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contacted a lawyer today


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Everyone who has been so helpful....I contacted a lawyer today, I have a Monday appointment, first he could see me. I have to pay 330 to retain him and he will take all the creditor calls. I was hounded again today by ATT and the man was so rude. He told me that he is going to call me everyday until I make a payment. It was horrible. I let him talk to me very rudely at my workplace. I told him I was prohibited from getting calls there and he said he is permited to call me once a day there. He said I had to send certified letter in the mail that I wanted the calls to stop in order for them to stop. I told him I do not have money to pay. Here is a link for PA, where I live. If anyone has time, could you look over some of the PA law and tell me if it sounds as though they can call me at my work place daily? Some of PA law applies to creditors or debt collectors. I am sending the letter tomorrow. I will just have to deal with them till then. My employer is being very cool about it. I feel somewhat of a burden lifted. I need to get through the next 5 days. I hope Monday night will bring some relief. I plan to retain this lawyer, and have him file a chapter 7, he said I need to file PA exemptions because I am married and own a home with equity, and he can save the home. If we file together we would have to do a 13 because of the equity. I am still very scared and know this will be a very hard time for me. I hope to continue to have the support of the board. he will not file till I pay in full 900 dollars. I will at least retain him for now, and listen to what he has to tell me about filing and what challenges I may face.

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Hang on, either you misunderstood the lawyer or something's not right. PA has LOUSY state exmeptions. Federal exemptions ARE available to you in PA. PA has NO homestead exemption and unless your deed is recorded as 'tenancy in entirety', the house could be vulnerable.

The PA exemptions are here:

http://www.thebankruptcysite.com/exemptions/pennsylvania.htm

The Federal Exemptions are here:

http://www.thebankruptcysite.com/exemptions/federal.htm

With Federal exemptions, you have a homestead exemption of $16,150. So, if your equity is below that, the home is safe. It may not BE safe if you use PA exemptions. Also, any unused portion of the Fed homestead exemption, up to $7500, can be applied to any other property.

Federal also gives you a much more reasonabl exemption for a vehicle - $2575 - PA gives you nothing !

Federal also gives you an addtional $850 Wildcard to use.

Read over these exemptions. I think you'll agree that using the Federal exmeptions would be more to your benefit - unless there's something to this that we don't know from your posts.

The only reason I can see why you'd have to file Ch 13 is if you have one heck of a lot of equity in your home. What you should try to do before you see the lawyer is get a real estate agent to give you a "walk away' price for you home - that's the value you use to figure equity. It'll be much closer anyway.

[Edit by LadynRed on Thursday, April 17, 2003 @ 05:26 PM]

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When I spoke to the lawyer I told him about my wanting to file alone, and our mortgage. Our deed is held by tenants by the entirety. Our home is the only thing we have of any value. It is a modest home, and it does have equity, he said from what I told him it will be safe if I file on my own. I really hope I understood him correctly. I gave him my pay off price, as well as value of home and he said he recommend I file PA exemptions. I am really scared now. He said we would never do anything to subject the loss of the house. I will just have to wait till Monday to see what he says then. I spoke to 3 lawyers in the past month and all have told me the same thing about PA and my deed being held as tenants by the entirety.

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Well.. the attorney is the guy to trust. I just wanted to point out that you DO have the Federal exemptions available to you as they are more generous than the PA exemptions. If your equity is more than the Federal exemption, then the PA exemption would protect the house because of the 'tenancy in entirety' clause.

Good luck.. you're on you way to some relief and getting your life back ;)

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thanks so much. I was just scared that maybe I was misunderstanding. I did clearly tell the lawyer about house and my husbands illness, and wanting to file alone. He said we would not file if there was any jeopardy of losing the house. I really need support, and this board (several regular posters to my problems) have really been keeping my head above the water. I am jittery, so nervous, I keep the internet on so that I do not have to answer the phone. I know I have a long road ahead, and I may face alot of obstacles, but if I can get past them with the help of this board, It will be be helpful. Have you gone through the process of bankruptcy?

