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2 Ways That A Bankruptcy Attorney Can Assist You

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Uncategorized |

A bankruptcy attorney is one of the most useful resources at your disposal if you are having extreme financial difficulties or have more debt than you can reasonably repay within a realistic timeframe. Listed below are two ways that a bankruptcy attorney can assist you. Provide You With Various Debt Relief Options One of the biggest reasons to see a bankruptcy attorney is the fact he or she can offer you a range of different debt relief options. For example, if you have lost your job entirely and are unable to afford to pay for more than your basic living expenses, a bankruptcy attorney may recommend that you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that essentially eliminates the vast majority of your debt in exchange for you surrendering certain pieces of property. Some of the property that you may be asked to surrender in this situation would include money in your bank account, some of your investments, and possibly even any extra vehicles that you may own. On the other hand, if you do still have a job but have more debt than you can repay in a  reasonable amount of time, a bankruptcy attorney may recommend that you consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, you will still be expected to pay your debt, but the total amount of debt will be lowered in order to facilitate repayment within a certain number of years, which is typically around five years. Stop Collection Agencies From Harassing You Another reason to hire a bankruptcy attorney is that they can stop collection agencies from harassing you. In many cases, it is not uncommon for you to run into some especially abrasive, rude, or extremely aggressive collection agencies if you have not been able to pay your creditors for some time due to financial difficulties. In that situation, once you file for bankruptcy protection, the bankruptcy court will send notifications to every single creditor and collection agency that has been in contact with you to immediately cease all contact. The only contact that the collection agencies and creditors can have when it comes to your debt is through the bankruptcy court or your attorney. Any other attempts to contact you directly is actually illegal and can result in fines or penalties being charged to the creditor or collection agency that defies the order and continues to attempt to collect your debt. Make an appointment with a local bankruptcy attorney today in order to discuss what options are available to you when it comes to eliminating or alleviating your debt. A bankruptcy attorney is a great resource that can assist you by providing you with various debt relief options and by stopping collection agencies from harassing...

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What About The Car?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A chapter 7 bankruptcy can help relieve you of the responsibility of repaying your debts, which can be a welcome relief if outside circumstances have made it impossible for you to do so. One major concern, though, may be your car. This is especially true if you depend upon this transportation to get to and from work or school. The following guide can help you better understand your options for keeping the car. Is the car exempt? Generally, a car can be considered exempt from forced seizure and sale during the proceedings if you own it free and clear of any loans and if you demonstrate that it is necessary for work, school, or overall quality of life (for example, driving yourself to doctor’s appointments due to a rural setting or an area with poor public transportation). The car will be placed underneath an exemption that protects it during the proceedings. Do you have a car loan? If you have a loan on the car or have used it for collateral for another loan, then there is the chance that the car could be lost due to non-payment. You have two main options for keeping the car: Reaffirm the debt. To do this, you will need to continue to make payments as scheduled on the vehicle. In return, the creditor will promise to not to repossess the car as long as the terms of the loan are met. This means that this debt will not be discharged during the bankruptcy. Redeem the loan. In effect, you are paying off the car, but not for the amount listed on the remaining loan. Instead, you will only pay the fair market value of the car, which then discharges the debt. This is a good option if the car’s value is well below what is still owed on the car and if you have enough cash on hand to pay it off. Should you surrender the car? This is yet another option that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you own more than one vehicle. When you surrender during bankruptcy the loan will be written off along with the rest of your debts once the bankruptcy is finalized. If you can’t afford the monthly payments or the redeem amount, this may be your only choice. You can use the money saved on payments to purchase a low-cost vehicle for cash if you don’t have a second car. For more help, contact a bankruptcy attorney, such as O’Connor Mikita & Davidson LLC....

