Austin Legal Blog

Do bad fences make bad neighbors?

On the occasion that a homeowner wants to put up a fence, it is important to understand where the property lines are. Putting up a fence in the wrong place could lead to complex disputes between neighbors, which may ultimately require legal steps to effectively resolve the issue. Sometimes, a bad fence could lead to bad neighbor relationships.

If you find yourself in a dispute over a fence, you need to know exactly where your property lines are and how you can resolve this issue in a timely and practical manner. Something as seemingly benign as a fence can lead to complex legal concerns, and you may find it necessary to seek knowledgeable guidance when dealing with Texas property rights issues.

Regarding tax liens and appeals

Taxes are a complicated topic -- it doesn't matter how many times you file your own taxes or look over the issues related to them. What makes this inherent fact about taxes even worse is that taxes are also an unsavory and boring topic that few people want to actually learn about. So we want to get down to the brass tax (pun definitely intended) of a specific issue today: what is a tax lien and what can you do about it?

A tax lien is placed on an asset or assets in order to force the debtor to pay what he or she owes. Many people struggle to pay their debts, may they be tax liabilities or otherwise, and these liens make it nearly impossible for the individual to sell the asset, transfer the asset, or secure new lines of credit.

Unlimited power? The overreach of Chapter 7 trustees.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, trustees play an important role in administering the assets for the benefit of creditors. They enjoy certain powers to recover assets on the bankruptcy estate’s behalf.

Duties include early examination of debtors to identify assets available for administration or property that can be recovered by lawsuits. Typically, trustees do not request login information for online accounts, in spite of their growing prominence.

Is Chapter 11 bankruptcy the right choice for your business?

It is not easy to own, operate and sustain a small business. The expenses associated with start-up and day-to-day operations may outpace your ability to manage these costs, and this could lead to financial trouble. Many businesses just shut down when they reach a certain point in their money-related struggles, but that may not be the only option for your business.

While bankruptcy is likely not your first choice, it could be the most viable and most reasonable option. This step does not necessarily mean that you must shut your doors and lose valuable assets, but it could be the right path to a stronger, more sustainable financial future.

Dropouts and student loan debt

Much of the ongoing discussion on the student loan crisis revolves around college graduates struggling to find work in their chosen field. The dream of starting the job they spent four years preparing for becomes a harsh reality of unemployment. Some find themselves taking lesser-paying jobs far outside of their field. Others decide to live at home with their parents until their fortunes turnaround.

One segment enduring the pressures of student loan debt is largely overlooked. Their post-collegiate financial struggles started before they could graduate because they were unable to complete their studies.

IRAs may not be as safe from bankruptcy exemptions as you think

When debtors file bankruptcy, they feel safe that their IRA and other retirement accounts are protected from creditors seizing their assets. However, that “hands-off” rule is based on specific circumstances. Different types of creditors have different levels of protections based on governing law, including federal bankruptcy law and state-specific collection laws.

All of those factors came together in a recent case heard in a Texas Fifth Circuit court regarding IRA rollovers. Debtors had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One of the exemptions they claimed was their IRA, a seemingly routine step countless others have taken.

A tax lien may knock you down. It doesn't have to knock you out.

As Floyd Mayweather prepares for his fight with Conor McGregor, he can count one victory even before he enters the ring against the UFC star. The IRS has released the WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring, and lineal welterweight champ’s $3.3 million dollar tax lien.

What makes the release unusual is that “Money” still owes money. Close to $30 million still due to the IRS, according to some estimates.

A third of all Americans still have debt in collections

Much has been made lately about the state of the economy, how more people are back to work and unemployment claims are down. Despite this good news, it appears that the number of consumers with past due debt in collections is still a problem. According to a 2014 study by the Urban Institute, 35 percent of consumers have a debt that is in collections.

This is significant given that the nation is nearly a decade removed from the end of the Great Recession. Wages have remained stagnant since that time, which could mean that even though more people are back to work, they are still digging themselves out from financial holes created during the recession. 

There's a mechanics lien on my home. What does that mean?

Like many other Texas residents, you may have decided to renovate part or all of your home. After months of dealing with the general contractor, subcontractors and suppliers, your home finally looks the way you always envisioned. 

Then you find out that someone filed a mechanic's lien on your home. As far as you know, everyone received payment for the goods and services they provided. So, where did this claim come from and what does it mean for you?