Best Case

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Best Case

  1. 1. Best Case ® SCENARIOS A Newsletter For Users of Best Case Bankruptcy Software Volume IX, Issue 3 - Special Bankruptcy Reform Edition Dear Best Case Customer, The road to bankruptcy reform hasn’t been anybody’s idea of a best Contents What to Expect: The Best Case Update Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Fall 2005 case scenario! The revision of forms from the Administrative Office of Keeping It Legal: Buy Branch Office Licenses Now to Beat the U.S. Courts has been a slow process and is as yet incomplete. the Price Hike. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Media coverage has consisted heavily of predictions that many consumers won’t have needed access to bankruptcy relief in the post- Electronic Filing Is Changing, Too . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 reform world, and that attorneys will shy away from representing Digesting the Reform Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 debtors. And there hasn’t been much time between the signing of the Changes to Existing Forms and Schedules—An Overview . . . . . . 4 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act and the effective date for the industry to get all the new pieces in place. A Round-Up of Bankruptcy Reform Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Big Picture Thinking: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Yet, as a Best Case customer you can feel confident that you’ll be able to take the changes in stride. The Best Case team has been, Partnering to Help You Meet New Requirements for Attorneys . . . 7 and continues to be, focused on incorporating the new requirements Working with You: Developing the Finest Means into our software with all the reliability, ease of use, and smart short- Test Calculator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 cuts you’ve come to expect from Best Case Bankruptcy. The NACBA Workshop: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Software can only go so far, of course. We know you will need to The Power is in the Details . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 make other adjustments, and we’re trying to help keep you informed. Friends Don’t Let Friends Use TopForm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 We’ve conducted research on the impact of BAPCPA on filing rates. We’ve been in frequent contact with the Administrative Office. We’ve talked with court personnel at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Clerks and trustees at the National Association of What to Expect: Bankruptcy Trustees. And we’ve conferred with hundreds of bankruptcy attorneys – at the NACBA conferences this year in Chicago and The Best Case Update Schedule Orlando, and at the end of our phone lines. Even before the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Armed with all this information, we were able to create a Means Test Protection Act was signed into law last April, Best Case Calculator and post it on the Best Case web site in August – where it has been on the case – studying the law, investigating the has been downloaded by thousands of bankruptcy practitioners. And implications, and developing a comprehensive update of Best we are confident that we will have the Best Case Bankruptcy reform Case Bankruptcy software. A stand-alone preview version of update – our version 15 – ready for you to download before our Means Test Calculator (described on pg. 7), was posted October 17. We also expect to issue interim releases on our website in late August to give us time to throughout 2006 as Official and local forms continue to change. incorporate your feedback. As we go to press, our work on the bankruptcy reform update is The fact that Best Case Solutions is out in front almost complete. with bankruptcy reform is to your credit. You’ve made Best Case the leading provider of bank- Several forms, including the disposable ruptcy software. A large and loyal customer income form, means test forms, and base means that we have the resources – as reaffirmation agreement, are still being well as the resolve -- to provide thorough and revised by the Administrative Office of the timely service to you. U.S. Courts (A.O.). The latest information We hope you’ll find the information here helpful, we have is that forms will be finalized the and we appreciate your support on the road to first week of October. Once this happens, we bankruptcy reform. will be able to finish our development work - The Best Case team and have a downloadable update for you within a few days, giving you some time to familiarize your- self with the changes before October 17. When our update is available, we’ll send an email to all Best Case customers continued on page 2