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Not yet, no, but I'm working on my paperwork. I've spent a lot of time studying and preparing, now I'm ready to get it done myself. I'm sick to death of these jerk collection agencies. I have caller id and if it says 'unknown' or 'out of area' I do NOT pick up the phone. Of course, having recently moved and having a new unlisted phone number has drastically cut down on the screaming on the nusciance calls. I have never spoken to a single one of them, they all only got to talk to my answering machine.. LOL. I will NOT allow them to scream at me and spew their drivel when I know I cannot possibly pay what they want.

Hang in there.. we'll be here to help ya thru the jitters ;)

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sounds like we will be going through the process together. I wish I had done more research. I know I waited to long and now the creditor calls are unbearable. None of my accounts have gone to a collection agent yet. I am terrified, I can feel my heart racing, every time the phone rings I cringe. MBNA does not come up out of area, it says MBNA. The work calls are the hardest. The one on Friday put me over the edge and made me call the lawyer to get to appointment to at least retain him. Is there somewhere where I can get a glimpse or have an idea of what forms I will need to complete to file? if I come prepared to my appointment I might be less nervous.

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<blockquote>Originally posted by intodeep

sounds like we will be going through the process together. I wish I had done more research. I know I waited to long and now the creditor calls are unbearable. None of my accounts have gone to a collection agent yet. I am terrified, I can feel my heart racing, every time the phone rings I cringe. MBNA does not come up out of area, it says MBNA. The work calls are the hardest. The one on Friday put me over the edge and made me call the lawyer to get to appointment to at least retain him. Is there somewhere where I can get a glimpse or have an idea of what forms I will need to complete to file? if I come prepared to my appointment I might be less nervous.

</blockquote>

Creditor calls and collection agency calls sound frightening, but they're really not. Fright is one of their motivators in hoping to get you to pay them something.

The most important thing you can do is NEVER talk with them, period. The next most important thing is to send a certified letter requesting validation -AND- establishing a cease-and-desist order. It is VERY expensive due to the postal rate for certified letters, but do it if you can afford it.

I tried BK but was told I didn't quality (no, not even for THAT!). They said the court won't accept a chapter 7 filing from me because I have too much equity in my home, and won't accept a chapter 13 filing from be because I have no income. I'd always thought that ANYONE in financial trouble could file, but I was wrong.

Good luck in your case, and I hope all works out for you.

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I tried BK but was told I didn't quality (no, not even for THAT!). They said the court won't accept a chapter 7 filing from me because I have too much equity in my home, and won't accept a chapter 13 filing from be because I have no income. I'd always thought that ANYONE in financial trouble could file, but I was wrong.

What did you do if you couldn't file?

I am hoping that when I speak to the lawyer on Monday night he will guide me properly. I guess you could file and lose the house. The lawyer I am retaining told me if the house would be in jeopardy, we would not file either.

Good luck in your case, and I hope all works out for you.

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Intodeep:

You sure sound a lot better today; glad to see you hanging in there. Still here watching & hoping the best for you.

Hey just got work back on this thread from calawyer; check this out:

http://www.debt-consolidation-credit-repair-service.com/cgi-local/cutecast/cutecast.pl?forum=16&thread=5160

[Edit by kb9tbq on Friday, April 18, 2003 @ 03:16 PM]

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<blockquote>Originally posted by intodeep

I tried BK but was told I didn't quality (no, not even for THAT!). They said the court won't accept a chapter 7 filing from me because I have too much equity in my home, and won't accept a chapter 13 filing from be because I have no income. I'd always thought that ANYONE in financial trouble could file, but I was wrong.

What did you do if you couldn't file?

I am hoping that when I speak to the lawyer on Monday night he will guide me properly. I guess you could file and lose the house. The lawyer I am retaining told me if the house would be in jeopardy, we would not file either.

Good luck in your case, and I hope all works out for you.

</blockquote>

I can't file and lose the house because that would involve Chapter 7, and I am not qualified to file for Chapter 7. I could set up a 13 so as to sell off the house; however, I don't have any INCOME (which is a requirement for 13).

