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W. J. Winterstein Jr.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.

Montgomery and Berks County, Experienced practitioner in Civil matters
  • Bankruptcy, Business Law, Collections...
  • Pennsylvania
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Summary

A solo practitioner, I work from a home office in Boyertown, PA, about 30 miles from center-city Philadelphia, and most of my cases are litigated in Philadelphia and Reading courts. With the assistance of local counsel, I also handle matters in Delaware. I have over 30 years experience in both state and federal courts; bankruptcy and mortgage foreclosure/workout are a large part of my practice. PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL, as that is my preference, and more reliable for each of us.

Practice Areas
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Law
  • Collections
  • Foreclosure Defense
  • Consumer Law
  • Probate
Additional Practice Area
  • General Civil
Fees
  • Free Consultation
    I am happy to chat with you about your issues, for no charge, for up to one hour.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Pennsylvania
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Professional Experience
Attorney
Law Office of W.J. Winterstein, Jr.
- Current
Over 30 years experience in bankruptcy reorganizations, out of court workouts, debtor/creditor, civil practice in all state and federal courts in PA, OK, with practice encompassing NJ and DE through local counsel. Admitted to Third Circuit, Tenth Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court, and all lower courts in PA.
Education
Oklahoma City University School of Law
J.D.
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Honors: Graduated with honors, 2nd of 208, 1976
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Professional Associations
PA Bar Association
member
- Current
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Eastern district of PA Bankruptcy Conference
Member
- Current
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Legal Answers
42 Questions Answered

Q. Question about automatic stay protection and filing in the last year
A: An automatic stay will kick in when you file a second bankruptcy, but will only last 30 days from the date you file the new petition. Within that thirty days, you can file a motion to extend the stay for the duration of your case, which of course you should do. That motion must identify the claims you wish to be stayed, and it is probably those creditors, or one or more of them, who may object.
Q. How do I find my bankruptcy record? Is it available on line?
A: Use pacer.com. You can sign up for free, then go to Bankruptcydata.com, click on "free resources", and find the court district where you filed. Once at your districts electronic filing site, use your Bankruptcy Case No., or your social security number, to search under "Query", or find your docket page under "Reports". The docket will give you list of all docs filed, and you will find all listed debts in your Bankruptcy Schedules, D through F.
Q. I have to file for bankruptcy. Where do I start?
A: If you choose to file for bankruptcy relief without a lawyer, here are the forms you will need to fill out and file- https://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms. You must first decide whether to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case. There are income limitations for Ch. 7 eligibility, and debt and income limits for Ch. 13. It's possible, in theory, to file pro se (representing yourself). But there are pitfalls for the unwary, and because you can only file a bankruptcy case every eight years, I'd strongly recommend that you engage an attorney to represent you so that your case is done right and you get the maximum benefit.
Q. Hello,Our home is to be sold at Sheriff sale on 12/13/2019. Both our names are on the note and the deed.
A: To answer your very specific question- No, you cannot be coerced by a foreclosure court or probably any other judge to sign off on any of the types of consensual agreements that you list. Probably the more important question is about what you hope to accomplish by your refusals. The types of agreements you list are all ways that a creditor and debtor(s) avoid a foreclosure sale. Forced sale of a property, i.e., a foreclosure sale, is almost always the worst way to relinquish your rights in the property, inasmuch as a sheriff's sale typically brings a fraction of the real value of the property. Whatever remains of the current loan balance after application of the foreclosure sale proceeds will be your joint obligation to pay to the mortgagee. And the successful bidder at the foreclosure sale will enjoy a windfall in the form of whatever additional fair value/equity the property has when the successful bidder at the sale later sells the property. The "gorilla in the room", that you do not mention, is whether a divorce/separation agreement is pending or imminent, or has already been involved to determine the respective rights and obligations of you and your "ex". A domestic relations court has a wide range of options about how to determine your respective property rights and obligations, mixed in with financial issues like alimony and child support. Your refusal to participate in the stated alternatives to foreclosure may well work against you in the domestic relations court.
Q. Home is in foreclosure and just received a refund check for cancelled home owners insurance policy. Can I cash this?
A: Risk of loss follows title to the real estate. You do not say whether the foreclosure sale has been held, or whether the sheriff's deed has been issued to the successful bidder. Nor do you say who caused the cancellation of the home owners insurance. But, "can" you cash the refund check? Yes. If the check came to you in error, it does not appear to be your fault. And I assume that the premiums were being paid by the mortgage lender, from an escrow fund for taxes and insurance that was funded by your monthly mortgage payments. Cash the check and see what happens. If your mortgage lender demands the money, make them prove to you that they are entitled to the proceeds of the check. My gut sense tells me the mortgage lender got all the relief to which it is entitled in the foreclosure judgment. You may well have remaining personal liability to the mortgage lender for some deficiency between the sale price of the property and your loan balance, but cashing the insurance premium will not have a significant effect on that liability or the amount thereof.
Q. Pennsylvania how long after sheriff sale does original owner have to move possessions
A: Normally, it takes about 3 days for the Sheriff to deliver the deed and the Registrar to record it. The timing of when current occupants need to leave is largely up to the buyer at the sheriff's sale. He/she can file an ejectment action when he becomes record owner. Those ejectment actions get scheduled for hearing within weeks after being filed, and the Sheriff is then dispatched to enforce the ejectment. It's wise to contact the new owner and reach an agreement about a moveout date.
Q. I am being sued in regards to my mother's former home which had a reverse mortgage.
A: Inasmuch as it appears that there is no remaining equity in the property, and the property is in foreclosure so that the entire remaining balance of the debt is now due and payable, you can extract yourself from the foreclosure suit (assuming you did not sign any note or guaranty of the mortgage debt) by filing a document with the court disclaiming any interest in the property. You were named as a defendant, I'm sure, because you are a statutory heir of your mother's estate. The foreclosure lawyers would no doubt be happy to prepare a disclaimer for you, or you can have your own lawyer do so. There are a handful of ways to achieve the same result.
Q. I get extreme anxiety. I may need to file bankruptcy though. Is there any help for someone in my case?
A: There would need to be at least one initial face-to-face meeting, just lawyer and client (this is my personal requirement, not a requirement of law). The remainder of our communications can be by email if you can scan documents and send to me, and then if you can p;rint and sign documents. In addition, there will be on mandatory meeting, the first meeting of creditors, with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. The law requires the meeting. Beyond that, unless creditors initiate contested matters by filing a motion or adversary complaint in your case, there should be no other required appearance.
Q. If a debt is included in chapter 13 bankruptcy, can it be sold to a collection agency
A: Yes, and it happens frequently. There are companies out there whose business is to handle/service accounts of others that are deemed "bad", or "uncollectible", etc. Transfers of claims are specifically authorized by the Bankruptcy Code, and also occur in Chapter 7, 11 and 12 cases.
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Contact & Map
Law Office of W.J. Winterstein, Jr.
PO Box 285
Boyertown, PA 19464
USA
Telephone: (484) 415-0391
Law Office of W.J. Winterstein, Jr.
PO Box 1006
Royersford, PA 19468
USA
Telephone: (484) 415-0391