5 things to do after you file bankruptcy

what to do after bankruptcyYou’ve just filed your bankruptcy case, and now you’re on pins and needles. You’ve gotten all the paperwork together, answered all our “lawyer questions”, and filed all your schedules with the court. What happens now?

Actually – not much… Most of the work has already been done at this point.

It’s important to stay engaged, though. You don’t want to hand everything to your attorney and then go silent.

We get the “what next?” question all the time, so we thought we’d put together this list of 5 things to do AFTER you’ve filed your bankruptcy case.

1. Ask us questions

If you don’t understand something, let us know! Let us know you’re confused and we’ll take the time to explain things.

2. Open all your mail

Most of our clients are tired of collection notices, so they’re not quick to open their mail. Make sure you’re opening everything so you’ll see anything we send to you. We’ll send you a copy of everything so you know what’s going on and what we’re doing for you.

3. Respond quickly

If we ask you for information or any documents, don’t make us wait. Bankruptcy cases typically move pretty quickly, so we don’t want a delay to complicate your case.

4. Keep us posted

Major life events can affect a bankruptcy case. If you’ve changed jobs, lost your job, had a major accident, or moved, you need to let us know.

5. Don’t worry!

Bankruptcy is confusing and scary – but our staff does this all the time. We have years of experience with bankruptcy cases, and most cases have no unexpected complications.

We’re always here to help! If you’ve got questions or concerns, or you just need something explained, give us a call and we’ll explain whatever you need.

Struggling with debt? Here’s how to avoid bankruptcy

Debt is pretty much a fact of life for most Americans. Most families don’t teach their children how to responsibly manage money, which leads to problems down the road. The majority of today’s workforce has learned money management through trial and lots of error.

It’s far too easy to get overextended on your finances, and most people don’t realize that they’re in trouble until it’s almost too late. When you’re already stretching your finances to the limit, any unexpected bump can send you down the road to bankruptcy.

If you’re wondering if you’re overextended or starting to struggle with debt, the following signs show you’re in danger:

  • You don’t have any savings, or you have to pull from your savings every month for expenses
  • Other than your car payment and mortgage, you couldn’t pay off 100% of your debt within 1 year
  • You don’t actually know how much you owe
  • You use new credit cards to pay off old credit cards or loans
  • You use credit cards for everyday expenses
  • You always pay only the minimum due on your credit cards
  • You’ve paid your credit cards late, or skipped payments
  • More than 20% of your actual take-home pay goes towards debt
    • You don’t have to be behind – if you’ve got credit card balances that never seem to get paid down because you’re always making new charges, that’s a dangerous situation. A sudden accident with big medical bills or even the loss of your job would send you spinning out of control.

      If you said yes to any of the items above and think you might be overextended, you should take immediate steps to get your financial situation under control. If you can regain control and stay on a healthy path, you’ll be able to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

      Here’s how to get your finances on track:

      1. Figure out exactly what you owe. It can be scary to sit down and look at the big picture, but you need to know the exact number. Once you know exactly what you owe, you’ll be able to make a plan.
      2. Look at your total take-home pay for a single month. This is the most important number, because you have to create a plan where you’ve got more coming in than what you’re spending.
      3. Create a detailed budget. Figure out what you have to spend for the essentials – shelter, utilities, food, and transportation. Don’t count your credit cards or any other expenses here – you need to set your number for necessary expenses so you know what’s left over each month.
      4. Take the money that’s left over and start applying it to your debts. Pay the minimum amount due on every debt except one, and push as much as you can afford towards that balance. Once you’ve paid off that debt, move on to the next. If you make a solid, realistic plan for paying off your debts, it’s much easier to stick to your budget and be responsible with your money.
      5. Once you’ve paid off most of your debt, start saving. Build up your savings in case an unexpected event comes up – you don’t want to have to start all over!
      6. Most importantly – stick to your budget even after you’ve paid off your credit cards. If you stick to your budget and plan ahead for big purchases, you’ll find that it’s easy to stay on top of your finances and avoid debt altogether.

Considering bankruptcy? Follow these 4 tips

4 bankruptcy tipsMost of our clients come to us, struggling with massive debts that have spun out of control. We’ve shared lots of tips in the past for avoiding debt, but it’s also important to get advice from a financial advisor or bankruptcy attorney before you decide to file.

According to John Rao, a bankruptcy attorney with a Boston-based consumer advocacy group, you should “first explore opportunities to resolve problems outside of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy isn’t going to help everyone.”