As for what I can "do" in such a situation, the answer is nothing. My job-search efforts are at 200%, as they have been, so there's no room there. All I can do is just keep the search going full speed, pray that someone will have the brains to hire me. I have degrees, 20+ years of unblemished work experience, no criminal record, and am willing to work for minimum wage...so they really have nothing to lose.

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Chapter 13 in PA may be the way to go with any home equity beyond the exemption. You still get the Chapter 7 benefits, however all you must pay back is at least what creditors would have gotten on a Chapter 7 filing, but you have three years in which to spread it out! Chapter 13's are more work for lawyers and do require that you be a wage earner. Of course excess disposable income is expected to be used toward repayment as well. Chapter 7 filings require the Trustee to abandon the property at a fair price and people who cannot come up with the equity really have little choice but to file 13 or do nothing at all.

Yes, it is true some people are so down on their luck they can't even qualify for bankruptcy! For those owning real property, you are safe in that unsecured creditors cannot force you into foreclosure, only place a lien on the property until sold when they get paid. They can however, usually garnish wages and levy bank accounts.

As to bill collectors, if they call you at work send a C&D. If they call you at home, screen all calls between 8AM & 9PM. Calls can continue for years so get used to it!

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I am not doing to well, I am so emotional. I paid the lawyer Sat. He was filing Monday. He said I would receive a letter by today saying the papers were incomplete, he said we will file an extention, he is backlogged with cases. I am so scared I made the wrong decision. He is one of the top 3 in the area. All he does is bankruptcy. He said that there is a 75% chance we get through a 7 with no problem, if there is an objection we will switch, it will cost me 2 bankruptcies. I am feeling guilty, I don't know how I am supposed to be acting, I don't go anywhere, I fear even buying groceries. I dream I will end up in jail. I still cringe when the phone rings, but there is a sense of some relief. I called all my creditors at his suggestion and gave his name and number. THe woman at discover that answered told me she was trhough bankruptcy and told me that it will be easy. I hate not being in control. 3 of the creditors wished me luck and told me to take care. I am so afraid of losing the house. He siad we will convert to a 13 if something goes wrong. I am now wondering if I should have gone 13 to begin with. I feel so out of control, and I am trusting him to know what is right. HE said in 5 months this should all be over. I have to go back and fill out the forms, he said that we will do that in about 3 weeks. I am a chronic worrier to begin with, so this is to be expected. I guess since the process started, the real fear is setting in, in a different way than that of the creditors calling. I was very honest with him, and I hope he is being honest with me. He did say a 13 is more work in the long run, and he would go that route in the first place if he was confident we would get an objection. He did say though we are taking a chance. It happened so fast, now since I left I am so worried about the 25% chance, my luck it will backfire. (he said the trustee may object to the amount of equity in home). I am in PA claiming PA exemptions, filing alone, on property held by tenants by the entirety.) I just can't seem to find alot of info on cases such as this.

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Need to get you refocused on a task; and not the fear of it. Ok - so need to fine tune your information for the lawyer for when he is ready to have you come back in.

Have you purchased recent copy of all 3 of your credit reports through the credit reporting agencies?

Would suggest making a spreadsheet listing all of the creditors. Use the credit reports to collect all the creditors names & account numbers. Also collect all of the addresses. Finally write down the amounts to the best of your knowledge is due with each of these.

Add the collection companies and be sure to note who the original creditor is that they are collecting for. Know that you will need to be as clear on your records - so that the papers can be very accurate for later on.

Reason for this is because when I see people applying for mortgage loans down the line; the bank with forward these papers to me to try and update credit reports reflecting who was all included (when the CRA fails to do this part). I get mixed results - because people fail to be clear on itemizing; providing account numbers or amounts which match.

Another good idea / would be to note the difference between your creditors information & what is showing up on the credit report.

Read up on the bankruptcy section here - you should read every post there till you understand or get an idea on the different angles which apply. Know Ladynred has posted some real good information in there giving insight on what is needed to know.

