U.S. Bankruptcy Code delivers protection to people in financial jeopardy who are suffering under mountains of debt. Today, millions of people are exercising this protection. The bankruptcy laws were created by Congress to provide relief to those who have been victimized by divorce, job loss, identity theft, staggering medical bills or disability. Usually, however, a combination of unfortunate events contributes to significant financial woes. Some seemingly manageable credit card debt can become insurmountable when combined with a job loss. So, stop blaming yourself for your situation and take control of it.
Bankruptcy also stops creditor harassment. If you feel you can’t take the pressure of one more day, immediate relief from creditor harassment is in sight. Retain our office to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition, and the court will issue an “Automatic Stay” order.
This will prohibit any further action by your creditors to collect their debts from you. The calls and bills will stop. You won’t have to worry about repossession of your car or foreclosure on your home. You will have the chance to get your financial house back in order.
Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as a “straight bankruptcy.” It is a simple and inexpensive way for many individuals to free themselves of debt. However, Chapter 7 may not be suitable for everyone.
- If you own an operating business. You will not be able to continue to sell your inventory or products after you file a Chapter 7 case.
- If you have a large disposable income. The bankruptcy court can dismiss a Chapter 7 case for “substantial abuse” if your income greatly exceeds your reasonable living expenses.
- If you have substantial assets. In Chapter 7, a court-appointed trustee takes legal control of non-exempt assets. You are entitled to claim certain assets exempt from the trustee’s control. But the amount of assets you can exempt is does have a limit. Most wage earners are usually well within these limits.
- If you have debts that a Chapter 7 can’t discharge. A chapter 13 case may be a better alternative.
- If you want to prevent a foreclosure or repossession. A chapter 13 case can help you reinstate delinquent home mortgages and car loans.
Your attorney can advise you which type of bankruptcy relief is best for you.
The bankruptcy courts require that you file complete schedules of your assets, liabilities, income and expenditures. You must schedule all of your debts (including debts you intend to pay) and all of your assets. You are required to certify under penalty of perjury that your schedules are complete and truthful.
To help your attorney to prepare your schedules, you should provide the following:
1. Billing statements and/or collection notices from all of your creditors, including car loans and home loans;
2. Recent pay statements from your employer
3. Tax returns (last two year’s); and
4. Lawsuits and foreclosure notices
Your creditors must stop all collection efforts against you and your property after your case is filed. If they do not, they may be subject to sanctions.
The bankruptcy court appoints a trustee to administer your case. The trustee will determine whether you have assets available for distribution to creditors. Bankruptcy law allows individual debtors to protect certain property from the claims of creditors. Your attorney will advise you how to maximize protection of exempt assets.
You must attend a “meeting of creditors”, held 30 to 40 days after your case is filed. Although so called, creditors rarely attend. The trustee, typically an attorney hired by the bankruptcy court presides. Certified Accountants have also acted as bankruptcy trustees on some occasions. The trustee will refer to the bankruptcy petition and schedules, asking you if you have reviewed and approved the contents therein. These schedules provide information on your assets, debts, income and living expenses.
Almost all individuals who file chapter 7 obtain a “discharge” of their debts. The discharge is a bankruptcy court order which permanently prohibits creditors from enforcing claims against you. However, the bankruptcy court can deny a discharge if you fail to list all of your assets.
Find out if bankruptcy is the solution to your financial problems. Schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Paul M. Allen. Let attorney Allen advise you as to the best course of action in dealing with debts, and a fresh start.
Of course, bankruptcy may not be the best answer to every situation. Attorney Allen may recommend a debt negotiation strategy, or a possible loan modification of your mortgage as a solution instead. Check your options today.
Contact the Law Offices of Paul M. Allen, Glendale office: (818) 334-5445 or Cerritos office, (562) 356-9931. Consultations are free, but only by appointment.
(This article is for information purposes only, and does not necessary reflect the company’s opinions and views on general issues. We make no warranty, prediction nor representation, nor do we assume any legal liability for the completeness of any information and its effect on any case. Each case is different and results depend on the facts of each case. Consult with and retain counsel of your own choice if you need legal advice.)