Inexpensive Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy ~ Low Fees ~ Payment Plans!
Upon receipt of your call we can explain your options including Chapter 7 & 7 OR 13.
Experience gained in thousands of cases since 1973.
There is no substitute for experience.
During your initial consultation we will explain the different types of Bankruptcy so you can decide which type is best for you.
Low Fees - Payment Plans
Evening and Weekend Appointments.
There is no substitute for experience.
During your initial consultation we will explain the different types of Bankruptcy so you can decide which type is best for you.
Low Fees - Payment Plans
Evening and Weekend Appointments.< font size="3">
The bankruptcy Discharge
A discharge stops collections against the debtor. Since a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 discharge is subject to many exceptions, such as student loan debt and domestic support obligations, debtors should meet with an attorney before filing to discuss the consequences of the discharge. Usually excluding cases that are dismissed or converted, individual debtors receive a discharge in most instances in chapter 7 cases. In most cases, unless a party in interest files a complaint objecting to the discharge or a motion to extend the time to object, the bankruptcy court will issue a discharge order relatively early in the case, usually two to three months after the date first schedules for the meeting of creditors.
The grounds for denying an individual debtor a discharge in a chapter 7 case are narrow and are usually construed in the debtor's favor. Among other reasons, the court may deny the debtor a discharge if it finds that the debtor: failed to keep or produce adequate books or financial records; failed to explain satisfactorily any loss of assets; committed a bankruptcy crime such as perjury; failed to obey a lawful order of the bankruptcy court; fraudulently transferred, concealed, or destroyed property that would have become property of the estate; or failed to complete an approved instructional course concerning financial management.
Secured creditors may retain some rights to seize property securing an underlying debt even after a discharge is granted. Depending on individual circumstances, if a debtor wishes to keep certain secured property such as an automobile, he or she may decide to reaffirm the obligation. A reaffirmation is an agreement between the debtor and the creditor that the debtor will remain liable and will pay all or a portion of the money owed, even though the debt would otherwise be discharged in the bankruptcy. In return, the creditor promises that it will not repossess or take back the automobile or other property so long as the debtor continues to pay the debt.
If the debtor decides to reaffirm a debt, he or she must do so before the discharge is entered. The debtor must sign a written reaffirmation agreement and file it with the court. The Bankruptcy Code requires that reaffirmation agreements contain an extensive set of disclosures. Among other things, the disclosures must advise the debtor of the amount of the debt being reaffirmed and how it is calculated, and that reaffirmation means that the debtor's personal liability for that debt will not be discharged in the bankruptcy. The disclosures also require the person in debt to execute and file a statement of monthly income and expenses which shows that the balance of income paying expenses is sufficient to pay the reaffirmed debt. If the balance is not enough to pay the debt to be reaffirmed, there is a presumption of undue hardship, and the court may decide not to approve the reaffirmation agreement. Unless the debtor is represented by an attorney, the bankruptcy judge must approve the reaffirmation agreement.
An individual receives a discharge for most of his or her debts in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. A creditor may no longer initiate or continue any legal or other action against the debtor to collect a discharged debt. But not all of an individual's debts are discharged in chapter 7. Debts not discharged include debts for alimony and child support, certain taxes, student loan debts, judgments for torts, student loans, and debts for certain criminal restitution orders. The debtor will continue to be liable for these types of debts to the extent that they are not paid in the chapter 7 case.
The court may revoke a chapter 7 discharge at the request of a creditor, the trustee, or the U.S. trustee if the discharge was obtained through fraud by the debtor, if the debtor acquired property that is property of the estate and fraudulently and knowingly failed to report the acquisition of such property or to surrender the property to the trustee, if the debtor fails to provide documents, or if the debtor without a satisfactory explanationor makes a material misstatement. End Foreclosure - Save Your Home — Filing for bankruptcy can prevent mortgage lenders from pursuing foreclosure agasintn your home. Withr Chapter 7 OR 13 bankruptcy, debt can be reduced into a manageable payment plan, stopping unsecured interest, which can lower your monthly mortgage payment and permit you to keep your home.
End Repossession - Get Your Car or Truck Back - Lower Your Payment — Filing for bankruptcy gives you automatic stay protection, which prevents repossession creditors from taking your car or truck If you act quickly, bankruptcy can even get your repossessed car or truck back — and get a lower monthly payment.
End Wage Garnishment - — Garnishment is a court ordered proceeding that forces your employer to withhold a substantial portion of your wages and deliver that money to the creditor.
You lose the ability to decide how to spend your earned income, and your employer learns far too much about your financial hardship. Bankruptcy stops the garnishment preventing inconvenience and embarrassment.
