Why 20 Million Americans Should File for Bankruptcy

A few years ago, Chris Saltzburg found himself at the intersection of an expensive divorce, the loss of his job and the rapidly declining health of his mother. The debts started piling up. American Express seized his bank account. After making a six-figure salary for most of his career as a model, Saltzburg was broke.

He began researching his options and found that filing for bankruptcy made the most sense. But the process seemed incredibly daunting, and he couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer. Saltzburg’s situation is all too familiar — it happens to people all over the country every day. While many fear the unknown or make false presumptions about filing for Chapter 7 …

More than 20 million Americans would benefit from declaring bankruptcy.

But in 2017, fewer than 500,000 actually did, according to a data analysis by Upsolve, a nonprofit software platform that helps people file for Chapter 7. Saltzburg came across Upsolve while looking for bankruptcy resources, and the company guided him through his filing, free of charge.

Rohan Pavuluri, the founder of Upsolve, was inspired to start the company two years ago after volunteering with Harvard Law School’s Access to Justice Lab, which focuses on finding legal solutions for people who can’t afford lawyers. While developing a method for assisting in bankruptcy filings, Pavuluri quickly realized that tech could be the solution. He joined forces with bankruptcy attorney Jonathan Petts, who helped optimize Upsolve’s toolkit and resources, while the rest of his team coded the platform. Today, users who sign into the app are prompted to upload pay stubs and tax forms, which are then autofilled into their Chapter 7 filing. Other information is autofilled in by a credit check.

Pavuluri zeroed in on bankruptcy because he realized its potential was vastly underutilized, particularly for low-income Americans. Bankruptcy wipes their slate clean, improves their credit scores and can help them get a job. “It’s one of the most powerful poverty-fighting tools around, and we aim to make it accessible at scale,” Pavuluri says. Especially because the reasons people end up in debt resonate with most Americans. “The No. 1 reason [for filing bankruptcy] is medical debts,” he says. “Divorce and people who are victims of an abusive partner are also common.” By offering a free service, Pavuluri is helping people who may never have known that Chapter 7, a type of bankruptcy that liquidates a person’s existing assets to pay their debts, was an option. Currently, the organization is funded through philanthropy — the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is one of its donors — as well as through the government. It also asks Upsolve clients who’ve had successful outcomes to donate a small amount if they can.

Bankruptcy filings go up when people get their tax refunds.

Michelle White, professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego

In 2005, Congress made changes to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in an attempt to make it more difficult for some consumers to file for Chapter 7. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) now requires anyone filing to meet certain criteria: Your income must fall below the median income for your state, and you must also pass a “means” test that calculates your debt to determine if you qualify. Before BAPCPA, anyone could file for bankruptcy, regardless of their income. “You could be wealthy and still file for bankruptcy — there was no income cap at all,” says Michelle White, professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, who has studied bankruptcy since the 1990s. Some celebrities even filed for Chapter 7 before the code change went into effect. R&B singer Toni Braxton filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1998, alleging she was broke after being insufficiently paid by her recording label at the time, LaFace Records.

When White first began studying bankruptcy, she too was surprised at the number of people who not only qualified but would benefit from filing. It’s understandable, though, White says, that so many people don’t file. “The deterrent is usually the cost [of legal fees],” she says. “Bankruptcy filings go up when people get their tax refunds.” Surprisingly, the number of Americans who could benefit from filing for Chapter 7 is slightly higher than it was prior to BAPCPA. As of May, consumer debt levels were predicted to reach an all-time high by the end of 2018, according to consumer lending company, LendingTree. “Now, more than ever, people need the lifeline of bankruptcy to get back on their feet,” Pavuluri says.

Still, there are some financial situations that can’t be helped simply by filing for bankruptcy. Sometimes Pavuluri has to turn away people who don’t qualify for Chapter 7, usually because they’re homeowners or they earn above the median income, and direct them to a local attorney.

But the people who do file aren’t the only ones who could benefit. A crop of Americans with improved credit scores and the chance to increase their incomes could drive further economic growth. If Upsolve and other bankruptcy advocates can move the needle on the number of Americans who file for Chapter 7, the whole country would likely reap the benefits.

