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Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Santa Ana

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Law Offices of Douglas Borthwick logo
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Law Offices of Douglas Borthwick

3390 Orange St, Riverside, CA 92501
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Business Description

The Law Offices of Douglas Borthwick is a general litigation law firm providing representation for legal proceedings to the residents of Riverside, California. The firm takes on Social Security disability disputes, as well as personal injury cases that involve domestic animal bites, automobile accidents, workplace incidents, and wrongful death. The attorneys aim to recover fair compensation for their clients' hospital bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (281)
Google
4.9 / 5 (267)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (73)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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1st California Law, Inc. logo
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1st California Law, Inc.

2090 North Tustin Avenuesuite 240, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Student Loan Debt
  • IRS Tax Debt

Business Description

Located in Santa Ana, California, 1st California Law provides residents with litigation services and legal representation. The firm's primary areas of practice include financial law, and it takes cases involving bankruptcy, such as creditor harassment, collections defense, and Chapters 7 and 13 claims. It also works to prevent foreclosures and repossessions, remove additional mortgages, and modify clients' loans. Founding attorney Kevin Kunde has previous experience in real estate and commercial law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (110)
Google
4.9 / 5 (76)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (59)

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Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC logo
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Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC

400 N Tustin Ave Ste 375, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Debt Settlement
  • Student Loan Debt

Business Description

Fitzgerald & Campbell is a financial law firm that has been serving the community of Santa Ana, California, for over 25 years. The firm primarily works with debtors, and it takes cases involving student loan, credit card, and medical debt, as well as bankruptcy, collection harassment and lawsuits, and insurance company claims. Fitzgerald & Campbell was named one of the Fastest Growing Law Firms in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.6 / 5 (170)
Yelp
4.0 / 5 (104)
Facebook
4.9 / 5 (43)

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5.0
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Fullman Firm logo
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Fullman Firm

2000 East 4th Street, Suite 320, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • Debt Settlement
  • Debt Protection
  • Consumer Rights

Business Description

The Fullman Firm is a bankruptcy law firm based near Garden Grove with more than 40 years of combined legal experience representing people against their larger adversaries. As a firm that represents debtors such as individuals and small businesses facing their creditors, they help clients who need defense with debt collection lawsuits while enforcing their clients' rights. The Fullman Firm also helps debtors settle debt, stop bank account levies and wage garnishment, and remove judgment liens from properties.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Yelp
4.5 / 5 (100)
Google
4.9 / 5 (21)
Avvo
4.5 / 5 (12)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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John Hart Bauer logo
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John Hart Bauer

56925 Yucca Trail, Santa Ana, CA 92284
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

John Hart Bauer is a legal practitioner who focuses his practice on bankruptcy matters. To help Santa Ana bankruptcy filers, he guides these corporate and individual clients in navigating the proceedings for chapter 11 reorganization and chapter 7 liquidation. In addition, he deploys real estate legal strategies in recovering surplus funds in foreclosures. Bauer previously held real estate broker's licenses in Arizona, California, and Florida from 1995 to 2007. He was also a certified real estate broker for California's Federal HUD Department.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

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4.0
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KT Tang & Associates Attorneys at Law logo
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KT Tang & Associates Attorneys at Law

515 S Flower Street 18th & 19 Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

KT Tang & Associates Attorneys at Law represents clients throughout Santa Ana. The firm devotes a significant part of its practice to handling bankruptcy matters, providing legal consultations to look into the prospects of a client's case. The practice offers representation in filing chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy when appropriate. Additionally, it assists clients with legal matters surrounding debt settlements, loan modifications, foreclosures, and short sales. Kevin Tang has been in practice for over seven years and has handled more than 1,200 personal and business bankruptcy cases.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (5)

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5.0
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Law Office of Patrick O'Kennedy logo
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Law Office of Patrick O'Kennedy

500 North State College Boulevard, Orange, CA 92868
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Office of Patrick O'Kennedy represents individuals in bankruptcy cases in Santa Ana. The law firm proposes the elimination of personal debt and adjustment of debt payment plans. In addition to filing chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcies, principal lawyer Patrick O'Kennedy also handles divorce, child custody, alimony, and debt consolidation cases. He has over 20 years of legal practice experience. The Law Office of Patrick O'Kennedy has offices in Orange and Irvine.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (5)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (3)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (2)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Law Offices of A. Lavar Taylor logo
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Law Offices of A. Lavar Taylor

