How Can I Buy Another Car if I File for Bankruptcy?

car bankruptcy

When potential clients come into Steidl & Steinberg for a free consultation, I ask them for some basic financial information. One of the things I look at is their transportation situation. Do they commute by bus? Car? Do they need their car for work? Are they taking care of elderly parents? Are the kids’ activities part of their transportation needs? How old are their vehicles? How many vehicles do they have? How many miles and in what condition are they? Are the vehicles from traditionally reliable manufacturers or are their vehicles notoriously unreliable?

Are the vehicles paid for? How much are the monthly payments, and for how long? Are the payments up to date or is the repo person at the door?

I want to make sure that your needs are met with whatever option you might choose. A solution to your financial problems doesn’t work if you can’t get to work or if your kids are stranded. So you should be very relieved to know that in general, vehicle solutions are much easier to come by in bankruptcy situations than one might believe. This is the case in both Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy cases and in Chapter 13 reorganization cases.

Your Car is Safe in a Bankruptcy

You won’t lose a vehicle in bankruptcy unless you are voluntarily relinquishing it, or unless I have told you in advance of filing any papers that you have too many vehicles to keep. There are no  surprises here. If you owe money on it you will have to pay for it, and sometimes we can get interest rates or balances lowered in Chapter 13. but your vehicle isn’t going anywhere.

Then you talk about your car. It has over 200,000 miles and there isn’t enough duct tape to keep it together. You are wondering if you file for bankruptcy, how will you ever be able to get another one since I won’t have any credit?

Our Chapter 7 clients are pleasantly surprised when they get offers from dealers to look at cars while their bankruptcy is being processed. I advise my clients they have to wait until the Chapter 7 is over — about four to five months from filing the papers — before they can buy their vehicles.

Chapter 13 situations are a bit more complex . I look carefully at your vehicle situation prior to entering a Chapter 13 Plan. If there is no way that vehicle is going to get you through the term of the Plan, we review options that sometimes include the possibility of buying a car before you file the Chapter 13 papers. This depends on a number of factors but I want to make sure you can get around safely and reliably.  If the unexpected occurs and you have to obtain a vehicle while you are actively in the Chapter 13, the Court will approve your purchasing a reasonable vehicle for once we ask for the Court’s permission.

So if you are hesitant to consider any kind of bankruptcy because of your car or truck situation, don’t be. Give us a call and set up your free consultation.

Allegheny Assessment Appeal Season is Back


For Allegheny County, the assessment figures are coming up on five years.

In Washington County, they are only a few months old. For other Western Pennsylvania counties, assessment values can be three decades old.

In both cases, you don’t have to settle for the status quo. If you think your property taxes are too high, it’s time to consider doing something about it.

The property assessment season is now open in Allegheny County. Property owners can file an appeal between now and March 31, 2017. While the assessment process may have taken place five years ago, we are finding there are still plenty of properties that are solid appeal cases.

Free Assessment Evaluation

Perhaps Allegheny County made a mistake with your assessment back in 2012 and you didn’t do anything about it, or you filed an appeal on your own, lost the case, and gave up. Perhaps you recently purchased the property and found out it is assessed higher than what you paid for it. Perhaps you recently purchased the property and the school district, municipality, or county have filed an appeal to raise your property taxes.

Don’t try to fight the taxing bodies on your own. All you need to do is give us a call and provide some basic descriptions of your property. We will do a free analysis of your case to determine an estimated appraised value of your property and tell you if your case is worth filing based on the estimated tax savings. We don’t want you to spend your money unless we can help you.

The Washington County assessment appeal process will begin July 1, 2017 and continue through September 1, 2017. The early returns on results of last year’s county-wide evaluation in Washington County are mixed at best, so, if you are skeptical that your property is properly assessed, give us a call to take a look at your situation.

Don’t pay more taxes than you need to. Contact us today.

New Steidl & Steinberg Office in Carnegie

Steidl & Steinberg's new Carnegie office.

The commute into downtown Pittsburgh can be difficult and intimidating for some people, which is why Steidl & Steinberg has added an office in the suburban area of Carnegie to make it easier to talk with us.

The new suburban office not only saves the hassle of traffic and parking, but also makes your trip shorter.

Ken Steidl and Kenny Steinberg have announced that a new suburban office has been opened in Carnegie. The office is at 1100 Washington Ave., Carnegie, PA 15106 in Suite 106. The office building is located along Route 50, making it very easy to find. Free parking is also available.

