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What does “Not a Valid Win 32 application” mean? How do I resolve?

When you click on "Check for Live Update", the software will check and then download a copy of the
latest version from our internet-servers if a new version is available. If, for some reason, the live update does not download completely, then the
error "Not a Valid Win 32 application" will arise.

To resolve, click on Start then Run and type explorer. <b>Click Ok</b> and a window will popup
(which is windows explorer). On the left-hand side,

<blockquote>
Click on My Computer<br>
Then click on Local Disk (C:)<br>
Then click on Bankruptcy Software
</blockquote>

You will see lots of folders and files. You should see a file that says Version.txt ; delete that file. Then double-click on the file LiveUpdate.exe and let the bankruptcy software run a live update again.

You can also reinstall the software from our website.  That will provide the most current version.

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The setup files are corrupted. How do I resolve this?

If the setup files are corrupted, please obtain a new copy of the program. You can redownload the software from this link

www.lawfirmsoftware.com/try_now.shtml

A file is corrupt if it didn’t download entirely. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Try downloading the bankruptcy software again to resolve this. If that doesn’t work, drop us an e-mail info@lawfirmsoftware.com or give us a call.  We can e-mail you the software as well.

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Changes in Forms for Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 New Forms

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is typically used for corporations that want to continue in operation but cannot pay their debts. However, individual business owners may use Chapter 11 if they owe too much to use Chapter 13.

Form 22B: Statement of Monthly Income

Bankruptcy Form 22b is used exclusively for individuals filing for Chapter 11, and is the required Statement of Monthly Income.  The first thing that any one filing this form with a Chapter 11 petition must know is that Part 2 of the form for marital adjustment was mistakenly added.  Therefore, the instructions explicitly state that it should not be filled out, and Line 13d should read “0”.  In future years, Part 2 of this form will be removed.

There are two columns as before for a married couple, but the headings are Column A for ‘Debtor 1’ and Column B for ‘Debtor 2’, rather than the previous listing for Column B as ‘Spouse’.  The remaining categories of income are similar to the previous form.

Chapter 13 New Forms

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a referred to as reorganization since it does allow a debtor to repay some of their debts.  There are two new forms for Chapter 13 that will affect the amount and time period of any repayment plan.  The new versions split the income and expense calculations into separate forms.  Just as with the new Chapter 11 form, the term ‘Spouse’ is replaced with ‘Debtor 2’.

Form 22C-1: Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period

All Chapter 13 debtors must fill out Form 22C-1.  This form is used to determine whether the debtor’s income is at or below the median income for their state.  If the income is less than the median then Form 22C-2 does not need to be filled out.  Form 22C-1 is also used to determine the commitment period for repayment of creditors, subject to court adjustments.

 

 Form 22C-2: Calculation of Your Disposable Income

This form must be filled out if the debtor’s income is more than the state median.  This is also referred to as the ‘means test’ and calculates whether the debtor has disposable income after expenses to repay some unsecured debts.  This form has eight pages, and although the format is simplified, the amount of detail required is significant.  Just as with the other means test forms, both National and Local Standards are used for computing expenses, and this information is found on the US Department of Justice website.  Local Standards are typically used for items such as housing, where local market conditions may vary from state to state.

There is a new addition to Form 22C-2 for changes to a debtor’s projected disposable income in Part 3.  This reflects a Supreme Court decision that held those types of changes should be considered when calculating a debtor’s means to repay creditors.

There are also additional items for deducting cell phone and internet expenses used for production of income.

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Number of Bankruptcy Filings Are on the Decline Nationwide

The number of individuals filing for bankruptcy has seen a national decline in recent years, and 2014 is on track to be the lowest average number of filings since 1995.  The exception to this decline is the period in 2005 when the bankruptcy rules changed and tightened the qualification requirements.  Many debtors rushed out that year to elude the anticipated changes in the law, which spiked the number of filings, and then the figure dropped in 2006 to less than average.  For 2014, the number of filings is on track to be around 900,000.