  2. 2. What to Expect continued: Over the last several years, Best Case has invested time, covered by our maintenance plan, and we’ll put a notice on energy, and financial resources in building a very robust our website at www.bestcase.com/bkreform.htm. If your email system for filing electronically in all of the local courts with has changed recently, or if you aren’t receiving emails from CM/ECF. As our customers know, our OneTouch system Best Case, please send an email to info@bestcase.com asking works reliably. There is a solid technical infrastructure behind to be added to our list. Please include your name and law firm OneTouch that involves careful monitoring of each court’s name in your email. system and the success of each filing, so that as courts switch As long as you are covered by our maintenance plan at to version 2.7, and as they adapt CM/ECF with all their shipping time, your Best Case CD will arrive in your mailbox local variations, we expect to be able to make any necessary a few weeks after the download version is available – free changes with little or no interruption in your ability to file with of charge - along with thorough documentation to help you the Best Case OneTouch™ system. smoothly incorporate the new forms and other required changes in your practice. Digesting the Reform Rules The Judicial Conference has had just a few months to translate changes in the law to changes in the forms, and we anticipate Managing Taxes in Chapter 13 that Official and local forms may continue to change throughout Without Gagging the next year. In addition, the courts will need to make By James P. Caher changes to their CM/ECF systems to accommodate the new The bankruptcy reform act dramatically changes the route we’ll forms and filing requirements. Best Case plans to issue interim be traveling in attempting to manage tax obligations in Chapter updates as needed to keep your software up to date. These 13, but safe navigation is still possible if you keep the basics in will be available through our Check for Update feature and mind. In typical ham-handed fashion, the drafters of the law noted on our website. sought to make taxes which are non-dischargeable in Chapter 7 also non-dischargeable in Chapter 13, but ended up making an Keeping It Legal: Buy Branch Office already difficult analysis an even bigger headache. Licenses Now to Beat the Price Hike As we know, there are generally three types of unsecured debts: Our basic single-user and network licenses are single site * Dischargeable debts, those that get wiped out. licenses; that is, they allow you to use your Best Case® * Non-dischargeable priority debts, which don’t get wiped Bankruptcy software at one office location. If your firm has out and must be paid in full under the provisions of any branch offices where you need to use Best Case, we ask you Chapter 13 plan. The good thing about priority debts is to purchase additional site licenses for Best Case. Additional that having them will make it easier to pass the Means site licenses are priced at 40% less than basic license prices, and are only available to firms that are already licensed to use Test. Also, a Chapter 13 debtor can pay in full while our software. Basic license prices and additional site prices will paying little or nothing on unsecured non-priority debts increase at the end of October, so please buy now to beat the (e.g. credit card bills). price increase. Call 1.800.492.8037 for pricing. * Non-dischargeable non-priority debts which don’t get If you are using Best Case Bankruptcy at home or on a laptop ® wiped out, can’t be paid ahead of other debts in Chapter while traveling, an additional site license is not required. We 13 and don’t help the debtor pass the Means Test. simply ask that you abide by the license agreement regarding Under BAPCPA, tax obligations can fall into any one of these use of the program. categories. Please see your licensing agreement (on your CD and on our Dischargeable Income Taxes website), for additional licensing details. As a general proposition, if the debtor filed a timely, non-fraudulent income tax return and didn’t engage in tax Electronic Filing Is Changing, Too evasion other than simply failing to pay the tax, the obligation is dischargeable in a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 — assuming, As we prepare for the necessary changes coming this fall, the that is, the taxes are more than three years old and were courts are upgrading their CM/ECF software to handle all of assessed more than 240 days before bankruptcy. the changes. Some of the courts have already installed the latest CM/ECF software (version 2.7) on test sites, and we’ve When counting off the three years, remember to account for been able to test OneTouch™ to make sure you can keep filing any filing extensions that the debtor may have received. If she on and after October 17. Other courts will be installing and received an extension, the three-year period starts on the date switching to version 2.7 on their test and training sites in the that the extension (or extensions) expires. It doesn’t start on the coming weeks (prior to October 17.) date the return originally was due. Page 2 Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 © Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved. 1.800.492.8037
  3. 3. Besides extensions, certain events can also interrupt the the IRS claims that using funds which could be used to three-year period, giving the IRS even more time to collect pay taxes for other purposes amounts to tax evasion. your taxes. For example: These taxes are more troublesome than priority taxes because: * The time that the automatic stay in the earlier bankruptcy * They don’t help the debtor get past the Means Test. case was in effect isn’t counted plus 90 days are * Interest on these taxes continues to accrue. added on. * You can’t give them preferential treatment in Chapter 13. * Any amount of time during which a taxpayer assistance order is in effect doesn’t count toward the three years. Unfiled tax returns * Any time that the IRS was prevented from collecting taxes BAPCPA requires that in Chapter 13, prior to the 