Thursday, December 08, 2011

Discharging educational debt in bankruptcy - Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer

Here is a link regarding student loan debts.   Congress has made it increasingly more difficult to discharge educational debts in bankruptcy, having changed the laws several times in the last 14 years.

I know who can still discharge educational debt.  I know how.  Contact me to find out.   312-346-7400.
Leeders & Associates

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chicago Cubs, Now the Dallas Stars file bankruptcy

Economy hit you hard?   Cities are filing for bankruptcy protection, big league sports teams file bankruptcy too.
The Dallas Stars have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, 2011. - in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, case # 11-12935.  They are working on a sale of the club to a Vancouver businessman.  There were no competing bidders, so the team is finalizing the sale for $265 million dollars.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leeders & Associates -Chicago, IL Facebook page

I invite you to visit our Facebook page for Leeders and Associates.
Please follow the firm for useful tips, and insight into bankruptcy cases in Chicago.
Thanks for stopping by.   Here is a link to the facebook page.

Largest Municipal Bankruptcy Filing

In the case is In re Jefferson County, 11-05736-9, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Alabama,  Jefferson County, Alabama filed for Chapter 9 protection under the US Bankruptcy Code. This stemmed from the County not being able to refinance $3.1 Billion in sewer bonds.  This is the 12th filing of a Chapter 9 bankruptcy this year by municipalities.  Good luck to the county as the work through this troubling time.  As you may know, Jefferson County is where Birmingham, AL is located.   

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Bankruptcy Filings are down


Consumer bankruptcy filings totaled 106,255 nationwide last month, down almost 20 percent over last year according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC).  This is down about 2 percent from September as well.  Here is a link to the monthly filing charts Click here . The time is right to file to get a fresh start for the new year.  So if you are in Chicago, and are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact us now at 312-427-7400 or at
We file chapter 7 cases to eliminate consumer debts, and we file chapter 13 cases to stop foreclosure and help families get back on track.   Contact attorney Terrance Leeders today for a free debt analysis and bankruptcy consultation.   Flexible office hours in various locations around the city and suburbs of Chicago.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bankruptcy Filing Fee increase.

Effective November 1, 2011 the Bankruptcy Court Clerk has increased bankruptcy filing fees.  Chapter 7 filing fees are increasing to $306 and Chapter 13 filing fees will now be $281. For a free bankruptcy consultation in the Chicago area, feel free to contact my office at 312-427-7400.

Terry Leeders
Leeders & Associates, Ltd.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Better Business Bureau A+ Rating

Great News everyone.

As you know, I always recommend consumers check out the better business bureau when investigating new companies, whether it be an chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, debt consolidation company, or whether it be a contractor, or any local business for that matter.

The BBB can show if the business is accredited, response to consumer complaints, and general business backgrounds and contact information.

The great news is that the Better Business Bureau has awarded Leeders & Associates a BBB Rating of A+. This is great confirmation of the great work we are doing here, the diligence and helpfulness of the staff and of our dedication to our clients. I am pleased and thankful for this recongnition.

As one of the industry leaders, we strive to provide our clients with the best representation, at a reasonable fee, with top notch care provided for each and every client matter. Thank you.

As always, contact us for a free consultation. 312-427-7400.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strategic default on your mortgage. is a chapter 13 better?

I've recently read the following article on's blog.

It does offer some useful advice, but I think a chapter 13 should be looked at first.  If you are in default on the first mortgage, a chapter 13 can catch you up.  If the second mortgage is wholly unsecured, we can strip off the lien and pay it at a discounted rate, often for pennies on the dollar with no interest in many instances.  

A wholly unsecured second mortgage is where the balance on the first mortgage is greater than the value of the property.   We've seen many cases like this lately due to the collapse in real estate values over the last few years.

Contact us for a free Illinois bankruptcy evaluation at 312-427-7400.  Thanks

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New advertising sources

Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - Free Consults

Trying this as a new advertising source to bump up exposure for our bankruptcy law firm

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Racial discrepancy in bankruptcy filers?

In a recent report by the Woodstock Institute, the answer could be yes.
In the report found here "Bankruptcy filers in African-American neighborhoods choose potentially risky Chapter 13 more often than filers in white communities.   Women in Cook County’s African-American neighborhoods file for bankruptcy at a disproportionately high rate, a new report from Woodstock Institute found. The report also found that bankruptcy filers in African-American communities are far more likely to choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy over Chapter 7, a trend that may indicate limited economic benefits of the bankruptcy process to filers in these communities.  "

This is interesting.  Is it based on community relations? education?  religion? advertising?  my hunch is that it may be a combination of all of the above.   

I suggest the appropriate course based on the facts I am presented with.  I'll listen to what the client has to say, what their goals are as well.  I will follow my clients' request for whichever bankruptcy chapter, but if it is not my suggestion, I'll set out my reasons for my recommendation, and then let the client decide. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers near you

Leeders & Associates, Ltd. has several office locations to serve your needs throughout Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and can handle cases throughout the state.   The firm focuses on consumer and small business bankruptcy cases, filing cases under Chapter 7 and chapter 13.  We also handle divorce and family law matters in Cook, Dupage, Will, and Lake County.    Finally, we handle real estate closings in and around Chicago and suburbs for both buyers and sellers.

