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Craig D. Robins, Esq. New York Bankruptcy Attorney, Longisland bankruptcy attorney

“ Craig D. Robins, Esq., has been a practicing Long Island bankruptcy attorney for over twenty-four years ”

Craig D. Robins, Esq.

Archive for June, 2012

Homeowners: Don’t Be Scammed by Forensic Audit of Mortgage Docs

Posted on Wednesday (June 20, 2012) at 1:00 am to Foreclosure Defense
Mortgages & Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown

homeowners-scammed-by-forensic-analysisWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Unfortunately, homeowners who can barely afford their monthly mortgage payments or who are in foreclosure are in a very vulnerable position and can become easy prey for con-artists.
 
Beware of companies offering “forensic audits” and promises of obtaining new payment terms for a mortgage or a receiving a loan modification.
 
The Federal Trade Commission recently petitioned a U.S. District Court in California to shutdown a company that was allegedly offering pricey forensic audits together with claims that the company had a 100% chance that they would uncover violations of federal and state mortgage law that would entitle the homeowner to a mortgage modification or other relief.
 
A forensic audit is basically a review of various loan documents, closing papers, correspondence from the lender, and foreclosure papers to determine if the lender violated any laws in providing the mortgage or enforcing payment of it.
 
In our Long Island foreclosure defense practice, we regularly review such papers and documents to ascertain what defenses may be asserted in a foreclosure proceeding, but we do not make any promises or representations.
 
However, some unscrupulous con-artists have been setting up shop under the guise of offering a forensic loan analysis.  For over a year, the Federal Trade Commission has labeled these audits as a new twist on foreclosure rescue fraud.
 
The FTC states that these so-called auditors, for a fee of many hundreds or even thousands of dollars, use half-truths and outright lies to sell services that promise relief to homeowners in distress.
 
In particular, the FTC has said that there is no evidence that forensic mortgage loan audits will help a consumer get a loan modification or any other foreclosure relief, even if they’re conducted by a licensed, legitimate and trained auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer.  
 
It is unfortunate, but many of our clients come to us to defend them in a foreclosure case after having been taken advantage of by one of these unscrupulous companies.  We do NOT offer forensic audits of mortgages, but do review all mortgage documents when we represent clients with defending a foreclosure on Long Island.
 
Last week the FTC effectively shut down a very large operation based in California, as well as several websites that it operated which offered bogus relief.  The companies were owned by Ryan Zimmerman and went by several names including Consumer Advocates Group Experts, LLC.  

The FTC has advice for consumers about mortgage modification and foreclosure rescue scams.  For more information see the website Your Home and the publication Forensic Mortgage Loan Audit Scams: A New Twist on Foreclosure Rescue Fraud.
 
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You Can Discharge Social Security Overpayments in Bankruptcy

Posted on Friday (June 15, 2012) at 1:00 pm to Bankruptcy Tips Consumers Should Know
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Tax and Bankruptcy Issues

Social Security overpayments can be discharged in bankruptcyWritten by Craig D. Robins, seek Esq.
 
There are many types of debts that can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.  Most consumers seek to discharge credit cards debts, medical bills, loans, etc.  Some consumers have the Social Security Administration (SSA) chasing them down as well.
 
This is because the SSA, after they paid benefits to a particular consumer, determined that they paid too much for one reason or another, and they demanded the consumer to pay the overpayment back.  What happens most frequently is that the applicant, who was receiving Social Security benefits, goes back to work but the SSA continues to make payments.
 
When the SSA learns that there has been an overpayment, it makes a demand that the overpayment be repaid within 30 days.  These overpayments can add up to a sizable amount.  Can this type of obligation be discharged in a bankruptcy filing?
 
Yes.  In general, Social Security overpayments can be eliminated by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  They can be treated as typical unsecured debt in Chapter 13.
  
Although claims owed to some governmental entities are entitled to special treatment in a bankruptcy filing, the Social Security Administration is not.  They are treated like any other general unsecured creditor.  That means that a consumer seeking Chapter 7 relief can discharge a debt owed to the SSA.
 