Original Source: https://www.ozy.com/acumen/why-20-million-americans-should-file-for-bankruptcy/90717

Original Date: Nov 29 2018

Written By: Molly Fosco

Five Things To Not Do Before Filing Bankruptcy

Believe it or not there are some things that you should not do before you file for Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy.  Finding debt relief in bankruptcy is not as simple as filing a few pieces of paper, appearing before a federal judge and whoosh all of your bills are gone.  There are a lot of considerations that go into the act of declaring bankruptcy and seeking relief from your debt.

One of the first steps to take when considering the different options available to you is to determine your totally debt.  When you are in a situation where you are experiencing stress financially, it may be tempting to do whatever you can to free yourself from that pressure.  However, bankruptcy discharge is a very serious, legal action therefore it is crucial that you understand what is going to happen before, during, and after bankruptcy.

Don’t Rush

Bankruptcy is a federally governed method of debt elimination.  There are limitations on how often you can file for bankruptcy.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge is something that can only be done once every eight years.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge is something that can only be done once every six years.

If you are considering bankruptcy due to medical debt but are still experiencing severe health issues it is probably important to wait until your health has stabilized before filing.  The last thing you want to do is to find yourself accumulating more and more debt after you have already discharged your initial debt. There are a number of problems that crop up when bankruptcy comes into view like unemployment, foreclosure, eviction, and car repossession.   It is important to file bankruptcy at a point when you know you are going to be able to get back on your feet once a discharge is granted.  The last thing you want is to have your debt cleared only to find yourself swimming in debt a year later when no relief can be given.

Don’t Wait Too Long

There are times however that bankruptcy can’t wait and that it is in your best interest to file for bankruptcy right away.  If a wage garnishing is in place, it is important to file sooner rather than later so that you have more money to pay bills.  Filing for bankruptcy in a timely manner is also important if a creditor has a lawsuit against you.  Your bankruptcy attorney will want to make sure to look at the complaint to see if it includes any allegations of fraud.  If it does, the matter will go into judgment and you likely won’t be able to wipe out this debt in bankruptcy.

A creditor that has won money in a judgement against you, the lien that accompanies it allows the creditor to take wages directly from your check, attach to your bank accounts, repo cars, and foreclose on your home in an effort to reclaim the money that is owed.  If you file for and receive a bankruptcy discharge before the creditor wins a case against you, filing bankruptcy will stop the lawsuit in its track and wipe out that debt as well.

Don’t Drain Retirements Account

Retirement funds are protected from bankruptcy.  It is important not to withdrawal funds from your retirement accounts in order to pay off debts.  Before taking money from any type of account that is labeled for retirement speak with a bankruptcy lawyer to figure out the best option for you.  Most often you will find that your attorney will recommend that you do not deplete your accounts to better your financial situation.

Don’t Provide Information That Is Inaccurate

It is crucial to be completely open when it comes to your bankruptcy paperwork.  You are required to provide accurate information on your paperwork including your assets, debt, income, expenses, and financial history.  Misrepresenting information could lead to penalty of perjury.

Don’t Add in New Debt or Move Assets

Any debt that is incurred seventy to ninety days before filing bankruptcy paperwork, unless it is a necessity, a creditor may object.  Debt within this time frame may be considered fraudulent. As a rule, don’t take out cash advances or use credit cards to buy luxury items.  It is also critical that you don’t try to hide or move assets for safekeeping before filing for bankruptcy.  If you have sold property to pay for expenses before declaring bankruptcy it will be important to document the way in which you spent the money to pay for necessities.

As with any legal procedure it is important that the rules are followed to prevent any sort of confusion when it comes to discharging your debt.

 

Bohikian Law Group specializes in bankruptcy services including chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy.  More information can be found at http://bohikianlaw.com.