With convenient office locations, Leeders & Associates, Ltd. strives to provide you with top notch service at affordable prices.  We even offer free consultations too.

Visit us on the web at or check out our Facebook page.

20 E. Jackson Blvd. Suite 850 Chicago, IL 60604
10540 S. Western Ave Suite 402 Chicago, IL 60643
1821 Walden Office Square, Suite 400 Schaumburg, IL 60173
27475 Ferry Rd. Warrenville, IL 60555
228 N. Genesee St. Suite 205, Waukegan, IL 60085
16 W. Van Buren, Ste. 100 Joliet, IL 60432
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code in order to get a fresh start.

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers near you

Leeders & Associates, Ltd. has several office locations to serve your needs throughout Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and can handle cases throughout the state.   The firm focuses on consumer and small business bankruptcy cases, filing cases under Chapter 7 and chapter 13.

With convenient office locations, Leeders & Associates, Ltd. strives to provide you with top notch service at affordable prices.  We even offer free consultations too.
Come visit us today.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Documents needed for Illinois Bankruptcy filing

In Illinois, a debtor who is filing for bankruptcy, whether it is chapter 7 or chapter 13 must provide documents to the trustee right after filing.   These documents include pay advices and income statements, as well as tax returns.

Most people have their tax returns handy, and can forward a copy.   If not, the IRS can send you copies of the tax return transcripts (actually preferred by many of the trustees!).  You can call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 to obtain copies (usually the last 4 years are needed).   You can also order them by mail using the following IRS Form 4506-T.   Best news, is that they are free!!

You also need to send the last 2 months of pay stubs or income statements to the trustee, and you need to use the information from the last 6 months before filing to help calculate your Means Test Calculation on Form 22.
Hopefully, you have the documents handy, or your employer can reprint them for you.   If you are unemployed, you can access your unemployment statements in Illinois here.

This will help expedite your case, as your case can be dismissed for failure to submit these documents to the trustee.   For further information, you can contact the attorneys of Leeders & Associates for a free bankruptcy consultation to review all of your options, and filing requirements.


Bankruptcy fraud and baseball -Lenny Dykstra

Here is a recent story I read about bankruptcy fraud. Unfortunately, this happened to former big league star, Lenny Dykstra.  He is being accused of selling off his personal assets that were under control of his bankruptcy estate, monitored by the trustee.   This includes selling off of some sports memorabilia, and even the kitchen sink!! It's a good read, but an unfortunate story.  This leads me to the moral of the story, if you are starting a business, use a lawyer.  Obtain some type of corporate protection, whether it's an LLC, an S-Corp. or something similar.  This insulates your personal assets from the business, should things not work out as hoped.    Also, try to avoid personal guarantees, they will survive a closed business, and the only way to get rid of them is to pay them off, or file a personal bankruptcy, such as Mr. Dykstra filed.   Always seek the advice of your bankruptcy lawyer as well.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bankruptcy - can you just amend to make the problems go away?

The answer usually is yes... but this court decision begs to differ.
As quoted in the recent 7th Circuit decision

Stamat v. Neary, No. 09-3448 (March 24, 2011) N.D. Ill., E. Div. Affirmed

The US trustee objected to discharge of the debtor under 11 USC 724(a)(4). The debtor had several glaring omissions and errors in the schedules and statement of financial affairs. Apparently, the debtor misstated income on debtor's tax return, although defunct at the time of filing, the debtor failed to schedule interests in 2 former businesses, and 2 limited partnerships. Debtor also failed to list proceeds of the refinance of the debtors home, with receipts totaling $90,000. The court determined that these were not mere oversights for which an amendment could be made. the 7th circuit said that the bankruptcy court could properly rule that these omissions and errors were material and reckless given debtors' post-secondary education and business experience. The debtor did amend to correct these issues, but the court ruled that the objection to discharge would stand, as these did not mitigate the damage that was already done in the case due to the reckless omissions of the material facts of the case.

Therefore, moral of the story is to list all assets, debts, and fully complete the statement of financial affairs and the rest of the bankruptcy petition as required by law. You can't always file now, and fix them up later. Always use a competent, and diligent bankruptcy attorney when filing your case.

As a Chicago bankruptcy attorney, I understand the importance of having a bankruptcy petition that is true, accurate and complete, done right, the first time around.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Debt Consolidation Companies

Hi All.
As I've discussed several times before, many clients come to me seeking help regarding their debts, after having tried every way to salvage their credit.

Among efforts they have tried:

- Debt Negotiation with creditors
- Debt Consolidation companies
- Debt Settlement Companies
- Rolling the dice and hiding from creditor letters, phone calls and lawsuits

Nearly every client who come to me, stating that they have tried any or all of the above, have told me they just don't work, and they are in a worse position than they were before they started!