The Carnegie office will be staffed by Attorney Julie Steidl and will offer evening and Saturday hours for the convenience of our clients. Attorney Steidl can discuss your concerns concerning your finances and outline possible options for your situation. Consultations are free and may be scheduled by calling 412-391-8000. You can also use the Contact Us Now form on our website for questions and concerns.

Divorce and Debt? Time to Call Us

divorce and debt

Life can be incredibly hard. And cruel. It can throw things at you faster than your ability to fend them off. Like having to deal with difficult finances and a failing marriage at the same time. Both consume you, day and night, while you are walking down the street, eating lunch, in between phone calls, sitting at your desk, or trying to get to sleep at night. Either one of these problems is enough to ruin your day, week, month, or year. Together, they can seem insurmountable.

How Can Steidl and Steinberg Help? 

We are not divorce attorneys or marriage counselors, but we can talk to you about your debt situation and, in many cases, what would be the impact on your situation if you separate or get a divorce.

When is the best time to contact us and seek an appointment? If you are thinking about these things, then the time is now. Really. Occasionally, people in your situation do get a hold of us, but do so after they have taken an action that might leave them worse off than if they would have met with us before they took that action.

No problem here, you say. My spouse and I have already agreed on the terms for how we are splitting the assets and the debts. And the divorce action has already been filed with the Court, and we have already signed our agreements. Good for you to have worked this out, but just because you and your spouse have worked this out doesn’t mean that you can waltz right into Bankruptcy Court and expect that the Court is going to agree with what you did. In limited, but significant cases, they can take what you did with your assets and debts and turn the agreement on its ear. That is, if agreements have ears.

Just because you and your spouse have agreed on how to divide the bills doesn’t mean that your creditors, those to whom you owe money, have agreed or will agree. In fact, they don’t particularly care what you have agreed to. They will continue to hold responsible for the bills the person who is named on the debt in their records.

So, if you’re thinking about your bills and maybe a separation or divorce, this would be a good time to contact Steidl & Steinberg by email or phone.

Can’t Pay Student Loans? We Have a Plan

student loans bankruptcy

Recently I met with some clients who discussed their debt and asset situation with me. I reviewed everything, thoughtfully considered their options, and gave them my recommendations. Then, as they were about to leave, they laid a bombshell on me. “We owe about $150,000 in student loans, but we know bankruptcy can’t do anything about that.”

Ahh, not quite.

I wanted to reconsider everything that I had just told them in light of the new facts. How much did they owe in student loans? Were any of them co-signed? Were they Federal loans, private loans, or some combination of each? Are you in default?

Once I found out that they owed almost $90,000 and the loans were co-signed, I was able to devise a Chapter 13 bankruptcy Plan that included the student loans as part of a consolidation that enabled the clients to cut their monthly debt payments by about $750.00 per month.

Do You Have Student Loans?

Do you owe a lot of money to student loan creditors? If they are all federal loans, you should be able to work out a reasonable payment plan. Many of my clients start with and are able to find one that works. If you are not able to afford the payment even after working with them, here is some information that applies to the private loans.

Our clients at Steidl & Steinberg are often exasperated after attempting to work out reasonable payments. One of them, who feared losing her income tax refund to the student loan creditor after she defaulted, said, “I told them I couldn’t afford $800.00 per month, but they said that was the minimum they would accept.”

We might be able to do better.

We would have you consider using Chapter 13, a reorganization bankruptcy plan, to tackle the student loans. Here is how that helps.

Many Chapter 13 reorganization payment plans are not based on how much you owe, but on how much money you have available to pay. Let’s say, after a review of your financial situation, we determine that you only have $150.00 per month available to pay on the student loans and credit cards. Let’s also suppose that you either own little in assets or that the things you own are highly encumbered by mortgages and/or car loans.

In this situation, you might only have to pay the Court this $150.00 per month that you have available, plus your mortgages and car payments, for up to five years. And that amount may hold whether you owe $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 on the student loans.

What happens at the end of five years? You will still owe on the student loans, in most cases, but at least you will have survived the five years because your payments were affordable. Five years from now, you would hope to be earning more money and have less debt so it will be much easier to afford a new payment on the student loan balance.

If you owe a lot on your student loans, you owe us a call or an email so that we can discuss some solutions.