Individuals have several options when filing bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is often preferred for individuals with regular income who wish to keep their homes that have equity and other secured assets. In a Chapter 13 filing, the court will approve the debtor's three to five-year payment plan, which generally provides for curing any pre-petition delinquency, maintaining payments on secured debt, and a payment to unsecured creditors based on the debtor's disposable income. The debtor will receive a discharge at the completion of the plan.
If you are in debt and are considering filing bankruptcy, one of the main questions on your mind is likely whether the bankruptcy will discharge (eliminate) your debt. The answer depends heavily on whether your debt is secured or unsecured. Having a basic understanding of how each type of debt is treated in bankruptcy can help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and which type of bankruptcy you should file.
When you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. During this difficult time, it's critical that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the process. At Levitt & Slafkes, P.C. we provide free initial bankruptcy consultations and will answer your questions. So how do you decide who is most qualified, who you can best work with and what you can expect from your bankruptcy attorney? Here are the top 6 questions which we believe you should ask, and the attorney should answer during your initial consultation.
Social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter keep getting more popular. These sites have impacted many aspects of society, including the practice of law. While social media sites offer people a chance to connect with friends and family across distances, many people share a lot of personal information online.
Although we all know that dealing with money and numbers are supposed to be a logical, black and white process, sans emotion, few of us can act that way-whether we have lots of cash, or a dwindling supply. Financial success can lead us to feeling euphoric, while financial woes send us into deep despair. Sometimes our emotions are also what cause us to use poor judgment when spending, investing, or making business decisions.
One of the greatest things we can learn in life is excellent money management skills. Even if you possess such savvy though, life circumstances may arise that cause extreme financial duress beyond your control. This could be due to unemployment and loss of health benefits, even after years working for the same company. Or perhaps you became ill, injured, or debilitated-again, leading to further lack of income when you couldn't work. Many factors can play into financial strain. The key is in finding a solution, even when you may feel as if you have hit rock bottom. At a time like that, it can be hard to confide in anyone due to feelings of embarrassment or shame.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you may have countless questions. You are probably concerned about impending sacrifices, whether you must give up all or most of your assets and how long will the entire process will last. Many debtors hope to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy as nearly all debts are discharged within a 3 to 6 months period. This is not always feasible though, due to income qualifications (see our recent blog, 'What is the Means Test--And What if I Don't Pass?'). In that case, or for other reasons such as wanting to save a home from foreclosure, you may end up filing for Chapter 13, and wondering what happens in the three- to five-year timeframe.
While you can file for bankruptcy without an attorney, it is not recommended unless you have an in-depth grasp of bankruptcy law and the many intricate details involved in the process. There is a learning curve involved to understand all aspects of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Without a skilled bankruptcy attorney, this learning curve is usually extremely time-consuming and challenging. Before you get started, it is important to seek expert advice on whether bankruptcy is right for you and if so what type of bankruptcy.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with the bankruptcy court and communicating with the bankruptcy trustee. The Trustees usually have enormous experience in working with debtors, and know when someone is not truthful. It is therefore critical that you be entirely truthful in your petition.
While many debtors find Chapter 7 bankruptcy to be an attractive choice for filing due to the discharge available in three to six months, if they cannot pass the Means test, they must file for Chapter 13 instead. Known as the income-based bankruptcy, Chapter 13 offers many different benefits to the filer; for instance, if your home is under threat of foreclosure, it will be stopped immediately with the automatic stay, an injunction which prohibits creditors from pursuing any collections activity throughout the duration of the bankruptcy. If you are behind on payments, they can also be included in the repayment plan, allowing you to catch up-if you are also making your normal monthly.