Bouncing Back From Bankruptcy

Original Source: https://www.fool.com/credit-cards/2018/11/01/bouncing-back-from-bankruptcy.aspx

Written By: Kailey Fralick

Published On: Nov 1, 2018

Costs Involved with Filing Bankruptcy

When you are considering bankruptcy as an option to relieve your financial burdens the last thing you want to be worrying about is how much it is going to cost to hire an attorney and file the necessary paperwork.  After all, money is tight which is the reason you are contemplating this option in the first place.  In this installment we will discuss the fees involved with filing, hiring an attorney, and additional fees you may encounter.

Fees for Filing Bankruptcy

There are many bankruptcy options to choose from but the most popular being Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.   The filing fee for Chapter 7 is $335 and for Chapter 13 is $310.  There may also be a fee charged by the Bankruptcy Trustee which can range between $15 and $20 dollars.  Another fee you may need to cover is the cost for mandatory credit counseling and financial management classes.  These classes can cost upwards of $100 depending on where you are filing for bankruptcy and the options that are available.

Attorney Fees in Bankruptcy

Many people will unsuccessfully file for bankruptcy without the help of an attorney.  Paperwork often is incorrectly filed, the steps necessary are not taken, and many other hiccups plague individuals filing “pro se”, (without the help of an attorney).  The truth is that filing for bankruptcy successfully most often requires the help of a bankruptcy attorney.

Bankruptcy attorneys are responsible for setting their own fees.  On average bankruptcy attorneys charge $1,250 for their services.  This fee varies depending on where you are filing, the complexity of your litigation, your attorneys experience and reputation. The fees for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy are often less than those found in filing for Chapter 13.  This is most likely due to the extra services that go into filing Chapter 13 such as setting up a repayment schedule and executing automatic payments.

This fee may seem like a lot at the moment.  It is to be assumed that your filing bankruptcy because you are lacking the ability to pay the debt.  When you take into consideration the average debt that is written off in bankruptcy is $15,000 that fee seems relatively reasonable as it takes a large debt down to pennies on the dollar.

Filing for bankruptcy isn’t an option that is easy for individuals to make.  It is one that should be made only after much research and contemplation.

Bohikian Law Group specializes in bankruptcy services including chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy.  More information can be found at http://bohikianlaw.com.

The Graying of Bankruptcy

For decades, capitalists have held down wages and cut social programs. Now the chickens have come home to roost: older Americans are going bankrupt at record rates.

In old age, health declines. This is obvious, but its implications for social well being are enormous.

In a system where the majority of people have to sell their labor for wages to survive, people’s ability to support themselves financially almost always decreases as they age. Without public assistance, therefore, old age is comfortable only for those with savings, and uncomfortable if not downright miserable for those without.

This is why the United States passed the Social Security Act in 1935, which guaranteed a source of income to replace wages for all people 65 and older, along with the Social Security Act Amendments in 1965, which created Medicare, a public health insurance program for the same population. These programs are financed socially, by adjusting the tax rate schedule to accommodate them — that is, by requiring everyone in society to contribute, based on their ability to pay, for benefits that they will be entitled to after a certain age.

These and other mid-century programs made it a little bit easier to grow old in America, for a while. But they have come under strain as wages have stagnated and the cost of housing and education skyrocketed, placing a greater burden on social welfare programs to achieve adequate income for people. Meanwhile, programs themselves have been systematically starved of resources or outright eliminated.

Older Americans haven’t fared well. In fact, they’re filing for bankruptcy in record numbers. A new report from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project called “Graying of US Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society” contends that, while it took a few decades to fully set in, older Americans are now experiencing the consequences of the assault on the social safety net that began under Reagan and has persisted, with leadership from both parties, ever since.

Running the Risk

“Government is not the solution to our problem,” Reagan was fond of saying. “Government is the problem.” His election inaugurated the reign of the free-market neoliberals, who advocated supposedly leaner and more efficient market-based alternatives to socially-funded government programs. Not coincidentally, these alternatives were friendly to capitalists — lower taxes, new lucrative private markets.