341 because of a request for a due process hearing does not meeting, debtor will have to file with the appropriate taxing count and an additional 90 days is added on. authorities all federal, state and local tax returns for the past four years. Otherwise, the case may be dismissed. Non-dischargeable Priority Taxes However, you may get an extension of up to 120 days to Non-dischargeable priority taxes are income taxes less than file these returns. three years old (as measured above), and also taxes assessed Prior to BAPCPA, attorneys would usually advise that if the with 240 days of bankruptcy. taxes were more than three years old, the debtor should not Although these taxes have to be paid in full under any actually file returns prior to filing Chapter 13 to avoid the Chapter 13 plan, priority taxes have several advantages over taxes from being assessed just prior to bankruptcy and there- other non-dischargeable debts that do not have priority status: by achieving priority status. But under the new law, priority * They can help the debtor pass the Means Test. status may be preferable to non-dischargeable non-priority * You can pay them in full through a Chapter 13 plan, status, so the approach may change. It may be to the debtor’s while paying little or nothing on dischargeable claims benefit to file tax returns and have the tax assessed within this such as credit card debts. 240-day period. On the other hand, bestowing priority status on non-dischargeable taxes may render a person ineligible * Post-petition interest does not accrue on these claims for Chapter 13 if the tax liability is more than the debtor can (unless a notice of tax lien has been recorded). pay under a Chapter 13 plan during the maximum five year * If the IRS doesn’t file a proof of claim in time (180 days life of the plan. after the petition date), these taxes get wiped out even if Encouraging Chapter 13 by Eliminating Its Advantages—Huh? they are not paid. In their zeal to please lobbyists for creditors with divergent Non-dischargeable non-priority taxes interests (e.g. credit card lenders v. auto finance companies), The drafters of BAPCPA sought to expand the types of non- Congress on one hand tried to channel debtors into Chapter dischargeable taxes in Chapter 13 to include those which are 13 instead of Chapter 7, but then on the other hand removed presently excepted from a Chapter 7 discharge. Instead of many of Chapter 13’s advantages. Sharply curtailing the accomplishing this task by making these taxes priority claims “super discharge” is but one example. Only time will tell which have to be paid in full over the life of the plan (which how this will play out, but the likely result is that no one, is the current method of making taxes non-dischargeable in including creditors, will be happy with the results. Chapter 13) they simply amended 1328(a) to add these James P. Caher, a practicing attorney with almost 30 years taxes to the list of other non-dischargeable claims. This will experience, is a nationally recognized expert on consumer result in several unintended consequences. bankruptcy. He has written four books on bankruptcy and Non-dischargeable non-priority taxes are those due more scores of published articles. His most recent book, co-authored than three years ago and assessed more than 240 day with his brother John, is a completely revised edition of their before bankruptcy where debtor: current Personal Bankruptcy for Dummies. The revised edition, * Never filed a return or the IRS filed a dummy return Personal Bankruptcy Laws for Dummies, fully incorporates without the taxpayer’s cooperation and assistance. BAPCPA and is a relatively painless way for anyone, including lawyers, to get a handle on the new law. The * Filed a late return less than two years before bankruptcy. book should be available everywhere in December, 2005 A growing number of courts say that a return filed by a taxpayer after the IRS has already prepared a “dummy This article © 2005, James P. Caher. Opinions in this article return” does not count. So taxes for this year would be are Mr. Caher’s and are not necessarily the opinions of Best non-dischargeable, non-priority taxes even though a debtor Case Solutions. filed a return more than two years before bankruptcy. * Filed a fraudulent return or intentionally tried to evade taxes. Recently courts are becoming more sympathetic to Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 ©Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved. 1.800.492.8037 Page 3
  4. 4. Changes to Existing Forms and numbers have changed (for instance, automobiles are now category #25). Schedules—An Overview • Schedule C Most of the Official Forms and schedules have been revised – This schedule has a new checkbox that indicates the some drastically, some moderately. Below is a list of revised debtor has a homestead exemption that exceeds forms that require a change in the way you use Best Case. $125,000. Best Case provides a new checkbox and In the list below, we have not included forms that just have reminds the user if this checkbox could be appropriate. language changes on the printed form (though of course we are making these changes!) A complete list of form and • Schedule E language changes will be available in our help file. Domestic Support Obligations have been adjusted to be the first priority among priority unsecured creditors. A new • Form 1. Voluntary Petition priority type has been added for “Claims for Death