Power of Attorney: What are they and do you need one?

You’ve certainly heard of the term power of attorney or POA before, but do you really understand what it means? Don’t worry; you’re not alone! The majority of people don’t fully understand POAs or think that they mean something that they don’t. Read for a quick lesson in powers of attorney, what they are and who needs them.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that gives someone else the power to handle your affairs if you’re unable to do so or if you need assistance. The document names a person that you choose as your Power of Attorney.

What Can a Power of Attorney Do?

The person that you name as your Power of Attorney can sign documents on your behalf, handle your banking and open and close accounts in your name. In addition, they can handle bill-paying, can file taxes on your behalf and receive financial information about your accounts.

Who Can Be a Power of Attorney?

Any person over the 18 can serve as your Power of Attorney. The person does not have to be related to you, but often, people choose a spouse, a child or a grandchild to serve as their Power of Attorney. What’s most important is that you choose someone who you trust. Your POA will be able to access all of your money, so you need to make sure they will be honest and that they can be responsible.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Power of Attorney?

Having a power of attorney ensures that your bills can be paid and all of your finances can be managed if you’re unable to handle them on your own. If you became very ill or injured suddenly, having a POA in place would ensure that everything could be easily managed until you could take over your finances once more. Seniors often benefit from naming someone as Powers of Attorney if it becomes difficult for them to manage their finances on their own or they’re not able to easily make trips to the bank.

What’s Involved in Getting a Power of Attorney?

Once a power of attorney form is drawn up, it must be signed in front of two witnesses who are over the age of 18. It must also be notarized. Then, you can simply retain a copy of it to have on hand in case it is ever needed. Typically, your Power of Attorney will need to present a copy prior to being able to have access to your account or act on your behalf.

If you’d like to have a power of attorney drawn up to simplify matters if you would ever become incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle your affairs, contact Attorney Robert A. Boyd. With 25 years of experience assisting clients with estate services and powers of attorney, he can help make the process as simple as possible. Schedule a consultation by calling 440-230-3230 today.

8 Ways a Lawyer Can Help Your Business

Many people groan the moment they hear the word “lawyer,” but an attorney can be a small business owner’s best friend. There are many times when an experienced business attorney can provide valuable services to small businesses. Here are 8 times when you might want to call upon the services of a lawyer to help you with your business:

Naming and Trademarking. If you’re starting a business, you can’t just pick out a name and order your business cards. There is a process involved with filing your business name, and you may need to protect it with trademarks. An attorney can walk you through the process to make sure it’s done correctly.
Selecting the Right Structure. Is it better for you to be an LLC or a partnership? An S corporation or a C corporation? A sole proprietor? Each business structure has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, which an attorney can lay out for you, so that you can choose the best structure for your needs.
Initial Paperwork. You’ll need a number of licenses and permits before you open your doors, and neglecting to get one can be costly. An attorney can help you make sure that you complete all of the necessary forms, so that you can avoid problems.
Contracts and NDAs. Trying to write up non-disclosure agreements and contracts yourself can be a recipe for disaster. Having an attorney draw up these documents and review ones that you’re presented is a wise decision.
Buy-Sell Agreements. Anytime that you own a partnership or an LLC, it’s important that you have a document in place to protect all of the owners in the event that someone passes away or one partner wants out. An attorney can assist with drawing up the necessary paperwork.
Incorporation. Starting a corporation is a lengthy process that must be done correctly. Having an attorney assist you can ensure that everything is done legally and properly.
Litigation. If you need to sue someone or someone sues you, you can’t afford to be without an attorney.
Buying or Selling Your Business. An attorney can help you negotiate the sale of a business whether you’re the buyer or the seller and draw up the necessary paperwork to complete the deal.
Whether you have one of the above needs or another legal concern, you can count on Attorney Robert A. Boyd to assist you with your business law needs. He brings more than 25 years of experience helping businesses in the Willoughby area with all types of legal concerns and is available to assist you. Call his office at 440-230-3230 to schedule a consultation.

Bankruptcy – How long will it take?

Once you’ve made the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy, you’re naturally anxious to get the process underway and fully resolved. The truth is that the length of bankruptcy proceedings can vary based on a number of factors, but on average, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will take somewhere around 105 days or more from the time of filing to the close of the case, which is known as the discharge.

What’s important to understand about the process is that no matter how long the process takes, you get relief from debt right away. As soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed, a stay is placed on your debt, so you no longer rack up interest.