In 1982, Reagan established a commission made up of corporate executives whose task was to “root out inefficiency” in government spending. The Grace Commission issued “2,478 cost-cutting, revenue enhancing recommendations” that took aim at federal wages, retirement systems, healthcare programs, and a variety of federal subsidies which were deemed wasteful. The chairman of the commission, successful businessman J. Peter Grace, wrote to Reagan, “If the American people realized how rapidly Federal Government spending is likely to grow under existing legislated programs, I am convinced they would compel their elected representatives to ‘get the Government off their backs.’”

One man’s “getting the Government off their backs” is another’s evaporation of opportunity. As social programs have withered, wages have stagnated, and inequality has skyrocketed, many ordinary working people have lost their financial footing and their retirement prospects have dimmed. Today, just one hundred CEOs have the same amount of money stored away for retirement as the bottom 41 percent of the American population.

Meanwhile the age at which a person is eligible for full Social Security benefits has risen from 65 to 70, and the penalty for early retirement has increased up to 30 percent. Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs are ballooning. Defined benefit pensions have been replaced with unpredictable and risky employee-owned 401(k)s. The list goes on.

And now the chickens are coming home to roost. The Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that since 1991, the rate of Americans age sixty-five to seventy-four filing for bankruptcy has doubled. The rate for those age seventy-five and over has tripled.

“The changes are so great,” they found, “that the broader trend of an aging US population can explain only a small proportion of what is happening in the bankruptcy courts. Older Americans’ reported reasons for filing strongly suggest that they are experiencing the fallout from our current individualized risk society and the corresponding shrinkage of their social safety net.”

The researchers’ data backs this up, suggesting that “that financial crises associated with living in America’s high-risk society are highly correlated with older Americans’ increasing use of the bankruptcy system.” As risk and responsibility have shifted from society as a whole onto individuals to pay their own way — even when they can’t work at all — older Americans are increasingly vulnerable to financial ruin.

The Means of Life

The responses to the questionnaires collected by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project illuminate the predicament that working-class older Americans are in. When asked the reason for bankruptcy, one respondent said:

All things went up in price. Retirement never went up. Had a part time job that was helping to meet monthly payments. House payment kept going up. Was fired from my part time job that I had for over 10 years without any warning. Being 67 and having back problems, not many people will hire you even as part time worker.

Here we can see the complex of problems that give rise to financial difficulty in old age. Income in retirement isn’t sufficient to cover the rising cost of living, including healthcare costs and payments on debt. After a lifetime of depressed wages, many people don’t have the savings to meet their financial responsibilities, yielding need employment to supplement their income.

But the aging body leads to a (real or perceived) inability to do the work needed to secure a wage. As a result, older Americans are increasingly left without much financial recourse besides personal bankruptcy — which is not a panacea, just a last-ditch effort to eliminate personal debt and stop the multiplication of costs.

One path to solving this problem is to make a concerted effort to drive up wages, control living costs, and repair the social safety net, so that people enter old age with savings instead of debt, and so that older people who can’t work still have a way to sustain themselves in their final decades. The Left should pursue this approach without reservation.

And there is a deeper issue, too, which requires a more radical solution in the long-term. The problem is that people are required to sell their labor to capitalists in order to have access to the means of life to begin with. What if, instead, we had a society where everyone was guaranteed a decent living just because they’re alive, not on condition of employment, and we pooled our resources and our productive capacities to make good on that guarantee? Then perhaps all people, young and old, could live with dignity.

The Purpose of Bankruptcy

No one ever really wants to file for bankruptcy, but there are times when it can be unavoidable for many.  People will want to file for bankruptcy if they have quite a bit of debt and no way to possibly pay it off during their lifetime.

The main purpose of bankruptcy is to give everyone a fresh start in life without a mountain of debt hanging over their head, while also allowing their creditors to collect at least some of the money that is owed to them.  After paying their creditors the amount that the bankruptcy courts tell them to, they will no longer be responsible for any of their remaining debt to those creditors.

There are six different types of bankruptcy filing options, although, only two of them are meant for regular people.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy will find people liquidating everything that they own to pay off their debts, while Chapter 13 will allow a person to keep their home as they are repaying all their creditors.  However, both options will allow everyone to keep most of their property and assets in the end if they qualify for certain exemptions.

