Thomas B. Hjerpe, Esq.

Kenneth J. Collins, Esq.

Jocelyn M. Godniho, Esq.

Catherine M. Koshkin, Esq.

Of Counsel

350 E Street, First Floor

Eureka, CA  95501

Telephone:  707 442-7262

Law Office of

Hjerpe & Collins LLP

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people to file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code

Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is often not the only solution.  Some people can restructure debt outside of bankruptcy.  Some people can negotiate settlements and pay reduced balances.

Credit Counseling Services

Nonprofit credit counseling agencies help to bring accounts current and reduce interest rates so you can repay credit card debts

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco

Negotiation and Settlement

We negotiate settlements with credit card debts and medical debts.  Our average settlement is 40 cents on the dollar.

We charge modest flat fees for settlements  

Judgment Proof

Some individuals have no assets or income that can be taken by a creditor even if a lawsuit is filed.

We charge  modest flat fees to refer creditor calls  

Contact Us

We Can Help

Schedule a Free Consultation

The most common alternatives to bankruptcy are as follows:


Credit Counseling: A good non-profit credit counseling service can negotiate a repayment plan with creditors that allows you to avoid a bankruptcy and repay your debts over a 5-year period. They negotiate to get the past-due balances rolled into the debt and to get interest rates reduced. A good credit counseling service can usually get interest rates reduced to about 8%.  To estimate what you would need to pay through a credit counseling service you can use an amortizing calculator and plug-in the Aunsecured@ debt at 8% interest for a 5 year term.  The non-profit agency will charge a modest monthly fee.  We have great confidence in small regional agencies, such as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco [(800) 777-7526].  If you are not confident of your ability to pay this amount each month for a 5-year period, then this is not the solution for you.


Settlement: It is possible to negotiate settlements with creditors.  If you are seriously past-due we can usually negotiate settlements of about 40 cents on the dollar. A judgment may settle at closer to 70 cents on the dollar.  You need to have cash on hand to pay the settlements. You may also have income tax consequences from settling debts.  If you have the resources to pay settlements, we feel this is a better solution than bankruptcy. 


Ignore the creditors: A final alternative to bankruptcy is ignoring the creditors.  This runs the risk that you may be sued. If a creditor sues and gets a judgment, they will be able to put a lien on real estate, garnish wages and levy on bank accounts. This is a disaster for most people. In particular, wage garnishment allows a creditor to take 25% of your net pay and a bank levy allows a creditor to take all the money in the bank regardless of what checks you may have outstanding.  However, if you do not own a home, the threat of a lien against your home is meaningless. If you do not have a job B such as when you are self employed or you receive disability income, you will not have wages that can be garnished.  If you can live without a bank account, you will have no risk of a bank levy.

This is general information. We would still need to speak with you and ask you a great many questions to be able to assess your situation and to make recommendations.  Nevertheless, we hope this information is helpful and puts you at ease until we have our consultation.


Beware of Debt Settlement Agencies:

Debt settlement agencies offer to settle credit card debts by having you make monthly installments over a period of years with deposits going into a trust account to be used to settle debts as deposits accumulate.  Many of these agencies will consume your first six or more months of deposits as anticipated fees for services.  During this time credit cards are not being paid.  Credit card companies usually start filing lawsuits when you are nine months or more past-due.  Because the agency has been taking advance fees the customer rarely has enough money in trust to settle with the credit card company that files a lawsuit and once wage garnishments and bank levies start the customer is forced to file a bankruptcy.