https://youtu.be/W23y7atJORM Debtor digital signatures -- some background Reprinted with permission from the ABI Journal, Vol. XXXVIX, No. 1, January 2020. Here is a link to the original publication. Debtors sign their federal tax returns digitally all the time. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows digital signing, without reservation; the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutes digital... Continue Reading →
A Newly Proposed “Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020”
By: Donald L Swanson A new bankruptcy Bill in Congress is titled, “Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020.” It would replace the existing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code with a new Chapter 10. It is 188 pages long and includes an Ombuds position in a mediator-type role. What follows is taken from... Continue Reading →
Document Retention Rules in Bankruptcy: Holding Onto the Past
Holding onto the past (photo by Marilyn Swanson) By: Donald L. Swanson Do you have any fuddy-duddies in the family holding onto the past: they refuse to get a computer or smart phone or to use email or text messaging? If so, family communications require someone to pass-on information by snail mail or telephone—if anyone bothers... Continue Reading →
The “Honest But Unfortunate Debtor”: An Old And Still-Evolving Concept
By: Donald L Swanson The phrase, “honest but unfortunate debtor," has been a part of bankruptcy laws for centuries. A bankruptcy treatise published in 1801, for example, says that bankruptcy laws in England and the U.S. "are meant to protect an honest but unfortunate trader." [Fn. 1] No one knows when or how the phrase began.... Continue Reading →
Punishing Honest Debtors: The Travesty of BAPCPA
By: Donald L Swanson One of the travesties of our current bankruptcy laws is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (aka “BAPCPA”). Here’s why BAPCPA is a travesty: The Bankruptcy Code (enacted in 1978), (i) recognized the existence of honest but unfortunate debtors, and (ii) presumed each individual debtor to be just... Continue Reading →
Wet Ink and Paper Retention Requirements are Flawed: Technology Can Fix That
Wet ink and paper retention requirements are a flawed relic of manual systems past. It’s time to move this relic into the highly-secure digital world.
Chicago Exercising Control Over Debtor Vehicles: To the U.S. Supreme Court?
By: Donald L Swanson [UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case on December 18, 2019.] The bankruptcy proceeding is City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton, with a Petition for certiorari pending before the U.S. Supreme Court (Case No. 19-357). The dispute is over City of Chicago refusing to surrender possession of impounded vehicles upon... Continue Reading →
The Crazy-Season for Student Loans is Nearly Here . . . Again!
By Donald L. Swanson The crazy-season is when millions of people incur easily-obtained student loans they can’t afford, for another semester of college. That time is nearly here, again, as a new school semester begins after the turn of the year. An even-crazier part is this: the U.S. Government guarantees payment of those unaffordable loans—which is... Continue Reading →
The Haven Act: A Great Law That Exposes A Really-Bad Bankruptcy Policy
By: Donald L. Swanson The Haven Act is short for: “Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019.” It is a newly-enacted law of the land. The Haven Act does a great and valuable thing for many of our military veterans: it allows middle class veterans to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, instead of being stuck for... Continue Reading →
Student Loan Crisis: High-Price Colleges Support Beautiful Campuses (and Other Luxuries) on the Backs of their Students
By: Donald L. Swanson “Back when I was in school . . .” This is a tired-old phrase, usually followed by tales of hardship. The Olden Days But here’s an opposite twist: Back when I was in college (during the 1970s), you could actually pay your way through, with little-to-no debt, by working part-time jobs... Continue Reading →