Basic steps involved with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
The case is filed with the bankruptcy court.
You attend a meeting with your creditors called a 341 meeting.
You complete a financial management course within 45 days of the 341 meeting.
The bankruptcy is discharged within 60 days of the 341 meeting.
How fast everything can be handled will depend largely on you. If you’re able to supply your bankruptcy lawyer with the right documentation up front, you can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for your chapter 7 case. You should also continue to turn over any new documents that you receive throughout the proceedings.

What do you need for your attorney?

Pay stubs
Any information about changes of employment
Copies of your tax returns
All of your bills
Records of your creditors that include their
Official address
Account number
Any collateral involved in the loan
Current amount due
While it can be embarrassing to have to disclose all of your debt to your attorney, don’t let shame or worry hold you back from sharing everything. Withholding information will result in delays to the bankruptcy proceedings. Be cooperative and honest to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether or not bankruptcy is right for you is to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your specific situation. With more than 25 years of experience, Attorney Robert A. Boyd of Willoughby, Ohio, can help you weigh the options and decide if bankruptcy is your best option for debt relief. Contact his office at 440-230-3230 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.

For additional information regarding bankruptcy law, check out the Ohio State Bar Association

How to Stop Debt Collectors Fast

When you’re unable to pay your bills, the constant threats from debt collectors can make an already stressful time unbearable. If you decide that bankruptcy is your best way forward out of debt, the calls from bill collectors will stop immediately after an automatic stay is instituted.

What Is a Bankruptcy Automatic Stay and why does it stop debt collectors?
An automatic stay is a court order that a bankruptcy court issues as soon as a person files a petition for bankruptcy. The stay protects you from your creditors and mandates that:

Foreclosure proceedings stop immediately
Repossession attempts stop immediately
Bill collectors stop calling, emailing, texting and mailing letters
Lawsuits and wage garnishments be ended immediately
Creditors who don’t comply with the automatic stay can face serious legal action. See this Wikipedia entry for more information on Automatic Stays

The Length of a Bankruptcy Automatic Stay
Whether you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay will be put into place when you file. In the case of Chapter 13, the stay will remain in effect for 3 to 5 years while you work to repay the amount of your debt that the court has determined you are responsible for.

With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the stay remains in place until the bankruptcy proceedings are complete and the debt is discharged. Then, creditors are still prohibited from contacting you after the matter is settled.

How to Get a Bankruptcy Automatic Stay
In order to benefit from a bankruptcy automatic stay, you need the help of a licensed bankruptcy attorney. The attorney can discuss your case with you and prepare and file the paperwork necessary to get the stay in place. Once the bankruptcy proceedings are complete, your creditors will never be able to try and demand that you pay your own debt. You’ll be able to get a completely fresh start.

Contact Robert A Boyd for more information about bankruptcy automatic stays.

Attorney Robert A. Boyd has been helping members of the Willoughby, Ohio, community and surrounding areas through bankruptcy proceedings for more than 25 years and is here to guide you through the process. He can help you with additional information about bankruptcy automatic stays and to find out whether or not bankruptcy is the right choice for your needs. He can also help you take the first steps toward filing if that is the most appropriate course of action. Call his office at 440-230-3230 to set up a free consultation.

Lien stripping – Eliminating a Second Mortgage

Lien stripping – Eliminating a Second Mortgage
Posted on August 26, 2016 by R.A. Boyd – Attorney • 0 Comments
Lien stripping – Eliminating a Second Mortgage
If you’re saddled with debt that you’re unable to pay, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you settle your obligations and give you 3 to 5 years to pay off some types of debt. One of the provisions under bankruptcy law makes it possible to get rid of second mortgages and other non-primary liens on your property. This process is called lien stripping. Read on to find out how it works.

What Lien Stripping Does
Lien stripping is a way for people who owe more than the value of their home with second, third or fourth mortgages to get debt relief. With a lien stripping arrangement, the court orders the second or other non-primary lien holders to remove the lien from their home. You’re still responsible for the debt, but it becomes unsecured debt that you make payments toward settling along with all of your other obligations. Once the obligations are classified as unsecured debt, you may not have to pay the entire amount but this will depend upon the amount of your monthly income on the date you file. The lien is not removed entirely until you finish your Chapter 13 plan and your bankruptcy is completely discharged. If for some reason your bankruptcy is dismissed before you finish the plan, you will still be responsible for your mortgage and the lien will not be removed.

Qualifying for Lien Stripping
In order for you to qualify for lien stripping through Chapter 13, you must owe more than your home’s value in mortgage debt. The value of your home will be determined through an appraisal. Then, the total amount of all of the money that you owe on liens against your home will be added up. The sum total of the debt must be greater than the value of your home.