or The Voluntary Petition has been changed to a three-page Personal Injury While Debtor Was Intoxicated”. Best Case form to include additional information required by BAPCPA, includes both of these categories, and also includes their such as Chapter 15 checkboxes, a credit counseling subtotals on the Summary of Schedules. checkbox, and a statement by a debtor who resides as a tenant of a residential property. The new Voluntary Petition • Schedule F entry screen in Best Case includes all necessary checkboxes The Schedule itself does not have any major changes, but and options. Best Case includes a new section to designate a creditor for inclusion in the Statistical Summary mentioned above • Form 5. Involuntary Petition on the Summary of Schedules. The Involuntary Petition has new checkboxes for Type of Debtor, and requires the petitioning creditors to list other • Schedule G names of the debtor to the extent they know them. Best Case has been updated to automatically include Schedule G creditors on the Creditor Address Matrix. We • Form 6. Summary of Schedules have also added an “Assume/Reject/Do Not List” option The Summary of Schedules has a new page called for Chapter 7 cases, so that the creditor can be listed on “Statistical Summary of Certain Liabilities”. This page Form 8. Statement of Intention. totals debts that are: • Schedule J 1. Domestic Support Obligations (from Schedule E); The form has been amended to include a Statement of 2. Taxes and Certain Other Debts owed to Governmental Monthly Net Income, as required by § 521(a)(1)(B)(v). Units (from Schedule E); Best Case will help you with this calculation, similar to our 3. Claims for Death or Personal Injury While Debtor was current calculation of disposable income for Chapter 12 Intoxicated (from Schedule E); and 13 debtors. 4. Student Loan Obligations (from Schedule F); • Form 7. Statement of Financial Affairs Two revisions have affected data entry in Best Case. 5. Domestic Support, Separation Agreement, and Question 3, (Payments to Creditors in the last 90 days) Divorce Decree Obligations Not Reported on has been split into 3 parts – section a. for debtors whose Schedule E; and debts are primarily consumer debts, section b. for debtors 6. Obligations to Pension or Profit-Sharing, and Other whose debts are not, and section c. for payments to Similar Obligations (from Schedule F). insiders. Based on the type of debts answer in the These totals are collected for statistical purposes as Voluntary Petition, Best Case will automatically put required by 28 U.S.C. § 159. Best Case includes a new answers in the correct section (a. or b.). In addition, section to designate Schedule F claims that should be question 10 (property transfers) has been split into included in the summary, and automatically completes sections a. and b., and a new option in Best Case allows this entire form. you to choose in which section an entry should be listed. • Schedule B • Form 8. Chapter 7 Individual Debtor’s Statement of Two new property types have been added and are included Intention in Best Case: The Statement of Intention has a new section to list 1. (11) Interests in an education IRA; and assumed leases. Best Case has changed Schedule G entry to allow a lease to be designated as assumed, rejected, 2. (24) Customer lists or other compilations containing or not listed on Form 8. personally identifiable information. • Form 10. Proof of Claim If you have all the numbers associated with property types The Proof of Claim has been revised to reflect the updated memorized, you’ll want to pay close attention since most priority types for certain debts. Page 4 Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 © Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved. 1.800.492.8037
  5. 5. • Director’s Procedural Forms Several current Director’s Procedural Forms have new A Round-Up of Bankruptcy requirements under the new law (such as the Notice to Reform Resources Consumer Debtor and the Reaffirmation Agreement). We will update these forms when the revised versions To keep up with changes in the law and bankruptcy practices, you may find it helpful to: are available, expected the first week of October. 1. Join the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy New Forms Attorneys. Membership is $150 - $450 per year, based In addition to the revised forms, there are many new forms on your case volume, and is lower for non-profits. Once included in Best Case. These are: a NACBA member, you’ll have access to a members- • Form 3B. Application for Waiver of the Chapter 7 Filing Fee only section of the NACBA website including the If a Chapter 7 debtor has income less than 150% of the organization’s Document Resource center. You can official poverty line (as defined by the Department of also attend their conferences and subscribe to their list Health and Human Services), the court may waive the serve to discuss bankruptcy law and cases with other filing fee. This form collects the information necessary for consumer bankruptcy attorneys across the country. (You the court to determine if a waiver should be granted. may want to set up a special Gmail account to have all NACBA messages go to one place without cluttering up • Form 19B. Notice to Debtor by Non-Attorney Bankruptcy your regular email inbox.) Visit www.nacba.org to view Petition Preparer member benefits and join. This form must be given to a debtor by a non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparer. The