Possible Factors Contributing to the Decline

  1. Declining Household Debt

This a steady decline to current rates of under 3 filings per 100 persons that may be due to several factors.  Bankruptcy typically results from excessive household debt, and debt levels have actually declined if student loans are subtracted from the national totals.  Student loans make up a greater portion of household debt than in previous years, and that type of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

  1. More Stringent Lending Practices

Consumer debts are often the culprit in creating conditions for bankruptcy, and there may be more stringent lending practices today by banks and credit card companies.  Even though credit seems easy to obtain, lenders have become more skilled at detecting potential defaults before they happen.  The result is more available credit, being held by higher qualified individuals.

  1. Debt Reduction and Negotiation Strategies

Another factor in the decline may be the increase of debt reduction and debt negotiation strategies.  Whether this is done independently or with the help a debt negotiation firm, it allows for repayment of debt at a percentage of the original loan.  Sometimes these amounts are significantly less, discounted as much as 50-60%, providing an incentive for the debtor to pay it and avoid bankruptcy.

  1. Creditor Payoff Discounts for Delinquent Accounts

Banks have learned that it is wiser to take a lower payoff amount than to hold the line and drive someone into bankruptcy.  Often, a creditor will not get anything in a Chapter 7 filing, so accepting a payoff seems like a smart option.  In the event of a credit card or loan default, a bank may make several offers for lower payoff amounts and attempt to avoid the cost of collection or litigation.  Some borrowers may look at this option as preferable to bankruptcy, and a means to preserve their credit rating.

  1. Demographics and Bankruptcy Qualification Rules

While the national filing rates are in decline, there are regional differences depending on local economic factors and demographics.  There is still a widespread use of the bankruptcy laws to discharge many types of debt, but the changes to the law in 2005 may have had some influence in contributing to the decline.  The use of means testing and more stringent qualification, as well as mandatory credit counseling may be having the impact that was desired when the laws were changed.

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Banks Hold Debtor’s Hostage With Credit Reports After Bankruptcy

When a debtor discharges their loans in bankruptcy, the filing will go on their credit report.  All debtors recognize that this is one aspect of having their debts erased, and accept that the information will be shown for years to potential lenders.  Nonetheless, this is often not the stigma that many creditors would like their borrowers to believe.

Most people also know that post-bankruptcy credit is not that difficult to obtain, even with the negative mark on the credit report.  One reason for this may be that lenders know that it will be years before the borrower will have access to the bankruptcy option, so their risk of a total loss is small.  For example, a Chapter 7 discharge will prevent another Chapter 7 for eight years.  Because of this, many filers will receive credit card offers in the mail just a short time after their discharge is complete.

The Post-Bankruptcy Credit Report:  A Place for Creditor Leverage

There is another issue for debtors that is emerging with their post-bankruptcy credit report.  Under the bankruptcy law, creditors are supposed to update the debtor’s credit report and remove any negative notations about the account.  Doing so gives the bankruptcy laws impact allowing a ‘fresh start’ for those who need it.  However, there is a current practice among some banks to ignore the mandate for updating the report, and effectively hold the debtor hostage to pay the debt anyway.

Some banks will expressly refuse to correct the report unless the debtor pays the amount owed and already discharged in bankruptcy.  Many of those debts are purchased by debt buyers who stand to profit from collecting on the bad debt.  If a debtor refuses then the negative mark will affect their credit score, limiting access to new credit or other opportunities.

It is an ironic twist to the credit reporting and lending system that a bankruptcy discharge is less of a barrier to new credit than a charge-off for a single loan that lingers on a report.  However, the banks know this, and are using this as a post-bankruptcy debt collection practice that seriously undermines the effectiveness of a bankruptcy discharge.

Fair Business Practice or Intentional Interference With Bankruptcy Laws?

This can get even more serious for some people who cannot get a job or housing due to negative credit reports.  Employers and landlords frequently use these reports as a measure of a person’s integrity and reliability, and the banks that won’t amend the reports are having an unreasonable impact just to collect on the debt.  In the meantime, debtors are under pressure to pay off the debts just so that they can obtain a good credit score.

This questionable tactic demonstrates how the business of lending, borrowing and debt collection is more intense than ever, and that bankruptcy may not always offer the absolute immunity that many debtors imagine.  The saving grace is that any debt discharged in bankruptcy cannot be collected through legal means such as lawsuits and garnishments.  But that does not solve the problem of the permanently stained credit report held hostage at the hands of dissatisfied creditors, or those who buy the bad debt.

