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Here’s How to Stay Financially Stable Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Here’s How to Stay Financially Stable Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Tracy L. Hirsch

March 22, 2020

Read these vital tips on how to survive the economic downturn surrounding COVID-19 in Kentucky.

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this current pandemic, and we want you to know that we’re here for you. We know how stressful it is to have your hours cut at work, or even worse, to have no hours at all.

While it’s hard not to panic, we want you to take a deep breath and know that we’re available to answer your questions. In the meantime, we want to offer you practical advice on how to manage your finances and how to not get behind on your bills.

While everyone has a different situation, these tips may help you set a plan in place while your income is temporarily affected.

Before we get started, please make sure to prioritize your (and your family’s) health and safety. Your well-being is our number one concern. Be sure to continue to thoroughly wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and practice social distancing.

Remember that we’re all in this together, and we will get through it!

Here are some practical tips on how to maintain your financial stability during the COVID-19 situation:

  • Prioritize your needs. Before you start paying any of your bills, make sure that you and your family have the essentials – food, toiletries, and living expenses (such as water and electricity) should be at the top of the list.
  • If you’ve lost your job due to COVID-19, apply for unemployment. Kentucky residents can apply for unemployment benefits here. Indiana residents can apply for unemployment benefits here
  • Ask your utility company for a payment extension. LG&E has pledged to not disconnect anyone’s electricity through May 1, 2020, and will also waive any late fees. You can read more about that here.  
  • If you have a utility company other than LG&E, be sure to call them to inquire about an extension.

Don’t bury your head in the sand. Start preparing for your financial setbacks now.

  • Contact your landlord or mortgage company. If your hours have been cut or you’ve been furloughed due to COVID-19, you may be able to get an extension on paying your rent or mortgage.

If you’re renting, contact your landlord to inquire about paying this month’s rent at a later date. If you’re a home owner, contact your mortgage company to inquire about paying your mortgage at a later date. See below for more details.

  • If you’re a home owner, contact the loss mitigation department. Go to your mortgage company’s website to see what your options are. They may have new information on their website regarding delayed payment options, reduced payment plans, and/or forbearance agreements.
  • If you owe federal taxes this year, you don’t need to file an extension. As of March 21, 2020, the IRS announced that federal income tax returns and correlating tax payments for 2019 (and estimated quarterly tax payments for 2020 for those who are self-employed) are not due until July 15, 2020.
  • Click here for more information.
  • If you owe Kentucky state taxes this year, you do need to file an extension. If you are a Kentucky resident and owe taxes for 2019 (if you work for a company) or owe taxes for the first quarter of 2020 (if you’re self-employed), and are unable to pay them, you can apply for an extension on your tax returns.
  • The 2019-2020 extension form is located here. **Please note that this may change. Be sure to regularly check the KY Department of Revenue’s website here.**
  • If you owe Indiana state taxes this year, you might not need to file an extension. If you are an Indiana resident and owe taxes for 2019 (if you work for a company) or owe taxes for the first quarter of 2020 (if you’re self-employed), you may not need to file for an extension on your tax returns.

As of March 19, 2020, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is extending the state tax return filing and payment due date (for certain Indiana tax returns) so that it aligns with the IRS extension (July 15, 2020).

Click here to see which type of Indiana tax returns are part of the new July 2020 extension deadline.

  • Defer your student loans. If you have educational loans, contact your loan company to ask about deferring your loans or signing a forbearance agreement.
  • If you owe court fees, city fines, speeding tickets, or tolls, ask for an extension. Call the phone number or visit the website on your bill to inquire about a payment plan or payment extension.
  • If you have credit card payments or medical bills, ask for an extension on those too. Contact your credit card company and/or or doctor’s office to set up a payment plan and/or to ask for an extension on your invoice due date.
  • Try to save as much money as you can. If you have an emergency fund or savings account, use that money to pay for your essentials and the bills you can afford. In the meantime, cancel all subscription plans, apps, delivery services, and other non-essential items.

Only pay for your necessities. If that means cancelling Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and the like, do it. You’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save by cutting out those “small” extras!

I know that this is a stressful time. If you have any additional tips or information that could help, please let us know. Most importantly, please stay safe and be well!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch

[Please note that this article is purely for informational purposes, and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have financial questions regarding debt or need legal protection from your creditors, you should meet with a licensed bankruptcy attorney. Please remember that I’m here to help!]
Meeting of Creditors Kentucky

Everything You Need to Know About Your Meeting of Creditors

Everything You Need to Know About Your Meeting of Creditors

By Tracy L. Hirsch

If you are a debtor in Western Kentucky or Southern Indiana who has recently filed for bankruptcy, here’s what you need to know about your upcoming Court hearing (based on 8 Frequently Asked Questions).