For your well being; you need to remove yourself from your emotions - really. Find something other to redirect your feelings; instead of being upset focuse on being mad about something which you don't feel is right and feed on it.

Personally I have delt with mental illness - years ago I was told I would be on meds the rest of my life because of my instability. Today I am medicine free and more focused than I ever thought possible, still have bad days - but for the most part it has been about making changes that don't give room for the emotions to take over. Know it is rough; took a few years to completely get over the withdrawls myself of reflecting on the old ways but there is no real time table per person on how long or what will do this. OK

It is going to be important that you step back out there and throw yourself back into your daily activities; also make time for yourself. Leave the house and pick something to do - anything. Maybe take up a new hobby; me & husband here play scrabble quite often - of course he beats me all the time. :-)

We make sure to go out once in while to see a movie. Or just go for a walk. I still can't get him to go roller skating or swimming though. :-) Know you can come up with a project which makes you happy. So that is an order - mix these things back in which are important to you. 0k.

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<blockquote>Originally posted by intodeep

I am not doing to well, I am so emotional. I paid the lawyer Sat. He was filing Monday. He said I would receive a letter by today saying the papers were incomplete, he said we will file an extention, he is backlogged with cases. I am so scared I made the wrong decision. He is one of the top 3 in the area. All he does is bankruptcy. He said that there is a 75% chance we get through a 7 with no problem, if there is an objection we will switch, it will cost me 2 bankruptcies. I am feeling guilty, I don't know how I am supposed to be acting, I don't go anywhere, I fear even buying groceries. I dream I will end up in jail. I still cringe when the phone rings, but there is a sense of some relief. I called all my creditors at his suggestion and gave his name and number. THe woman at discover that answered told me she was trhough bankruptcy and told me that it will be easy. I hate not being in control. 3 of the creditors wished me luck and told me to take care. I am so afraid of losing the house. He siad we will convert to a 13 if something goes wrong. I am now wondering if I should have gone 13 to begin with. I feel so out of control, and I am trusting him to know what is right. HE said in 5 months this should all be over. I have to go back and fill out the forms, he said that we will do that in about 3 weeks. I am a chronic worrier to begin with, so this is to be expected. I guess since the process started, the real fear is setting in, in a different way than that of the creditors calling. I was very honest with him, and I hope he is being honest with me. He did say a 13 is more work in the long run, and he would go that route in the first place if he was confident we would get an objection. He did say though we are taking a chance. It happened so fast, now since I left I am so worried about the 25% chance, my luck it will backfire. (he said the trustee may object to the amount of equity in home). I am in PA claiming PA exemptions, filing alone, on property held by tenants by the entirety.) I just can't seem to find alot of info on cases such as this.

</blockquote>

What you're feeling right now is normal. It's only human nature to worry about what's around the next corner, etc., and the anxieties that build after taking such a legal/financial action can seem overwhelming at times (and that's an understatement).

But...

You did the right thing based on your financial condition. There is the chance that the court would object to a 7 if you have decent equity in your home, but it certainly wouldn't be the end of the world. There is always 13, provided you have a good job and/or income from other sources.

Sure, a 13 will cost you more money in terms of attorney's fees, but most attorneys will factor their fees into the ch 13 payments, thereby making it much more affordable for you. And, a 13 will keep your house for you (provided you keep making the payments on it).

As for collection calls, that should be the least of your worries. I used to get them on the order of 5-7/hour during the day and early evening, from more creditors than I could count on both hands. It never phased me in the least; I'd just look at the caller ID and laugh, wondering why someone would even try to collect something I desperately WANTED to pay, but had no means of actually paying.

Between some number changes, assignments, and other phone-related measures I implemented, I haven't had a creditor call me in over two months. But of course, I have a very aggressive debt management and structuring program in place, too.

It might appear easier said than done, but simply make it your policy to NEVER talk to creditors (but communicating in writing if absolutely necessary). The only exception at this point would be to let them know of your filing. The attorney's office will take care of the communication, but that doesn't mean the front-line collectors will receive the message from their managers in short order.

