Frequently Asked Questions
Cameron Phillips PA | Idaho Law

Bankruptcy

It might be the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. You do not need to remain in debt over your head, sending hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in interest to creditors whose balances never seem to go down. The bankruptcy solution is quick, certain, and affordable.

Q. What is bankruptcy, anyway?

A. Bankruptcy is a system under which a person's debt may be legally "erased" and made uncollectible.  It is a complicated subject, especially after the passage of BAPCPA in 2005, but we have handled hundreds of bankruptcies for all kinds of people with all kinds of problems.

Q. Can credit card debt be listed in a bankruptcy?

A. Credit card debt, medical debt, auto loans, mortgage debt, and almost all other debt is fully dischargeable in bankruptcy, even under the new law. Don't be fooled by publicity to the contrary.

Q. My wages are garnished. Can bankruptcy help?

A. Bankruptcy stops the actions of almost all creditors who are trying to collect money from you, immediately. It is generally illegal to try to collect consumer debt from a person who is in bankruptcy.

Q. How can I get more information?

A. Call our office and ask for a questionnaire to help organize your information. Then call for an appointment and spend 20-30 minutes talking with Cameron Phillips about your situation. There is no fee for these services.

Personal Injury

Q. I've been hurt in an automobile accident. What should I do?

First, get the medical treatment you need.  You will be blamed for your injuries if you fail to obtain reasonable and necessary care. Your chances of recovery will also be enhanced by seeing a doctor, and following up with a physical therapist if recommended, and obtaining whatever medication is prescribed. If the accident was not your fault, there will be funds available to pay for this necessary care.

Second, don't sign anything given to you by the other driver's insurance company. You will not know what your long term health condition will be for several weeks or months after the accident, so don't be in a hurry to settle for a few hundred dollars.

Third, notify your own insurance company of the accident, and check your coverage. You may have medical coverage that is part of your vehicle insurance that will pay for necessary treatment. Your health insurance will also cover these expenses, if you have health insurance.

Fourth, either retain possession of your vehicle so that it may be used as evidence later, or at least take some high quality photographs of the damage that the accident caused.

Fifth, start a notebook in which you can record the effects of the accident on your daily activities. A year from now, you won't remember that for the month after your accident you could not walk down the stairs, or stand up in the shower, or sleep on one side or the other without pain. These are important facts to be able to report later, to an insurance claims person or to a jury in court. Keep a good record if disruptions of your daily activities, and also write down any financial issues, such as lost wages, lost vacation due to missed work, out of pocket expenses for medicines, etc. This information is much easier to record as it is developing than it is to reconstruct later.

Sixth, obtain a copy of the police report that was taken at the scene of the accident, if there is one, and follow up at the courthouse to see whether the other driver was issued a citation and whether he or she plead guilty to the charges. A guilty plea in a criminal case, even a misdemeanor, can eliminate the need for you to prove that the other driver was liable. The guilty plea takes that issue off the table.

Lastly, at point perhaps 14 to 30 days after the accident, you should arrange to meet with one or more lawyers who deal with injury cases to find out what your rights are and to obtain an evaluation of your case. We hope you will come to us for a consultation, and there is no fee charged whatsoever to listen to your facts and give you an evaluation.

Wills, Estates Administration, Probate, Trusts & Related Topics

Q. What is probate?

A. Probate is the process of having a court appoint someone to serve as a personal representative to gather up the assets of a decedent, to pay bills owing, and to distribute the assets of the decedent in the way the Will directs, if there is a Will.

Probate in Idaho is simple, usually quite inexpensive process, costing less than $500, usually, and is necessary to pass title to real estate owned by the decedent and other types of property. A personal representative can usually be appointed within a few days of the death, and that person will have the authority to withdraw funds from the decedent's bank accounts, to pay bills, and to take other necessary action on behalf of the decedent's family members.

Q. What is a "living trust"?

A. A "living trust" is a device used to avoid probate, which is very expensive and time consuming in some jurisdictions, notably California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. In order to be effective, all of your property must be owned by the trust at the time of your death, or probate will still be required. This means that the real estate needs to be deeded to the trust, bank accounts and brokerage accounts need to be titled to the trust, and vehicles must be in the name of the trust.

A living trust has no effect on estate tax, but does serve useful purposes in some cases. We are glad to talk with you about your situation at no cost.

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Disclaimer:
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Phone 208.667.5437 | Fax 208.664.2114 | 924 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814