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3 Reasons Why Your Taxes Matter In A Bankruptcy Case

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one of the main things your attorney is going to need from you is your tax returns. Regardless of whether you work for someone else or you are self-employed, you need to be able to provide a couple years’ worth of your returns. If you haven’t filed them, you will need to do so for the attorney to have them on record and file them with your bankruptcy paperwork. While you might not understand the importance of these documents, they are pivotal in your case. Here are three things your tax returns are going to do for you and your bankruptcy case. They prove your average income. One of the main things on your income tax returns is going to be your annual income. Your adjusted gross income is one of the main things your attorney is going to use to determine what your monthly earnings are when filing your paperwork. While they still need current paystubs as well, this will help to form a foundation for what your income has been over the past couple years. They show your dependents. Another thing on your income tax return is the number of dependents you have. If you have five children and are trying to get by on one income, that is going to be a lot different than being a single individual on one income. You want to show what you are paying for each and every year. This way the court will be able to see how much extra income you truly have. They prove your deductions. Income taxes also show whether you are getting any tax credits or deductions for owning a home. This proves your expenses every month and gives the court an idea of what you have to pay out of your own pocket. By giving your attorney the tax paperwork they need, you can prevent delaying your case or having the court throw your case out. It ensures everything is going to be accurate on your paperwork. After all, the whole point of a bankruptcy case is to discharge your debts because you aren’t able to pay them for one reason or another. To prove that you cannot pay, you need to show your income. Whatever you do, make sure your attorney has accurate tax papers to file your case. This way, you get your discharge in a timely fashion. To learn more, contact a law firm like Wiesner & Frackowiak,...

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What Are Your Legal Options For Handling An Involuntary Bankruptcy?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Uncategorized |

The decision to file for bankruptcy is usually a personal one, but there are some exceptions. It is possible for your creditors to file on your behalf. If you have received notice that an involuntary bankruptcy has been filed for you, here is what you need to know.  What Is an Involuntary Bankruptcy? In an involuntary bankruptcy, you could be forced to file for bankruptcy. There are rules to when it could occur. For instance, if you are indebted to one creditor for $15,325 or more and you have less than 12 creditors, one of the creditors could file.  You could also face an involuntary bankruptcy if three or more of your creditors who you owe a combined $15,325 or more decide to file. The debts must be unsecured to qualify. Unsecured debts do not have collateral backing them up.  What Are Your Legal Options? Once you receive the notice that bankruptcy has been filed on your behalf, you have very little time to decide what to do. The amount of time allowed to take action can vary from state to state. Refer to the filing notice to determine how much time you have.  One of the options you have is to allow the bankruptcy to continue. In this instance, you would be faced with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At the end of the filing, if you meet all of the requirements, your debts would be discharged.  You can also choose to convert the filing from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13. In a Chapter 13 filing, you are responsible for paying off your debts. In order to qualify for a Chapter 13 filing, you have to prove that you are financially able to meet the terms of the repayment plan. The income requirements for Chapter 13 can vary by state, so check with your bankruptcy attorney to find the exact figure needed.  Your final option is to fight the bankruptcy filing. If you plan to fight the filing, you need to file a petition or objection with the court. If you do not file the objection within the time stated on the bankruptcy notice, it is very possible that it will be allowed to go through by the court.  Once you file your objection, you will have to attend a court hearing. During the hearing, you will need to argue why the involuntary bankruptcy should not go through. If you plan to pay the debts, you need to show a plan for how you plan to do it.  Regardless if you plan to let the bankruptcy go through or fight it, you need to talk to a lawyer. He or she can help you understand the ramifications of each decision and help you choose what is best for you. To learn more, contact a bankruptcy lawyer like Arthur M...

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Alternative Bankruptcy Options For Repairing Your Finances