3 Hutton Center Dr., Santa Ana, CA 92707
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  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

The Law Offices of A. Lavar Taylor have been providing tax law services to Santa Ana and the surrounding areas for 15 years. The company's bankruptcy attorneys have experience in handling tax matters related to insolvency and bankruptcy, including advising on dischargeability of taxes, litigating tax matters, and representing as tax counsel. The firm's founder, Lavar Taylor, has more than 38 years of experience in criminal and civil tax controversies.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
4.5 / 5 (182)
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Law Offices of Brian J. Soo-Hoo, APC logo
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Law Offices of Brian J. Soo-Hoo, APC

601 Parkcenter Dr, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Brian J. Soo-Hoo, APC, caters to the counsel needs of individuals and families in Santa Ana. Soo-Hoo represents clients in chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy filing and assists them in payment negotiation and credit building. He and his team prepare defense strategies in debtor litigation processes and file legal action against Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations. Soo-Hoo has been serving the legal needs of the community since 2003. The lawyer is also a member of NACBA.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Law Offices Of Kaufman & Kaufman logo
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Law Offices Of Kaufman & Kaufman

1001 N Ross St S, Santa Ana, CA 92701
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Credit Card Debt
  • IRS Tax Debt
  • Corporate Restructuring
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Kaufman & Kaufman is a financial law firm that has been representing the people of Santa Ana, California, for over 30 years. The firm represents commercial and individual debtors in bankruptcy cases, allowing them to restructure their business, rebuild their credit, stop foreclosure or repossession, and discharge previous debts. In 2013, managing partner Les Kaufman was honored with the William J. Lasarow award for his services in bankruptcy law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (4)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (4)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Law Offices of Michael G. Spector logo
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Law Offices of Michael G. Spector

2122 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92706
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Michael G. Spector is a Santa Ana-based law firm that handles legal issues concerning an individual's finances. Since 1995, founder Michael Spector has focused his practice on bankruptcy and bankruptcy litigation. It examines debts and provides relief options, such as chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy. In addition, the law practice represents corporate clients, business entities, investors, secured and unsecured creditors, and commercial lenders in adversarial bankruptcy proceedings, liquidation matters, and reorganization cases.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Law Offices of Paul Y. Lee logo
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Law Offices of Paul Y. Lee

10580 Magnolia Ave, Suite A, Riverside, CA 92505
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Paul Y. Lee offers services to the community of Santa Ana. It helps individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy to stop foreclosures, wage garnishments, repossessions, and harassing creditors so clients can start anew. Managing partner Paul Lee assists in choosing the most suitable bankruptcy strategies for his client's specific needs. He handles both chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, as well as business bankruptcy concerns. To date, the firm has seen 100% success in chapter 7 filings.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (130)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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M. Jones & Associates logo
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M. Jones & Associates

505 N Tustin Ave, Ste 105, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

M. Jones & Associates is a bankruptcy law firm for individuals, corporations, and partnerships in Santa Ana. It guides bankruptcy filers in navigating proceedings for chapters 7 and 13 debt relief and chapters 11 and 12 reorganization. Its lawyers represent clients in bankruptcy lawsuits held in state and federal courts. Michael Jones is a member of NACBA and the American Bankruptcy Institute. He has been in practice since 1993 and previously taught CLE courses on debtor-creditor law in the army.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Pacific Premier Law Group logo
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Pacific Premier Law Group

200 E. Sandpointe Ave, Ste 500, Santa Ana, CA 92707
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  • Credit Card Debt
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Pacific Premier Law Group is a full-service firm in Santa Ana that helps clients with concerns regarding bankruptcy. It handles chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy cases and has represented people before the US Bankruptcy Court. Its attorneys are also experienced in contract, securities fraud, lender liability, and employment litigation. The office strives to provide quality legal services by cultivating mutual respect and communication. Arash Shirdel, the firm's president and founder, is licensed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
3.8
Google
4.0 / 5 (4)
Facebook
3.7 / 5 (3)
Yelp
3.5 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Red Hill Law Group logo
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Red Hill Law Group