The other four bankruptcy options include Chapter 9, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 15.  Chapter 9 can only be filed by a municipality and basically requests a reorganization process for that area.  Chapter 11 is usually used by commercial organizations as they try to reorganize their assets to pay off debts.

Chapter 12 is the bankruptcy code that farmers and fishermen need to file under if their business is not going well due to circumstances out of their control.  Through this process, a bankruptcy lawyer can help them create a plan to get out of debt within three years, unless the court allows for a longer time frame.

Chapter 15 is for cross-border cases, where the creditor and debtor live in different countries.

Everyone is encouraged to hire a bankruptcy lawyer to assist them through the entire bankruptcy process, so that they can file for the proper chapter of bankruptcy.  After all, the entire bankruptcy system is quite complex and there are many legal terms and phrases that people may not know or understand.  It can be quite easy for a person to get lost in the process, which is why the guidance of a bankruptcy lawyer is always a good option.

Anyone that chooses to not hire a bankruptcy lawyer may find themselves worse than they were before, especially if they need to pay their creditors more than they should in a shorter amount of time.  The goal of bankruptcy is to get out of debt and move on with life, not continue to feel stuck for a longer period of time.

Bohikian Law Group specializes in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan. Contact us today to find a bankruptcy attorney that will help you in debt relief at http://www.bohikianlaw.com/ today.

Financial worries: Why waiting to file bankruptcy can be so damaging

A new study shows millennials are delaying life events due to being in debt. Elizabeth Keatinge has more. Buzz60

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Filing for bankruptcy is often seen as an admission of personal and financial failure. Many people try hard to avoid it, but they end up paying the price for waiting.

The longer people wait to file bankruptcy, the more they struggle, according to a 2018 law review study. By the time they declare bankruptcy, their well-being and financial life are damaged, undermining the fresh start the legal tool offers them.

Here’s why waiting to file bankruptcy can be so damaging — and when you should consider filing.

Why waiting is draining

The time before a person files for bankruptcy is sometimes known as the financial “sweatbox.” That’s the period when people are facing asset depletion, debt collection lawsuits and forgoing basic necessities like food to avoid filing bankruptcy.

Many sweat it out for years before reckoning with their debt. The misery of the sweatbox is an increasingly common American experience, a new report from the Notre Dame Law Review titled “Life in the Sweatbox” finds.

The report uses data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, a long-term academic research project that studies people who file bankruptcy, why they file and the consequences. The current CBP data include information from 3,200 bankruptcy cases between 2013 and 2016. “Life in the Sweatbox” also features CBP survey information from 910 of the 3,200 filers.

The report shows that among those surveyed, over 66% were “long strugglers,” or those who endure the sweatbox for two years or longer. Nearly a third waited five years or longer. Compared with the 2007 CBP, the number of long strugglers who waited five years or longer more than doubled in the latest CBP data.

The longer people stay in the sweatbox, the worst their overall financial situation becomes:

  • Long strugglers have half the median assets compared with other debtors, or those who didn’t wait two or more years to file bankruptcy
  • The median debt-to-income ratio of long strugglers is over 40% higher than other debtors
  • Around 50% of long strugglers faced debt collection lawsuits, compared with 35% of other debtors

Stigma against filing and dedication to paying debts are part of what keep people from filing bankruptcy, says co-author of the report Robert Lawless, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.

“Bankruptcy laws give the honest but unfortunate debtor a fresh start. It goes into the American idea of everyone deserving a second start,” Lawless says. “The discharge is the core of the fresh start: A chance to start financial life anew.”

But the prolonged depletion of assets during the “sweatbox” means that by the time people file, they’re unable to have a true fresh start, he adds.

With less in the bank, it’s harder for them to find sturdy financial footing post-bankruptcy.

When to consider bankruptcy

Kristen Holt, CEO of GreenPath Financial Wellness based in Michigan, says clients often tell the nonprofit credit counseling agency that they wish they had reached out for help sooner.

“We encourage them to call a credit counseling agency the moment they begin to feel stress,” she says.

