General Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding the Bankruptcy process is critical to making the right decision for you. While this is a complex process requiring a legal professional, we have compiled some of our most commonly asked questions to help you gain some insight into the options. Read on to find some general information to guide you through your experience with us.
When should I file for bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can end the financial worries, sleepless nights and bill collector phone calls. Before you file any bankruptcy petition, you should consult an attorney who is a Certified Specialist in bankruptcy. An experienced bankruptcy specialist can recommend the best legal course of action for your circumstances. The decision to file for bankruptcy is often a difficult choice that a person has to make for themselves and their family. Poor planning can often make the process even harder. It goes without saying that filing for bankruptcy should be a last resort, and should only be done when all other options of satisfying one's financial obligations have been exhausted. However, if your situation has become so severe that you are in danger of foreclosure of your home, eviction by a landlord, garnished wages or repossessions or you are facing debts that you are in no position to pay, putting off the inevitable can have devastating consequences. Procrastination can cost you the repossesion car, your wages, and even the loss of your home by foreclosure. Filing your bankruptcy case in a timely fashion can spare you these losses. Before you file any bankruptcy petition, you should consult an attorney who is a Certified Specialist in bankruptcy.
How will the new bankruptcy laws affect me?
The Bankruptcy Abuse Protection and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2005 puts much stricter guidelines on personal bankruptcy filings. Some of these guidelines include mandatory debt counseling, income limitations on who can and cannot file, and requiring some debtors in higher income brackets to repay their creditors in chapter 11 or chapter 13 in lieu of filing a chapter 7 case. Depending on the amount of money you have, your current income and your personal circumstances, you may not be allowed to file for Chapter 7, which absolves most of your debts. Instead, you will file for Chapter 13, or Chapter 11 to propose a payment plan approved by the Bankruptcy Court. Before you file any bankruptcy petition, you should consult an attorney who is a Certified Specialist in bankruptcy.
Will all of my debts be forgiven if I file bankruptcy?
The discharge of debt in bankruptcy is the legal excuse from paying your debt. It is a legal concept to provide the honest debtor relief from oppressive creditors. There are some exceptions to the bankruptcy discharge that include, but not limited to, student loans, tax debts, and domestic support obligations to name just a few common ones. Even if you file a bankruptcy, you may still need to pay your child support, back taxes, federal student loans or debts itemized as non discharged in the bankruptcy code. Before you file any bankruptcy petition, you should consult an attorney who is a Certified Specialist in bankruptcy.
What should I know about the bankruptcy hearing?
The bankruptcy hearing that is generally held at the outset of the case is called the First Meeting of Creditors. This hearing is conducted within 45 days of filing the case. At the hearing the debtor is questioned by the trustee appointed in the case and any creditors who choose to attend the hearing. The trustee will examine the debtor under oath to confirm identity and social security number. Confirm the information as to creditors and assets, the income and expenses and other information in the case to be true and correct. The trustee and creditors can ask any question relevant to assets and the processing of the bankruptcy case. You will need to bring a valid photo ID and proof of your Social Security Number to the hearing.
How much money can I have in my bank account when I file bankruptcy?
Having too much money in the bank. This is a time when it is not good to save. In an individual debtor's case, you may claim certain exemptions in money or accounts to avoid loss of assets to pay creditors. (bank accounts, paid wages, annuity accounts, cash value in life insurance, inherited IRA accounts, etc.) The use and planning for exemptions in a bankruptcy case is a critical role for the bankruptcy attorney in representing the client. The attorney's full understanding of the assets and the debtor in your case will allow your lawyer to advise you as to which chapter in bankruptcy to file and the legal effect of the bankruptcy case itself. Before you file any bankruptcy petition, you should consult an attorney who is a Certified Specialist in bankruptcy.