Call to Action: California Exemption Improvements Coming Up For Vote This Week

English: Seal of the Senate of California

English: Seal of the Senate of California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Senator Bob Wieckowski has introduced a bill in the California State Senate that provides significant improvements to our current exemptions including:

  • Increasing the homestead to $300,000 for all individuals
  • Removing the 6 month reinvestment requirement
  • Increasing the exemption for vehicles to $6000
  • Establishing that bankruptcy alone is not an event of default
  • Creating a grubstake of $5000 for self-employed individuals, etc.

We need you to contact your state senator this week to voice strong support for this bill!

Here are the easy steps you can take to show your support:

  1. Visit http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ and enter your home address to determine who your CA state senator is.
  2. Using our template letter of support below, “CA AB 308 Attorney Letter of Support,” address your letter to your senator and fill in the fields in red.
  3. Submit your letter via email or fax. To fax, please refer to the fax number listed in your state senator’s website.
  4. To email your letter – which we recommend – please refer to the chart below for your senator’s Chief of Staff. Email your letter to this individual by using this email address format: Firstname.Lastname@sen.ca.gov
  5. Please also email a copy of your letter to Julie Seger at jseger@hastingsgroup.com so we can track which senators have been contacted and by whom.
  6. If you have any questions or difficulties with identifying your senator or sending your letter to their office, please contact Julie at jseger@hastingsgroup.com and she will be happy to assist you.

Thank you for your support!

-TMLG

2015 SENATE SCHEDULER & COS ROSTER
DIST SENATOR CHIEF OF STAFF PHONE

26

Ben Allen

Colleen Beamish

4026

38

Anderson, Joel

Collin Mcglashen

4038

36

Pat Bates

Kevin Bassett

4036

15

Beall, Jim

Sunshine Borelli

4015

8

Berryhill, Tom

Laura Ortega

4008

39

Block, Marty

Margaret Pena

4039

12

Cannella, Anthony

Brett Michelin

4012

24

DeLeon, Kevin

Dan Reeves

4024

16

Fuller, Jean

Julie Sauls

4016

1

Gaines, Ted

Steve Davey

4001

5

Galgiani, Cathleen

Trent Hager

4005

35

Hall, Isadore

Terry Schanz

4035

9

Hancock, Loni

Hans Hemann

4009

22

Hernandez, Ed

Tim Valderama

4022

18

Hertzberg, Bob

Dianne Griffths

4018

13

Hill, Jerry

Nathan Solov

4013

40

Hueso, Ben

Ana Molina-Rodriquez

4040

29

Huff, Bob

Junay Gardner

4029

19

Jackson, Hanna-Beth

Jennifer Richard

4019

11

Lara, Ricardo

Erika Contreras

4033

20

Leno, Mark

Bob Hartnagel

4011

25

Leyva, Connie

Cori Ayala

4020

2

Liu, Carol

Susanne Reed

4025

32

McGuire, Mike

Jason Liles

4002

30

Mendoza, Tony

Eusevio Padilla

4032

17

Mitchell, Holly

Tiffani Alvidrez

4030

23

Monning, William

Jodi Fujii

4017

34

Morrell, Mike

Mark Timmerman

4023

4

Nguyen, Janet

Mark Reeder

4034

6

Nielsen, Jim

David Reade

4004

27

Pan, Richard

Crystal Strait

4006

31

Pavley, Fran

Liz Fenton

4027

28

Roth, Richard D.

Chuck Dalldorf

4031

14

Stone, Jeff

Chris Wysocki

4028

37

Vidak, Andy

Jim Kjol

4014

10

Wieckowski, Bob

Derek Chernow

4010

3

Wolk, Lois

Craig Reynolds

4003

7

Vacant

21

Vacant

37

Vacant

 

1/15/2015

+++

CA AB 308 Attorney Letter of Support (Template)

May XX, 2015

 

Senator NAME

California State Senate

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: S.B. 308

 

Dear Senator NAME:

As a CITY, California bankruptcy attorney, constituent, and member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (“NACBA”) I am writing to express my strong support for S.B. 308, introduced by Sen. Wieckowski.

As a California bankruptcy attorney, I work with clients every day who continue to struggle in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and great recession, which continues to present serious challenges for our state’s honest, hardworking men and women. Long-term unemployment and underemployment have devastated the financial health of families throughout the state. For these families who face collection lawsuits, home foreclosures, and garnished wages, bankruptcy is the final and best hope for protecting most basic household assets and modest incomes. S.B. 308 is an important piece of the legislative protections desperately needed by those families struggling to recover from the downturn and restructuring of our economy.