However, all creditors have the ability to challenge discharge if it appears that the debtor incurred the debt through fraud or fraudulent pretenses.  The SSA technically has the right to object to discharge if it appears that the debtor knew or should have known that he or she was not entitled to the Social Security benefits.
 
That being said, I have never seen an instance of the SSA challenging discharge in my 25+ years of practicing consumer bankruptcy on Long Island.  Nevertheless, it would be wise to consult with an experience bankruptcy attorney if you owe Social Security debt.
 
Once a bankruptcy petition is filed, the SSA must immediately stop all proceedings to collect the overpayment.  Not only is this statutory bankruptcy law, it is also SSA policy on bankruptcy filings.
 
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Future Robo-Signers Could Be Heading to Prison in Foreclosure Fraud Cleanup

Posted on Thursday (June 14, 2012) at 9:00 pm to Foreclosure Defense
Mortgages & Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown

Robo-Signing may come to an end in New York if foreclosure Fraud bill is enactedWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2012 Bill Introduced Today in New York
 
The concept of Robo-Signing exploded onto the foreclosure scene about two years ago when it came to light that mortgage companies and foreclosure attorneys were taking illegal shortcuts.
 
Today, New York lawmakers introduced a bill that would make it a felony for mortgage servicer managers or their employees who commit foreclosure fraud.
 
The bill, which was drafted by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, provides that mortgage servicers who “authorize, prepare, execute or offer for filing false documents in a pending or prospective residential foreclosure action” can face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  In addition, multiple acts of robo-signing would be treated as a Class E felony punishable with up to four years in prison.
 
As a foreclosure defense attorney on Long Island, I’ve seen many families’ lives crushed when banks brought improper foreclosure proceedings against them.  We have been fortunate to have some of these cases dismissed.  This legislation offers foreclosure accountability — a concept that has been duly lacking.
 
In a press release, the Attorney General stated, “For many middle class New Yorkers, their life savings is in their home.  To take away people’s homes under fraudulent circumstances is a crime deserving of jail time.”
 
The proposed legislation imposes a very stringent duty of accountability, something which barely exists with any teeth today.  It appears that this bill, if enacted, will provide the strong criminal-law deterrent we need to prevent such abhorrent activity from continuing.
 
Robo-signing describes the process whereby mortgage companies and their foreclosure attorneys sign numerous documents in robotic fashion without verifying the facts attested to in those documents.  About two years ago, as the U.S. foreclosure crisis reached a head, it became apparent that robo-signing was a major and widespread problem throughout the country in a great number of foreclosure proceedings.  I wrote extensively about this problem previously, and my law office has successfully used this as a defense in many cases.  See Craig Robins Mentioned in New York Times Cover Story About Sloppy Foreclosure Lawyers Who Represent Lenders .  See also Boston Globe article about Robo-Signers.
 
Incidentally, Nevada enacted legislation in October which made foreclosure fraud a felony.  As a result, the number of foreclosure filings in that state dropped to almost zero while banks and their attorneys made sure their cases were clean and correct.  It would be nice to see lenders who bring foreclosure proceedings in New York make sure that there cases are 100% clean and proper at the time of filing.
 
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Should You Reaffirm a Mortgage in Bankruptcy?

Posted on Tuesday (June 12, 2012) at 8:00 pm to Bankruptcy Tips Consumers Should Know
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Uncategorized

There is rarely any benefit to reaffirming a mortgage in a Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy case in New YorkWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Reaffirming a debt in bankruptcy means that you continue to be obligated on the debt as if you hadn’t sought bankruptcy protection.  Debtors sometimes reaffirm their car loans because there are special bankruptcy code provisions that require them to do so. 
 
However, this requirement does not apply to real estate.  Debtors do not have to reaffirm a mortgage debt.
 
Most Debtors Should Not Re-affirm a Mortgage
 
Generally, there is no reason to reaffirm a mortgage obligation unless the mortgagee has agreed to modify one or more of the mortgage terms so that keeping the mortgage is much, much more beneficial.
 