Typically, you’ll want to consider bankruptcy if:

  • Most of your debt is “unsecured” (such as credit card bills or medical bills)
  • You’re hounded by calls from collection agencies at home and at work
  • You’ve had wages garnished or your bank account frozen after a judgement
  • You’ve been sued


Should I file bankruptcy?

should i file bankruptcyWe’ve helped many hundreds of Dallas-area residents with their bankruptcy cases over the years, and the most common question we hear first is “Should I file bankruptcy?”

When you’re drowning in uncontrollable debt, you’re stressed and scared – and bankruptcy seems like a huge step to take. That’s why we offer free consultations… we want to help explain every step of the process and all possible outcomes, so you’ll be able to make the right decision for your situation.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of bankruptcy and ways to decide when bankruptcy might be the right decision for you.

What exactly is bankrtupcy?

The federal government established bankruptcy laws to allow individuals and businesses a way to get relief from debts that they’re unable to pay back, in order to get a fresh start. The laws were created so that honest people who had unfortunate circumstances could get a clean slate and start over. (more…)

Tax consequences of bankruptcy

eliminate income tax debt with bankruptcyIt’s tax season again, which means we’re hearing lots of questions from potential clients about the tax implications of filing for bankruptcy. It’s a fairly simple answer – it depends on whether the debt was discharged in bankruptcy or just forgiven by the creditor.

Tax implications of debts discharged in bankruptcy

If your debt is discharged as part of your bankruptcy case, there are no income tax consequences. Since the debt is excluded from your gross income, you don’t have to worry about anything with the IRS.

Many times, you’ll receive a 1099-C form , which is for debt that’s been canceled or forgiven. If your receive one, you’ll just need to file Form 982 with your taxes, which lets the IRS know that the debt was in fact discharged in your bankruptcy case.

What about debts cancelled outside of bankruptcy?

If you’ve borrowed from a commercial lender and that lender later forgives or cancels your debt, you’ll most likely have to include the canceled amount as income when you file your taxes. Typically, loan proceeds don’t count as income because you’re obligated to pay back the loan. Once the loan is canceled or forgiven, that makes the loan count as income.

If you’re in this situation, your lender will send out Form 1099-C, “Cancelation of debt to the debtor.” They’re required to send this form by the 31st of January of the year following the year when your debt was canceled.

The unpaid portion of your loan will be reported as income, unless:

  • You are insolvent when the debt is canceled.
  • You operate a farm and the debt results from your farm, more than half of your income from the last 3 years was from farming, and the loan was owed to an agency regularly engaged in lending.
  • It’s a non-recourse loan
  • It’s excepted by the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007

If you’re in a rough financial spot and you’re considering bankruptcy – but wondering about the tax implications – call us today at 214-760-7777 and schedule a free consultation. We’ll walk you through the various parts of bankruptcy so you fully understand how things will work.

Check out this review from a happy client

Rubin & Associates reviews from happy clients in DallasIt’s always great to hear from happy clients… Bad things can happen to good people, and we love to help hard working Dallas area residents get a fresh start. Here’s an awesome review left recently by Mr. Shaw:

Mr. Rubin was at the 341 meeting with me in Plano. Sitting there nervously waiting, I was relieved to see Mr. Rubin walk in. This process is new to me. I was very apprehensive and a bit depressed in the first meeting with Mr. Rubin. I felt ashamed and feeling I had failed in my responsibilities. I left the meeting feeling a bit better with the confidence and knowledge that Mr. Rubin showed.

The entire staff I have been involved with at your offices have all been very pleasant, helpful and respectful, and left me feeling much more comfortable about this whole process.

After leaving the meeting yesterday with Mr. Rubin in the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Office, I wanted him to know how much I appreciate his efforts and his work. Being represented by someone so comfortable in his abilities and knowledge has put me and my family at ease and confident that we have done the right thing and the future looks much better.

In my work as a Commercial Pilot, I strive to be as knowledgeable, proficient and confident in my flying as I can be, so that my passengers are relaxed and comfortable and safe on their flight. I take that responsibility very seriously. Its a good feeling at the end of a difficult flight to see their appreciation. Not unlike what Mr. Rubin has done for me. I can see that he takes his job and responsibilities very seriously as well.

Please tell him and his staff, thank you, for me and my family. We are very grateful.

6 Tips For Avoiding Bankruptcy

tips for avoiding bankruptcyThe proliferation of credit cards and the “gotta have it now” American lifestyle have lead to a problem: for many Americans, living with debt is par for the course. In many cases, debt spirals out of control until filing for bankruptcy appears to be the only way out.

Most of our clients are regular, hard-working people who simply had a bump in the road. Whether it was the loss of a job, reduction in wages, or an accident, a single speed bump on the road of life can really send you in a different direction.