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When you research bankruptcy options, you may find that Chapter 7 and 13 do not offer you much help. When your situation is different, you need to be aware of the alternative bankruptcy options that could help you repair your financial problems. Chapter 12 When you operate a family farm or family fishing business and more than 50 percent of your income comes from this business, it is best to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. This option is designed to help you protect your personal property and business, while you take the opportunity to repair your finances. When considering this bankruptcy option, you need to be aware of how much of your debt must come from operating your business. For farmers, 50 percent of the debt must be due to operational costs of the farm, while fishermen need the debt amount to be at 80 percent. The percentage does not include the amount you owe for your home mortgage. When filing Chapter 12, you have the opportunity to continue operating your business and repay some of your debt off at the same time. The idea is to create a repayment plan through the courts that will normally last three to five years. Usually, the payment plan is for three years, but you can petition the courts to extend it to five years to help lessen the financial strain. On the other hand, if you owe child support or alimony, the courts will generally make the repayment period five years to start with, so you have adequate time to pay your debt in full. Chapter 15 If you owe money to creditor in two or more countries, you can find the process of filing for bankruptcy a lot harder to complete. For those living in the United States, you have one option, which is filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy. With this method, the U.S. courts work with financial institutions in the other countries to help settle your debt. One downside is that this process does take additional time to complete, because each creditor has a right to object to or approve any terms you and your lawyer ask for during the bankruptcy process. In many cases, the U.S. court system and the representative from the other countries can come to some type of agreement, so you can pay off your debt. It is best to locate a lawyer that specializes in Chapter 15 bankruptcy, because the lawyer needs to understand international banking laws and credit practices of other countries. For more information, contact Flippin Thomas C or a similar legal...

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3 Things You Need To Know About Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Uncategorized |

The state of a person’s finances can be a source of frustration. So often people find themselves in financial binds and they have to turn to maxing out credit cards and taking out massive loans to get them through the crisis. Unfortunately, that means they end up with a tremendous debt that they have no ability to repay. Whenever you find yourself in this situation, there can be a way out by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here are three things you need to know about doing that. 1. It may not wipe out all of your debt One of the benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it allows you to wipe out your debt without paying it back. However, not all types of debt are eligible to be discharged in bankruptcy court. The types of debts that you can get rid of in Chapter 7 bankruptcy include: Credit cards Past due amounts on your utility bills Bounced checks (non-fraudulent) Any accounts sent to collection Medical bills Money due for leases That is just a sample of the types of debts that can be wiped out with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some examples of debts that you can’t get rid of in bankruptcy court are: Student loans (in most cases) Taxes Child support Alimony Fines and fees to the government Lawsuit settlements Fraudulent debts Debts not scheduled on the bankruptcy  2. The bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years While filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help put your mind at ease since you won’t have that large pile of debt looming over your head anymore, it doesn’t come without its negatives. One such negative is the fact that it can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. What does that mean for you? Well, that means you can find it extremely difficult to get a home or car loan. You will likely also have higher deposits to pay on establishing new services that require deposits, such as utilities and cell phones. On the flip side, some people can find it easier to get credit cards and some loans after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because the creditor knows that you will have to wait at least eight years before you can file for it again. 3. Your creditors can fight your bankruptcy in court One thing that many don’t realize is that creditors can actually fight your bankruptcy discharge in court. For instance, if you are trying to get a loan from a friend or family member discharged in bankruptcy court, they can hire an attorney and fight the discharge. If they can prove why you should be required to pay back that debt, then a judge may not allow the debt to be included in your bankruptcy discharge. If you have specific questions about filing for bankruptcy, contact a lawyer with a firm like Morrison &...

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Avoiding Foreclosure in Tough Times

Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Things happen in life that are beyond your control. You may lose a job, have a medical emergency, or have some other issue that can cost you a lot of money. When this happens, it can be hard to make payments that you owe. When you are not able to make a payment on your home, you risk losing your home by a foreclosure. When these hard times hit and foreclosure is imminent, you can try to avoid a foreclosure by taking some different steps and trying some different solutions. How to Avoid Foreclosure 1. Sell Your Home. One of the best things that you can do to avoid foreclosure is to sell the home. This is especially wise if you already have equity in the home and you are not upside down. By selling the home, you will be able to pay off the mortgage and you will be able to keep the remainder if there is any. This way you will not have to worry about being foreclosed on. You may have to rent while you get back on your feet but at least you did not get foreclosed on. 2. Lender Negotiation. There may be times when you will not be able to make the payments but you still want to keep the house. Perhaps you are out of work but expect to start again soon. You could be receiving a tax return or a bonus at work. When the lender can see that you will be able to make the payments again, they will be more willing to negotiate with you by extending the loan, agreeing to accept reduced payments, or adding the missed payments back into the mortgage. When this is the case it is important to make sure that you contact the lender quickly before it is too late. They are more willing to help if you are proactive and honest. 3. Bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, the foreclosure process will stop and cannot continue again until you emerge from bankruptcy. This can give you time to make a plan and try to figure out a way to keep the home or find another place to live. This can be a way to get back on your feet and avoid a foreclosure or at least postpone it for some time. Of course the best way to avoid a foreclosure is to make your payments on time. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Thankfully, these options can help you avoid foreclosure. For more assistance, talk to a foreclosure attorney like Jeffrey S Arnold Attorney At Law...