For example, if you have a $100,000 first mortgage, a $50,000 second mortgage and a $30,000 line of credit that is maxed out, you would owe a total of $180,000 on your home. If your home turned out to be worth only $100,000, both the second and third liens could be stripped. If your home was worth $150,000, only the third lien would be eligible for stripping. Should your home be valued at $200,000, you would be completely ineligible for relief through debt stripping.

To learn more about Chapter 13 bankruptcy and lien stripping in Ohio, contact the law office of Attorney Robert A. Boyd in Willoughby at 440-230-3230.

Tax Refunds and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you start over and eliminate the burden of debt that you’re unable to repay, but with that fresh start comes some downsides. One of these is that it’s possible for you to lose your tax refund as a part of the bankruptcy proceedings; however, this doesn’t happen to everyone. Read on to learn more about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy affects tax refunds.

Chapter 7 and Your Assets
When you file for Chapter 7, your assets are first used to settle as much of your debt as possible. The Bankruptcy Code states that real estate, cars, savings accounts and other items can all be used as assets, and under the definition of assets, tax refunds are among the items that can be taken and used to pay creditors. Normally, bankruptcy trustees will ask whether or not you have received a tax refund or expect to receive one at the meeting with your creditors at the beginning of Chapter 7 proceedings.

How Tax Refunds Are Treated
Under ordinary circumstances, tax refunds are treated as follows during a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

Previous year’s refunds received before the bankruptcy. Any unspent funds that remain from the tax refund may be used to pay creditors.
Refunds from the year of the bankruptcy. The trustee will use some of your refund to pay your creditors. The amount is determined by your bankruptcy filing date and will be determined based on your income.
Next year’s refund after bankruptcy filing. You can keep all of the funds from refunds the year after you file.
Planning Is Key
With careful planning, it’s possible to minimize the amount of your refund that will be used as a part of your assets for paying creditors during a bankruptcy. You can do this in three ways:

– By changing your withholdings, so that your refund amount is reduced and you receive more money in your pay

– By using the money to pay for necessary expenses like work on your home or car repairs

– By having the refund included in your allowable bankruptcy proceedings

It’s also possible that you may be able to keep some of your tax refund if you qualify for certain tax deductions, such as the Earned Income Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. The situation is complex, but an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you plan appropriately if you typically receive a large refund.

At the law office of Attorney Robert A. Boyd in Willoughby, Ohio, we help clients weigh all of their options when it comes to bankruptcy. We can explain how Chapter 7 will affect all of your finances, including your tax return, and provide you with advice regarding how to proceed. Call us at 440-230-3230 to schedule a consultation.

Ohio Means Test for Bankruptcy

In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass a “means” test. This test applies to high income filers, so if your income is less than the Ohio average household (which takes into account household size) you are exempt from the test and may file Chapter 7.

If your income is above the average household income in Ohio, a more detailed analysis will have to be undertaken. There are a number of deductions in this analysis that may allow you to “get under” the mandated limits – but if you can’t, you may be required to file a Chapter 13 case and make monthly payments to your creditors. You might be able to side step the means test if your debts are not consumer debts but primarily related to a business. You may also avoid the means test if you are a disabled veteran who incurred debt on active duty.

Bankruptcy Exemptions in Ohio

If you file a Chapter 7 case, you can retain protected or “exempt” property.

There is a comprehensive list of property deemed by the Ohio legislature as property people need for a fresh start. Your attorney will know the limitations for each of these categories and whether property you own will fit within an exemption.

Here are the some of the more commonly used Ohio bankruptcy exemptions.


$132,900 of equity in one parcel of real or personal property (home, manufactured, or mobile home) that you or your dependent uses as a residence – 2329.66(A)(1)(a)

To learn more, see The Ohio Homestead Exemption.

Personal Property

$475 of cash on hand or deposit – 2329.66(A)(3)

$3,675 of value in one motor vehicle – 2329.66(A)(2) (To learn more, seeThe Ohio Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.)