End Credit Card Debt - Repair Your Credit — As your debt income ratio increases, your credit score decreases. In response, lenders charge higher interest rates and tighten your credit. Filing for bankruptcy actually turnhsw around these rations as you proceed to take the necessary steps to re-build your credit.
End Creditor Harassment - — By filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 7 OR 13, the bankruptcy court provides an automatic stay protection. This means that after this action is taken, creditors can not call you, can not take certain legal actions against you, can't contact you directly and can only attempt to take actions through the bankruptcy court. The automatic stay provision effectively halts harassing phone calls and other collection activities. If creditors violates this court order, you may be able to instiute a suit against the creditor for damages for damages.
Keep Your Possessions — Many people think that filing for bankruptcy forces you to sell your property. This is false. Bankruptcy helps you exempt important items including your house, your car, truck, pension, tax returns and cash.
If you are considering bankruptcy, you will naturally have questions. For example Under bankruptcy, will I lose my car or my house? Will I have to appear in court? How soon will my creditors stop calling? Will I be able to establish credit after bankruptcy? How much will a bankruptcy cost? Will the whole world know that I filed bankruptcy? What is the end result of a bankruptcy? Which debts will remain after bankruptcy? Will I lose all my property? What if I already filed years ago? How much must I owe in order to file bankruptcy? What if my debts are really large? I owe my dentist. Do I have to include him in my bankruptcy?
In addition to chapter 7, the most common form of bankruptcy, chapter 13 is also available to debtors whose income exceeds a certain threshold, usually the median income for the debtor's state. A Chapter 13 case is a re-organization in which the debtor repays a portion of his or her debt, while much of the rest is forgiven. If late charges, default charges and interest on your obligations is keeping you from realistically paying down your obligations on a month to month basis bankruptcy may be the most practical choice for you. Our office has represented a huge number of purchasers and business since 1973 with low fees and payment plans. There is no substitute for experience.  : As we are sensitive to the fact that your time is valuable, we have night and weekend arrangements. At your first appointment, we will survey your genuine circumstance and clarify your alternatives. If another choice may be more advantageous than chapter 7, we will likewise completely disclose those choices to you.
Your Creditors Do Not Want You To Be Aware of These LIES:
LIES about chapter 7 OR 13 are the bill collectors' closest friends. For whatever length of time that you continue trusting all the baloney about chapter 7 OR 13 your lenders know they can keep on beating on you without end. They know they are in an ideal situation in the event that they keep you out of the loop. In the event that they can keep you trusting the lies, they can keep you and your family bound owing debtors. They need to keep you paying, paying and paying month in month out, year after year, for whatever remains of your life. They need to unnerve you into paying.
LIE #1: You Will Never Get Credit Again.
TRUTH Sure you will. You will be able to get credit again. After you file for bankruptcy, you are in a superior position to get credit. The reason is simple: after you have finished your liquidation you are free from obligation! Your obligation-to-salary proportion is excellent. There are no more negative comments about your credit. There are no more bills or bill collectors enduring to hop of the woodwork and bite you like a snake.
The majority of clients' FICO ratings soar more than 100 points in the first year after the filing. As if the bankruptcy never happened. One client experienced a separation and had a lot of debt and two repossessions. In less than two years, he could buy another condominium.
LIE 2: Filing Bankruptcy Means You are a Bad Person.
TRUTH No, it doesn't. Filing bankruptcy implies that you are acting conscientiously to take control of your life because you are a decent individual, and to begin fresh. Everybody needs to pay their bills and everybody needs to deal with their family and furnish them with the things they require. But if you can't do both, which is more critical? Your family, obviously, and liquidation liberates you from debilitating obligations and provides funds to better deal with your obligations.
Putting your family first is responsible and means you are a decent individual.
LIE 3: You Will Lose Everything You Have
TRUTH Not even close. As long as your case is appropriately handled you won't lose property. That is the reason for legal advice: to legitimately survey your particular circumstances and build up a suitable estate.
Once in a while a customer will choose to surrender certain property, for example, a venture property that is losing cash, or an old auto, however that is entirely a client's decision.
The laws provide exemptions to protect your property, for example, a Homestead exclusion for your home.
There are exceptions for your auto, IRA, tools, truck, 401k, annuity, jewelry, disaster protection, bank accounts and individual injury claims. There is likewise a special case exception that you can apply to any property you pick.
LIE 4: The Whole World Will Know about your Bankruptcy
TRUTH Oh, boy, what a whopper. Nobody will know. with the exception of the people you tell. Bankruptcy data is not distributed in daily papers or anyplace else. Establish a debt payment plan that you can afford Prevent foreclosure and car or asset repossession Put an end to wage garnishment Chapter 7 OR 13 bankruptcy can change your payment to get the lowest payment amount possible>
step-up - A step-up is an increase in the chapter 7 OR 13 plan payment that occurs when a secured debt is paid off before the conclusion of the plan, leaving more money in the debtor's monthly budget that can now be distributed to creditors.