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How Divorce Affects Your Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Given the financial strain that bankruptcy can place on someone, it is not uncommon for those going through divorce to be forced to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can complicate situations such as any support payments you must make. Also, your coming divorce will affect whether you should file for bankruptcy sooner or later. How Bankruptcy Affects Child Support When filing for divorce, any support or alimony that you are required to pay is not dischargeable. Unlike with many debtors, anyone who you owe child support to will not have to file any proofs or claims. Also, any automatic stay on collection activities does not apply to your ex spouse. However, if your ex spouse is filing for a motion to increase child support payments, there are many judges who will not rule on the child support increase case until the bankruptcy case is over. Therefore, you will be able to avoid paying a greater amount in child support at least until the bankruptcy case is over. When You Should File for Bankruptcy If you have not yet filed for bankruptcy, you will need to determine whether it is wiser to file for bankruptcy first or file for divorce first. If you and on good terms with your partner, you might decide to file for bankruptcy first because you can file jointly. All of your debts will be handed at once with a single bankruptcy case. Also, if you or your partner earns the majority of the household income, the partner who earns more will be more likely to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy since all of the debt will be lumped together. Many of the contracts that you no longer want, such as a car loan or a mortgage, will be eliminated under bankruptcy. This is helpful if you would like to eliminate these contracts so they do not tie you to your ex spouse. When You Should Divorce First Even if you are on good terms, it can sometimes be beneficial to file for divorce first because your combined incomes might lead to both of you not being eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you and your ex are not on good terms, you may find yourselves in a battle over support payments. It will be helpful to know what these support payments will be before filing so you will know whether you will have an income to make any necessary payments. While chapter 13 might have been workable before you filed for divorce, with new support payments, you may not have access to money needed to pay for the chapter 13 bankruptcy and chapter 7 might be necessary instead. Talk to an attorney (such as Richard S. Ross – Bankruptcy...

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How To Get Started With Filing The Right Forms For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Many people like the idea of Chapter 13 bankruptcy because it involves restructuring rather than outright liquidation. It’s easy to see it as a kind of debt management program rather than as a fire sale on all your belongings. However, getting started requires forms, and lots of them. Start Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy with the Right Forms Like most things involving bureaucratic processes, you have to steel yourself for a lot of paperwork. This is less of an issue if you hire a bankruptcy attorney, but if you want to go it alone, you’ll need to find all the proper forms. The government has a handy list of forms for you to peruse and download. But that sheer glut of information can put a damper on your resolve to file for Chapter 13. Luckily, there’s one form out of the group that can get you started on the right path. That form is B200, or “Required Lists, Statements, Schedules, and Fees.” Using B200 to Get Started with Chapter 13 Once you look at the form, you will see that it’s exactly what its name implies. It’s a list of the forms and fees you will need to file for a few different types of bankruptcy. Find the list for “Chapter 13 Case” and you will have a good place to start with. The very first thing it tells you is that you will need to pay a fee in installments, and that fee must accompany the first form. From there, it’s a series of checkboxes that you need to get through. B 3A: Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments – Literally an application for sending the initial fee. After the court processes the application, there’s an additional, administrative fee for that. B 1: Voluntary Petition – This is the actual petition to the court. It’s a lengthy document that asks you for your name, contact information, and other personal information. It also asks for the names, details, and contact information for all of your creditors. After these two forms, it becomes a lot more difficult. For example, the next form listed in this section of B200 gives an “if” and so does the following point on the list. This is where you can start making mistakes if you’re not careful. There are also specific actions for some of the forms that have nothing to do with filling them out. The third form listed is actually two. B 201A and 201B. These are actually forms the court gives to you, not the other way around. 201A is an explanation of the bankruptcy process. The form 201B is the one that you would send to the court, as it’s a statement confirming that you’ve seen and read 201A. This is just to illustrate to you why you have to show extreme care when going through the steps listed in B200. Getting Help with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Forms If you don’t fully understand what the form is asking you for, go back to the list of forms mentioned previously. For each form, there is a section that has “form instructions” as well as “committee notes” on the form itself. This can prove invaluable once you start the process. The Internet is also a treasure trove of information for those attempting to do their own filings. If you don’t understand...

