Bankruptcy - "Fresh Start?"; Soon not so clean-cut.

March 10, 2005

Mbkweb
Michael B. Katz, Esquire

SPRINGFIELD, MA - This week, the Senate cleared the way for sweeping changes to American bankruptcy laws. No longer will personal bankruptcy filers be able to truly make a "fresh start," by having their debts swept away. Medical bills and credit card debt, among other debt, will not be eradicated, as is currently the case.

Proponents of the bill say that this will curb the growing number of bankruptcy filings by people who should be able to meet their obligations. Since the bankruptcy laws had their last major reform, 27 years ago, bankruptcy filings have increased 800 percent.

Critics claim that this will most hurt those who most need help from bankruptcy protection, and it does nothing to address wealthy filers who create special trusts to shelter their assets.

At issue is the contention that credit card companies are largely at fault for the high level of bankruptcy filings due to their heavy promotion of new credit cards, extension of credit to people who can't afford it, and high fees and penalties for late payments.

Not surprisingly, the lobby most directly responsible for this bill is sponsored by VISA, MasterCard, American Bankers Association, MBNA America, Capital One, Citicorp, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Acceptance Corporation. They have reportedly spent in excess of $40 million in political fund raising efforts in support of this bill since 1989.

The Springfield based law firm of Bacon & Wilson, P.C.'s bankruptcy department is available to offer support of local media efforts to educate the public about the changes and how consumers will be impacted.

Please contact Bacon & Wilson bankruptcy attorney, Michael B. Katz, for additional information.

Bacon & Wilson, P.C. has a total of 28 lawyers plus 65 paralegals, secretaries and other support staff. The firm's main office is located in Springfield, with additional offices in Westfield and Northampton. The firm was founded in 1895, and Bacon & Wilson provides legal services in almost every area of the law to clients throughout Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut.

by: Michael B. Katz