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What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

June 18th, 2017 Comments off

The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income is known as Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three to five years.

A chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a wage earner’s plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts.

The heart of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the Chapter 13 Plan, which the debtor proposes as a way of making payments to creditors over a three to five year period. The period can be as little as 3 years if the debtor’s current monthly income averaged over the last six months is below the state median.

If the debtor’s current monthly income is greater than the applicable state median, the bankruptcy plan generally must be for five years. In no case may a Chapter 13 plan provide for payments over a period longer than five years. During this time the law forbids creditors from starting or continuing collection efforts.

There are many advantages a Chapter 13 has over a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy. One big advantage is that a Chapter 13 allows individuals a chance to save and keep their homes when facing a foreclosure.

By filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy an individual stops foreclosure proceedings, and can then make payments over the life of the plan that cure past-due delinquent payments. However, the Chapter 13 filer must still make the regular monthly mortgage payments while the Chapter 13 is active.

Another advantage Chapter 13 has over Chapter 7 is that secured debts (other than a home) can be crammed-down or rescheduled and extended over the life of the bankruptcy. This often means substantially lower monthly payments.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy also has a special provision that protects third parties who are liable with the debtor on “consumer debts.” This provision may protect co-signers. Also, chapter 13 acts like a consolidation loan under which the individual makes the plan payments to a chapter 13 trustee who then distributes payments to creditors. Individuals will have no direct contact with creditors while under chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

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Disadvantages Of Bankruptcy

June 6th, 2017 Comments off

Without fully understanding the disadvantages of bankruptcy, a lot of people will file for the “protections” it offers. In most cases, filers believe that bankruptcy clears the slate. Without a complete knowledge of bankruptcy provisions, a lot of borrowers actually find themselves in a deeper financial rut than before they filed. After all, as a last resort, bankruptcy was created to penalize everyone involved, including you. With that in mind, you should have a thorough understanding of the disadvantages of bankruptcy before you file.

As a leading disadvantage of bankruptcy, the fact that a discharge will not always clear all debt is one that is often overlooked by borrowers. That’s right; in some cases, even after a trustee has liquidated your assets and repaid creditors, you could still owe others whose debt was exempt from the bankruptcy discharge.

Another disadvantage of bankruptcy is that you not only lose your existing property, including (in some cases) real estate, automobiles, investments and other personal belongs, but your rights to future property. In most cases, “future property” can include winfalls such as an inheritance.

It is almost impossible to withdraw a chapter 7 filing. Once you file for bankruptcy, it is done and you are subjected to all the disadvantages. Your credit score takes a major hit. Bankruptcy will stay in your credit rating for the next seven years. Lenders usually do not entertain previously bankrupt borrowers. Thus, after bankruptcy, it can be difficult for you to get loans.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed for almost any amount of debt. The one restriction is that debtors cannot file another petition within six years of their last bankruptcy discharge.

Many filers often overlook the fact that the process of filing for bankruptcy will take a psychological and physical toll. For most people, filing for bankruptcy takes a tremendous toll as the bankruptcy seems to constantly follow them.

In many cases, the stress from bankruptcy will result in relationship problems, including martial breakdown and divorce. Ultimately, this worsens the financial impact of bankruptcy, leaving bankrupt individuals feeling even more beaten down and defeated. Such relationship stress can also lead to problems within shared social circles and, not surprisingly, bankruptcy also increases the probability of substance abuse. In fact, the feelings of “loss” are greatly enhanced among bankrupt individuals.

Such feelings of loss, defeat and trauma often make managing regular relationships with other family and friends difficult. The difference in opinion among friends and family, combined with the feelings of guild and shame, often alienate bankrupt individuals from those who have been closest to them.

There are some advantages for persons in serious debts. However, for most people, they can get along without filing bankruptcy. There is a mandatory credit counseling three months prior to filing bankruptcy. This will help the persons find ways of managing their finances. File for chapter 7, only if you know as last resort. It is the option that makes better financial decision. If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of bankruptcy, only then should you go for it.

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Should you be concerned about the cost of filing bankruptcy?

April 1st, 2017 Comments off

Are you worried about how to pay for bankruptcy in order to get out of debt? Well, first of all you need to make sure that you have chosen bankruptcy after careful consideration and not simply out of panic. Talk things over with your family and a bankruptcy lawyer before you make the final decision. Still, once you have done that, you are left with the matter of having to pay for all of this.

Well, the cost of bankruptcy depends on which kind you will be filing. You’re probably planning to file chapter seven bankruptcy, which is the kind that tries to eliminate your debt entirely. Chapter seven cost $274 at the time of this writing. The price for chapter 13 bankruptcy, which creates a payment plan for your debt, is currently $189.

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a very large amount to pay in order to get a fresh start financially. Of course, if you’re looking to declare personal bankruptcy, then any expense is going to be significant for you. Still, the above fees are not outrageous considering what you’re getting in return, which is a second chance in your financial life.

When it comes to paying for your bankruptcy proceedings, the problem may not lie so much with the court fees. After all, the main fees you’ll have to worry about are your lawyer fees.