Possible changes could include a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment, placing arrears on the back end, deeming a default as cured, etc.
 
However, if your payments are current, there is usually no tangible benefit to reaffirm a mortgage loan.  The only possible benefit is that the mortgage company will continue to report your stream of future on-time payments (assuming that you make them) to the credit reporting agencies.
 
Most lenders will stop such reporting to credit reporting agencies once a bankruptcy is filed, even if the homeowner continues to make monthly payments, a process commonly referred to as retain and pay.  Of course, the downside to reporting payments is that if you are late, you will hurt your credit score.
 
Also remember that if you reaffirm the mortgage and can’t make the payments, the mortgage company can and likely will sue you for money.  They cannot sue you for money if you refuse to reaffirm.
 
Reaffirming a mortgage debt requires a comprehensive multi-page reaffirmation agreement that must be filed with the court.  The reaffirmation agreement also requires the debtor’s bankruptcy attorney to indicate that he or she has read the agreement and that it does not impose any undue hardship on the client.
 
Some attorneys, for good reason, will not sign this.  In addition, some judges will not permit a debtor to reaffirm a mortgage loan unless the debtor is incurring some kind of valuable benefit for doing so.
 
There Are Benefits for Not Signing a Mortgage Reaffirmation Agreement
 
Keep in mind that Chapter 7 bankruptcy has the effect of discharging a debtor’s financial obligation to pay the mortgage.  That means that if the debtor stops paying the mortgage, the most the mortgagee can do is foreclose on the home and take it back.  If there is a bankruptcy discharge, then the mortgagee can never pursue the mortgagor for any money, even if there is a large deficiency.
 
Eliminating personal recourse on the mortgage is a very powerful tool that many of my clients can later fall back on if they no longer desire to keep their home.  Having the ability to strategically default on a mortgage is very valuable.
 
In my practice, I rarely see mortgage lenders who are willing to change the terms of a first mortgage.  Therefore, there are very few instances where reaffirming a mortgage is advisable.
 
Incidentally, I regularly receive “proposed” reaffirmation agreements from mortgage companies all the time.  Some arrive by overnight mail; some by e-mail marked urgent.  It upsets me when I see this because I think there are inexperienced bankruptcy attorneys out there who feel that the reaffirmation agreement, which just arrived by Federal Express, must be signed. 
 
I have never seen an unsolicited reaffirmation that offers any benefit, and they all get quickly filed in my circular filing bin.
 
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Will Lindsay Lohan File Bankruptcy? What About the Crash and Lies?

Posted on Monday (June 11, 2012) at 8:00 pm to Benefits of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Current Events

Lindsay Lohen and BankruptcyWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Lindsay has been getting into one mess after another and the drama continues this week for the young actress following her crash this past Friday on the Pacific Coast Highway.
 
One can’t help but wonder what liabilities she is getting into and how she will resolve them. 
 
As a bankruptcy attorney, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ponder the issues and obligations that have arisen from her recent foibles and see how she would resolve them in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
 
Lindsay Just Crashed her Porsche
 
On Friday Lindsay crashed her sports car on the Pacific Coast Highway, on her way to the set where she is filming the Elizabeth Taylor biography.  Although no one was hurt, this became major news within hours.
 
The liability is damage to her expensive car, damage to the truck she collided with, and possible fines.
 
So far, the matter is being investigated.  News just released today could mean Lindsay is in for more trouble as she initially told officers that she was a passenger, but today it was revealed that her assistant claimed that Lindsay was driving.
 
If is determined that alcohol was involved, her insurance carrier will likely deny coverage to her.  She would also be fined.  Fines are a type of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
 
Also, any debt she incurs as a result of driving while intoxicated constitutes one of the more unusual exceptions to discharge.  Thus, if she was drunk, any financial liability she incurs from the accident would be non-dischargeable.  However, any creditor seeking a determination that the debt is nondischargeable will have to bring an adversary proceeding.
 
If Lindsay incurred any financial liability, and the car crash was accidental, and she was not drunk, then she would be able to discharge these obligations.  That would include any balance due on the car loan or lease.
 