I urge you to support S.B. 308 as it enhances protections for Californians in financial distress. S.B. 308, in a measured manner, increases values of certain types of personal property that may be retained by a bankruptcy debtor. Importantly, this Bill would create a new, modest exemption to help small business owners get their fresh start. Specifically, it would allow small business owners to claim up to a total of $5,000 for cash or deposit accounts, accounts receivable, and business inventory for those debtors using the exemptions under CCP § 704, et. seq.

Unfortunately, under current law, while wage-earners can exempt paid and unpaid earnings under CCP § 704, there is no corresponding protection available for small business debtors. Adding this new protection for small business owners will allow them to retain a modest amount of assets which are essential to resume business operations. This change is particularly important given the fact that many underemployed workers attempt to start home-based businesses in order to put food on the family table.

S.B. 308 also importantly addresses California’s presently inadequate designations for homestead exemptions. Past legislative increases in the homestead dollar amounts have fallen dramatically behind the increased cost of housing in California. Consequently, the current homestead exemption fails to achieve its purpose – to provide protection from creditors for a typical home in California. However, S.B.308 would, in fact, increase the value of the exemption to more accurately reflect the rising cost of housing today.

In conclusion, I strongly support this effort to strengthen the safety net for so many Californians who are struggling as they face today’s challenging and changing economy. As a bankruptcy attorney, NACBA member, and California resident, I urge to you to support S.B. 308 as a responsible approach to improving the conditions of financially distressed Californians in need of the “fresh start” bankruptcy can provide.

Sincerely,

 NAME

 PRACTICE

 STREET ADDRESS

 PHONE 

Wishing for Children on Mother’s Day

The Mother’s Day season is here again. First, I want to wish the mothers out there a happy day with your children or maybe a day of rest followed by a wonderful family meal. Some women choose not to have children but for another group of women, Mother’s Day can be hard. I wanted to write for those women today. I am sure you have been told by more than one person not to think about it. This may or may not be good advice but pointless on a day like Mother’s Day. Most likely it isn’t easy on any other day as you wake up checking your fertility kit or ordering another expensive shipment of special products, pills or yoga videos. Let’s not forget the constant budgeting to see if you can afford some acupuncture, alternative medicine or a few extra therapy sessions. Today I will give you some other thoughts. Maybe some are new to you or maybe not, but hopefully they give you a little comfort.

1. How about today you allow yourself to think about it with no guilt attached. Here are some quotes about hope to give you perspective:

  • I hope infertility isn’t a big joke, because I DON’T GET IT!
  • “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” –James Baldwin
  • Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, unless you are trying to get pregnant!
  • Getting pregnant is like a bank robbery. It takes split second timing!
  • Sometimes I imagine I am pregnant but then it gets sad so I have a glass of wine and suddenly I am glad I am not pregnant.
  • Please God, if you can’t make me pregnant make my friends’ children little devils!

2. Now that you have some perspective, here are some things you can do today if you haven’t already. I can’t promise any of them will result in a child but maybe getting a child isn’t all about science?

  • Make a pre-baby bucket list and actually plan when you will do these things. Don’t they say that things happen when you least expect them to? For me that usually means when I have other plans, which I will have to cancel. Did I mention I have usually pre-paid for these plans?
  • Make at least one appointment to do something that could help you get pregnant, or if you are one of those women doing five million things to get pregnant, cancel one and do something totally unhelpful like throwing away one of those hideous outfits you have been saving to wear when you are pregnant. I know I said earlier that there are many things women do to try and get pregnant which result in more anxiety; however, on the other hand are women who take no action. For those women maybe try:
    • Acupuncture
    • Alternative Medicine (talk to your doctor about this one because there is alternative medicine and then there are con-artists selling snake oil)
    • A doctor’s appointment to test yourself and your spouse
    • Look into adoption–I can’t tell you how many times I hear about someone who wanted children, gave up on getting pregnant, adopted and had twins a few months later
    • Yoga
    • Fertility Tea (make sure your doctor looks at this because once again some of it is great and other stuff may actually hurt you)
    • Spend time with other people’s children. While I know it can be sad, I have a totally unscientific belief in the “Fake it till you make it” strategy. (A little free legal advice: You do have to give the children back!)