Actually, what I'd do if I were you, assuming you have the funds available, is send certified mail return-receipt letters to every creditor yourself, advising of your filing and giving the attorney's number and address to use for any further correspondence (you DID say he told you that was okay, right?).

If you get the "but I have just one quick and important question" treatment from the creditor, simply tell him/her that that's what the "creditor meeting" is for, and that you will answer any questions that you feel are reasonable at that time.

As for your post-bankruptcy credit report, sure, the bankruptcy will be there and will cause major problems, especially if you're wanting unsecured credit (and in a few cases, secured). This is the part of your fresh start that involves repairing (to the extent possible) and rebuilding your credit, and in 'certain' cases, even being given an opportunity to establish NEW credit (albeit probably small in the beginning).

Bottom line, bankruptcy will be a HUGE load off your shoulders and give you the chance to start a new life, absent the negativity and anguish associated with people bugging and belittling you all the time. Take a deep breath and relax!

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Yes what you are feeling is normal. When I filed for my BK, I felt the same way as you. It took me awhile to start feeling better. After the BK, I felt that the weight of the world was off my shoulders. I felt so much better. Now, I focus on repairing my credit. A fresh start is awesome. I made many mistakes when I was younger with my credit. I did not know the reprocussions back then. Now I am trying to teach my children about credit and what it means and how easy it is to lose control of it. I am hoping that they learn what I didn't as a young adult.

Like kb says, focus on something else for awhile. Don't let this consume you. It is a fact of life that some people need to file BK. And if your one of them, there is no shame in it. You will see this later on. So keep your head up. Things are looking pretty bad and gloomy right now. But you need to see the end result. The end result will be good for you and you will feel like you have had a 100 pound weight lifted from your shoulders. I promise. :D

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intodeep....look at this like a "new beginning" :) I went through a BK, foreclosure & divorce all at the same time with three kids under the age of 5, I was devastated to say the least, but you WILL get through it and you will be stronger for it (how cliche?) but it's true. Your attorney should be taking ALL THE CALLS, thats one of the reasons you are paying him. Let him know that these calls are getting in the way of your well-being. There are now laws that protect you, let him do his job and you focus on your well-being and your husbands.....Deep cleansing breath :D we're all thinking of you.

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Thanks all for the kind words. I am still a nervous wreck. All these what ifs going through my mind. I don't want to bug the lawyer with nonsense questions. At our Saturday meeting, we discussed my options. First he went to the 13, but after hearing about DH's decrease in income from his illness the last 2 years, he switched to the 7 and said I have a 75% chance of getting through with no objects. He put me in his computer system, said the papers were going out Monday to file, and then by today I would have a letter from the court saying I had incomplete paper work. Nothing came today. He said for my well being I could call the creditors and give his name, phone and his office would take all the calls. I gave him all my credit account totals and addresses. When do they get officially notified? I don't understand when the creditor meeting will be. He said as soon as he gets the notice that the papers are incomplete, he will send an letter to court for an extention of time. He said that way I will get to meet with him again to complete the petition for my assests and income. I am so scared that I do something wrong, like say my house is worth something and it is worth more, I know what the homes are going for in the area. I am also scared I forget something. We basically have nothing of value. The lawyer didn't go over alot of my personal things with me. Am I panicking? Will he take into account the things my 18 year old son owns, like his car?

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Relax! Your lawyer is handeling this correctly. All of your creditors will be notified. They won't call you anymore. They will call your attorney. But once the BK is filed the CA's won't even bother calling. Your sons assets won't be touched. When you go to court for the BK that is when the debitors can show up. Usually they don't. But your lawyer will handle that. You need not worry about losing anything that you own. YOU WON'T!