notice states that the 2. Purchase King’s Guide to Practice Under the Bankruptcy petition preparer is not an attorney, and gives examples Reform Act of 2005. The extensive changes to the of advice the petition preparer may not give a debtor. Bankruptcy Code are organized, sorted out, prioritized and simplified for the consumer bankruptcy attorney in • Form 22A. Statement of Current Monthly Income and Morgan King’s book. Focusing on sections that are Means Test Calculation directly relevant to daily practice, this guide offers a This form must be filed in Chapter 7 cases. Best Case road map for attorneys, complete with detailed flow- includes an extensive Means Test Calculator. charts and checklists. The accompanying CD contains • Form 22B. Statement of Current Monthly Income the full text of the Reform Act, the 500-page House Individuals filing Chapter 11 must complete this form. Judiciary Committee Report, the IRS Financial Collection Best Case will complete this form with a component Standards, and other useful reference material. See similar to the Means Test Calculator. http://www.bankruptcybooks.com/guidetopractice.html • Form 22C. Statement of Current Monthly Income and for more information or to order. Best Case customers Disposable Income Calculation can receive a 10% discount by entering “Best Case” in Chapter 13 debtors will file this form. The methods and the ordering instructions box. calculations are like those in the means test, and Best Case 3. Purchase the National Consumer Law Center’s Special will aid attorneys with a component very similar to the Guide to the 2005 Act. Visit Means Test Calculator. http://www.consumerlaw.org/publications/manuals/co • Form 23. Debtor’s Certification of Completion of nsumer_bankruptcy.shtml for more information or email Instructional Course Concerning Personal Financial publications@nclc.org. The list price is $80, including Management all shipping and handling. Mention “Best Case” to Debtors must file this document to inform the clerk that the receive the guide for $72. Call 1.617. 542.9595 to personal financial management class has been completed. order, or fax your street address, phone #, credit card info, and request for Best Case discount to (fax) • Disclosures Pursuant to § 527 617-542-8028. Section 527 places many requirements on newly-defined “Debt Relief Agencies” (DRA). DRAs are now required to 4. Buy the following from www.ababooks.org. Best Case present certain notices and disclosures to an “assisted customers receive a 10% discount by entering code person” (defined in § 101(3)). PCL5MPUR: You can view the new forms at • Letters for Bankruptcy Lawyers: Essential www.bestcase.com/draftforms.htm. Communication for Clients, Creditors, Opposing Counsel and Others We are also planning to update the client questionnaire in the By Joel Pelofsky and Marc S. Stern Supplemental Forms folder of your Best Case software to reflect the BAPCPA form changes. This resource is written for every lawyer who practices or advises clients on consumer bankruptcy law. It contains the critical letters and forms you Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 ©Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved. 1.800.492.8037 Page 5
  6. 6. need to comply with the changes made by the new Big Picture Thinking: bankruptcy law. BACPCA is a very long, very Bankruptcy Rate Will Be High as detailed Act, and it goes to unprecedented lengths to prescribe the way counsel will practice and bank- Far as the Eye Can See ruptcy cases will be administered. The letters and Reports in the press have suggested that it will be much more forms in this book are written to comply with the difficult for consumers to file bankruptcy after October 17. But requirements of the new law. To order a copy, visit several macro-economic factors indicate that the bankruptcy www.ababooks.org and a receive 10% discount off rate will be high for years to come. Consider the following: the regular price of $55.00. Use Source Code • Energy and gasoline costs are rising quickly. PCL5MPUR upon check out. • Interest rates are rising. • Nine Traps and One Slap: Attorney Liability Under • Uninsured medical costs continue to rise, a factor that the New Bankruptcy Law (Downloadable PDF) contributes to many bankruptcies. By Catherine E. Vance and Corinne Cooper • Minimum payments on major credit cards, which typically Written for every lawyer who practices or advises average 2% of the balance, will increase to about 4% by clients on consumer bankruptcy law, this new 50- January 2006, effectively doubling some consumers’ page article on the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention payments. Why? The Office of the Comptroller of the and Consumer Protection Reform Act is the first Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve available with in-depth information on the new law System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and going into effect October 17, 2005. This article Office of Thrift Supervision have proposed that credit card addresses liability problems for: All consumer debtor companies establish reasonable periods for paying back attorneys; Family lawyers, tort lawyers—all lawyers balances of about 7-10 years. who give any bankruptcy advice; Any lawyer who (See http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/debt/20050 advertises assistance with debts or foreclosure; 503a1.asp for details) Creditors’ lawyers who file motions in consumer