LIE 5: Filing Bankruptcy is Too Expensive
TRUTH Not at all: for the most part, we charge lower expenses than different legal counselors in light of the fact that our expenses are less because of efficiencies. We have chapter 7 OR 13 down to a science. Also, we give you individual one-on-one-consideration.
In particular, we don't charge you for duplicates. We don't charge by the hour. We don't charge you for telephone calls or anything of the sort. When we have assessed your particular circumstances, we will let you know precisely what we can accomplish for you and what we can't do, and what it will cost before we start. No secrets. We accuse low level expenses of installment arranges and place it in composing.
LIE 6: If You're Married, Both Spouses Must File
TRUTH Never. A joint filing is never a prerequisite under the law. On the off chance that one life partner has every one of the credits in his or her name, it would not bode well for the other life partner to document. Much of the time where both the spouse and the wife have a great deal of obligation, it benefits them two to record together.
Whether to file jointly is entirely your call, yet the primary concern is we can petition for the companion that needs the assistance and leave the other life partner totally out of it.
LIE 7: Even If You File Bankruptcy, Bill Collectors Will Still Harass You
TRUTH Not a chance.; As soon as your case is filed, the Bankruptcy Court issues a directive restricting your creditors from making any further move against you. It is a restraining order and it has a name: the automatic stay. The automatic stay is powerful and engages the full weight of The United States Federal Court to work for you, to guarantee that your creditors leave you alone.
Indeed, if a bank violates the automatic stay, you have the right to summon the president of the lender to Court to answer for Contempt of Court Charges.
YOu will find that the tables turn once you file for bankruptcy. There will be no more telephone calls, no repossessions, or claims or forfeitures! No more dangers.
LIE 8: It's Really Tough To File Bankruptcy
TRUTH The right lawyers can make it simple. In our firm, we handle the whole process. We we treat you fairly and we assume full liability. We have filed more bankruptcies than any other firm in Maryland and this is no accident. We are demanding of ourselves and our paralegals, and we get a constant flow of referrals from satisfied customers.
LIE 9: Only Deadbeats File For Bankruptcy
TRUTH By no means. The vast majority of our customers who file bankruptcy are honest peope who file only after months or years of attempting to pay their bills. It is one of the most mindful, positive, fair and respectable steps you can take to seize control of your family's future wellbeing.
It is not your fault that you were saddled with overpowering debt as a result of a life-changing event, such as divorce, illness, business reversals or because of dishonest moneylenders with usurious loan fees.
LIE 10: The New Bankruptcy Law is More Restrictive Than the Old
TRUTH Don't believe it. Trying to attract viewers, the news media sensationalized the entire story. Without a doubt, the new law really expanded the advantages of filing bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 is about liquidating all your non-exempt property.
In chapter 7, the trustee sells your non exempt property and uses the money to pay creditors. Frequently debtors have no non-exempt property. In this case, the debtor retains all his or her property.
However, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under chapter 7 could result in the loss of property.
Remember, however, that chapter 7 will not let you avoid paying car loan or a mortgage while retaining your home or car. Those obligations must be paid, even in chapter 7, in order to keep the property. If a debtor is behind on a car loan or a mortgage, chapter 7 is not appropriate. A chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not include a plan for repayment. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee collects and sells the debtor's nonexempt property and uses the proceeds of to pay creditors in accordance with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.
Chapter 7 Eligibility
To qualify for relief under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, the debtor may be a partnership, an individual, or a corporation or other business entity. One of the primary purposes of bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts to give an honest individual debtor a fresh start. The debtor has no liability for discharged debts. In a chapter 7 case, however, a discharge is only available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations. Although an individual chapter 7 case usually results in a discharge of debts, the right to a discharge is not absolute, and some types of debts such as student loans are not discharged. Moreover, a bankruptcy discharge does not extinguish a lien on property such as an attachment or execution unless the bankruptcy court issues a specific order regarding the lien.
How Chapter 7 operates
In order to provide the debtor complete relief, the Bankruptcy Code allows the debtor to convert a chapter 7 case to a chapter 7 OR 13, 12 or 7 OR 13 case as long as the debtor is eligible to be a debtor under the new chapter. However, a condition of the debtor's voluntary conversion is that the case has not previously been converted to chapter 7 from another chapter. Thus, the debtor will not be permitted to convert the case repeatedly from one chapter to another.