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: The Two Tests Used To Prove Undue Hardship for Student Loans

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Getting an education to further your position in life is expensive. As of 2014, 40 million Americans have resorted to taking out student loans to pay for their degree; however, with the economy in a poor state, finding a job after graduating to pay off your student loans may not be easy. As time passes, the financial hardship that paying off the student loans and their interest causes may become unbearable. For a lawyer to discharge student loans under chapter 7 bankruptcy, they must prove that the student loans cause undue financial hardship, which is generally measured using two tests—the Brunner test and the Totality of the Circumstances Test. The Basics of the Brunner Test Some courts will use the Brunner test to determine whether applicants are eligible for getting their student loans discharged. There are 3 parts to the Brunner test. To be eligible for discharging your student loans when applying for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet all of the three criteria. They include: Living in standards below the poverty line. Each year, the US Census Bureau will issue a report detailing what the poverty line for that year is. For example, the poverty threshold for an individual under the age of 65 living on his or her own was $11,011 in 2012. Dealing with a persistent financial situation. The court will also need to confirm that your financial situation will not likely change in the near future; for example, you are not going to receive a large inheritance or be offered a job position that pays well over the poverty threshold. Having had good faith in making payments. This basically means that you made an effort to pay your student loans back on time. The Fundamentals of the Totality of the Circumstances Test Not all courts rely on the Brunner test. Those who don’t generally rely on the Totality of the Circumstances test, which doesn’t have set requirements that must be met. Instead, the court will examine all of the relevant factors that pertain to your case to determine whether the student loans cause you undue financial hardship. You or a chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will need to prove that not only are you unable to pay back your loan based on your financial situation currently and in the foreseeable future, but also that the loans will cause an unconscionable burden on your life. Conclusion Speak with a bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you may have a case at getting your student loans discharged with a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. If you are not eligible, you will still be responsible for paying back the student loans after being discharged from bankruptcy. Contact a lawyer, such as one from Brackett & Strunk LLC, if you have more...

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Rethinking Everything You Know About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Uncategorized |

There are certain experiences that are extremely detrimental to a person’s life: divorce, death of a spouse, and job loss or termination are just a few of these. Along with the emotional costs of these events, they can also create extraordinary financial hardship. Fortunately, filing for bankruptcy can provide a way out if you have experienced any of the many reasons people cite for filing for bankruptcy. Through Chapter 13 bankruptcy specifically, you can pay back just what you owe, get out of debt, start over with a clean financial slate, and save your home from foreclosure and repossession. Here is some more information on each of these benefits of filing a Chapter 13. Pay Back What You Owe In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debts you owe will be reorganized. Essentially, you will still owe them, but your bankruptcy will allow you to pay off your debts through a more manageable payment, payable to the bankruptcy trustee. Truthfully, the repayment plan inherent with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy turns many people off. However, it can be a great opportunity to file for bankruptcy with your head held high, and most people appreciate the opportunity to pay back their debts.  Start Over with a Clean Slate Despite the repayments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy still allows you a clean slate from which to work. When your bankruptcy is discharged, you will not have any late payments on your home loan or auto loans to worry about, and you will have already given your unsecured debt a big kiss goodbye.  Save Your Home  One of the most common reasons that people give for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to save their home from foreclosure. This can happen to anyone, regardless of status or wealth. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the debtor to file for bankruptcy, stick all those late payments into their reorganized payment plan, and pay back the arrearages on the loan over time. There is no scrambling to come up with enough money to keep your home, and going forward, all you have to do is make your mortgage payments in full.  Call a Professional When you are considering bankruptcy for any reason, consider the many advantages of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you are wondering whether bankruptcy is right for you, contact a lawyer to talk about your options and whether there are any alternatives that will allow you to accomplish your financial...

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