Lying to the Police About Who Was Driving

This twist will certainly be interesting to follow.  It also reminds us of the importance of being truthful in bankruptcy proceedings.  Lying to a bankruptcy court is a serious offense punishable as a felony under federal law, meaning the potential of more than a year in jail.
 
The Stolen Necklace
 
Lindsay is currently on probation for having shoplifted a necklace.  Any debts from this caper cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy.  Criminal fines are non-dischargeble.  So is restitution.
 
The Two DUI Incidents from 2007
As indicated above, any traffic fines and restitution obligations are non-dischargeable.

 
Credit Card Debts 

 

Lindsay surely built up a bunch of debt from being out of work, having stints in jail, and attending rehab.  She also lost some movie deals.  Several years ago, people said she was broke, owed over half a million dollars and also owed money to her landlord.

In general, credit card debts and other personal obligations are fully dischargeable in bankruptcy, even if bad behavior led to getting into debt.  Thus, if Lindsay filed bankruptcy, she would be able to eliminate her credit card debts.
 
The Playboy Shoot Enables Lindsay to Avoid Bankruptcy
 
Some commentators have suggested that Lindsay avoided bankruptcy by posing for Playboy last year. 
 
Doing so gave her a quick cash infusion of up to a million bucks that enabled her to resolve her debts for the time being.
 
Consumers can avoid a bankruptcy filing if they can come up with some cash resources that would enable them to negotiate their debts.  We help consumers negotiate credit card debt on Long Island, which is a viable alternative to bankruptcy.
 
What Bankruptcy Court Would Lindsay File In?
 
Lindsay used to live here on Long Island, where my bankruptcy practice is, and where her mother still resides.  If she had to file, she would probably want to do it where she could be comforted by her mother. 
 
However, she would be required to file where she has regularly resided for the greater portion of the prior 180 days, which would be Los Angeles.
 
My Bankruptcy Firm’s  (Indirect) Connection to Lindsay Lohan

As a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer, I previously represented one of the many ex-girlfriends of Lindsay’s father, Michael Lohan, with the filing of her bankruptcy.  As a matter of fact, Michael Lohan paid the girlfriend’s legal fee and came to our office to do so.
 
However, a few weeks later, they broke up and he contacted us, demanding that we return the legal fee!  Of course, we did not.  We then filed the ex-girlfriends bankruptcy and she received her discharge.
 
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Life Estates and Remainder Interests Are Exempt in Bankruptcy Cases

Posted on Saturday (June 9, 2012) at 1:00 pm to Recent Bankruptcy Court Decisions
Suffolk Lawyer

viagra life estates and remainder interests are exempt” src=”http://longislandbankruptcyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/home-happy-child-394×500.jpg” alt=”home-happy-child” width=”260″ />United States District Court, In Case of First Impression, Permits Homestead Exemption to be Used to Protect Future Interests in Real Estate Used as a Home 
 
Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Many senior citizens, as part of an elder-law planning strategy, transfer title of their homes to their children while retaining a life estate.
 
Doing so, and waiting a requisite period of time, enables the seniors to qualify for certain Medicaid benefits, and further permits the house to pass without probate.
 
However, up until recently, there was a degree of uncertainty by some bankruptcy trustees as to whether the remainder interests were protected in bankruptcy.
 
A Typical New York Family Tries to Exempt a Remainder Interest in their Home
 
In 2009, I was retained by a typical Long Island family, the Rasmussens – a husband and wife – to represent them in what appeared to be a typical Chapter 7 filing involving typical consumer debt.
 
The only fact that was out of the ordinary was that they lived with the husband’s mother, a widow, who had previously deeded a life estate in her house to herself, while granting the remainder interest to her son and daughter-in-law.
 
I assumed that the debtors would be able to protect their remainder interest by asserting the New York homestead exemption which permits debtors who own their homes and reside in them to protect a certain amount of equity.
 
After all, the debtors owned the remainder interest, which is an interest in real estate, and they resided in the house.  They also contributed to the household expenses by paying rent to the husband’s mother pursuant to an oral lease.
 