15615 Alton Pkwy, Suite 210, Irvine, CA 92618
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Business Description

Red Hill Law Group offers individualized attention to legal concerns and their long-term implications for clients in the Santa Ana metro. It represents individuals and business owners in chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy petitions. Bert Briones, the firm's attorney, is certified by the State Bar of California as a legal specialist in bankruptcy law. He is a member of organizations like the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the Orange County Bankruptcy Forum.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (32)
Google
5.0 / 5 (27)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Sariol Legal logo
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Sariol Legal

1820 East First Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Sariol Legal has over 32 years of experience in dealing with bankruptcy concerns in Santa Ana and the surrounding areas. Frank R. Sariol, the firm's founding lawyer and a bankruptcy attorney, helps clients file for chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy. Sariol and his team assess their clients' finances through an initial consultation to see which bankruptcy will serve them best. The firm also handles cases involving auto and bicycle accidents, immigration, and work accidents.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Avvo
4.8 / 5 (24)
Yelp
4.5 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Sood & Sood APLC Attorneys at Law logo
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Sood & Sood APLC Attorneys at Law

2107 N. Broadway, Suite 306, Santa Ana, CA 92706
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Sood & Sood APLC Attorneys at Law assists clients who want to file for bankruptcy. It handles Chapters 7 and 13 petitions and assesses clients' qualifications for such applications. Some of the services it provides include document filing, asset identification for debt reimbursement, and finance reorganization assistance. Founded in 1994, Sood & Sood handles family, bankruptcy, and immigration cases with a mission to treat clients with sensitivity, dignity and respect, simplify their situation, and provide them with a chance for a fresh start.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.1
Yelp
4.0 / 5 (28)
Google
4.2 / 5 (15)
Avvo
2.8 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Surf City Lawyers logo
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Surf City Lawyers

17011 Beach Blvd., Suite 900, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
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Business Description

Surf City Lawyers strives to assist Santa Ana consumers in getting out of debt. The legal firm designs solutions to address concerns regarding student loans, foreclosures, judicial liens, and taxes. It handles debt settlement and mortgage modification matters, cases involving chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy, and related adversary and contested proceedings. Owner Christine Kingston has been a member of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Litigation Bootcamp since 2009 and is the author of the book "Discharging Student Loans."

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Google
4.7 / 5 (26)
Facebook
4.7 / 5 (17)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Tax Law Office of Luis E. Vasquez logo
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The Tax Law Office of Luis E. Vasquez

1820 E. Garry Ave Suite 108, Santa Ana, CA 92705
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  • IRS Tax Debt

Business Description

The Tax Law Office of Luis E. Vasquez is a financial law firm serving the community of Santa Ana, California, and the surrounding area. The firm's attorney has over 15 years of experience, and he takes cases involving Chapter 7 petitions and tax-related bankruptcy. He aims to allow clients to rebuild their credit scores and businesses following overwhelming debt. Vasquez was named Attorney of the Month in January 2018 by Orange County Attorney Journal.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (44)
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (28)
Google
5.0 / 5 (14)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Tran Bankruptcy Law logo
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Tran Bankruptcy Law

1633 East 4th Street #214, Santa Ana, CA 92701
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Student Loan Debt

Business Description

Tran Bankruptcy Law is a financial law firm serving the community of Santa Ana, California, that has two other offices in Riverside and Los Angeles. The firm takes cases involving Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which the court liquidates a clients' assets in order to pay their debts, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is a three or five-year plan to repay loans. Founding attorney Rex Tran was featured in Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers Rising Stars list.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (70)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (54)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (15)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
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Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a bankruptcy attorney do?

Bankruptcy attorneys help clients understand whether they qualify for bankruptcy and what their best options are. They also prepare and file petitions, answer questions during the proceedings, and educate clients about potential best steps for a positive bankruptcy outcome. Bankruptcy attorneys might also file motions or paperwork if creditors dispute the bankruptcy, or to stop creditors from taking collections actions forbidden by the bankruptcy.

What happens when you file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal process that individuals, married couples, or businesses can enact when they are no longer able to pay creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, filers are allowed to reduce debt to more manageable levels to best pay off money owed.