$12,625 of value in household goods, such as furnishings and appliances, up to a value of $575 per individual item – 2329.66(A)(4)(a)

$1,600 of value in jewelry – 2329.66(A)(4)(b)

Interest in one burial lot – 2329.66(A)(8)


Private pensions – 2329.66(A)(10)(b)

Tax exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k), 403(b), and profit-sharing plans – 11 U.S.C. § 522

IRAS and Roth IRAs 2329.66(A)(10)(c)

State teacher retirement system – 3307.41

Public Benefits

Crime victim’s compensation received during 12 months before filing – 2329.66(A)(12)(a); 2743.66(D)

Disability assistance payments – 2329.66(A)(9)(f); 5115.07

Earned income tax credit and child tax credit – 2329.66(A)(9)(g)

Unemployment compensation benefits – 2329.66(A)(9)(c)

Vocational rehabilitation benefits – 2329.66(A)(9)(a); 3304.19

Workers’ compensation benefits – 2329.66(A)(9)(b)

Wildcard (a general catch all provision)

$1,250 of value in any property – 2329.66(A)(18)


Spousal or child support, to the extent reasonably necessary for support – 2329.66(A)(10)(b)

Tools of the Trade

$2,400 of value in implements, books, and tools of your trade, occupation, or business


529 savings plans – 2329.66(A((10)(e)

Foreclosure Notice – Should I hire an attorney?


f the bank refuses to accept your mortgage payments, returns payments, or sends you a notice of foreclosure, it is likely that a foreclosure lawsuit is eminent. If no action is taken, you could lose your home. In addition to losing your home, you could also be held for liable for any deficiency that arises from the foreclosure sale. If the bank has stopped accepting your mortgage payments you should consult with counsel immediately to ensure the best chance of saving your home and avoiding liability for any deficiency should your home be sold at a foreclosure sale.

Many people believe that if the bank has stopped accepting mortgage payments or sent a notice of foreclosure they do not need to secure counsel, but can simply work with the bank to get the loan modified and avoid losing the home. This can put a home owners at a huge disadvantage as banks will “work” with a home owner to get the loan modified, while simultaneously pushing forward with a foreclosure action. Many individuals will not attempt to secure counsel until a foreclosure sale has been scheduled. Once a foreclosure sale has been scheduled there is very little even the most experienced foreclosure counsel can do to delay the sale, and often times bankruptcy must be filed to have any chance of saving the home.

If the bank has stopped accepting your mortgage payments, or sent you a notice of foreclosure, securing counsel right away preserves the highest number of options in defending the foreclosure. Additionally, if you secure counsel early enough in the foreclosure process, (generally as soon as the bank stops accepting mortgage payments or sends a notice of foreclosure) you likely will be able to take advantage of court mediation and modify the loan.

If the bank has stopped accepting your mortgage payments, returned mortgage payments, sent you a notice of foreclosure, or you are at any point of the foreclosure process give me a call today and I will answer questions you may have and evaluate your options and suggest strategies to help you save your home and avoid any liability should foreclosure occur.

What Is A Bankruptcy Trustee?

A bankruptcy trustee is responsible for ensuring that a bankruptcy filing is properly handled legally, procedurally, and administratively. The U.S. Department of Justice administers the U.S. Trustee Program. There are 21 regional trustee offices through the United States. A trustee represents the interests of your creditors. He/she will attempt to recover unprotected assets from you to distribute to your creditors

The duties of the case specific trustees vary depending upon the type of bankruptcy that you file. Here is a list of the primary bankruptcy trustee types by case:

These are private trustees that locate and oversee the acquisition/liquidation of a debtor’s non-exempt assets in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee / “Panel Trustee”

A chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is often known as a “panel trustee”, or an “interim trustee”. These individuals are appointed to serve as a member of the chapter 7 panel of private trustees. These trustees act as an interim trustee during the pendency of a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. They perform the following duties:

Collect and liquidate any non-exempt assets owned by the debtor.
Ensure that the debtor performs his/her statement of intentions.
Investigate the financial affairs of the debtor including conducting a 341 Hearing.
Object to discharge of debtor when necessary.
Examine and object to proofs of claim when necessary.
File interim and final reports with the court.
These are known as standing trustees who oversee chapter 13 repayment plan bankruptcies.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee / “Standing Trustee”

A chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee is also known as a “standing trustee”. These individuals are appointed by the U.S. Trustee, for a designated region, to oversee all chapter 13 filings in that region. The standing chapter 13 trustee, in addition to performing many of the same duties of a chapter 7 trustee, must also perform the following duties:

Review and approve chapter 13 repayment plans.
Receive regular payments from the chapter 13 debtor and distribute those funds over the 3 to 5 year length of a repayment plan to creditors.
Appear at hearings for property valuation, plan confirmation, and plan modifications.
Advise and assist the debtor regarding chapter 13 plan performance.
Ensure that the debtor makes timely plan payments.