Law Offices of Daniel J Winter

Law Offices of Daniel J Winter Blogs

Latest from Law Offices of Daniel J Winter

For millions of Student Loan Borrowers, it’s been 3 years since they have been required to make payments on their Federal Student Loans.  Also, interest and collections were suspended.  The U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Biden Student Loan cancellation program is expected by the end of June. For students who graduated in 2020 or later, they have not had to pay these loans at all! In preparation for the end of the pause, the administration has promised some flexibilities when they get re-started paying their loans.   There will be more flexible ways to report a borrower’s income and
Continue Reading Federal Student Loan Pause is Ending-What Happens Next?

A new, disturbing trend is emerging today.  In 2022, the FBI reported that $10 Billion was lost to online fraud, according to CNN. It’s not just the usual types of fraud you think of, such as ransomware (where a fraudster takes over your computer and says you need to pay money to get control back) or fishing (where someone clicks on an email or text link and enters their user name and password), or where someone asks the user to get gift cards to help them out of trouble.  Or, the ever-popular tech support fraud, where the caller pretends to
Continue Reading Sophisticated Fraud Ensnares More Unsuspecting People

In order to Discharge a student loan in bankruptcy, the US Bankruptcy Code, Section 523 (a) (8) requires the Debtor to prove that repaying the loan(s) “would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents”. Courts around the country have been left to interpret this statute. The recent history of student loan litigation in bankruptcy has relied on Bankruptcy Courts around the country using either the Bruner standard or the “totality of the circumstances” test. In order to discharge student loans, a Debtor has to file an Adversary Proceeding, which is a lawsuit within a Bankruptcy case.
Continue Reading Student Loans and Bankruptcy- New Guidance – Breakthrough or More of the Same?

On August 24, 2022, the President launched a new program to forgive up to $20,000.00 in Student Loan Relief to millions of Federal Student Loan Borrowers.  Here are some questions and answers about this program, what it will do, what it won’t do, and what to do next if you owe student loans. Who qualifies for Student Loan Relief? People who have Federal Student Loans, who make under $125,000.00 per year, or married couples who make less than $250,000.00. How do you know which loans are Federal Student loans?  You need to log in to check on the website
Continue Reading You Heard About the Student Loan Forgiveness Program-What Happens Next?

  I have been practicing law for over 30 years, almost all of them in Bankruptcy Court. Over this time, I have advised clients in a wide range of issues.  I have represented Debtors, Creditors, and Trustees. All parts of the system.   Over these years, I have worked with, for, and against attorneys in the bankruptcy system.  And, in many situations, I have encountered attorneys with little to no bankruptcy experience. And, I have been a resource for other attorneys, to help them and their clients. Bankruptcy is a very complicated area of practice, and, being a Federal proceeding,
Continue Reading Attorneys – I am Your Bankruptcy Resource!

Lately, many of my clients have been completing their Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans and getting Discharge Orders.  This is a HUGE accomplishment!  Chapter 13 is a 3 to 5 year Court-supervised plan where individuals pay their debt back in whole or in part. Creditors are paid through a Chapter 13 Trustee in a certain order based on the US Bankruptcy Code requirements. Why is the completion of a Chapter 13 case such a big deal?  An American Bankruptcy Study in 2019 of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filings showed that only 40% of Bankruptcy cases were discharged (completed successfully).  And, when people
Continue Reading Successfully Completed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases!

Just when you thought that old debt was dead, old Court Judgments can come back to haunt you!  Now that Courts in Illinois are up and running, debt collectors are looking for opportunities to get some “found money” from debts that are very old.  The debts are very old, but the creditor would have obtained a Judgment many years ago. Lately, many clients have come to see me with these “Zombies” of debts that have come alive! This old debt may even drop off someone’s credit report.  When people think of their debt, they typically figure that if they don’t
Continue Reading It’s Alive! Revival of Judgments in Illinois

During the first year of the new administration, Student Loans have been on the top of Congress’ and the White House’s minds.  Here is a summary of what has happened so far, and what might be next: The Pause on payments and interest is extended to May of 2022.   This pause, where borrowers don’t have to pay and interest doesn’t accrue on the loans was originally set to expire at the end of January.  We can guess that the extension of this “final” pause was due to the new Delta and Omicron Covid variants spread throughout the country.  Or, it
Continue Reading Student Loans- Will there Be Big Changes in 2022?

