Guiding You In Reaffirming Secured Debt To Keep Your Assets
One of the main pieces of misinformation about bankruptcy is that if you file, you will have to give up almost everything you own so it can be sold to pay creditors. That is simply not the case. Through a combination of exemptions and reaffirming debts, most people can keep virtually any asset that is important to them.
For decades, Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., in Maplewood, New Jersey, has represented clients, helping them understand the details of bankruptcy situations. Our skilled attorneys will explain what secured debt you must reaffirm so you can keep assets.
What Is Debt Reaffirmation?
When you agree to reaffirm a debt, it’s important to remember that you are responsible for paying back that debt once your bankruptcy case is finalized. For example, you may have a car that you need to keep, so you may decide to reaffirm your intent to pay the car loan. Reaffirming debt is a common step in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and usually is not necessary in Chapter 13.
When you took out a loan for your car or other property, you signed a contract agreeing to pay back the money within a certain time and with a certain amount of interest (5 percent APR for 60 months, for example). If you later file bankruptcy and choose to reaffirm the debt, the court will analyze your income, expenses and the value of the item. If the court determines that you can indeed make your payments, then reaffirmation will be allowed. Usually, the terms of the reaffirmed debt are same as the terms of your original contract.
Once approved for reaffirmation, you have up until the date of your bankruptcy discharge to change your mind. After that, the contract is considered permanent, and you must make your payments. Failure to pay can result in repossession of the item and your liability for the difference between the amount you reaffirmed and the amount the lender sells the car for at auction.
What Debts Can Be Reaffirmed?
Only secured debts can be reaffirmed. Items commonly considered are:
- Large household appliances
Debt reaffirmation can be particularly useful if you have aggressive creditors. As long as you make your payments on time, the creditor cannot take back the item.
When you visit Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., we will discuss whether reaffirming a debt would be a wise idea in your case. Our assessment of your situation will be honest and straightforward, so you can make an informed decision about whether debt reaffirmation fits your needs.
Get The Reliable Advice You Deserve; Call Now
Our lawyers at Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., in Maplewood, New Jersey, are ready to meet with you to discuss bankruptcy and options for holding onto your property. For a free consultation, please call 973-323-2953 or contact us online. We work with clients in Essex County and throughout New Jersey.