Here are some factors that can help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you:

  • Your debts are more than 40% your income. This debt-to-income ratio is a marker of potential financial distress, according to the Federal Reserve, and can indicate that your debts are too high to pay off on your own.
  • You’re using debt to pay for other debts. At this point, you’re slipping further down the debt spiral, and it can be hard to recover without a serious financial windfall.
  • Your debts are ones that could be wiped out in bankruptcy. Unsecured consumer debts, like credit cards, medical bills and personal loans, can all be discharged in bankruptcy. Other debts, like student loans and some court judgments, cannot be eliminated.
  • You’re forgoing essentials. Sixty-percent of long strugglers surveyed in the law review report went without medical attention while in the sweatbox. And nearly 32% went without food.

The two most common forms of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Which is best for you depends on your specific financial situation. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney and nonprofit credit counselor if you’re considering filing.

If you do file for bankruptcy, it’s not the end of your financial life.

Your credit score is likely to improve in the months after filing. A 2014 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that the average credit score among those who filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010 went up more than 80 points — from 538.2 to 620.3 — between when they filed and when their cases were discharged.

Original Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2018/06/20/financial-damage-why-waiting-file-bankruptcy-can-hurt-you/715663002/

Original Date: June 20 2018

Written By: Sean Pyles

Why Should You File for Bankruptcy?

You are always going to have bills to pay, but what happens if they come in faster than you can pay them, or you are barely paying the minimum payment every month?  You may feel like you are drowning in debt, especially if you need to continue using your charge cards to pay for everyday necessities.

While filing for bankruptcy is never a person’s top choice, you may have no choice but to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, so you can get back on track with your life.  After all, once you have gone through the process and then work hard to improve your credit, you will find that your life is much easier in the future.

An attorney specializing in bankruptcy can walk you through all the steps of the process, starting with whether or not you have a good reason to file.  Your bankruptcy lawyer may even encourage you not to file for bankruptcy if they do not think that you have a good enough reason.

Here are 5 reasons why you should file for bankruptcy:

  1. Your Home is in Foreclosure

A bankruptcy will immediately put a stop to the foreclosure on your home.  This is important, even if you are not planning on staying in your home, because you may not need to pay the difference of the unpaid mortgage balance if the proceeds from the sale are not enough.

  1. You are Being Evicted

If you happen to rent an apartment or a house, filing for bankruptcy can prevent you from being evicted.  You will still need to catch up on your rent payments, but a bankruptcy can give you a little more time.

  1. Your Car is Being Repossessed

Filing for bankruptcy can prevent a lender from repossessing your car if you are behind on payments.  This will allow you to catch up on payments, so you can keep your car.

  1. You Have Medical Debt

If you have major medical debt from an illness, you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer, so you are not responsible for all those bills.  They can give you your options, so you do not lose your home or other assets.

  1. You Just Got Divorced

Financial changes occur after a divorce and you may find that it is difficult to live the lifestyle that you are used to with just your income.  If you find yourself in debt after getting a divorce, you will want to speak to an attorney specializing in bankruptcy to see what options you may have.

 

No one ever wants to have a lot of debt to deal with, but bankruptcy may or may not be your best option.  They only way you will know if you should file is to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer and see what they recommend for the situation that you are in.

Bohikian Law Group specializes in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan. Contact us today to find a bankruptcy attorney that will help you in debt relief at http://www.bohikianlaw.com/ today.

When Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Is Better Than Chapter 7

If you’ve reached the point where you’re swimming in debt and can’t pay your bills, you may be wondering which type of bankruptcy is best. You may need a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. There are differences between each type.

Bankruptcy is never a simple process in the United States. Each type depends on your current income, assets, debts, and future financial goals.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of liquidation bankruptcy that will clear out any unsecured debts you may have, including medical bills, and credit card balances. To declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must currently have no income or little income. If you make over a certain amount of money, you’ll automatically have to claim for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a type of reorganization bankruptcy. You must have a regular income and be able to pay back a portion of your debts through a repayment plan. There can be many benefits for filing for this type of bankruptcy than Chapter 7.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to catch up on your missed mortgage payments. It may also allow you to clear unsecured liens on your house. This means that you will be able to keep your house, unlike filing for Chapter 7 where you can lose your property. You may also keep your nonexempt assets. How it works it that you pay back all or a portion of your debts through a repayment plan. This plan is based on your current income against expenses, and what types of debt you may have. Therefore, it’s commonly referred to as “reorganization bankruptcy”.

