filed with Petition in Chapter 11 Cases

Local Bankr. R. 9014-1  Contested Matters and Contested Matter Procedure

Local Bankr. R. 9019-1  Motions to Compromise

Local Bankr. R. 9019-2  Alternative Dispute Resolution

Local Bankr. R. 9027-1  Removal.

Local Bankr. R. 9036-1  Notice by Electronic Transmission

Local Bankr. R. 9070-1  Exhibits

Local Bankr. R. 9077-1  Sealed Documents

Local Bankr. R. 9083-1  Attorneys – Admission to Practice

Local Bankr. R. 9083-2  Attorneys – Discipline and Disbarment

Local Bankr. R. 9083-3  Attorneys – Requirement of Local Counsel

Local Bankr. R. 9083-4  Attorneys – Withdrawals

Local Bankr. R. 9083-5  Change of Contact Information or Name

 

INDEX OF APPENDICES

Appendix A   Administrative Procedures for Electronic Case Filing

Appendix B     Relief from Stay Worksheet

Appendix C     Fee Application Cover Sheet

Appendix D     Guidelines for Compensation and Expense Reimbursement of Professionals

Appendix E      Local Form Chapter 13 Plan and Instructions

Appendix F     Chapter 12 Operating Order

Appendix G     Guidelines regarding Sale of Substantially All Assets Under 11 U.S.C. § 363, Overbids and Fees

Appendix H     Checklist for Motions and Orders Pertaining to the Use of Cash Collateral and Post-Petition Financing

Appendix I      Documents to Be Produced to Trustee in Chapter 7 Cases Prior to Section 341 Creditor’s Meeting

Appendix J      Documents to Be Produced to Trustee in Chapter 13 Cases Prior to Section 341 Creditor’s Meeting

Appendix K     Notice to Disputed, Contingent, and Unliquidated Creditors

Appendix L      List of Government Agency Addresses

Appendix M     Motions/Applications that do not follow Contested Matter Procedure

Appendix N     Exceptions to Contested Matter Procedure

 

SOURCE: http://www.ctb.uscourts.gov/local-rules-effective-september-4-2018-1

EVERYONE NEEDS A WILL!

If you are over the age of 18, you need an “Estate Plan,” especially if you have children.

A basic estate plan consists of three documents:

  1. A “Power of Attorney,” which appoints someone you choose who will have the power to do things on your behalf such as banking, real estate and other transactions if you are unable to do them yourself; please note that the only “power” this documents does not include, is the power to make health care decisions;
  2. A “Living Will,” which does two main things: appoints a health care agent (or someone to make your health care decisions) and designates organ donation; and
  3. A “Last Will and Testament.” This document only operates upon your death and it has two or three main functions, depending on your circumstances. First, it designates an “executor” to administer your estate in the Probate Court. Secondly, it directs your executor how to distribute your possessions. And lastly, if you have minor children, it appoints a guardian for your children to make sure they are taken care of by someone you trust instead of someone you don’t want to care for your children, like the state/DCF.

 

Contact Attorney Theresa Rose DeGray to discuss your personal Estate Plan today!

 

The History of Labor Day

Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During 1887 four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1884, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than a century after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Reposted from the website of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bankruptcy Report Gives Details on 2017 Filers

Consumers filing for bankruptcy in 2017 reported aggregated assets of $80 billion and aggregated total liabilities of $105 billion, according to an annual report filed by the Judiciary with Congress.

The report, required by Congress under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, describes the activities of individuals with predominantly consumer debt. Other highlights of the report are:

  • Sixty-two percent of assets were real property, and the remaining assets were personal property.
  • Debtors in the Northern District of California and in the Southern District of Florida reported the highest average assets per petition, at $583,000 and $338,000, respectively. Filers in the Western District of Tennessee reported the lowest average assets, $44,000.
  • The median average income reported by debtors was $2,741 a month, and the median average monthly expenses were $2,645.
  • A total of 742,323 consumer bankruptcy petitions were filed in 2017, 1 percent fewer than in 2016.
  • About 61 percent of the petitions were filed under Chapter 7, in which a debtor’s assets are liquidated and proceeds are distributed to creditors, except for exempt assets. About 38 percent were filed under Chapter 13, in which debtors make installment payments to creditors under court-ordered plans.  Debtors were able to successfully pay their debts in 48 percent of the Chapter 13 cases closed in 2017 – slightly less than the 52 percent reported in 2016.
  • Less than 1 percent of petitions by individuals with consumer debts were filed under Chapter 11, which allows businesses and individuals to continue operating while they make plans to reorganize and repay creditors.