cases; Lawyers who provide pro bono bankruptcy • The recent, horrendous consequences of Hurricane Katrina advice; and Lawyers for trustees mean that many people have no homes or jobs. Furthermore, prices of oil and oil-related products may rise Nine Traps and One Slap presents the traps that across the country, along with prices of some agricultural bankruptcy attorneys will fall into if they are not items from the Gulf Coast area that are transported up the complying with the new law. To order a copy, visit Mississippi River. www.ababooks.org and a receive 10% discount off the regular price of $12.99. Use Source Code • Bankruptcy has lost much of its stigma and some of its PCL5MPUR upon check out. harshest consequences, as debtors are able to re-establish credit shortly after filing. • The New Bankruptcy Code contains the full text of BAPCPA, comparisons to the current Code, changes As a bankruptcy practitioner, you’ve helped people stand up to relevant sections of Title 18 and Title 28, a check- to the credit industry and get back on their feet. And you list of key changes and effective dates, and a know that most debtors are not trying to “scam the system,” detailed index of the Code. Regular price is but instead are people who have become overextended, often $70.95; Best Case customers receive a 10% dis- due to a job loss, divorce, high medical bills, and high interest count by using Source Code PCL5MPUR at check rates on loans pushed on them by banks and car dealers. out. www.ababooks.org. It’s no secret that the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was heavily lobbied for by the credit industry with the intention of reducing access to the bankruptcy system. Nevertheless, the vast majority of current Chapter 7 This Just In debtors (86%), and even most Chapter 13 debtors (73%), Bankruptcy Reform information, a preview of our would still be able to file Chapter 7 without presumption of abuse after bankruptcy reform goes into effect. Why? Because means test calculator, and internet resources to most debtors have income below their state median for their household size. Some other debtors, upon taking the full help you with bankruptcy reform can be found at means test, will be able to file Chapter 7 simply because they don’t have enough excess income to repay a significant www.bestcase.com/bkreform.htm. We update this portion of their unsecured debt – they’ll “pass” the means test. page frequently, so check back for the latest news! Because articles appearing in the press this year have suggested that bankruptcy will be much more restrictive, Page 6 Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 © Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved. 1.800.492.8037
  7. 7. we’ve heard reports that some debtors are seeking to file Working with You: Developing the “before bankruptcy ends.” But despite the best efforts of the credit industry, consumers will still need and be able to seek Finest Means Test Calculator relief through bankruptcy for the foreseeable future. Preview Version Available Best Case Solutions recognizes that attorneys need a means Partnering to Help You Meet New test calculator that will simplify the application of the test and put relevant Census Bureau income figures and IRS expense Requirements for Attorneys allowances at your fingertips. We also know that many of you The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection don’t want to be boxed in to one interpretation – you would Act of 2005 makes sweeping changes to bankruptcy law, like the flexibility to test the limits of the new law. practice, and procedure. Among the changes is the new provision that the attorney representing the debtor verify information submitted on the petition. Best Case customers have asked us for ways to help fulfill this requirement. Here’s what you can expect from Best Case: Now: Order Credit Reports We partner with two companies to give you a choice: • Online Credit Reporting Corporation (877-311-1234 or www.bankruptcycreditreports.com) and • Credit Infonet (866-218-1003 or www.cinlegal.com) With that in mind, we released a stand-alone preview version With both of these vendors, you can order reports for your clients of the Best Case Means Test Calculator in August, available at on-line, and have electronic reports delivered quickly. Creditor http://www.bestcase.com/meanstest.htm. The preview version names, addresses, and claim amounts can be transferred directly is intended as a tool for you to learn about the means test prior to creditor schedules in Best Case® Bankruptcy. Please see to having to use it in October, and run hypothetical cases. It’s www.bestcase.com/crminfo.htm to sign up or contact the also a starting point for Best Case to engage in a broad vendors for pricing and details on their offerings. dialogue with the bankruptcy community about how we can Soon: Order Due Diligence Products and help attorneys effectively apply the means test and account for Services different interpretations. As you explore our preview version, we encourage your comments and suggestions. Please keep in We’re working with CIN Legal Data Services, a division of mind that, as of press time, the forms released by the Credit Infonet, to enable you to order the following products Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts are still being revised, through Best Case® Bankruptcy: so the preview version is not to be used on actual cases. • I.R.S. Tax Transcripts – The order form