Moak Law - March 2020

Just the Beginning

A Bankruptcy and Personal Injury Attorney You Can Trust

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Helping Clients Escape the ‘Angry Villagers’

I grew up in a traditional household where my dad worked, and my mom took care of the house. When I say my mom took care of the house, I mean she took care of everything about the house, including our budget. She was the family accountant. As a kid, I would sit at the kitchen table and watch my mom work on our finances. I was amazed by her! Mom kept doing her own finances and budget until she passed away well into her 80s. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say I inherited my interest in finance and economics from my mom. Even when I go on vacation, I’d rather learn about the local economy than look at local landmarks. Some people visit Paris to see the Louvre Museum or the Eiffel Tower. I’d rather be at the restaurant across the street, talking to the bartender about how much they make and how they can afford to live in Paris. Professionally speaking, my background is in finance. I’ve worked with investments, mutual funds, annuities, life insurance, and real estate. Getting into the field of finance was a logical choice. Not a day goes by that I don’t make a decision based on finance or economics. The whole industry is fascinating to me. When it was time to make a career switch, I elected to work in bankruptcy law because of its connection to finance. Plus, bankruptcy is a noble area of law to practice. In other areas of law, you often see attorneys who are looking out for their own interests. Countless ambulance chasers just want to land a big case and get the insurance money. They don’t see the pain their clients are in. Bankruptcy law isn’t glamorous, but I know we’re doing the right thing. As one of the bankruptcy administrators at The Moak Law Firm, I’m able to do right by clients who have found themselves in a difficult situation.

No one calls a bankruptcy attorney because they’re 60 days late on their Visa payment. Most people call a bankruptcy attorney because something major has happened in their life. They may have lost their job, faced a medical emergency, went through a divorce, or even experienced the death of a spouse. When these things happen, it’s easy for your finances to get out of hand. Unfortunately, lenders and debt collectors don’t see the human struggle behind debts. They just want to get paid. As a result, a lot of people with overwhelming debts feel like Frankenstein’s monster being chased by angry villagers. Our clients are afraid of the unknown and don’t know where to turn. It’s our job to guide them through it. Hearing the relief in someone’s voice after we’ve helped them is the best part of the job. What I enjoy so much about working at The Moak Law Firm is that the whole team recognizes that bankruptcy is just the beginning. We can help our clients escape the angry villagers and erase their debts, but unless we educate them about finance and economics, they’re going to end up in the same mess again. Not everyone can do their own accounting until they’re 80, but we can all learn a bit more about our own finances. Knowledge is what empowers us to make smart financial decisions and remain in control of our life.

“Even when I go on vacation, I’d rather learn about the local economy than

look at local landmarks.”

– Robert Ballash

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March 2020

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WhosePicksWill GoAll theWay?

March Madness Fun for the Whole Family

One of the greatest things about March Madness is that you don’t have to be a huge college basketball fan to get in on the fun. Kids of all ages can fill out brackets — or have a parent fill one out for them — and watch their picks duke it out on the court. While healthy competition among family members can be fun all on its own, check out the following tips if you’re looking to go the extra mile and reap as much fun from March Madness as you can. Turn each game into an event. Not every kid may like watching basketball, but if they fill out a bracket, then they might gain at least a passing interest in who will win each game. To elevate their interest, turn each March Madness matchup into a little party. It doesn’t have to be fancy; make fun snacks to eat while you watch or bet pieces of candy on who will have the most points to create great family bonding opportunities. Reward the winners with prizes. Offer prizes to each round winner as well as the overall bracket winner to get the whole payout. This is why you only want to work with a doctor who has your best interests at heart. In Arizona, your employer is allowed to select a doctor of their choice for the first nonemergency exam. So long as your employer is not self-insured, you have the right to choose your own doctor after that initial exam, so find someone you can trust. Keep in mind, if you see your employer’s chosen doctor for more than one visit, they will automatically become your permanent doctor for all visits related to your workplace injury. Whether you are seeing your own doctor or the doctor your employer chose, it is possible to change providers while receiving care for an on-the-job injury. You must first get permission from your employer’s workers’ comp insurer. If the insurer refuses your request, you can appeal to the Industrial Commission of Arizona. These steps can be complicated, so it’s important to work with

family involved. Small prize ideas for each round can include a homemade dinner of the winner’s choice, a week’s supply of their favorite snack, or a coupon for getting out of a chore. Whoever wins the whole tournament (or makes it the furthest with their bracket) deserves a bigger reward. Offer them the chance to see a movie of their choice in theaters or to eat a meal at their favorite restaurant. Create a learning opportunity. Learning math or geography might not sound like your child’s idea of fun, but it can be when they learn it through the lens of March Madness. See if your kids would be interested in understanding the inner workings of the ranking system or studying where some of the qualifying colleges are located on a map of the United States. They may find it so interesting that they don’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills.

Sabotaged From the Inside

Can You Trust Your Workers’ Comp Doctor?

