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Online Bankruptcy Resources

To learn about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or augment Argyle Publishing’s bankruptcy forms and instructions, these consumer-friendly websites can provide the information you need.

American Bankruptcy Institute’s Consumer Bankruptcy Center
http://consumer.abiworld.org/
On this site, you’ll find the ABI’s “Bankruptcy Pro Bono Resource Locator,” a national directory of lawyers or centers offering free or low-cost bankruptcy services for eligible debtors. The site also has basic bankruptcy information and FAQs.

LegalConsumer.com
http://www.legalconsumer.com/
This website has an interactive means test calculator, to help you determine if you will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This site also provides specific information based on where you live, like links to your local bankruptcy court and state bankruptcy forms, the median income in your state for purposes of determining Chapter 7 eligibility, and your state law bankruptcy exemption amounts.

Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School (LII)
http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/bankruptcy
On one handy page, you’ll find links to all sorts of laws relating to bankruptcy, including federal bankruptcy statutes, rules and cases, state bankruptcy statutes and cases, and scholarly articles about bankruptcy.

National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
http://www.nfcc.org/
The NFCC website provides general information about bankruptcy and more specific information about bankruptcy counseling. It has a national directory of local member agencies — nonprofit credit counseling agencies staffed by NFCC-trained, certified counselors. Counselors can provide pre-bankruptcy counseling as well as counseling regarding debt, credit, and foreclosure issues.

U.S. Court Website Bankruptcy Information
http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy.aspx
Here you’ll find the U.S. Court’s “Bankruptcy Basics,” an online manual with information about each type of bankruptcy, including Chapter 7 and 13 and other Chapters used by businesses, municipalities, farmers, and fisherman. This site also has interactive bankruptcy forms that you can fill out online, a complete copy of the bankruptcy rules, links to local bankruptcy court websites, and a list of bankruptcy filing fees.

U.S. Trustee’s Website
http://www.justice.gov/ust/
The U.S. Trustee website has information about avoiding bankruptcy foreclosure fraud and other bankruptcy scams. The site also maintains an up-to-date state-by-state list of approved credit counseling agencies and debtor financial management classes.

This article was sponsored by Massachusetts Criminal Defense, Business Litigation & Injury Lawyer – The Law Office of Andrew DiCarlo Berman. Experienced Criminal, Injury & Business attorney representing criminal defendants, victims of personal injury and and parties to civil actions – both individuals & businesses – in the Massachusetts State, Federal and Appellate court systems.

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U.S. Retail Sales Since 1992

RetailMay2014_0This graph shows retail sales since 1992 through May 2014. This is monthly retail sales and food service, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline). On a monthly basis, retail sales increased 0.3% from April to May (seasonally adjusted), and sales were up 4.3% from May 2013.

The consensus is for retail sales to increase 0.6% in June, and to increase 0.5% ex-autos.

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Officials Decry Companies That Offer Help With Student Loans As Predatory; Student Loans Bankruptcy Discharge

student_debt_bankruptcyStudent loans are almost impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.  Nonetheless, debt settlement companies, which offer to help borrowers lower their monthly loan payments for a hefty upfront fee, have long been fraught with problems, as federal and state regulators are spotting new instances of abuse as the companies shift away from their traditional targets — credit card and mortgage debt — to zero in on student loans, the New York Times reported today. Illinois today is expected to become the first state to bring legal action against debt settlement companies in connection with their student loan practices, contending in two separate lawsuits that Broadsword Student Advantage and First American Tax Defense duped vulnerable borrowers into paying for help that never arrived. In her suit against the companies and their operators, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan contends that the businesses lured borrowers into paying hundreds of dollars upfront, and in the case of Broadsword, $49.99 a month after that, according to copies of the lawsuits. The companies often misled customers about those fees, according to the suits, and in some instances feigned affiliation with federal relief programs.  Read the full story here.