3. Sadly, there is no legal advice to make you pregnant, but there are many alternatives to old fashion pregnancy and some of them do involve lawyers.

  • Adoption falls into several categories:
    • International
    • Domestic through an adoption agency
    • Domestic through an attorney
    • Adoption of a child who has been removed from their parents by child protective services

No matter which form of adoption you are considering, you should seriously think about speaking with an attorney who has experience in whichever methods you are interested in. The reason for this is that many adoptions involve contracts and/or a lengthy legal process. You can greatly improve your odds of getting and keeping a child with the assistance of an attorney.

At the Mlnarik Law Group we have experience in assisting you if you want to adopt a child through what is called the Dependency system. These are children in foster care or infants removed at birth or shortly thereafter. This is the only low budget way to adopt that I am aware of, but you really need to be prepared for the process.
I could write an entire post about this alone and maybe I will on Mother’s Day, while I try to be hopeful that children will find their way to me soon.

- Leah S. Samuels, Senior Attorney


The materials contained on this website are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute the legal or other professional advice of The Mlnarik Law Group, Inc. and affiliates (TMLG).

Neither TMLG nor any other TMLG entity accepts any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Permission is given for the downloading and temporary storage of one or more of these pages for the purpose of viewing on a personal computer.

The contents of this site are protected by copyright under international conventions and, apart from the permission stated, the reproduction, permanent storage, or retransmission of the contents of this site is prohibited without the prior written consent of TMLG. Our operation of this site is not intended to create, and will not create, an attorney-client relationship between you and TMLG.

The formation of an attorney-client relationship requires a consideration of multiple factors including possible conflicts of interest. Please do not convey to us any information you regard as confidential until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established.

- Videos and testimonials Published in our website:

The videos published in our website do not provide legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly or contact us.

The testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of any client’s legal matter.

“We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.”

Santa Cruz Family Law Bar “Divorce and Logic: What Would Aristotle Do?”

640px-Aristotle_Altemps_Inv8575As you may know, lawyers are required to continue their education through classes called MCLE’s. While some of these include pure education on the law, others are designed to help lawyers increase their communication skills so they can work towards resolution or fine tune their persuasive skills. The recent training I attended was the latter.

You may find it interesting to learn that the skills required to be a good lawyer have been passed down from Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great. As I was reminded in this wonderful training, the core curriculum for an attorney dates back to ancient Greece. Back then it was all about educating young men in the Trivium or “Three-Way Road” and the Quadrivium or “Four-Way Road.”

For Attorneys it is the Trivium that is of most value including: Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric. A little refresher on the basic principles of these key areas can help your lawyer to become more efficient and more effective for you.

In addition to learning about the history of Logical Persuasion this training was designed to highlight Emotional Persuasion. While you may believe that many lawyers are cold robots or hot blooded instigators, the truth is that we have the same brains you do!  In this training we were asked to reflect on our own emotional responses, those of others and how to best respond to different personality types. Sometimes this is quite simple but there is actually a bit of science involved.

In many cases resolution is possible and ideal. It can save you money and help you move on with your life. To come to resolution attorneys must be able to work well together and also be sensitive to their clients. In this training we learned how to help our clients separate their emotional and personal problems with the other party from the facts and goals that are legally significant. Sometimes these overlap but remember, you hired a lawyer to help you put your best foot forward and sometimes it hurts your case to put too much attention on every problem you have ever had with the other party.

In some cases a resolution is just not possible. Still, attorneys need to have a good balance between noticing everyone’s emotions or hostilities and staying calmly focused on what they need to do to best represent you in front of the Judge. Additionally, there is still much room for compromise and agreement even when some issues must go to trial.

Thank you to Ronald S. Granberg for presenting such a thoughtful training. When local attorneys attend training like this it helps strengthen our relationships with one another and increase the level of professionalism we bring to court. This can only benefit our clients who hire us with the hope that it will reduce some of their anxiety about whatever legal issues they are facing.

-Leah S. Samuels, Senior Attorney


The materials contained on this website are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute the legal or other professional advice of The Mlnarik Law Group, Inc. and affiliates (TMLG).

Neither TMLG nor any other TMLG entity accepts any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Permission is given for the downloading and temporary storage of one or more of these pages for the purpose of viewing on a personal computer.

The contents of this site are protected by copyright under international conventions and, apart from the permission stated, the reproduction, permanent storage, or retransmission of the contents of this site is prohibited without the prior written consent of TMLG. Our operation of this site is not intended to create, and will not create, an attorney-client relationship between you and TMLG.

