About Doug Mentes, Esq.

Doug Mentes, Esq. Articles written 126

Douglas Mentes is an alum of Drake University with a degree in journalism, who has covered news in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. He has a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and ran his own law firm for more than 10 years in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning designation as a Super Lawyers Rising Star. He practiced in the areas of family law, real estate and probate, handling several successful appeals. He currently covers bankruptcy law for Thomson Reuters.

Articles written by Doug Mentes, Esq.

Should I Pay Debts Before Bankruptcy?

Oregon debtors must weigh their options before making these difficult decisions

The goal for many debtors when filing a bankruptcy case is to obtain a discharge of their debts—often the more debt discharged, the better. Debts are discharged under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. But these are different types of bankruptcy, depending on the two types of debt. Debt is divided into three types under the bankruptcy code: Secured Unsecured Priority Secured Debts These are debts that are secured by property of the debtor—typically either a house or vehicle. The …

Can I Transfer Assets Prior to Bankruptcy?

In Maryland, transfers to avoid creditors risk being set aside by a trustee

When filing for bankruptcy, a debtor must disclose to the court and appointed trustee whether the debtor has sold, traded or otherwise transferred property to anyone within the previous two years—excluding any transfers made in the ordinary course of their business or financial affairs. The trustee is looking for fraudulent conveyances under the bankruptcy code, which come in two forms: Actual fraud, where a debtor made such transfer with the intent to hinder, delay or defraud a creditor …

Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Better Than Chapter 7?

For some Minnesota debtors, Chapter 13 might be the only option

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13. If you’re considering filing bankruptcy, you’ll typically want to file under Chapter7, because it offers an immediate discharge of all debts (with some exceptions). With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, the debtor will make monthly payments toward their debts over a three to five-year repayment plan before their debts are discharged. For some debtors, there may be no other option than to file under Chapter 13. For others, filing under Chapter 13 might be the better …

Can Bankruptcy Get Rid of Student Loan Debt?

Yes, but those with student loans in Massachusetts will be in a for a battle

Student loans are an increasing problem for consumers. Nearly 40 percent of those between 18 and 29 years old have student debt, and 22 percent of those between 30 and 44 still carry federal student loans, as well as private student loans. The average debt for an undergraduate degree holder is $25,000, and $45,000 for a graduate degree. Seven percent of student loan holders have more than $100,000 in student debt. With the average cost of tuition and the number of adults attending college …

Losing Your House to Medicaid Estate Recovery

With planning, heirs may be able to keep the family home

Like almost every state, Washington has an office to help recover the large costs it pays out in Medicaid benefits. Considering that Medicaid recipients receive coverage because of very limited countable assets—currently $2,000 or less—there are very few assets for the state to collect from. This is the reason the Medicaid recipient’s home is typically the target for estate recovery. Owning real property or a home does not affect a Medicaid applicant’s ability to qualify. In fact, the …

At What Age Should I Draw from Social Security?

It’s not an easy decision to make when planning retirement in Pennsylvania

Generally, Americans who have worked for 10 or more years have gained eligibility for taking social security retirement benefits. The monthly benefit amount they receive once retired will be based on their lifetime earnings—higher earnings, equal higher benefits. To calculate their benefit, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at the 35 highest earning years of their work record. Those earnings are indexed or adjusted to account for changes in average wages over the years and cost …

Which Parent Claims the Child Care Tax Credit?

Unmarried parents: Don't overlook this benefit in Ohio

There are many income tax benefits for parents of younger children. If the parents are unmarried or divorced, however, these benefits must be split between the two in some way. Unfortunately, court orders do not often designate which parent receives the tax benefits. And if the court order does designate which parent receives the federal income tax benefit, the order may not meet Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. One lesser-known income tax benefit is the child and dependent care credit, a …

How to Save Assets and Qualify for Medicaid

In Massachusetts, pooled trusts help

Medicaid is the federal program that helps seniors pay the costs of nursing home care, or in-home care. The Medicaid program in Massachusetts is administered by MassHealth. To obtain coverage for nursing home costs and other senior care under MassHealth, individuals must meet eligibility requirements and have no more than $2,000 in assets. Once covered, however, the recipient’s care is almost fully paid for. And with annual costs for nursing home care in Massachusetts averaging $140,000, …

Which Divorced Parent Gets to Claim the Kids in Taxes?

The federal rules on dependent exemptions for parents doing their tax returns

Many unmarried parents in Minnesota have divorce or custody court orders that designate which parent receives the dependent exemption. However, this designation is often made without reference to IRS rules. The IRS says only the “custodial” parent can claim a “qualifying” child as a dependent exemption on the parent’s tax return. The Supremacy Clause in the Constitution establishes that federal tax laws generally trump state law when dealing with the same issue, so what happens when …

What Property Can I Keep When Applying for Medicaid?

California seniors, and those assisting them, need to plan ahead

Medicaid is a government program that covers certain medical or medically necessary costs for citizens living on low income. In California, the program is called Medi-Cal, state Medicaid. Medi-Cal programs for seniors fund much of the costs of Californians’ nursing home and in-home care costs—monthly costs that average between $6,000 and $7,000 in California. Coverage under Medi-Cal is limited to those with assets of $2,000 or less ($3,000 for couples). Because of the limited assets allowed …

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