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HIPAA Privacy Rule Requires Updates for Some Estate Planning Documents

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was designed to provide privacy protections for medical records.  This includes specific prohibitions on sharing medical records with anyone who does not have authorized access.  When a healthcare provider fails to protect patient privacy, they may be subject to fines and sanctions.

For this reason, a physician, hospital or even insurance company may be constrained from sharing patient records with anyone who is not specifically authorized, including family members.  In estate planning there are certain documents that need to contain privacy waivers to ensure that the individuals wishes are carried out.  It should be noted that any waivers or authorizations for medical record access should also include language that allow the information to be re-disclosed to other parties if necessary.

Power of Attorney and Living Wills

Living wills control the end of life decisions that may include medical care.  In some situations, the patient is not conscious or otherwise able to give the necessary permissions for medical care or access to records.  The best way to insure that patient medical records are available is to have a Power of Attorney (POA) or Living Will that specifically grants access to medical records for named persons or ‘agents’ in the POA.

Those agents in the POA can then make decisions on behalf of the patient if that is necessary, including accessing their medical records.  If an agent is named in reference to a HIPAA privacy waiver, the term ‘personal representative’ should be used to ensure that the waiver is clearly expressed using HIPAA language.

Some of the elements that would meet the HIPAA criteria for access to medical records include specific statements that healthcare providers and insurers can release medical records directly to the named agent in the POA.  The POA should contain specific references to HIPAA to ensure that the privacy standards are met, and to allow healthcare providers to release the information without concern of violating HIPAA.  The safest thing to do is include an ‘express waiver’ of HIPAA privacy standards within the POA.

Revocable Living Trusts

Revocable living trusts are used by many people for estate planning purposes, and will become irrevocable in the event of the original creator of the trust is unable to make decisions.  Most living trusts have provisions for successor trustees to manage the trust, who would replace the original trustee in case of mental incapacity.  In that instance, the successor trustee would need to have access to medical records of the trustee to confirm incapacity by independent physicians.  Unless there is an express privacy waiver in the trust, HIPAA could prevent access to the medical records needed to establish the changes in trustee.

In some cases, it could be more advantageous to create separate written authorizations giving access to records under HIPAA, and then attaching those to the documents as amendments.  This would avoid the only remaining remedy, which is a conservatorship proceeding in court.

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December 1, 2014 Changes to the Bankruptcy Forms

In December of 2013, a new Schedule I and Schedule J were introduced to the bankruptcy forms.  The new forms had almost the same questions and content as the old forms but they were completely redesigned.  They looked different then any other bankruptcy form in the past.  Bankruptcy forms are underwent a form modernization and the forms continue to change this December 1, 2014.

The biggest change involves the Means Test for Chapters 7, 11 and 13.  You use to have Official Form B22A which was a Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means-Test Calculation all in form.  The new Chapter 7 forms have:

Official Forms 22A-1 (Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income)
Official Form 22A-1 Supplement (Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse Under §707(b)(2))
Official Form 22A-2 (Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation)

You have the statement, supplement and the means test calculation in three (3) sets of forms.  Form 22A-1 is 2 pages, 22A-1 Supplement is 1 page, and 22A-2 is 9 pages in length.  The forms are completely redesigned and look nothing like the forms in the past.  The questions are similiar.  You can download the form here.

The new Chapter 11, 13 Means Test forms are

Official Form 22B (Chapter 11 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income)
Official Form 22C-1 (Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period)
Official Form 22C-2 (Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income)

 

There are 3 other new forms. Official Forms 3A (Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments) and 3B (Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived) are revised to remove references to fee amounts. Official Form B6Sum (Summary) is revised to update line number cross references to the revised means test forms (Official Forms 22A-1, 22A-1 Supp, 22A-2, 22B, 22C-1 and 22C-2).

 

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Pending Changes to Bankruptcy Forms (December, 2013)

Bankruptcy forms change often.  The December, 2013 changes are significant in that the two (2) forms, Schedules I and J, have been completely redone.  This the bankruptcy courts effort to redo the forms completely.

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