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Gloucester County bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Personal Bankruptcy | Gloucester County bankruptcy

A Gloucester County bankruptcy must file in the New Jersey District Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey. For over 25 years, the Gloucester County bankruptcy attorneys at Puff & Cockerill, LLC, have helped ease the financial burden for individual’s facing debt and bankruptcy.

Why Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Today, many Gloucester County households are living paycheck to paycheck and are just barely able to afford their monthly bills as they come due. What happens to those bills when someone loses a job or when someone becomes disabled or unable to work for a long period? The answer is simple: the bills keep coming and debt accumulates.

Dealing with these monthly bills and debt is stressful when you do not have money coming in to pay them. Bill and debt collectors do not want to hear that you lost your job, you are currently unable to work due to disability, or that you are on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay their bills. Bill and debt collectors only want to know when and how much they are going to be paid.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available to “discharge” most, if not all, of your unsecured debt, for those people who are eligible. A “discharge” releases a debtor from personal liability for the debt owed. This occurs when the debtor asks the Bankruptcy Court to be legally relieved of the obligation to repay an unsecured debt, such as credit card debt, unpaid medical bills, unpaid utility bills, etc. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not eliminate secured debts, such as mortgage payments and car loans.

To be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor must demonstrate that his/her income is low enough to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In order to qualify, a debtor must pass what is referred to as the “means test.” Under the “means test,” if a debtor’s current monthly income is less than the median income for a household of his/her size, the debtor will pass and thus be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

On the other hand, if a debtor’s income exceeds the state median, the debtor must determine whether he/she has enough “disposable income” (income left over after payment of allowed monthly expenses) to pay off a portion of their unsecured debt. The higher the monthly disposable income is, the less likely a debtor will be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Local Gloucester County bankruptcy lawyers

For over 25 years, the attorneys at Puff & Cockerill, LLC, have helped ease the financial burden for individual’s facing debt and bankruptcy in Gloucester County. We encourage all local individuals to consult an experienced Gloucester County bankruptcy attorney.

If you choose to set up an appointment with one of our experienced Gloucester County bankruptcy attorneys, it will be helpful to compile and bring the following documents to better assist and explain the best options available to you:

  • A listing of your creditors, the amounts owed and a description of their claims;
  • Documents detailing your monthly income;
  • Documents detailing your interest in real property, including a most recent tax assessment; and
  • A listing of your monthly expenses.
Michael Jackson’s estate

Michael Jackson’s Estate | A Lesson in Valuing an Estate

The executors of Michael Jackson’s estate are involved in a high-stakes estate tax case against the Internal Revenue Service in the United States Tax Court. In attempting to value the estate, each side is roughly one billion dollars away from the other’s valuation. The implications for this estate tax case may only impact celebrities and ultra-high net worth individuals, but the core concepts of valuating an estate and estate plans in general are important for all individuals.

The executors of Michael Jackson’s estate filed an estate tax return with a value of $7 million. The IRS, on the other hand, issued a deficiency claim with reported value of the estate at $1.32 billion. Due to the stark difference between the estate’s valuation and the IRS’ valuation, the IRS is demanding Michael Jackson’s estate pay an additional $505.1 million in estate taxes and $196.9 million in penalties and interest.

As the case proceeds, the crux of the dispute is how to value Michael Jackson’s name and likeness after his death for estate tax purposes. Ordinarily, estate taxes are derived from valuing the deceased’s more tangible assets, such as cash, stocks, real property and other marketable securities. In fact, the valuation of an individual’s name and likeness is not supposed to consider post-death events, but these factors may nonetheless permeate into the court’s judgment. Specifically, the IRS alleges that Jackson’s name and likeness holds a value of $434 million. The estate, however, claims his name and likeness is valued at $2,105.00. These figures will be disputed in court.

The take-away from Michael Jackson’s estate tax case may not be known until the case has been decided. In the meantime, Michael Jackson’s case provides us with several important reminders about proper estate planning. First and foremost, estate planning is important for individuals of all ages. We cannot control our fate, but we can control is how we plan for the inevitable. In addition, proper estate planning can:

  • Minimize taxes and expenses;
  • Provide support for your loved ones;
  • Preserve family wealth for future generations; and
  • Distribute assets according to your wishes.

In light of these reminders, we encourage all individuals to review their estate plans, including their wills and trusts, with an experienced estate planning attorney. If you do not have an estate plan, now is the time to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney to formulate a plan. For more information about the estate planning process, please contact our experienced estate planning attorneys.

NJ Dog Bite Statute

NJ Dog Bite Statute

Whether you live in Gloucester county or anywhere else in NJ, the NJ Dog Bite Statute is the same. N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, known as the “Dog Bite Statute,” covers liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog, and states:
The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

For the purpose of this section, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.

The NJ Dog Bite Statute is a strict liability statute. Strict liability means that the responsibility for an injury can be imposed on the wrongdoer without a finding of carelessness or fault.

The NJ Dog Bite Statute allows an injured party to hold the dog owner legally responsible for the injuries that were sustained by the dog bite, even if the owner did not know that the dog might bite and even if the dog owner took reasonable steps to restrain the dog.

Pursuant to the NJ Dog Bite Statute, the injured party (known as the Plaintiff) must show:

1. Defendant is the owner of the dog;
2. The dog bit the plaintiff; and
3. The bite occurred while the plaintiff was either in a public place or lawfully in a private place.

This statute only applies to dog bites. It does not apply to other injuries that a dog might cause. An example of this would be a bicyclist who was chased by a dog and the dog caused the bicyclist to fall of the bike. A person injured by a dog under this example may still bring a negligence claim against the dog’s owner.

If you have been injured by a dog bite (or any other animal), please do not hesitate to contact and schedule an appointment with an attorney experienced in handling these matters.