Court Holds Quadruple-Damage Unemployment Penalty is Dischargeable

October 19, 2015

On October 2, 2015 the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that you can discharge the quadruple –damage penalty incurred by overpayment of unemployment benefits through a Chapter 13 discharge.

The Court has decided whether Debtors in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy are able to discharge penalties related to the State of Michigan unemployment reporting errors.  The issue was related to the quadruple damage penalty that is statutorily assessed by the State of Michigan Unemployment Agency in certain circumstances, usually for overpayment, incorrect reporting of income, missing deadlines or similar reasons.

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Fraudulent Transfer

September 25, 2015

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as a liquidation, where the non-exempt assets of the individual are sold and the proceeds used to pay off debts.  Often people will remove their name from a deed or title in anticipation of bankruptcy, or transfer their real or personal property to a friend or family member to try to prevent creditors from seizing the property. This can be a big problem in a bankruptcy.

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Bankruptcy & Foreclosure

September 9, 2015


Bankruptcy may be used to help people faced with a pending foreclosure.  Chapter 13 is a type of personal bankruptcy that can often be used to stop the foreclosure process and provide the property owners time in order to pay back the amounts they are behind.

The Foreclosure Process

A foreclosure typically occurs after a homeowner has fallen behind on mortgage payments for a number of months.  Foreclosure basically means that the home or real estate is going to be sold at a public auction.  The homeowner will receive notification of the approaching sale as part of the process.  Once you receive notice of the pending foreclosure sale, you should review your chapter 13 bankruptcy options as a possible means of avoiding foreclosure and curing the arrears you owe to the lender over a period of time.  It is important to act quickly if you do receive a notice of a pending foreclosure sale to ensure that you are fully aware of your options. 

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Chapter 13 & Foreclosure

September 15, 2015
If you are faced with a foreclosure, or even if you are just behind on your mortgage with no feasible way to become current, chapter 13 may be an option to keep your home and to cure your mortgage arrears over time.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides you an opportunity to catch up your mortgage arrears over the length of the chapter 13 process.  The length of the chapter 13 process depends on a number of factors, including your household income, family size, and other debts.  In general, when you file a chapter 13, you file a “Plan” that provides the manner in which you will pay back your various creditors.  When you use chapter 13 to stop a foreclosure, part of the bankruptcy Plan will be to pay back the mortgage arrears over time, while also paying your ongoing monthly mortgage payment, in order to ensure you are able to remain current on your mortgage payment while the bankruptcy is pending.  If you are able to make all of the required payments established by the Chapter 13 Plan, you will be able to avoid foreclosure and keep your home.

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Congratulations Todd Almassian

August 27, 2015


Todd was recently selected by his peers and named the Best Lawyers’ 2016 Grand Rapids Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law "Lawyer of the Year".

Todd Almassian

Best Bankruptcy Practices

August 24, 2015

At Keller & Almassian, PLC each client is paired with a bankruptcy paralegal. Paralegals often make the clients more comfortable. The Paralegal can help the client gather and organize their documents. Having the Paralegal prepare pleadings is an excellent way to keep the cost of down for the client. 

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Best Bankruptcy Practices: The Good & The Bad

August 19, 2015

Potential bankruptcy clients are undoubtedly facing difficult issues.  Bankruptcy may be able to cure a client’s difficulties, it can just as easily create more problems. At Keller & Almassian, PLC we describe the benefits of bankruptcy and outline potential pit falls. It is important for our clients to fully comprehend the impact of bankruptcy.  

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Best Bankruptcy Practices: Discover the Financial Problem

August 17, 2015

Our attorneys explore with the client the true underlying cause of their problem, and tailor the advice specifically to the problem they are having.  The Keller & Almassian, PLC approach is to first listen to the client’s situation; and second to describe solutions and how each solution would address the client’s problems.  For example, if the potential client has non-dischargeable priority tax debt, a second mortgage that can be stripped, and unserviceable unsecured debt, it is best to explain how each proposed option will address these issues differently.

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Best Bankruptcy Practices: The Bankruptcy Interview

August 17, 2015

When interviewed by our attorneys, potential clients are asked important questions. To keep the clients best interest in mind, sometimes these questions are asked in more than one way.  This is especially crucial in bankruptcy.  Answers to these questions may require more than a yes or no.  Not getting the correct answers can be a sanctionable mistake, especially with increased scrutiny now being given to the information contained in bankruptcy pleadings. For example, a client may not understand that the attorney needs to know about their fractional ownership interests in assets, such as vehicles, joint bank accounts with relatives, or a family cottage.  Instead of simply asking if the client owns any other bank accounts, we ask, “are you aware of your parents adding your name to their bank accounts for estate planning purposes?”

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