Once you start living on credit and spending more than you can afford to pay off, the debt multiplies quickly until it seems like there’s no escape.

The best advice we can give when it comes to bankruptcy is to simply avoid the situations that could lead to bankruptcy in the first place. These 6 tips can help you stay on a solid financial foundation and avoid bankruptcy:

1. Pay off your debt over time

If your debt isn’t too far beyond your control, sit down and take a look at how much you owe. If you can re-adjust your budget and stick to a plan, you might actually be able to pay down your debt on your own.

2. Sell some assets

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have lots of “stuff” that you don’t really need. Instead of hanging on, sell off the items you can live without to get some extra cash to pay off your debts. You can sell furniture, jewelry, or even electronics.

3. Ask creditors for help

The credit card companies would rather get something from you than nothing at all. Call your creditors and let them know you’re struggling to pay your bills. You might be able to lower your monthly payments or even decrease your interest rate. It’s important to stay responsible if you go this route – you’ll have to be sure to stick to your plan and pay off your debts.

4. Ask friends or family for help

It might be embarrassing to let your friends and family know about your struggle with debt, but a bit of moral support can go a long way. If your loved ones know that you’re trying to stay on the straight and narrow, they can help you avoid temptation. You won’t have to put on a show so that everyone thinks your financial situation is problem-free.

5. Live within your means

We’ve said this many times before – you simply can’t spend more than you earn. Credit cards make it far too easy to spend money you don’t have. Avoid the temptation and adjust your spending habits, and don’t buy things you don’t need.

6. Set a budget and stick to it

The single most important tip for avoiding bankruptcy is to set a budget – and stick to it. Obviously, a budget won’t matter if you’re not going to follow it. You’ve got to look at how much money you bring in, how much you spend, and what’s left over. Include your payment plan for paying off your debts.

Bankruptcy Do’s and Don’ts

bankruptcy tips for Dallas residentsIf you’re on our site, you’re either considering bankruptcy or in the process of filing. Don’t be intimidated – we help tons of Dallas area families just like you every year with their bankruptcy cases. It’s an unfortunate truth of life – sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Sometimes, all it takes is one financial bump in the road – the loss of a job, a reduction in salary, or an unexpected medical expense – and you’ll be forced to file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws were put in place for just this reason… Everyone deserves a fresh start.

You’ll definitely want to consult with your bankruptcy attorney once you’ve decided to file, but these are a few guidelines that can help you prepare for your bankruptcy. We’ve shared several tips to help you get ready to file, so you’ll have a better understanding when you discuss your situation with your attorney.

Things to do before filing bankruptcy

1. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Filing bankruptcy is a scary process, and most people are incredibly stressed out from the overwhelming debt and relentless calls from debt collectors. Your bankruptcy attorney is there to help you through the process. They’ll help explain the process so you understand what’s happening and what’s coming in the future. Take a deep breath and think about how much better your life will be once you’ve got a clean slate. (more…)

By | September 20th, 2016|Bankruptcy|0 Comments

Recent Testimonials for Rubin & Associates

testimonialsWe can talk all day long about our experience helping local Dallas residents get a fresh start through bankruptcy, but sometimes our clients say it better than we do.

Here are a few of the notes and emails we’ve received from recent clients:

God Bless You –

Thank all of you for being there to see me through it, from day one until the last day.

Thank you, thank you!

– Barbara


I wanted to thank you for taking time to meet with me in person on Tuesday 4/5. I now have a better understanding of the issues with my case. It was important to me to be able to do this, and I can’t thank you enough. Even though I’m aware that the Chapter 13 was the right decision for me, I still have some anxiety about the unknown. You answered all my questions and broadened my understanding of how these things work. It can be very complicated for a lay-person, and I appreciate your plain English.

I’m glad I have you representing me!

Thanks again,


Thank you so much… PRAISE GOD and Mark Rubin and Associates!!! A HUGE SPECIAL THANK YOU TO KELLI JOHNSON – now it bought me time… I’ve got connection to guy/friend who does home equity loans for those that are challenged. Says he should be able to get it done for me for 50-60k. I’d pay off bankruptcy stuff with it – what do I need to start doing or do is my next question? THANKS AGAIN MY ANGEL KELLI


How old do you have to be to file for bankruptcy?

Dallas bankruptcy attorneySometimes, we’ll have younger clients come in for their free consultations and ask if they’re old enough to file for bankruptcy. While there are government-set age limits for driving, voting, and drinking, there’s no age restriction for bankruptcy.

In fact, the absence of an age limit for bankruptcy made the news back in 1998, when a 10 year old in Maryland filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Yes, you read that correctly – a 10 year old filed for bankruptcy.