is filled out for you. The version currently on our website includes the official Simply have your client sign and date the form, and you’ll numbers for median incomes and IRS expenses, which were receive four years of tax records in 24-48 hours recently released by the U.S. Trustee’s office. At the start, the • Real Property Appraisals – 60 million property appraisals Best Case Means Test Calculator will ask a few questions about available immediately with distressed, market, and high the debtor (such as the location of residence, marital status, values listed and up to 12 comparables. Automated household size, and income) to determine which income figures and fast. and IRS and Census Bureau numbers apply. Once you enter • Real Property Title Products (Ownership Report & Lien the debtor’s income, we pull up the applicable state median for Search) returned in 24-72 hours nationwide the debtor’s household size and allow you to look at all median • Automobile Valuations – instantly available for incomes for each state. If the debtor’s income is below median, used vehicles the form is complete, as the rest of the means test form does not apply. As you run hypothetical cases in our preview version, Pricing for these products will be a la carte and invoiced you’ll see that in most geographic areas, the vast majority of each month by CIN Legal. Pay by check or credit card. your clients would fall into this category. Visit www.cinlegal.com for more information. If your client has income above the median, you will continue Coming Up: Incorporate On-line with the means test. Our calculator will fill in applicable IRS living Credit Counseling. expenses, housing allowances, and car allowances (operating Best Case expects to partner with organizations that can offer and ownership), and shows you what we are doing at each step on-line credit counseling and deliver certificates to you. The to complete the form. In our Bankruptcy Reform Update, the Best U.S. Trustee’s office has just begun to certify such agencies, Case Means Test Calculator will be fully integrated into Best Case and we will have more information soon. Bankruptcy to help streamline the means test process further. Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 ©Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved. 1.800.492.8037 Page 7
  8. 8. Best Case Scenarios First Class Pre-Sort Best Case Solutions, Inc. Best Case U.S. Postage P.O. Box 5533 ® PAID Evanston, IL 60204-5533 SCENARIOS Northbrook, IL Permit # 445 Important! Please forward this newsletter to the Best Case Bankruptcy user in your office. Address Service Requested. Special Bankruptcy Reform Edition The software solutions, legal resources, and new services that will help you through bankruptcy reform. The NACBA Workshop: that our Means Test Calculator would greatly Friends Don’t Let simplify much of what they learned in the So Good to See You! Friends Use TopForm workshop (In fact, several attorneys using Four members of the Best Case Solutions other software programs switched to Best team — Jeff Paulsen, Julia Vaughan, John If you’ve got friends who are still using Case on the spot!) Presentation materials Mancini, and Lucinda Fox — were on-hand will be available on our website at bankruptcy software from a big legal at the National Association of Consumer www.bestcase.com/bkreform.htm until publishing company, or are using light- Bankruptcy Attorney’s workshop entitled version 15 is released this fall, at which weight, bare-bones packages to prepare “Fighting Back: Helping Debtors Survive the point final Means Test Documentation will New Bankruptcy Law.” The workshop was be available. For more information about petitions, now’s the time for them to offered in Chicago in July and again in NACBA, see page 5). move up to Best Case! We’ve been on Orlando in September, and offered two top of bankruptcy reform since before intense days of education about the new law. We’d like to thank the hundreds of Best The Power Is in the the Act was signed, and we’re ready Case users who stopped by our booth in Details and prepared to deliver a solution that the exhibit area to ask questions and give New! Instructions for specific features will help law firms through the changes suggestions. We always enjoy meeting our in Best Case, such as completing specific this fall. As a Best Case customer, you customers face to face, and your feedback Chapter 13 plans, importing credit know that our feature set and customer helps us make Best Case even better. reports, adding your own documents to the Additional Documents Library, service is unrivalled. Basic license prices Just before and after the conference in Orlando, Best Case presented two classes adding attachments to files, importing will increase at the end of October, so on our Means Test Calculator to about 300 and exporting creditors from a text file, law firms looking to switch should call NACBA members. The information prompted editing exemptions, and much more, are now for the best price. Our sales number excellent questions and suggestions for us to on www.bestcase.com/TechWIN.htm. take back to our development team, and Step-by-step guides are provided in PDF is 1.800.492.8037. audience members were very happy to see format for easy downloading and printing. Page 8 Best Case Scenarios - Fall 2005 © Copyright 2005 Best Case Solutions, Inc., Evanston, IL. All Rights Reserved.1.800.492.8037

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