Once the bankruptcy process is initiated, debt collectors can no longer seek repayments outside of the arrangements detailed in the bankruptcy settlement. Some forms of bankruptcy result in the liquidation of assets to pay back debts, while others allow filers to retain most of their possessions and investments. Many types of unsecured debt can be managed with bankruptcy filings, but not all.

Can you file bankruptcy on student loans?

Under most circumstances, student loans aren't dischargeable and aren't included in bankruptcy proceedings. In rare cases, it may be possible to eliminate student loans through bankruptcy, but only if the courts determine that continuing to pay the loans would impose an undue hardship. Meeting the criteria for undue hardship is challenging, and most bankruptcy filers don't qualify.

What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a blanket term that refers to any kind of dishonest bankruptcy proceeding, which can include:

  • Hiding assets by transferring them to another person or entity
  • Intentionally omitting assets when reporting to the court
  • Destroying or withholding required documents
  • Knowingly making false statements to bankruptcy trustees or creditors

How long is bankruptcy on public record?

How long bankruptcy stays on public record depends on the kind of bankruptcy filing in question. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the record for 10 years as there isn't necessarily a repayment component. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the record for seven years as some obligations are repaid following filing based on the terms of a discharge settlement.

Does bankruptcy clear tax debt?

Bankruptcy can clear tax debt, depending on the circumstances. Taxes are dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not Chapter 13, and only if the tax debt is:

  • Federal income tax debt related to current properly filed tax returns
  • Honestly incurred with no fraud or evasion
  • At least three years old
  • Assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy filings

Existing liens are not eliminated with bankruptcy.


Can they take my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In many cases, it's possible to keep a vehicle following Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Motor Vehicle Exemption allows filers who own their vehicles outright or who are up to date with payments to keep their cars. However, those behind on making car payments are required to arrange a repayment plan. Otherwise, the vehicle may be repossessed as a part of the proceedings.

How bad is it to file bankruptcy twice?

Although possible, due to the damaging nature of bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy more than once isn't recommended. Filing multiple times puts a serious burden on one's credit report, making it harder to get a loan, buy a house, buy a car, or even open credit cards.

Note that filing for bankruptcy isn't something that can be done at a filer's leisure. There are time limits following bankruptcy cases that dictate when it's permissible to file again. For example, after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filers must wait at least eight years before filing Chapter 7 again or four years before filing Chapter 13.

Can anyone file bankruptcy?

Anyone can file bankruptcy, but there are limitations regarding which form of bankruptcy is permissible. Qualifying for Chapter 7 requires a means test that evaluates income, debt levels, and income left over each month after paying basic obligations. Income over the median set by the court and monthly income that allows meaningful payments toward unsecured debt can disqualify filers from Chapter 7, which is generally the preferred form of bankruptcy due to the possibility of a full discharge. Anyone can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the terms are less favorable. In most cases, some debts must be repaid following a successful filing. Chapter 13 is also more likely to result in asset forfeiture.

How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Bankruptcies are noted on credit reports. How much a bankruptcy might drop a person's credit score depends on how high the score was to begin with, but generally speaking, the hit can be as much as 100 to 200 points. Often scores are already dropping because people filing for bankruptcy may have already missed payments on debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are listed on credit reports for seven years from the filing date, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies are listed for 10 years from the filing date. This is because Chapter 13 bankruptcies require at least partial payment of debts owed.

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy petition causes an automatic stay. This legally stops creditors from taking further action to collect debt, including garnishing wages or foreclosing on property. Going through a bankruptcy successfully means that debts included in the bankruptcy are discharged and don't have to be paid back, except as provided in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Bankruptcy can help someone recover from financial duress so they can make better decisions and improve financial situations in the future. Disadvantages can include temporary lower credit scores and limitations on spending and financing.

What's the difference between debt settlement and bankruptcy?

Debt settlement occurs when people negotiate with individual creditors. The creditor agrees to take a payment that's lower than what someone owes and call the debt “paid in full.” Bankruptcy is a legal process that causes debts to be dismissed after someone proves they don't currently have the means to pay their debts as owed. Typically, someone can't enter into bankruptcy and also settle some debts, because the court would see that as favoring one creditor over another.

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