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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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Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ALII Silver

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
  • Free Consultation
    I am happy to chat with you about your issues, for no charge, for up to one hour.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Professional Experience
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.
Oklahoma City University School of Law
Honors: Graduated with honors, 2nd of 208, 1976
Professional Associations
PA Bar Association
- Current
Eastern district of PA Bankruptcy Conference
- Current
Legal Answers
27 Questions Answered

Q. Question about filing bankruptcy. I filed Chapter 13 in Nov 2012 for old IRS debt. Converted to Chapter 7 Nov 2014.
A: The clock starts to run from the date your Order of Discharge was entered. You cannot get another discharge for 8 years from that date. The spacing, until recently, was six years between discharges, and it became common to file a "chapter 20" bankruptcy, meaning first, a Chapter 7, and then a year or so later, file a Chapter 13 with a 5-year plan (the discharge in a Ch. 13 case is granted at the end of the plan term). Using the same tactic, you'd have to wait for about three years after your Ch. 7 discharge before you'd be eligible to file a new Ch. 13 case with a 5-year confirmable plan. You may also need to file a motion to expand the automatic stay beyond 30 days, i.e., for the duration of your new case. Needless to say, second filings within 8 years of the grant of a discharge are discouraged.
Q. I am unable to sell my old house and it is about to go into foreclosure.
A: In the vast majority of foreclosure cases, the question is not whether the Mortgagee noteholder will when, but when. You say the property is "my old house", but that your wife now owns it. You do not, however, say when that transfer of title occurred, nor what money or other value exchanged hands at the time of the transfer. Nor do you say whether you remain personally liable on the Mortgage Note. If the Mortgage holder has not removed you from the Note, your credit rating will suffer as a result of the Mortgage default and foreclosure, and probably already has. A chapter 13 bankruptcy was primarily designed "to keep the house", although that usually means the family residence, not a rental property. You should speak to a bankruptcy lawyer without delay, give him all the details concerning the house and your financial condition, as well as your wife's. There are eligibility limits for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, with debt limits. Most probably, the filing of a chapter 13 bankruptcy, either by your wife alone, or by both of you jointly, is going to provide the best solution for your stated problems.
Q. I’m disabled & was thinking of claiming bankruptcy, but I’m not sure if it will effect my SSI. How will it effect me?
A: There are different "chapters", or forms, of bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7, the simplest form, your income is only used to determine your eligibility to file under that chapter. If your income is below the "median income" for the state of PA, you'd have no income issues. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your income is used to fund a Plan, commonly called a "wage earners' plan", which provides for payment over a period of time up to five years of debts you must pay ("priority" claims and secured claims if you opt to retain the collateral securing the loan), and perhaps some portion of your general unsecured claims (e.g., credit cards, medical bills, etc.), depending upon your income and the amount of your necessary monthly living expenses. You should consult a bankruptcy lawyer to examine your debts and advise you about your eligibility.
Q. How difficult is it to file bankruptcy for student loans? I have heard they do not count as a part of debt "forgiveness
A: To discharge, or reduce, any student loan debt, you must show "extreme hardship", and that bar is very high.
Q. I got sued for something I never did. Discover sued me for 12k. Court preceding took place without my knowledge.
A: Basic due process requires that in any litigation, the defendant must be served/provided (with proof of service) with the Complaint and Summons, whether in PA state or federal courts. You should investigate, or have someone investigate, the validity of service of process in the Discover case; if it's defective, you should move to vacate any judgment by default that may have been entered. You should also focus on the apparent identity theft underlying the "something you never did", and report that to Discover, about credit card(?) fraud. Some of these things, you can do yourself. But I'd recommend you engage counsel to investigate and take the necessary steps to address these issues. Not sure why you posted this question in the "Bankruptcy area". Have you filed for bankruptcy relief, or are you contemplating doing so? More facts would be needed to advise you about that.
Q. I have a common law spouse - can a hospital come after her for a judgement on my unpaid medical bills?
A: You present several issues with these few statements. Most states, including PA, recognize "common law marriages", the basic element of which is that you and she presented as man and wife to another human. E.g., it might suffice if, though unmarried, you had presented as man and wife to get a room. Of course, for a pursuing creditor to tag your now wife for subsequently incurred medical bills, the creditors) would have to first learn of that time you put yourselves out there as a married couple, and then convince those witnesses to come to court to prove all that. There is also case law upon which to base your spouse's liability for your necessary medical bills, if you are deemed a "dependent" of hers at the time such services were rendered. The income tax returns for both of you would be probative on this point, at any trial on a claim brought by one of your creditors. Bottom line, yes, in theory, a creditor might pursue your wife for liability on necessary services to you as her dependent. In reality, that's a long, tough row to hoe for the creditor.
Q. My father filed bankruptcy about 7 years ago. He had a home and a step grandson’s name was on the deed. Dad died 3.5
A: When a person dies intestate, his property owned at the time of death passes to his legal heirs, i.e., those heirs defined by the intestacy statute in the state of the decedent's domicile. In almost all states, the children of the deceased, and wife, are the designated heirs. A grandchild is not normally named as a direct heir in the statutes. Assuming MD's intestacy statute provides that the children (and wife, if he is married and she survives him) of a decedent automatically become owners of the decedent's property. In this case, there probably should have been a probate in court (because of the real property), but it would be normal and advisable, at least for a new lender, to ensure that the stepgrandson has legal title, so that a Mortgage signed by him in favor of the refinancing lender will be valid. Not sure why you would think that the bank owned the property, unless there was a foreclosure and the bank bought the property at the foreclosure sale.
Q. Co-buyers rights after a repossession and auction of said vehicle
A: The optimum time to seek legal advice is before a contemplated deal, like transfer of an asset, is done, not after. With your payments toward the vehicle, and your "co-buyer's" lack of payments, you were legally entitled to claim the lion's share of the equity in the vehicle. Obviously, there is none of that. At this point, depending upon what your conveyancing (transfer) agreements say (they should have been reduced to writing), you may have a right to demand payment of your provable losses against your non-paying co-buyer.
Q. How can I find out if my bankruptcy went thru lawyer filed paperwork to court but wont return about court date.
A: You can also go to the Bankruptcy Court Clerk's office and ask to examine your court file, which are public records. If you don't know your Bankruptcy Case No., your social security number will give you access. Alternatively, you can search online through (joining is free and easy, and gives you access to all court records with either a social security number or the bankruptcy case number. The first hearing in every consumer bankruptcy case is the "341 hearing", or first meeting of creditors. The court clerk notifies everyone involved and identified on the bankruptcy schedules, that is, all creditors, but also the debtor and his lawyer, of the setting of the first meeting of creditors, the address of the court, and other important dates. A lawyer has a professional duty to respond to a client's inquiries. If you cannot get your lawyer to respond, you can contact the Pennsylvania Bar for assistance with that issue.
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Contact & Map
Law Office of W.J. Winterstein, Jr.
PO Box 285
Boyertown, PA 19512
Telephone: (484) 415-0391
Law Office of W.J. Winterstein, Jr.
PO Box 1006
Royersford, PA 19468
Telephone: (484) 415-0391