Our office continues to operate during our regular business hours, which are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but you can call the office 24 hours a day. We continue to follow all recommendations and requirements of the State of Emergency Stay at Home Order. Consultations are available via telephone or by video conference. The safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and, therefore, in-person meetings are not available at this time except for emergencies or absolutely essential legal services.
Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “Are my 401k and IRA protected in bankruptcy?”
There are many reasons to file for bankruptcy. It can give you a break if you are financially crushed by debt, it can stop creditors from taking aggressive collection measures against you, and it can give you invaluable time to gain control of your financial situation.
Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “What are North Carolina’s exemptions?”
When you think of emotional distress claims, you understandably think of them in a personal injury context. The term is almost always associated with car accidents or workplace injures, something where someone also suffers physical harmed. Though it’s true that emotional distress exists primarily in the personal injury world, a recent case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit demonstrates that emotional distress can sometimes involve bankruptcy proceedings.
Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “Can I keep my car if I file bankruptcy?”
If you’re in the midst of tough financial times, it isn’t surprising that you might have to consider alternative ways of raising money. Though you may never have thought about pawning your property before, if you have bills that need to be paid it might be one of your only options. Once the item has been pawned you might not think much about it, but a recent bankruptcy case out of Georgia indicates that might not be the end of the story, especially if you want to try and get that property back.
Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is a bankruptcy discharge ?”
Anyone who has passed through the bankruptcy process and received a bankruptcy discharge notice in the mail may experience an understandable sense of joy and relief. It is over. Or is it?
At the risk of sounding like a lawyer, whether “it” is “over” depends upon what one means by “it’ and what one means by “over.” In the world of bankruptcy, very little is ever really over, and even the bankruptcy discharge—while an important formality—does not end any actions that are still pending in a bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy, at its essence, is less like a lawsuit and more like probate—gathering the assets of a dead person and using them to pay off the person’s debts. The difference is the person is not dead; the person is you, and sometimes the best recourse you have against creditors is to sue. In bankruptcy, your trustee may sue creditors for a variety of reasons, and your trustee may answer and defend against creditors or others who sue you, for whatever reason. These cases can drag on long after a person has received one’s bankruptcy discharge.
A bankruptcy discharge does not, as many believe, wipe the proverbial slate clean, so if clearing yourself of any and all debts is what you define as having “it” over and done, then you may misunderstand the effect of a bankruptcy discharge.
Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How do I find a bankruptcy attorney in Charlotte?”
The Great Recession combined with the voracious greed of law-firm partners led to the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a law firm that employed over 1,300 attorneys in 26 offices around the world at the time of its 2012 bankruptcy filing. So say defense attorneys for former Dewey chairman Steven Davis, former chief financial officer Joel Sanders, and former executive director Stephen DiCarmine.
They were charged in March with larceny and securities fraud. Prosecutors said the men cooked the firm’s accounting books during a four-year conspiracy to keep the law firm afloat. One of the men actually used the phrase “cooking the books” in an email describing their efforts to mislead lenders and creditors.
The $550 million in creditor claims against the firm gave it the dubious distinction as the largest law-firm bankruptcy ever. Bankruptcy filings appear to show that the firm struggled to generate enough revenue to pay its star lawyers and keep up with other expensive overhead costs.
The book-cooking allegedly began in November 2008 at the height of the Great Recession. Top executives were accused of making fraudulent accounting entries that increased revenue, decreased expenses, or lowered payments to partners. By the end of 2009, however, the firm still owed its lenders $206 million and owed its own partners $240 million, but only had $119 million in cash on hand.
Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I keep my house if I file bankruptcy?”
How a group of homeowners ended up facing foreclosure of their properties for loans they didn’t take out would make a great bar-exam question for would-be lawyers. Unfortunately, a group of homeowners are facing the real-life consequences of a complicated concept whose parameters escape the minds of both bar applicants and seasoned attorneys alike: lien priority.
The Charlotte Observer reported in late May on the plight of Allan and Vera Lynn Zanotti, who bought their Statesville home in 2008. Through “no fault of their own,” they are facing foreclosure based on a 2003 loan made to the developer of their subdivision. The developer, Fox Den Development Co., stopped making payments on the loan. The lenders—three children of the late Dwight Goforth, who was a Fox Den investor—say they are owed $4.6 million.
Foreclosure is a process through which a lender takes title to property pledged as collateral for a loan. In North Carolina, a borrower can pledge real property as collateral for a loan. Under common terms, if the borrower fails to repay the loan, the lender can invoke the foreclosure process to take the property. The terms of the loan are set forth on a document called a Deed of Trust, which is filed in the Register of Deeds of the county in which property is located. The Deed of Trust puts the public—and potential buyers—on notice that a lender has an interest in the property.
In other words, when the Zanottis bought their home in 2008, they should have hired an attorney to conduct a title search. The attorney should have found the Deed of Trust that placed the public on notice of the loan between Fox Den Development Co. and the Goforths. The Zanottis should have been advised that the 2003 loan either had to be paid off, or the Goforths had to release the property from the Deed of Trust.
That did not happen. The Zanottis said the Deed of Trust was missed in the title search and they did nothing wrong.