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Experienced Legal Services in Los Angeles and Nearby Areas

Court

Bankruptcy

The majority of the work at Smyth Law Office is in the area of consumer bankruptcy law. We represent debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. In addition, we represent clients in bankruptcy litigation know as adversary proceedings.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to give the debtor a "fresh start." In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all dischargeable debts will be eliminated. Most of your debts will be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Credit card debt and medical bills are almost always dischargeable. Income taxes are dischargeable in certain situations. The filing of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop creditors from collecting on their debt. This includes stopping bank levies, wage garnishments and repossessions. Most clients will be able to keep ALL of their property in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes your home and car(s).

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed as a "reorganization plan" for a client's debts. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be able to repay your debts over a period of three (3) to five (5) years. For many clients, this allows repayment of any missed mortgage payments over a period of five (5) years, while keeping you in your home and preventing any foreclosure proceedings.
In addition, you may be eligible for a "lien strip" of your second mortgage. A lien strip allows you to remove or "strip" off your second mortgage so that you do not have to pay it anymore. If the value of your home is less than what is owed on the first mortgage, then you qualify for a lien strip.
In terms of other unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills, you will only be required to pay a percentage of that debt which will be determined by what you can reasonably afford.
To qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must be able to show that you have enough income to pay your secured debt, mortgages and car payments, and any priority debt, recent income taxes or child support. Income can be in the form of payment from a job, social security, pension or retirement, or a promise by a friend/family member that they will contribute a monthly amount to your Chapter 13 plan.
Please call us today to speak directly with a Smyth Law Office attorney who can evaluate your situation and advise you as to whether bankruptcy is a good option for you.

Adversary Proceedings

In some bankruptcy proceedings, debtors may receive a lawsuit known as an adversary proceeding. An adversary proceeding is a lawsuit brought in bankruptcy court. Generally, these lawsuits are brought by either the trustee or by a creditor. The most common issues that come up in adversary proceedings are:
  1. Non-dischargeability: the creditor argues that the debt owed them should not be discharged/eliminated because of fraud, willful or malicious injury, etc.
  2. Preference actions: where the debtor has paid back money owed to a creditor (usually a friend, family member or business associate) within a certain period of time.
  3. Fraudulent transfers: where the debtor has sold or transferred property within four (4) years of filing bankruptcy without getting fair market value.
  4. Failure to disclose all assets or income.
An adversary complaint can be confusing and intimidating. We can help. There are many defenses that are available to fight these complaints. Our offices have successfully defended our clients in these adversary proceedings.
We invite you to come in for a free consultation where our attorneys will be able to review your case, provide you with information to make an informed decision, and discuss all the options you may have.
For more information on bankruptcy and adversary proceedings, please go to our frequently asked questions page or feel free to contact Smyth Law Office directly.

Estate Planning

Almost everyone has an estate. Your estate is made up of anything and everything you own—your home, your car, your bank accounts, your household goods, your personal possessions, etc. When you pass away, you want to be able to control where your things go and to whom they go. That is where an estate plan comes in. It’s making a plan in advance, providing instructions on whom you want to receive the things you own after you die and when they get those things. A good estate plan can also minimize taxes, court costs and legal fees, provide instructions for your care should you become disabled and so much more …
Everyone should have an estate plan. It is not just for older people. It is not just for retired people. It is not just for wealthy people. Unfortunately, we do not know how long we will live. Therefore, having a plan in place is always a good idea. Our attorneys will be able to help you to draft a will and/or a living trust that fits your particular needs.

Criminal Defense

We understand that any criminal charge is a very serious matter. That is why we strive to do our best to obtain the best possible results for our clients who face criminal charges. A criminal charge need not result in severe punishment and need not "ruin your life." We are committed to helping you get through this and helping you put these unfortunate incidents behind you.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in the field of criminal law. We have defended individuals charged with both misdemeanors and felonies. We have experience in cases involving murder, rape, drug possession, distribution, assault, DUI and theft. We have been successful in obtaining not-guilty verdicts or dismissals in these cases. We have also obtained reversals of murder convictions and convictions for the sale of drugs.
However, in certain circumstances, acquittal or dismissal is not always possible. In those situations, we may be able to get the most serious charges either reduced or dismissed.

Employment Law

California and federal laws are enacted to protect employees from unfair treatment in the workplace. For example, an employer may not terminate a pregnant employee simply because of her pregnancy. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against an employee because of his or her ethnicity or religion.
There are numerous areas that Smyth Law Office can help you with, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Wrongful termination – Employers may not terminate an employee simply because the employer does not agree with the employee’s religious or political affiliation or for many other reasons
  • Age discrimination – Employers may not refuse to hire a qualified individual simply because of the applicant’s age, nor can they fire an individual because of their age.
  • Disability discrimination – Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers must make reasonable and appropriate accommodations for disabled workers
  • Gender discrimination – Gender discrimination is illegal and employers are required to treat employees equally regardless of their sexual preference or identification.

Real Estate Law

Estate planning allows you to provide for your family by creating a will, establishing a power of attorney or living will, making funeral arrangements in advance, and more. If you’re ready to begin the estate planning process, you need the help of an attorney with the knowledge to protect the interests of you and your loved ones.
Our comprehensive real estate law services include a full range of transactions and issues. These include:
  • Resolving liens and other title problems – We handle title examination and the resolution of title defects, such as those resulting from tax liens, mechanic's liens or other claims against real property. In appropriate cases, our service extends to title insurance policy review and quiet title actions to remove encumbrances.
  • Leases – There are many issues that need to be addressed in commercial and residential leases. Depending on the transaction, we primarily represent landlords, using our skill and savvy experience to craft and enforce suitable agreements. Where necessary, our service extends to help with evictions.
In short, we are prepared to assist you ably in all aspects of real estate, depending on your unique needs. From closings to leases to the role of real estate in estate planning, we can provide knowledgeable service designed to help you meet your goals.
We know there is often a strong element of emotion involved in real estate ownership and possession. Our Los Angeles real estate law attorneys are sensitive to business and individual bottom lines and the need to contain costs while protecting property ownership and leasing rights.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to give the debtor a "fresh start." In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all dischargeable debts will be eliminated. Most of your debts will be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Credit card debt and medical bills are almost always dischargeable. Income taxes are dischargeable in certain situations. The filing of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop creditors from collecting on their debt. This includes stopping bank levies, wage garnishments and repossessions. Most clients will be able to keep ALL of their property in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes your home and car(s).

Civil Litigation

Civil litigation can refer to a wide variety of case. With over 75 years of legal experience, our attorneys have had the opportunity to represent clients in different types of cases. We have the experience of trying and winning large civil judgments for our clients. Some of our areas of practice include business disputes, personal injury, intellectual property, corporate law, landlord-tenant disputes and legal malpractice.

Probate Law

Probate means that there is a court case that deals with:
  • Transferring the property of someone who has died to the heirs or beneficiaries;
  • Deciding if a will is valid; and
  • Taking care of the financial responsibilities of the person who died
In a probate case, an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries (those who have the legal right to inherit), all under the supervision of the court. The entire case can take between 9 months to 1 ½ years, maybe even longer.