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Archive for December, 2013

Put my house in Bankruptcy?

December 27th, 2013

house 5

Missouri allows a bankruptcy debtor to save $15,000 in equity in their home. Equity is the value of your home that exceeds any mortgages. If you file bankruptcy and have more than $15,000 in equity, the bankruptcy court may take your home from you and sell it. The proceeds from the sale would go to pay your creditors and the court would write you a check for $15,000. If you are thinking of filing bankruptcy and are worried about your home, you need to consult a bankruptcy attorney.

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Undo that Default Judgment

December 26th, 2013


Got a default judgment? Missouri allows you to undo the default judgment and reopen the case for mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. In addition, you must show that you have a meritorious defense and good cause for setting aside the default judgment. To learn more, check out:

Benchmark Healthcare of Wildwood, LLC, Respondent, v. Whispering Oaks Residential Care Facility, LLC, Appellant.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District- ED99178

New mileage rates? Hooray!

December 24th, 2013


The IRS has issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductable cost of operating an automobile. Beginning on January 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of an automobile will be: 56 cents per mile for business miles driven, 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. Try and keep your excitement to a minimum.

Bankruptcy Court… You Can’t Touch This

December 23rd, 2013

tax credit 2

A person who has filed for bankruptcy is entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit. A bankruptcy court has recently ruled that the Earned Income Tax Credit is a type of public assistance for low-income families and is therefore exempt from the bankruptcy court. If you receive the EITC and are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, please consult with a bankruptcy attorney before filing.
For more information, look into In re Corbett, (Bankr. W.D. Mo 2013, case 13-60042), Federman, J.

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Is your spouse innocent?

December 20th, 2013


When filing taxes, a husband and wife can file a joint return or separate returns. If they file a joint return, then each spouse is responsible for everything in the return and all taxes owed. However, a spouse can file for Innocent Spouse relief from the IRS if they meet certain requirements. The filing of Innocent Spouse could allow that spouse to receive a tax refund attributable to their income and withholdings or could reduce their tax liability as if they had filed a separate return. Be careful though, a spouse only has two years to elect Innocent Spouse relief. Once this two year deadline passes it’s game over. Innocent Spouse can be tricky, so consult with a tax attorney.

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Incorporate Your Business

December 19th, 2013

businessIf you have a business that is not registered or properly incorporated and you sign a contract, you can be held personally liable for that contract. Using a fictitious name will not protect you either. In order to fully protect yourself, talk to an attorney about incorporating your business and check out this case.

James A. Stemmler, Personal Representative of the Estate of Melvin C. Brewer, Appellant, vs. Fred. M. Goffstein, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District- ED98893

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Liberate your Home from Creditors

December 18th, 2013

house 2

Missouri currently allows you to save your home and protect it from your creditors as long as you have $15,000 or less in equity in your home. Equity is the value of your home that exceeds any mortgages. However, if you have more than $15,000 in equity in your home, a creditor that has a judgment against you could have the sheriff sell your home. The proceeds from the sale would go to pay off the creditor and any other liens. If there is any money left over, you may be entitled to it. If you have a judgment against you, you may want to talk to an attorney.

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Maintain your Maintenance

December 17th, 2013

divorce 5

Missouri allows the award of maintenance to a spouse if the spouse (1)lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs, and (2) is unable to support themselves through employment. To read about what is considered property for maintenance, review this case:

Christine Valentine, Respondent, vs. Jody Valentine, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District- ED98167

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Get Hostile with Adverse Possession

December 12th, 2013


In order to claim adverse possession, which is the ability to take someone else’s land from them after ten years, you must show an element of hostility. Hostility is shown by proving exclusive possession and sporadic or temporary use by the record owner will not defeat your claim.

To find out more about adverse possession, see this case:
Harold Trokey and Beverly Trokey, husband and wife, Plaintiffs/Respondents, vs. R.D.P. Development Group, L.L.C., Donald L. Fennelly, Terri A. Fennelly David Hiechel and Vicki J. Hiechel, Defendants/Appellants
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District- SD32224

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Like being nude? Get away from that window

December 11th, 2013


A Missouri defendant was convicted of sexual misconduct involving a child after standing in front of his window nude when young girls approached his house. To read more about this case, check out: State v. Jeffrey, No. 93127 (Mo. banc, June 25, 2013), Fisher, J.

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