I filed the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in March 2009 in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court here on Long Island, and Chapter 7 Trustee Kenneth Silverman was appointed trustee.  The trustee disagreed with our contention that the remainder interest was exempt as a homestead.
 
The Chapter 7 Trustee Objects to Using Homestead Exemption to Protect Future Interest but Loses
 
The trustee then brought a proceeding challenging the debtors’ claimed exemption, arguing that since the debtors did not have a present right to possession, they did not sufficiently “own” the property as required by the homestead statute.
 
Judge Alan S. Trust, in a decision in July 2010, ruled in favor of the debtors stating that they could exempt their remainder interest as a homestead.  In re Rasmussen, No 09-72069-ast, (Bankr. E.D.N.Y., Jul. 20, 2010).  See the decision here:  Rasmussen Homestead Exemption Decision by Judge Trust.
 
The Judge commented that this was a case of first impression in the Second Circuit, and that there was no federal or New York case law in this jurisdiction addressing whether holders of either a life estate or a remainder interest can claim a homestead exemption under the New York homestead exemption statute, C.P.L.R. § 5206.
 
The Court determined that the debtors’ remainder interest qualified for the exemption because New York’s homestead exemption statute does not specify which types of ownership interests are exemptible, and hence does not preclude it.
 
The Court further concluded that since a future interest in real property is descendible, devisable, and alienable to the same degree as estates in possession, the debtors’ interest is therefore an ownership interest and thus exemptible.
 
Judge Trust further found this outcome was particularly apt in light of the Bankruptcy Court’s duty to construe the homestead exemption in the debtors’ favor to effectuate its purpose of protecting homeowners from seizure of their homes and to protect a debtor’s home in the event of bankruptcy.
 
Appeal to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Affirms Bankruptcy Court Decision
 
Although the debtors and I were elated by this decision, within days the trustee appealed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
 
In September 2011, Judge Joanna Seybert affirmed the Bankruptcy Court’s decision, commenting that Judge Trust’s decision was thoughtful and well-reasoned.  In re Rasmussen, No. 10-CV-4173-js (E.D.N.Y., Sept. 14, 2011).  See the decision here:  U.S.D.C. Decision — Rasmussen Homestead Exemption.
 
Judge Seybert focused on the wording of the homestead statute which permits homeowners to exempt their home when it is “owned and occupied as a principal residence.”
 
There was no dispute that the debtors occupied the premises as principal residence.  The only issue was therefore whether the debtors “own” the premises within the meaning of the homestead statute.
 
The District Court held, as did the court below, that a future interest is an ownership interest.
 
The trustee had claimed that the Bankruptcy Court was incorrect in concluding that “neither exclusive possession nor exclusive ownership are, on the face of CPLR § 5206(a), required to establish an exemptible interest.”  
 
To that, the District Court stated, “The trustee is plainly wrong. Section 5206(a), by its terms, does not specify the circumstances of ownership or occupation required to claim a homestead exemption.”
 
Although Judge Seybert applied her reasoning to the actual set of facts, which included the fact that the debtors paid rent to the husband’s mother pursuant to an oral lease, the decision is pretty clear that the debtors would have received the same result, even if they did not pay rent.  The Judge did not address this distinction at all.
 
Thus, there should be no doubt in this jurisdiction – the Eastern District of New York, that absent a higher appellate court case down the road, future interests and remainder interests are exempt as homesteads in bankruptcy proceedings, as long as the debtor resides in the premises.

 

————————-
  
 
About the Author.  Long Island Bankruptcy Attorney Craig D. Robins, Esq., is a regular columnist for the Suffolk Lawyer, the official publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association in New York. This article appeared in the November  2011 issue of the Suffolk Lawyer. Mr. Robins is a bankruptcy lawyer who has represented thousands of consumer and business clients during the past twenty years. He has offices in Mastic, Patchogue, Commack, West Babylon, Coram, Woodbury and Valley Stream.      Call (516) 496-0800. For information about filing bankruptcy on Long Island, please visit his Bankruptcy web site: http://www.BankruptcyCanHelp.com.  
 