1.) What exactly is a “Meeting of Creditors?” A Meeting of Creditors (also known as a “341 Meeting”) is a mandatory hearing that is issued by the Bankruptcy Court.

It’s when you go to Court so that the trustee can meet with you and your attorney to review your bankruptcy petition and ask you questions under oath. Creditors are given the option to come to the meeting to ask questions about your bankruptcy, although most creditors opt not to come.

2.) Why is this necessary? When you appear for your meeting/hearing, your trustee will verify your identity, and then ask you questions about the information that is in your bankruptcy petition.

They do this because they are required by law to make sure that all of the financial numbers are accurate, including your monthly income and the value of any assets that you own. They need to do this in order to eliminate any possible red flags that point to fraudulent behavior.

Additionally, if you’re in a Chapter 13 plan, the trustee will decide whether or not your repayment plan is feasible based on your income. If s/he believes that it’s feasible and that all of your information is accurate, a judge will confirm the repayment plan and give your trustee permission to distribute money to your creditors.

If you’re in a Chapter 7 plan, the trustee will decide if you meet the criterion (i.e. you make below the median income for your household size) to not repay your creditors and receive a full discharge of debts.

3.) Can I request a specific hearing date? No. You are assigned a date and time, and that’s when you have to appear. If you do not show up to your hearing, your case may be dismissed, and you will have to pay additional fees.

It’s important to mark the date on your calendar ahead of time and rearrange your work schedule accordingly. You will get 30-40 days notice prior to your Meeting of Creditors, so that gives you plenty of time to adjust your schedule.

You also must arrive inside of the Courthouse 15 minutes before your hearing starts. For example, it your hearing starts at 9:00 am, you must meet your bankruptcy attorney inside of the Courthouse at 8:45 am.

This is important so that your attorney can answer any questions or provide you with additional information that is pertinent to your hearing before it begins.

A Meeting of Creditors is a required for every debtor who files for bankruptcy.

4.) Where do I go? If you are in the Western District of Kentucky, your Meeting of Creditors will be held in Room 509 (5th floor) of the Gene Snyder Courthouse located at 601 West Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202.

If you are in the Southern District of Indiana, your meeting will be held in Room 115 of the Lee Hamilton Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse at 121 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN 47150.

5.) Is there a dress code? No, there is not a specific dress code, but you should dress respectfully. If you want to dress up, you may, but jeans are acceptable. Most trustees will make you remove hats or other head coverings in order to confirm identity (unless for religious reasons).

6.) How long does the actual hearing last? As long as there are no unforeseen circumstances, the hearing itself is usually very brief, lasting about ten minutes on average. The wait time varies, as the trustee may or may not be behind schedule, but the hearings usually run on time.

7.) What do I have to bring? You are required to bring your current driver’s license and your social security card. You must have both or else the Trustee will not hold your Court hearing.

If you are in a Chapter 13 plan in the Western District of Kentucky, you will also need to bring your first monthly plan payment to your hearing. The payment needs to be a check or money order made out to “William W. Lawrence, Trustee”.

Your subsequent monthly payments made after the Meeting of Creditors can be mailed to:

                              William W. Lawrence, Trustee

                              200 S. 7th Street

                              Suite 310, Legal Arts Building

                              Louisville, KY 40202

If you are in a Chapter 13 plan in the Southern District of Indiana, you will need to mail your first monthly plan payment directly to your Trustee’s office so that it arrives before your hearing date. The payment needs to be a check or money order made out to “Joseph M. Black, Trustee” and mailed to:

                                   Joseph M. Black, Jr.

                                   Office of Joseph M. Black, Jr.

                                   P.O. Box 846

                                   Seymour, IN 47274

**Please note that your bankruptcy case number should always be written on any check that you send to the trustee’s office!**

8.) Is it normal to be nervous? There is no need to be nervous, as your bankruptcy lawyer is with you during your hearing. If the trustee asks a question that you don’t understand, your lawyer will explain it to you so that you can answer it accurately and confidently.

While the term “Court hearing” sounds intimidating, it’s not a trial with a jury involved. It’s a meeting held in a boardroom, and it’s over before you know it!

As an experienced Louisville bankruptcy attorney, I understand that there are lots of questions surrounding the bankruptcy filing process. That’s why my clients can reach me on cell phone via text or phone call, or via my personal email.

I want to provide any reassurance that they need so that the process leaves them feeling hopeful, not stressed.

If you haven’t filed for bankruptcy, and want to know if it’s the best option for you, you can reach me on my cell at (502) 435-2593 (or email me at to schedule a free consultation. I’ll do whatever I can to get you on a path toward financial stability, and we can start today!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch

Have questions about your free consultation? Text me at (502) 435-2593!