Another benefit is that Chapter 13 will allow you to get caught up with car loans without losing your car, and to pay off other non-dischargeable debts including alimony or child support arrears. In order to hire a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, you must be an individual and not a business. For Chapter 13, you must not have more than $394,7255 of unsecured debt or $1,184,200 of secured debt. While the discharge is a lot longer with Chapter 13 than Chapter 7, 3-5 years versus 3-5 months, you’ll receive a full discharge.

It’s important to note that if you own property, Chapter 13 is a lot better than Chapter 7, as debtors will be able to keep all their property, whereas the trustee in Chapter 7 will sell your property to pay off your creditors. Your liens will also be stripped in Chapter 13, whereas in Chapter 7 they are not, leaving you with future debt loads to pay off in the future.

Before deciding which type of bankruptcy is right for you, you should talk to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, to get the best advice that pertains to your financial situation. You may just discover that you do qualify for Chapter 13 and will be able to keep your house and car!

Bohikian Law Group specializes in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan. Contact us today to find a bankruptcy attorney that will help you in debt relief at http://www.bohikianlaw.com/ today.

Not All Debts Are Treated Equally When Filing For Bankruptcy

With a struggling economic climate, millions of people file for bankruptcy every year for varied reasons, most notably due to medical expenses, reduced income or job loss. According to US bankruptcy court statistics, personal bankruptcy has increased at an alarming rate and not just as a result of irresponsible spending, but because something like a divorce means taking on a partner’s debt if you had “regrettably” co-signed or opened joint accounts with them.

Filing For Bankruptcy

Unexpected catastrophes can also quickly drain savings that took years to accumulate including mountains of student loans, the rising costs of utility payments, inflation, foreclosure the list is endless. Bankruptcy laws are in place to give people whose finances have collapsed and need a second chance to start over. According to statistics from the American Bankruptcy Institute, nearly 95% of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases decided in 2016 were discharged, meaning the individual was no longer legally required to pay the debt. But what about the other 4.5%?

If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you should consider discussing your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who works on liquidation bankruptcies where most of your debts are discharged or liquidated under bankruptcy law. A bankruptcy lawyer will also help you in compiling all your financial records, including debts, assets, income, and expenses.

The Length of Bankruptcy Process

Once you have filed for bankruptcy, the process usually takes six months or longer to complete, but the good thing is that during this time it triggers the automatic stay that prevents creditors from calling you, suing you, sending you letters, or even repossessing your property.

Items Not Discharged In Bankruptcy

When your petition is accepted, your case is assigned to a court trustee who then sets up a meeting with your creditors that you must attend. But not all petitions are accepted, for example; student loans are not discharged under a declaration of bankruptcy owing to the fact they are funded or guaranteed by the government and students are required to pay them off once they start working.

Another example of a non-dischargeable that can’t be in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy at are debts from a divorce because they are owed to a spouse but not as a domestic obligation. However, they can be included in a chapter 13 bankruptcy provided the debt becomes part of a payment plan, and the overdue payments will be continued and paid in full.

A debt incurred through fraudulent means, including one that was obtained to take advantage of the bankruptcy code, cannot be discharged. Unemployment benefits overpayments that you may be required to repay the excess, tax penalties, fines on speeding tickets and vehicle registration fees will also not be discharged in a bankruptcy.

Also, fees that are considered a priority debt, meaning you owe the federal government or local state in payroll taxes, past tax debts from previous years, current tax liability, any fees or penalties cannot be discharged under a declaration of bankruptcy, therefore, you must make an effort to pay or deal with the IRS directly.

Bohikian Law Group specializes in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan. Contact us today to find a bankruptcy attorney that will help you in debt relief at http://www.bohikianlaw.com/ today.