The formation of an attorney-client relationship requires a consideration of multiple factors including possible conflicts of interest. Please do not convey to us any information you regard as confidential until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established.

- Videos and testimonials Published in our website:

The videos published in our website do not provide legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly. or contact us

The testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of any client’s legal matter.

“We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.”

John’s Installation as President of the Santa Clara County Bar Association

We are honored to share that our founding attorney, John Mlnarik, was installed last week as President of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, which represents approximately 3,400 attorneys in Santa Clara County. 

Congratulations to John SCCBAOathas well as the other SCCBA officers! -TMLG

SCBASignCropped

 

TMLG Oakland A’s Social Media Contest!

Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics

The Mlnarik Law Group is giving away 2 tickets to an Oakland A’s game this season! To enter our raffle, interact with us on social media between now and April 30th for your chance to win. Interactions will be worth one to three raffle entries. See below for full contest details:

Facebook:

  • Share our Facebook page, one of our events or posts on your timeline (1)
  • Check-in at our office on Facebook or at our Shred Fest event (2)
  • Post a comment or picture on our Facebook page from Shred Fest (2)
  • Rate us on Facebook (3)
  • Like our Facebook page (3)

Twitter:

  • Retweet one of our Twitter posts (1)
  • Mention us in a Tweet (2)
  • Share a picture from our Shred Fest event on Twitter (2)
  • Follow us on Twitter (3)

Yelp:

  • Check-in at our office on Yelp (1)
  • Share a picture from our Shred Fest event on Yelp (2)
  • Review us on Yelp (3)

Contest ends Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Winners will be announced and contacted by TMLG on Friday, May 2, 2014.

Good luck!

-TMLG

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who participated in our Oakland A’s Social Media Contest and a big congratulations to our contest winner, Gerry Kosko! Have a great time at the game!

How Filing Bankruptcy in 2013 Provides Enhanced Asset-Protection

Happy New Year! New Year New Life

Many individuals will start the New Year resolving to improve their financial affairs. Though bankruptcy is a great tool, which generally includes benefits such as the discharge of credit card and medical debt, a new exemption scheme, effective January 1, 2013, will give potential filers even more to be excited about.

Exemption Basics

A key protection offered by the Bankruptcy Code is found in Section 522. This section details a debtor’s rights regarding exempt property—property that is shielded from liquidation.

Exemptions are statutory provisions that generally protect individual assets from liquidation based on an assigned dollar value. For example, pursuant to CCP § 703.140(b)(3), debtors are permitted to shield up to $600 per “household” item.  In other words, you can prevent creditors from seizing any of your appliances or furnishings if they are worth less than $600/item.  Under CCP § 703.140(b)(2), you can shield up to $4,800 of the fair market value of your motor vehicle.  There are numerous exemptions that apply in different contexts and can even apply in conjunction with each other.  A vehicle that is valued at $6,000 can be fully protected by combining the Motor Vehicle (b)(2) exemption with the “Grubstake” (b)(5) exemption (see below).

The bottom line is that a careful application of the exemption statutes can often allow debtors to retain their assets during and after a bankruptcy filing.

The 2013 Exemptions

The assigned exemption values change every three years to account for inflation. On January 1, 2013 a new exemption scheme became effective allowing debtors to take advantage of even stronger protections. Whereas a person filing for bankruptcy protection in California on December 20, 2012 would have been able to exempt up to $23,250 in “any property” under CCP § 703.140(b)(5) & (1), a debtor that filed on January 15, 2013 would have been able to exempt up to $25,340 under the same statutes—a $2,090 difference!

More Than a “Fresh Start”

The Bankruptcy Code and the attendant exemptions were created to give filers a “fresh start.”  They were designed with the idea that a person free from burdensome debt would be a more productive member of society.  But the protections offered by the exemptions, particularly the new valuations, provide more than a fresh start—they provide an invaluable tool and an opportunity.  Instead of rewinding and requiring individuals to begin their lives anew, the exemption scheme allows debtors to carry on—without the worry of losing invaluable possessions.

-Caroline M. Reebs, Attorney-at-Law

Financial Crisis and Bankruptcy: Don’t Fear “Fear Itself”

Gallery

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BOO!! It’s that time of year again — when the days get shorter and darker, the leaves fall, a cold wind blows, and our thoughts might turn to mortality as we reflect upon another summer come and gone. In fact, … Continue reading