This section contains general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. For more detailed information or to discuss your specific case, please contact the Law Office of Diana McDonald, LLC for a consultation.
- Automatic Stay
When a person or business files for bankruptcy an automatic stay goes into effect. It prohibits virtually all creditors from taking any action to collect debts unless the bankruptcy court lifts the stay and allows the creditor to proceed with collections.
A federal law that provides individuals and businesses relief from their debts or repayment under the protection of the bankruptcy court. Generally, bankruptcies fall into two categories: 1- liquidation, where debts are wiped out or discharged or 2- reorganization, where the debtor provides the court a plan for repayment of the debts.
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
A liquidation type bankruptcy for individuals and businesses. Individuals give up nonexempt property in exchange for discharging all or most of the debts. Businesses have their assets sold off to pay creditors.
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
A reorganization type bankruptcy for businesses and certain individuals where a plan of reorganization is filed with the court.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
An individual proposes to repay some or all of the debts owed over three to five years. At the end of the repayment term, any outstanding balances on the debt are discharged.
A legally binding agreement between two or more people or businesses (called parties) that says what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts can be oral or written unless it involves real estate issues. Real estate related contracts must be in writing to be enforceable.
The legal process of transferring property when a person dies. Property owned by a person at death is subject to the probate process under State Law or as set out under a will.
- Probate Court
A special court or division of the state court system that oversees the probate process. The court typically determines the validity of a will and rules on any objections (caveats) to the will. If a person dies without a will (called intestate) the court determines who receives property of the deceased according to state law. It also oversees the payment of creditors from the estate and the distribution of property to inheritors or beneficiaries.
Serious Injury/Wrongful Death
Doing something that a reasonable person would not do under the circumstances or not doing something that a reasonable person would do.
- Personal Injury
An injury to the body, mind or emotions. In serious injury cases, a person suffers serious harm or injury through the negligence or misconduct of another. Such injury may include permanent brain damage or stroke.
- Wrongful Death
Death caused by the negligence or misconduct of another person, entity or company. In wrongful death cases, the suit is usually brought by the representative of the deceased person’s estate. Resulting damage awards go to the estate to be distributed according to state law.