A chapter 7 case begins when a debtor files a petition with the regional bankruptcy court. Debtors must also provide the trustee with a copy of tax return or transcripts for the most recent tax year. Individual persons in debt with primarily consumer debts have additional document filing requirements. They must file a credit counselling certificate, and pay stubs received 60 days before filing. A married couple may file a joint petition or two individual petitions. Even if they are filing jointly, a husband and wife are subject to all the document filing requirements of individual debtors.
The courts charge a fee of $335, which can be paid in installments or, in certain circumstances, waived.
The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor to protect some property (that is, to claim it as exempt) from the claims of creditors and from the trustee. Many states have taken advantage of a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that permits each state to adopt its own exemption law in place of the federal exemptions. In other jurisdictions, the individual debtor has the option of choosing between a federal package of exemptions or the exemptions available under state law. Thus, whether certain property is exempt and may be kept by the debtor is often a question of state law. The debtor should consult an attorney to determine the exemptions available in the state where the debtor lives.
Filing a petition under chapter 7 automatically stops most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor's property. But filing the petition does not stay all types of actions, such as criminal prosecution, and the stay will be effective only for a limited time. The stay usually requires no action by a judge unless you've filed more than one case in a year. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.
Between 20 and 40 days after the petition is filed, the trustee, who is a court officer, will hold a meeting of creditors. The debtor must attend the meeting and answer any questions regarding financial affairs and property. If a husband and wife have filed a joint petition, both must attend the creditors' meeting and answer questions. The case trustee and the US Trustee will review the filing and decide whether a chapter 7 discharge is appropriate.
It is important for the debtor to cooperate with the trustee and to provide any financial records or documents requested. The Bankruptcy Code requires the trustee to ask the debtor questions at the meeting of creditors to ensure that the debtor is aware of the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy such as the effect on credit history, the ability to file a petition under a different chapter, the effect of receiving a discharge, and the effect of reaffirming a debt. Some trustees provide written information on these topics at or before the meeting to ensure that the debtor is aware of this information. In order to preserve their independent judgment, bankruptcy judges are prohibited from attending the meeting of creditors.
Role of the Case Trustee
When a chapter 7 petition is filed, the U.S. trustee appoints an impartial case trustee to administer the case and liquidate the debtor's nonexempt assets. If all the debtor's assets are exempt or subject to valid liens, such as mortgages, the trustee will normally file a no asset report with the court, and there will be no distribution to unsecured creditors. Most chapter 7 cases involving individual debtors are no asset cases. But if the case appears to be an asset case at the outset, unsecured creditors must file their claims with the court within 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. A governmental unit, however, has 180 days from the date the case is filed to file a claim. In the typical no asset chapter 7 case, there is no need for creditors to file proofs of claim because there will be no distribution. If the trustee later recovers assets for distribution to unsecured creditors, the Bankruptcy Court will provide notice to creditors and will allow additional time to file proofs of claim. Although a secured creditor does not need to file a proof of claim in a chapter 7 case to preserve its security interest or lien, there may be other reasons to file a claim. A creditor in a chapter 7 case who has a lien on the debtor's property should consult an attorney for advice.
The primary role of a chapter 7 trustee is to sell the debtor's assets in order to maximize the return to the debtor's unsecured creditors. The trustee first sells the debtor's property, assuming the property is not exempt and that it is worth more than any security interest or lien attached to the property and any exemption that the debtor holds in the property and that it is free and clear of any liens. The trustee may also attempt to recover money or property under the trustee's avoiding powers. The trustee's avoiding powers include the power to: set aside payments made to creditors within three months before the petition; undo security interests and other prepetition transfers of property that were not properly perfected under non-bankruptcy law at the time of the petition; and pursue nonbankruptcy claims such as fraudulent conveyance and bulk transfer remedies available under state law. In addition, if the debtor is a business, the bankruptcy court may authorize the trustee to operate the business for a limited period of time, if such operation will benefit creditors and enhance the liquidation of the estate.
Title - legal ownership.
A note on student loans. Student loan debt is one of the biggest concerns for middle class families today. Young people are graduating from college owing $20,000, $40,000, even $100,000, and many times parents are on the hook as co-signors. Unfortunately, at the present time, most student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. However, special provisions apply to loans incurred to pay certain "diploma mills"; you should consult a bankruptcy attorney to find out if your loan can be discharged.
garnishment - A garnishment on wages is one of the most frequent triggers for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy proceedings can stop garnishments immediately.
preference - A payment to a creditor within a certain time period before the filing of a bankruptcy. Such a payment must be returned to the bankruptcy estate for distribution to unsecured creditors or, depending on the status of the exemptions, to the debtor.
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© Bruce Lamb, 2015
© Bruce Lamb, 2015