Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

When Should I File Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful legal tool that allows those in financial crisis to cancel debts such as medical debt, credit card debt, and unsecured personal loans.

As soon as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, the consumer receives immediate protection from his or her creditors. This protection comes from the automatic stay that is issued by the court upon filing. The automatic stay puts a pause on all collection actions, including collection phone calls, legal proceedings to collect on a debt, wage garnishments, evictions, and foreclosures. The automatic stay also gives consumers a chance to breathe and work with the court and bankruptcy trustee.  

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Will a Bankruptcy Filing Remove a Vehicle Repossession?

A bankruptcy discharge will relieve the filer of his or her debts, which means that the person can walk away with a clean financial slate.  However, a bankruptcy case does not remove all debts from the consumer’s credit report. In fact, certain debts and the legal proceedings associated with them can be difficult to remove, including vehicle repossession.

A consumer bankruptcy case, including Chapters 7 and 13, should remove negative marks on the consumer’s credit report. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case this is accomplished by liquidating the consumer’s assets that are not otherwise protected under a bankruptcy exemption and using those funds to pay off the consumer’s debts. Those not paid are then discharged at the end of the bankruptcy. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the consumer works with the bankruptcy trustee on a repayment plan that lasts between three to five years. At the end of that time, the remaining debts are discharged from the consumer’s record.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Is It Possible to Refinance a Mortgage after Bankruptcy?

One of the biggest fears expressed by bankruptcy filers is how a bankruptcy case will affect their ability to receive financing in the future.  While having a bankruptcy on a person’s credit report can make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, it is possible for someone who has completed bankruptcy to refinance his or her mortgage after the case is successfully closed.

A number of factors can influence how easy it is to refinance after bankruptcy, including the type of bankruptcy, whether it be a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The type of mortgage loan that the borrower is looking to refinance can also heavily influence this.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

When Is Filing for Bankruptcy the Best Option?

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one. Many individuals hold off on filing for fear of what it will do to their credit or worse, fear of the unknown. For many consumers, taking that first step and initiating a bankruptcy case can be the best option for them. The key is deciding when to take that step.

The longer a person stays in debt, struggling to pay bills, defaulting on liabililities, the worse the financial damage will be.  Not to mention the emotional toll it takes.  By not taking action, a person can risk being sued by thier creditors or having their wages garnished. Credit card companies, creditors and even the IRS can take legal action to garnish your wages to pay off outstanding debt.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Bankruptcy

The thought of filing for bankruptcy can conjure up all kinds of emotions. For many, all they know of bankruptcy is what they have heard from others or seen on television advertisements. However, the following information can be helpful in terms of understanding the ins and outs of consumer bankruptcy.

Types of Consumer Bankruptcy.

If a consumer is considering filing for bankruptcy, he or she has two options available. These options are based on the specific chapters within the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The first option is called Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 case tends to take only several months to complete and involve the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to sell nonexempt assets and pay off qualifying debts. At the end of the case, the remaining consumer debts held by the filer are discharged. However, to qualify for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer needs to be below a certain income threshold per the bankruptcy court’s means test.

The other option is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which takes three-to-five years to complete and involves the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to complete a structured repayment plan on the consumer’s debts. Chapter 13 cases, since they take longer, do cost more in terms of legal fees.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

The Three Most Common Fears People Have When Filing for Bankruptcy

The fear of losing everything is a very real concern for those contemplating bankruptcy. However, this is one of the most common bankruptcy myths, and can keep individuals who are drowning in debt from obtaining a fresh financial start.

To make the bankruptcy process a little easier to understand, we have dispelled the top three fears people have when filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Law

Understanding the Difference Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Property in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Before filing for bankruptcy, many people fear losing their property during the process. Federal bankruptcy laws, as well as Florida bankruptcy laws, allow for certain property to be protected under what are known as bankruptcy exemptions. However, not all property is protected, and it is important for filers to be aware of the difference between exempt and non-exempt property in a bankruptcy case.  

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer should expect for a significant portion of his or her property to be turned over to the court as part of the “bankruptcy estate.” The bankruptcy trustee will sell this non-exempt property to pay off the debtor’s creditors before a bankruptcy discharge is granted. 

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Steps to File for Bankruptcy in 2021

Bankruptcy is an important tool, that allows consumers to obtain a fresh financial start. For many, the concept of bankruptcy is unfamiliar, and understanding the steps needed to file for bankruptcy is important in fully understanding the process.  

Choosing a Chapter 

The first step is determining which type of bankruptcy to pursue. Bankruptcy is not a one-size-fits-all type of situation. Choosing the right type of bankruptcy hinges a great deal on the individual’s specific circumstances. The most common two categories used by consumers are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For filers who fall under a certain level of income and can pass the mean test, meaning they earn less than Florida’s median income, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best selection for them.  Alternatively, if a consumer earns too much to qualify for Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy may be the best avenue for him or her.  

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Will Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Prevent Vehicle Repossession?

When someone is behind on his or her car payments, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case may allow him or her to catch up on these missed car payments, saving the vehicle from repossession. The ability to do this depends on how far behind the borrower is on his or her payments and whether the loan is already in default.   

While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not permanently prevent the person’s vehicle from ever being repossessed, it can provide the borrower a chance to catch up on missed payments or negotiate with the lender before the loan goes into default.  

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

The Cost of Filing Bankruptcy in 2021

Filing for bankruptcy comes with its own set of costs. It may seem counterintuitive that a person who is having difficulty paying his or her bills can pay extra costs to receive relief from his or her financial obligations. However, just because someone is not able to pay his or her bills should not prevent them from hiring an attorney to file their bankruptcy case. While “do it yourself” projects may be a good idea around the house, there are reasons to let a professional handle your bankruptcy filing.