As we all know, legal fees can be expensive, and the recent changes in the bankruptcy code have made things more complex. This may mean more work for your attorneys, which can translate into a higher cost for you.

This may be discouraging for you, and you may think that you will not be able to pay for the bankruptcy process. At this point you might be wondering how to get out of credit card debt (or other kinds of debt for that matter) through some other means. However, if you and your lawyer have decided the bankruptcy is the best option for you, you shouldn’t despair over the cost.

The good news is that once you file for bankruptcy, the bill collectors have to stop contacting you (at least until your case is over). This is the law.

Moreover, if your case is successful, then you know what that means. You don’t have to worry about your previous debts at all if your chapter seven bankruptcy case is successful. Even if you file chapter 13, you’ll still get some relief by using a payment plan. Either way, bankruptcy should make your financial burden lighter and make it easier to cover the cost of an attorney.

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Which Type Of Bankruptcy Is Best For You?

March 1st, 2017 Comments off

In the US there are essentially two ways to go through a personal bankruptcy. These two proceedings are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and they are significantly different from each other.

Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws that gave consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. Basically in Chapter 13, the court can approve a payment plan that can run up to five years. This process lets you pay off today’s debts with future earnings. Obviously you have to have a steady source of income to qualify for this filing.

Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Other property could be sold by a court appointed trustee or given directly to a creditor as payment of your debt. There is also a limitation of how much you can earn during this process. It is not designed for you to profit by not having to pay your debts.

Another difference between the two is the amount of time that must pass before you can refile. With Chapter 7 the waiting period is 8 years. With 13 it is two years.

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can eliminate unsecured debt, stop foreclosure proceedings, and halt collection processes. The differences lies in the way that those debts are discharged. Some debts such as alimony, child support, student loans and some taxes are exempt from the bankruptcy proceedings and cannot be eliminated.

Unless you have an acceptable plan to satisfy your debt under Chapter 13, the court usually will not allow you to keep property when the creditor has security lien on it. This could include your home as well as well as boats, vacation homes, recreational vehicles etc.

Bankruptcy is no longer the slam dunk procedure that it was. The new law now requires that persons wanting to file either Chapter 7 or 13 attend an approved credit counseling course sometime within the six months before filing. This is another effort to solve the credit crisis without further clogging up the courts with another bankruptcy. In addition, there is now a “means test” for persons wanting to go the liquidation route. If the court believes that you make too much income to just walk away from the debt via liquidation, they will only allow you to file Chapter 13 which is the pay back plan.

There are other strategies to settle your debt without going through bankruptcy. It all depends on your personal situation and what best makes sense for you and your family. Any decision to file for bankruptcy should not be made without consulting a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

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Some Assets Are Protected When Filing an Arizona Bankruptcy

January 28th, 2017 Comments off

Even if you are faced with a bankruptcy, it may be comforting to know that some of your assets may be protected by bankruptcy “exemption” laws. If some of your assets fall into these exempted categories, then you as the debtor will be allowed to keep these assets after filing for bankruptcy. The asset, however, can only be protected if the court determines that the asset is within the allowable values as per state regulation. Some states follow the federal government’s list of bankruptcy exemptions. Arizona is a state that has its own exemptions, and the list of exemptions and maximum value limits is much friendlier to debtors in Arizona that in states that follow federal guidelines. Arizona allows more assets with a greater allowable value than many other states.

The homestead exemption protects the home of a single or married debtor as long as he resides in the home as his primary residence. The home can have up to $150,000 in equity and still be protected in a bankruptcy. As with all exemptions, any equity over that amount is not protected. A debtor might be required to pay the amount of excess equity to the bankruptcy court in order to prevent the bankruptcy from being dismissed. A bankruptcy trustee might also choose to force the sale of the home, giving the bankruptcy filer the $150,000 to which he is entitled, and the rest of the proceeds will be distributed to the creditors by the court. Only one homestead exemption may be used in a bankruptcy.

The vehicle exemption allows a bankruptcy filer to keep his vehicle as long as it has less than $5,000 in equity. A married couple who files for bankruptcy protection can use two, $5,000 exemptions toward two vehicles. Any vehicle equity over those amounts will be treated as it would with the homestead exemption.

The personal property exemption includes household furniture, furnishings, and appliances. A single debtor can protect up to $4,000 in used value of these assets and a married couple can protect $8,000 in used value. A detailed list of these assets must be provided to the court by the debtor.

Other, miscellaneous assets are protected up to specific values set by the bankruptcy laws. Tools and equipment used in commercial activity are protected. Wedding jewelry, clothing, weapons, hobby equipment, books, musical instruments, and certain life insurance proceeds, all have their own value limits set by the bankruptcy code.

Several types of retirement assets also are protected by bankruptcy laws. These include qualified retirement assets, such as IRA, 401k, state retirement funds and so on. These are protected with no limit on their value.

If an asset does not have a present, vested value at the time of filing, then typically it is protected under the bankruptcy code. Such assets include annuities that are not yet vested, future interest in a business as established by the corporate bylaws, and employee stock purchase plans that are not yet vested.

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