If you’re injured while on the job, it’s crucial that you file a workers’ compensation claim and see a doctor right away. The sooner you act, the better your outcome may be. By seeing a doctor, you should be able to get an accurate assessment of your injuries and recovery time. This information will be important to your case. However, if you inadvertently go to the wrong doctor, your case could be sabotaged from the inside. In a perfect world, your doctor would always have your best interests at heart. They would want you to receive all the treatment you need, regardless of the cost to the insurance company. But this is not always the case. Some doctors have incentive to underreport the severity of your injuries if they are paid by your employer or by their workers’ comp insurer. Because workers’ comp will only pay for what your doctor deems “medically necessary,” having doctors in their pocket can greatly reduce the insurance company’s

an experienced workers’ comp attorney, like those on the team at The Moak Law Firm. They can help you find the right doctor who will put your well-being first.

Do you know anyone overwhelmed with debt o

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Can Debt Collectors Really Take My Paycheck? THE TRUTH ABOUT WAGE GARNISHMENT

Struggling with overwhelming debts is painful enough without more financial troubles hanging overhead. Unfortunately, debt collectors are more than happy to threaten to garnish someone’s wages or bank accounts if debtors aren’t able to pay their bills immediately. We have spoken with many folks who worried about having their wages garnished after an aggressive call from a debt collector. This month, we’re setting the record straight on debts and wage garnishment. 1. Debt collectors cannot garnish your wages without a court judgment. Though debt collectors like to threaten to garnish your wages, without a judgment, they cannot act on those threats. No matter what a debt collector claims on the phone, they cannot

served a lawsuit first. Avoiding or ignoring this is not an effective way to prevent wage garnishment, and it will hurt you in the long run. 2. Bankruptcy can stop wage garnishment. If you’ve reached the point where a creditor is willing to file a lawsuit against you, you can pursue a few options. First, you can offer to negotiate with the creditor to pay them less than the full balance of your debt, but most creditors would rather get more of the money they are owed by garnishing your wages. Also, at this stage, it’s usually too late for negotiation unless you are able to fully pay off your debt. Your best strategy is to chat with a bankruptcy attorney, and ask if bankruptcy is the right option for you. If it is, your attorney can help you file for bankruptcy in just a few days. Filing for bankruptcy will stop the wage garnishment in its tracks and give you time to take control of your situation. When you’re struggling with debts, wage garnishment is a very real threat, but it cannot happen overnight. Call 480-755-8000 to assess your situation and see what options are right for you.

call your bank or employer and start taking your money automatically. First, they have to file a lawsuit. At this point, if a judge determines that the debts against you are valid, they may enter a judgment that would give the creditor permission to garnish your paycheck or bank account.

The good news is that the process takes time, and it cannot happen without your knowledge. You have to be

Easy Irish Soda Bread

Word Search

Inspired by AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:

• • • • •

4 cups all-purpose flour 4 tbsp white sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1 tbsp baking powder

• • • •

1/2 cup margarine

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a large baking sheet. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and margarine. 3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg, and mix until dough comes together. 4. Knead dough on a lightly floured

5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. 6. Brush the raw loaf with this mixture and cut an “X” into the top. 7. Bake loaf for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into center of loaf. You may need to continue brushing the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

ARIES BLOOM BUD FLOWERS

GROWTH LUCKY MELT PUDDLE

RAIN REBIRTH SPRING SPROUT

surface. Form dough into a round before placing it on baking sheet.

who was injured in an accident? We can help!

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480-755-8000 www.TheMoakLawFirm.com 1820 E. Ray Road Chandler, AZ 85225

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We are ranked by Ranking Arizona as the No. 2 Law Firm that deals with Creditor’s rights and Bankruptcy.

INSIDE This Issue

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Inspiration From the Family Accountant

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March Madness Fun for the Whole Family Can You Trust Your Doctor? 2 Things Debtors Must Know About Wage Garnishment Easy Irish Soda Bread

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Bringing Love, Joy, and Life Back to Kishi Station

During the mid-2000s, the Kishi Train Station in Japan began to deteriorate. By 2006, Kishi Station was left completely unstaffed because of low ridership and financial problems. However, one last resident still remained after everyone else was long gone: a black, white, and tan cat named Tama. Tama first appeared at the station as a young cat in the late 1990s. She lived near the train station and would visit commuters daily to receive affection and the occasional treat. But, as it turned out, her continued visits to Kishi Station would end up playing a much bigger role for the station. The same year it became unstaffed, residents living near the station asked the president of the Wakayama Electric Railway, Mitsunobu Kojima, to revive the station because the cat’s survival depended on it. It turns out Tama’s original owner had asked the railway

workers to care for her before he moved away — he couldn’t bear to take her from the station she loved to visit so much. So, Kojima decided to go meet Tama. He liked her immediately and adopted her. A year later, Tama was officially named the Stationmaster of Kishi Station, the first cat stationmaster in Japan. To complete her look, Kojima gave her a small conductor hat to wear as she greeted commuters from her window perch inside the ticket gates.

As an official stationmaster, Tama became well known all across Japan and throughout the world. She appeared in the media and on promotional materials that soon brought much-needed foot traffic to Kishi Station. Thousands of tourists came rushing to Kishi to see Tama for themselves, ride the Tamaden carriage, and pick up Tama merchandise inside the station. Tama brought joy to all commuters for the next several years before passing away in 2015. Nearly 3,000 people attended her funeral, and her legacy lives on. Tama’s successors continue as stationmasters: Nitama, who serves as Kishi stationmaster, and assistant Yontama at Idakiso, five stations away. Tama’s friendly and loving nature impacted many people around her, and she will always be affectionately known as the cat who saved the Japanese train station.

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