Nothing can be worse than putting all your "eggs in one 'credit basket" just to find out that the basket has a hole in it!! I've heard nightmares of these companies who promise the world and do little but cash the debtors check. There have been lawsuits filed in various states in hopes to shut down this consumer fraud that is rampant in the credit-debt world.

We are here to help. Talk to an experienced attorney who handles debt matters for clients on a day to day basis. Bankruptcy could be the answer, even if it sounds scary. Not to worry, things get better after bankruptcy.
Credit scores nearly always improve if you can take the lesson to heart and start rebuilding credit. Bankruptcy clients are getting credit after bankruptcy. They are!
My clients are getting credit cards, loans, car notes, and even homes after bankruptcy.

It does not take forever either! Often a debtor can start rebuilding credit almost immediately after the discharge. You don't need to wait 7 years, which is a horrible misconception I hear all of the time.

With the bankruptcy law change from 2005, Congress now requires debtors to receive debt counseling. In fact,they have to take 2 courses in order to be discharged of their debts in bankruptcy.

These classes can be done online, by phone or in person, and are relatively inexpensive, from free up to about $50 or so for each course.

They offer long term solutions to help get back on track to teach you the real life tools that high school and college often do not!

For a free bankruptcy consultation in Illinois, we are available to help get you on the path to financial freedom.

It's a free consultation, it can't hurt!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors

Many debtors get really anxious when their bankruptcy hearing is just around the corner. Common questions I hear are:

What will they ask me?
Will all of my creditors be there?
How long will it take??
What should I bring?
What should I wear?

All are great questions.

A Bankruptcy section 341 meeting of creditors is a hearing attended by the debtor, his/her attorney, the interim United States Trustee, and any creditors who wish to appear. Generally, no creditors do, unless there are major assets to be liquidated, or if a creditor intends on objecting, and wants to get some answers on the record.

The meetings are recorded, and answers are given under oath. The trustee is the court appointed administrator of the bankruptcy estate. The trustee is not the judge in your case. Actually, the judge is prohibited from attending this meeting!!
The trustee's job is to determine if there are any assets available to liquidate to pay creditors with. They job also is to confirm that the information in the bankruptcy petition and schedules is accurate and complete.

Generally, the meetings are 5-10 minutes in length. Generally business casual dress is acceptable. Read your instruction sheets and talk to your lawyer to confirm the dress code.

You should bring your ID, Social security card, most recent pay stub or proof of income to the meeting as well. Sometimes the trustee will request additional information, such as bank statements covering your filing date as well.

The trustee will usually ask you basic questions, to confirm your assets -cars, real estate, bank accounts, and then to see if any money is owed to you - inheritances, personal injury claims, tax refunds etc.

They may ask you about your income, any recent transactions you may have made, or if you have given any money or property to family or friends.

If creditors do appear, they will be given the chance to ask you any questions as well.

So, as you can see, these meetings are not too intense. Most debtors already know the answers already, and most of the questions are just yes and no answers.

If you have an attorney, talk to them to help prepare you for the meeting.
Discharge comes usually about 2 months after the hearing if everything goes according to plan.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stop foreclosure sales with Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Faced with a sale date on your property? Think all is lost? It isn't! You can stop a foreclosure sale before your home is gone for good with a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A chapter 13 can cure your mortgage default, get you a better deal on most financed items, including cars, and can discharge your unsecured debts, often at pennies on the dollar!

The bankruptcy code gives debtors who ran into a rough patch the ability to right the ship and get back on track with a chapter 13 repayment plan. The plan focuses on the value of assets, and your current monthly disposable income to create the repayment plan. The plan usually runs for 36-60 months in most cases, and debtors are usually debt free at the end (aside from the regular mortgage payment, ongoing child support and student loans).

If you are in Illinois, call Leeders & Associates today at 312-427-7400 to get information on chapter 13. We offer free consultations and roll much of our fees into the repayment plan too!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tax Refund anticipation Loan

There is much to say at this time of year regarding tax returns. One thing that comes up, is that many of my clients take refund anticipation loans to get their refund sooner. I've seen several commercials now on TV hyping these loans from Tax Preparers.

This is something I tell each and every client not to do.

Several issues:
1. Have you seen the crazy interest rates they charge? They are huge! 300-400% or more! This is hundreds of dollars to get your money a few weeks sooner, is that smart?
2 They don't come too much faster than you would get your tax refund if you file electronically, and get direct deposit.
3. These refund anticipation loans are just that, loans. If there is a seize order out there for child support, judgments, student loans etc, the loan company will come calling, since they didn't get the refund as agreed upon when you take these loans.
4. If you wind up owing this company, it might not be dischargeable in bankruptcy on several challenges: a) too recent, or b) false information in the loan application (otherwise the company may have denied the request originally)

So, file your taxes. File them electronically, and request the IRS direct deposit them into your bank account. They even offer debit cards too.

Talk to your bankruptcy lawyer about how to protect the tax refund if you are looking to file bankruptcy.

If you are in Illinois, you can contact me at or call me at 312-427-7400, or view my website at


Here is a good foundation to support, they do some fine work.
Can you RISE to the occasion?