 
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Massive Nassau County Mortgage Fraud Drives Victims Into Bankruptcy

Posted on Friday (June 8, 2012) at 3:00 pm to Benefits of Bankruptcy
Consumer Advice
Foreclosure Defense

Victim of Mortgage Fraud and Identity Theft Used Bankruptcy to Eliminate DebtsWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
Victim of Identity Theft Uses Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to Put Financial Mess Behind Him
 
We recently filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for an individual who was victimized in the largest mortgage fraud and ID theft scheme in Nassau County’s history.
 
Nassau County’s investigation, dubbed “Operation:  Sweet Deal,” involved more than 45 independent acts of fraud.  District Attorney Kathleen Rice indicted 17 people in March 2011 for charges ranging from enterprise corruption and first-degree grand larceny to money laundering, identity theft and conspiracy. 
 
As our client’s recent Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing illustrate, the ripple effects continue.
 
The masterminds, James Robert Sweet, 43, and Dwayne Benjamin, 44, both of Westbury, New York, lined up straw buyers, some of whom were duped, to buy homes in foreclosure claiming that such purchases would be a good investment opportunity.  However, the scheme involved purchasing the properties at a higher price than what the seller was asking. 
 
Sweet Deal underhandedly arranged to keep the difference as part of the scam.  In addition, they told the new purchasers that they would rent out the properties, collect rent from tenants, and make the mortgage payments; yet they intentionally did not make any payments.  Sweet Deal thus walked away with the profits, stole the equity in the properties, left the purchasers in the lurch.
 
How Our Client Was Duped
 
Our client was just one of those purchasers who was deceived into getting involved with the venture.  Unbeknownst to our client, after purchasing one property, Sweet Deal purchased a second and third property in our client’s name by using an impersonator.  Our client only found out someone purchased these other properties in his name after the lenders got in touch with him, saying that he was delinquent.
 
After our client cooperated with investigations by the Nassau County District Attorney and the FBI, he contacted my Long Island bankruptcy law firm to see what would be the easiest way to resolve the financial mess he was now in.
 
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Provided an Easy Way Out 
 
Considering that he was now facing foreclosures on three properties, and also had other debt, we recommended Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a way to easily discharge his obligations (even if some of them he didn’t intentionally enter into) and get a fresh, new financial start.
 
We filed his case a number of weeks ago and recently represented him at his meeting of creditors in Bankruptcy Court where the trustee examined him and closed his case.  We anticipate that our client will receive his Chapter 7 discharge shortly, meaning that this financial nightmare will become history.
 
Although there are many ways to resolve situations where an innocent consumer incurs debt as a result of identity theft, sometimes a simple bankruptcy filing is the best option, although getting the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney would be most important in making such a decision.
 
Incidentally, the perpetrators of the fraud pleaded guilty to a variety of felony charges and are currently in prison.
 
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IndyMac Bank Denies Mortgage Modification Over Stupid Mistake

Posted on Thursday (June 7, 2012) at 9:00 pm to Mortgages & Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown

IndyMac Bank botches Mortgage Modification in New YorkWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to seek a modification is dealing with the mortgagee.  They will often ask for documents and then lose them numerous times.  The representatives are less then helpful.  The lender usually drags the process on.  They don’t always act in good faith.
 
Today, a story in Newsday about the difficulties one family was encountering in their quest for a mortgage modification highlighted another reason why it can sometimes be frustratingly difficult to obtain a mortgage modification — sheer incompetence of employees at the mortgagee.  In this case, the employee didn’t know the difference between two simple legal terms.
 
Newsday dedicated a full page to report on the plight of the Caceres family of Huntington Station.  Mr. Geremias Caceres had been killed two years ago in a botched robbery attempt.  Without his income, the family had great difficulty making the monthly mortgage payments, and to make matters worse, the value of their house dropped to $180,000 while they still owed $350,000 on the mortgage.
 
