The possibility of losing your property, or even worse, your home does exist when you file bankruptcy. However, most people keep their property and home when they file bankruptcy.
Once you file bankruptcy, your property including your home no longer belongs to you, but becomes "property of the estate," UNLESS it is protected by an exemption. Section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code defines "property of the estate" as "all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the [bankruptcy] case." What happens to the property contained within the "property of the estate" depends on which chapter of bankruptcy chapter you chose to file.
Exemptions allow you to keep certain property from becoming "property of the estate." Since exempt property do not become "property of the estate," you get to keep them. The "homestead exemption" is an exemption most people are familiar with. However, exemptions can be tricky in that you have to know which ones apply to your circumstances.
The Law Office of Bobby L. Reynolds will analyze your circumstances to determine how to save your home and maximize the amount of property you keep out of bankruptcy.
The short answer is, yes. Filing for bankruptcy will negatively affect your credit. Unless you are one of the lucky few with good credit, most people considering bankruptcy already have a poor credit rating or are on their way to one. The silver lining in the cloud is that bankruptcy should eliminate most of your debt to help you back on your feet. The bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, but during that time you will be able to rebuild your credit.
Yes, you may file bankruptcy again if you have filed in the past, however, there are limitations on when you may file again.
If you want to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
The cost of filing bankruptcy will vary from person to person depending on their circumstance. The cost can be broken down into three categories: ancillary costs, court fees, and attorney fees.
Ancillary costs are those costs associated with preparing for and supporting your bankruptcy. These costs are typically a few hundred dollars. Common ancillary costs include:
A Chapter 13 involves more work than a Chapter 7. Unlike a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 requires the creation of a "Chapter 13 Plan." The Plan is basically a budget for the debtor to adhere to throughout the Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Plan is ultimately approved by the Bankruptcy Court, but the court relies on the trustee's recommendation. It's not uncommon for the trustee to reject an initial plan requiring an attorney to revise the plan or bring a motion to challenge the trustee's recommendation.
Once the Plan is approved, the attorney oversees that the Plan is carried out. The debtor will usually make payments to the attorney and the attorney in turn will make the payments to the trustee. If adjustments to the Plan are required, the attorney will take the steps necessary to make those adjustments.
Listed below are several alternatives to filing bankruptcy. Like bankruptcy, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Generally, I recommend exploring all other avenues before filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy should be utilized as a last resort.
The term "judgment-proof" refers to a type of debtor from which money cannot be collected. Typically, a creditor will bring a lawsuit against a debtor to collect a debt. If the creditor prevails, the court will issue a judgment in favor of the creditor for the debt owed. This judgment merely states that the debtor owes the creditor money. The issue for the creditor is how to collect that money. If the debtor does not pay, the creditor can motion to garnish wages or place a lien on the debtor's property. If the creditor is unable to garnish the debtor's wages or there is no property available to place a lien, then the creditor is unable to collect. Hence the debtor is judgment-proof.
It depends on your circumstances. Your circumstances may allow you to exercise a choice between options. There may be only a single choice. Or perhaps, bankruptcy may not be an option for you. If your intent is to file under Chapter 7 then you must meet the requirements of the means test. If your intent is to file under Chapter 13, you will need to have a steady source of income to fund a payment plan. The Law Office of Bobby L. Reynolds can analyze your circumstances and provide counsel on which options are available to you.
Whether a debt is eliminated in bankruptcy depends on the nature of the debt. The bankruptcy term for the elimination of a debt is "discharge." There are some debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Examples include, child support, penalties for crimes, debts associated with alcohol-related accidents. Other debts are extremely difficult to discharge. Examples are student loans or tax debts. Debts that are generally discharged in a bankruptcy are unsecure debt. For example, credit card debt will typically be discharged in a bankruptcy.
The Law Office of Bobby L. Reynolds will tell you which of your debts can be eliminated, which cannot, and which will take a little effort.
The Law Office of Bobby L. Reynolds charges a consultation fee because unlike a lot of other attorneys it provides an individualized consultation. Many law firms offer a free consultation, but usually that's a gimmick to get you in the door. The consultation typically consists of general bankruptcy information you can find on any bankruptcy attorney's website.
The Law Office of Bobby L. Reynolds will analyze your debts and circumstances to come up with solutions that will help you reach your goals. After the consultation, you will know what your options are and whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you. If you choose to retain the firm, then the fee will be applied towards the fee for your case.