Like I said, I went through this exact same thing. I survived and am happier because of it. It was a difficult decision to file BK. I was so ashamed that I never even told my husband. I finally did. If I haden't of filed I would be probably living on the streets. So take a deep breath and know that you are doing this for a legitamate reason. In the end, you will be relieved of tremendous debt that you know way could have payed. You are getting a fresh start! That is pretty awesome! :)

If you have questions don't be afraid to ask your lawyer. The lawyer understands that this is a scary situation for you. Tell him about your anxiety and let him reassure you. So bug him all you want, he's your lawyer and that is what he is there for.

[Edit by capepuffin on Thursday, April 24, 2003 @ 05:54 PM]

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<blockquote>Originally posted by intodeep

Thanks all for the kind words. I am still a nervous wreck. All these what ifs going through my mind. I don't want to bug the lawyer with nonsense questions. At our Saturday meeting, we discussed my options. First he went to the 13, but after hearing about DH's decrease in income from his illness the last 2 years, he switched to the 7 and said I have a 75% chance of getting through with no objects. He put me in his computer system, said the papers were going out Monday to file, and then by today I would have a letter from the court saying I had incomplete paper work. Nothing came today. He said for my well being I could call the creditors and give his name, phone and his office would take all the calls. I gave him all my credit account totals and addresses. When do they get officially notified? I don't understand when the creditor meeting will be. He said as soon as he gets the notice that the papers are incomplete, he will send an letter to court for an extention of time. He said that way I will get to meet with him again to complete the petition for my assests and income. I am so scared that I do something wrong, like say my house is worth something and it is worth more, I know what the homes are going for in the area. I am also scared I forget something. We basically have nothing of value. The lawyer didn't go over alot of my personal things with me. Am I panicking? Will he take into account the things my 18 year old son owns, like his car?

</blockquote>

Hello, Intoodeep.

I want to offer you the opportunity to discuss this privately, if you'd like. Ok, so here's what you would get...

First, the bad news.... I am NOT a practicing attorney. However, I have been to law school and graduated. Therefore, I can't give legal advice, per se, or act as an attorney (a person must also be licensed, in addition to having a JD degree). The good news is that I can probably answer most of your questions so it will be easier for you to understand and communicate with your attorney... and, I can give you some general Bankruptcy 101 information (but no advice).

As for money matters, one of my undergraduate degrees is in accounting and I've held accounting, financial planning, and auditing jobs in the past (loooooong ago). Also, the last place I worked full-time was a bank.

As for the present, I have some financial issues of my own (as many people do), but I also run a very successful "debt assistance firm," as I call it. It's just me, working with others on different aspects of managing their debts and dealing with collectors.

This is *NOT* why I'm offering to answer some of your questions, though. I will neither charge you, nor offer you any of my services.

I just see someone in a really tough predicament who has more questions than answers, and who is so overwhelmed by all the issues that they're very nervous and uneasy right now. Again, this has nothing to do with my business -- I'm just offering, as a friend, to answer some of your questions.

If you want to take me up on it, click my profile and then click the e-mail link. Write me a note, and we'll take it from there.

Thanks.

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intoodeep:

I just wanted to let you know that you don't need to worry about going to jail. I didn't see that anyone else mentioned that...

but a debt is a civil matter, not a criminal one. The worst... absolute WORST that can happen is that you could have a lien placed against your home.. and you'd have to have a HECK of a lot of debt in order to justify them taking that route.

You can't go to jail. It's just plain not possible. Don't sweat it :)

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One more comment I'd like to add.

Intoodeep - call a real estate agent in your area and ask for a 'walk away' price on your home. What homes are bringing in your area is simply not a good enough measure for an estimate in bankruptcy. The prices homes are going for around you are those that people have plenty of time to wait out to get their asking price (or close to it). A Trustee, if he/she were going to sell it, would be looking for a FAST sale - so even a Trustee would NOT be getting top dollar for a normal real estate sale. Please, please keep this in mind. The equity you THINK you have in your home may be a LOT less in reality when you base it on 'how much could I get for it for if I absolutely HAD to sell in the next week ??' If you can do this, it may ease your mind further about your home.

Buzz - how are you at taxes ?

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