The surviving widow, Blanca Caceres, just spent 20 agonizing months trying to negotiate a mortgage modification with their lender, IndyMac Mortgage Services, whose corporate parent is OneWest Bank, only to be turned down.
 
Why did IndyMac turn them down?  Because the widow couldn’t  demonstrate that she was the “executor” of her late husband’s estate.  However, she was the “administrator,” which for all practical purposes in the State of New York, is the exact same thing.
 
When someone dies, and it is necessary to probate or handle the legal affairs of an estate, a court-appointed estate representative is necessary.  That legal representative is usually the surviving spouse, and Mrs. Caceres did indeed apply to the Surrogate’s Court who duly qualified her as the estate representative, a fact that she demonstrated to IndyMac.
 
If a decedent had a will, the legal representative is called an executor.  If there was no will, the legal representative is called an administrator.  Whether you are one or the other, it really makes no difference in handling the administration of an estate.  It’s just a question of semantics and terminology
as to what you are called.
 
However, the inept employee at IndyMac who reviewed this loan mod file, did not know the difference between the two, and even though the employee knew that Mrs. Caceres was the administrator, the employee got hung up on the word, “executor.”
 
It appears that the Caceres family does not have an attorney who is assisting them, so Newsday stepped in, contacted IndyMac Bank, and persuaded them to re-open their file. 
 
I should also note that I wrote a number of posts in 2009 about how Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner lambasted IndyMac Bank for behavior the judge called “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive.”  See Judge Cancels Mortgage Due to Mortgagee’s Shocking Behavior in Long Island Foreclosure Action .  It seems that now, several years later, IndyMac Bank still has not yet gotten their act together. 
 
Incidentally, Newsday also quoted me in a story about that 2009 IndyMac case:  Long Island Bankruptcy Attorney Craig Robins Quoted In Newsday Article About Canceled Mortgage .
 
 
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My Girlfriend Is Thinking of Leaving Me

Posted on Wednesday (June 6, 2012) at 11:00 pm to Bankruptcy Means Test
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing bankruptcy before marriage can lead to a more stable relationshipWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
“My girlfriend is thinking of leaving me.”  This is a comment I hear repeatedly, in one form or another, quite regularly in my bankruptcy practice, when I counsel singles in serious relationships who suffer from debt problems.
        
After all, who wants to marry into debt?  Sometimes the thought of marriage drives lovelorn, debt-laden consumers to see me.  Their significant other has given my client an ultimatum:  Either you clean up your finances or I will not marry you!
    
Those just starting to date will typically avoid broaching certain topics like how much money they owe on their credit cards.  Of course, these facts tend to emerge as the relationship becomes serious — and then there are problems.
 
This is a concept I recently discussed with Jennifer Gargotto who blogs about dating issues in her blog, MsMorphosi.com.  We talked about this phenomenon at BlogWorld this week, a large conference and tradeshow for us bloggers.
    
Fortunately, Chapter 7 bankruptcy often provides an escape from debt, and seeking bankruptcy relief when necessary can, and often should, be done before getting married.  It is often easier to discharge debt while you are still single, and before you get married.
      
Here’s why:  The bankruptcy means test requires married individuals to calculate the income of both spouses to determine Chapter 7 eligibility, but it does not necessarily require a single person who is filing to include the income of a significant other.  In addition, the Chapter 7 trustee appointed to a case is entitled to ask to see a non-filing spouse’s financial information.  In most cases, a trustee would not seek such information from a non-married significant other.
    
Determining family size for means test purposes can still be tricky, even for single consumers, and obtaining the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney is important.  In any event, avoiding the additional burden and stress of debt when heading towards marriage can only make for a better, healthier and more stable relationship. 
    
So if you have significant debt problems, consider consulting with a bankruptcy attorney now.  And for those married couples with significant debt, Bankruptcy Can Save Your Marriage.
 
 
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Craig D. Robins, Esq. is a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer, who is focused primarily on helping individuals and families, find solutions to their debt problems. Read more »

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Craig D. Robins, Esq.
35 Pinelawn Road, Suite 218E, Melville, NY 11747.

Tel : 516 - 496 - 0800

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