The data for the report is provided by the debtors either at the time they file bankruptcy petitions or within two weeks of filing, which is required by federal bankruptcy rules.

SOURCE: US COURTS

Death is Part of Life

No one likes to talk about it but death is inevitable for each and every one of us. We must accept it, and we should plan for it. Planning for it benefits our loved ones. It will actually help them grieve easier as it takes away the difficulties and mysteries around our final wishes and the processes and procedures needed to achieve them.

Because I am a lawyer, I know and understand how incredibly simple it is to make an Estate Plan. I wish I could impart that knowledge to everyone. But most folks are under the wrong impression. They think it’s a difficult, time consuming, expensive process. So, in this article I will show you exactly what you need, nothing more, and nothing less. As well as, how to achieve it quickly and inexpensively.

Let’s get started.

First you will need a basic Estate Plan, consisting of three (3) documents, as follows.

The first document operates only upon your death and is called your Last Will and Testament (or your “Will” for short). In Connecticut, this must be acknowledged and witnessed. (So, you can’t scribble on a napkin or write a letter to your kids…it needs to be official.) Your Will will set forth how you would like your assets distributed after you pass away. It will also name an Executor to administer your wishes and probate your Estate. Your Will may also contain a simple trust for any beneficiaries you name that are under the age a majority. Having this document witnessed assists in the future if anyone contests the Will. They could always testify as to your circumstances during the signing of the Will. Like if you were physically threatened and pressured to sign the Will.

The second and third documents that you need go hand-in-hand. They are a Power of Attorney and a Living Will (or Healthcare (or Advanced Care) Directive).

Let’ explore what each documents is and does and then discuss how they are similar and work together.

The Power of Attorney document sets forth the appointment of a person to act in your place and stead as if that person is you. The appointed person can make all legal decisions on your behalf that have to do with things such as insurance benefits, banking, and any other non-medical legal decision.

That is where the Living Will comes in. The Living Will sets forth the appointment of a person to make your medical decisions for you. The boiler plate language of the document states in no uncertain terms that your wishes are not to be kept alive on artificial means of life support. It also names a person to act as your Conservator, should the need for one arise. And lastly, it sets forth your wishes as to organ donation, should you pass away.

Let’s take a look at an example of how, when and why these documents may be used. Say you are going to upstate Connecticut to camp in the Litchfield Hills but the closing on your house is the same weekend. Then you fall while hiking which puts you in a coma, that you stay in for seven months until your Healthcare Agent instructs the doctor to allow for comfort measures until you peacefully pass away in your sleep. Do you know when each document would come into play?

First, the person you appointed as your Power of Attorney could, in fact, attend your closing and sign the documents for you…as you. Then the person you appointed as a Health Care Representative could direct the doctors to keep you on life support because there was some brain activity. In the meantime, while you were in the coma, a conservator was appointed to you and that person took over paying your bills, securing medical insurance and placement in a long term care facility. Upon your passing, your Executor probated your estate and a guardian/trustee that you named in your Will took care of your children and made sure that he heath, maintenance and education was paid for through funds you left in a trust. Had you not had your simple Estate Plan, your entire life (and death) would have been left up to the Courts to decide how handle.

As you can see from that example, the few minutes it took you to create your Estate Plan, saved your loved ones time and energy because they didn’t have to think and make their own decisions about your life (and ultimately, your death), the documents took that struggle away from them and gave them guidance based on your very own wishes.

Putting such a plan in place is simple and easy with me. Contact me for a free phone or in-person consultation. Most work is done through email, and you would only need to visit my office once (or maybe twice) to finalize the process.

We offer discounts to married couples and payment plans if needed.

Contact us here to get started now.

This firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief amongst other things, under the Bankruptcy Code.