When most business owners think of Bankruptcy, they are thinking that is the option of last resort, when everything is going “down the tubes” so to speak.  But, in reality, Bankruptcy offers many ways to reorganize debts and save the business. The main way that Bankruptcy helps a small business is to “get the heat off” and allow a business or its owner to stop the collection lawsuits or deductions directly from its bank account, and allow it to survive, and then thrive again. These clients came to me 5 years ago:   They have owned a carry-out fish restaurant
Continue Reading Bankruptcy Success Stories- Saving the Family Restaurant and Home

The big Covid Financial news is that the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s eviction moratorium ended on July 31st.  The CDC moratorium became a safety net for many, and overrode many state laws.  If you are a renter, and you are behind in your rent, what will happen now? Depending on the state you live in, evictions may start as soon as August 2nd.  In Illinois, the eviction ban will last another month, until August 31st.  If you are behind in your rent, now is the time to be sure you have worked out your problems directly with your
Continue Reading Evictions, Foreclosures and Covid, Oh My!

Nothing could be further from the truth! My job as a Bankruptcy Attorney is to help clients understand the process, and how to navigate all of the complexities of Bankruptcy Law. My job is also to educate the public about common misconceptions of the Bankruptcy Process, and how it works. You may think, well, if the client is broke, how can they afford to hire a lawyer? That is a legitimate question. But, in reality, if you are having financial troubles, as a business owner, or as a consumer, you can’t afford NOT to hire an attorney. Many people might
Continue Reading Bankruptcy is Just Filling Out Some Forms, Right?

On March 11, 2021, the President signed the American Rescue Plan Act.  So, you ask, how does it help me, the average consumer?  Will you be rescued? Stimulus payments By now, you should have gotten $1400.00 for each adult, and each child in your house.  It should have come either by electronic payment, or by paper check.  If you haven’t gotten it, check here to find out:  If you owe on your bills, creditors in most states can seize it.  See my article on this here: Cancelled Student Loans are not Taxable Income This is HUGE!  It may
Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act – What’s in it for YOU?

Many of us will be getting the third “stimulus” check from the US Treasury as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed by the President on March 10th. People who qualify (those who earn less than $75,000.00 for singles and $150,000 for married people who filed their taxes jointly), will get $1400.00 per person. That can add up to a lot of money for families!! But, if you owe money to creditors, some of those that you owe may be able to garnish (seize) it right away. Which ones can get it and which cannot? Who cannot get
Continue Reading Third Stimulus Check—Protected from Collectors or Not?

Most people think that they don’t have enough money to hire a financial advisor. That’s only for rich people!  In reality, there are professional financial advisors ready to help people at all income levels.  For advisors that pick stocks and mutual funds, some get paid a commission and others get fees just for the time they spend researching the investments and buying and selling them.  Much of their focus is on clients’ long term goals like retirement. Who Needs Financial Advice? Everyone! Most Americans don’t have enough money saved for a $1000.00 emergency, much less have the money to invest
Continue Reading Is a Bankruptcy Lawyer a Financial Advisor? Yes!

What I do Well Being a practicing attorney for 30 years, I have been honing my skills every day. In these 30 years, I’ve met with hundreds of clients, and learned how to listen, then how to develop a specific financial plan based on my experience in the Bankruptcy Court. Not just hear, but actually listen to the clients and hear what they want, their goals, and needs. These listening skills help me have real-world conversations with my clients. I have detailed discussions about a topic that most people won’t talk about with their own family or friends, money. I
Continue Reading In the process of rewriting my bio for my newly redesigned website,, I reflected on exactly what I do well as an attorney in practice for 30 years. This update reflects the philosophy behind my practice

Since March, we’ve been told so many things. Stay home, don’t work, and only go out for necessities. Then, try to work from home. Then, go back to work and have your kids in school online, but keep them home! Now through all of this, people and small business owners have taken huge financial hits! Six months later, with job layoffs and cuts, and a bit of government help thrown in, it’s time to “take stock” and see where you and your family, or your business are going financially. First things first: Take care of yourself! Get exercise every day,
Continue Reading Pandemic Financial Check Up Time!