Should My Mom Declare Bankruptcy?

Should My Mom Declare Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a generalized term for a federal court procedure that helps consumers and businesses get rid of their debts and repay their creditors. If you can prove that you are entitled to it, the bankruptcy court will protect you during your bankruptcy proceeding. In general, bankruptcies can be categorized into two types – “liquidations” and “reorganizations.” Among the different types of bankruptcies, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 proceedings are the most common for individuals and businesses. Chapter 7 bankruptcies normally fall in the liquidation category, meaning your property could be sold in order to pay back your debts. Conversely, Chapter 13 bankruptcies generally fall under the reorganization category, meaning that you will probably be able to keep your property, but you must submit and stick to a plan that will allow you to repay some or all of your debts within three to five years.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Both individuals and businesses are allowed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These proceedings typically last between three and six months.
Liquidation of property: In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, some of your property may be seized and sold to pay off some or all of your debts. However, as a benefit of this type of bankruptcy proceeding, any unsecured debts (debts that are not guaranteed by collateral) will be wiped out. In addition, there are certain types of property that cannot be sold in order to pay off your debts, such as the furniture in your home, you car and your clothes.

Secured debt: Secured debts are treated differently than unsecured debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, you (the debtor) have to make a choice between allowing the creditor to repossess the property that secures the debt, continuing to make payments on your debt to the creditor, or paying the creditor a sum equal to the replacement value of the property that secures the debt. In addition, some types of secured debts can be wiped out during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding.

Chapter 7 Eligibility: Before you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must be able to show that you are eligible to file for Chapter 7. To be eligible for Chapter 7, you cannot make enough money (minus certain expenses and monthly debt payments) to be able to fund a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. There are other requirements to be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Debts that will not be wiped out by Chapter 7 bankruptcy while credit card debt, unsecured loans, and other debts can be forgiven in Chapter 7, things like child support, taxes that are due, and alimony payments cannot be wiped out. For more debts that will remain after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, see Debts that Remain after a Chapter 7 Discharge.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Also known as the “wage earner” bankruptcy proceeding, only people with a reliable source of income are allowed to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Paying off your debt: In Chapter 13 bankruptcy in federal court, you must work with the court to come up with a repayment plan, and stick with the plan over the next three to five years. The amount you will need to pay is based upon your income, how much debt you owe, and how much the creditors of your unsecured loans would have received if you had filed under Chapter 7 instead of Chapter 13.

Limits on debt: In order to be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must be able to show that your debt is under the limits for filing. As of September, 2009, the limit on secured debt was $1,010,650 and the limit on unsecured debt was $336,900. If you have more than either of these amounts, you may not be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.
Repaying secured debts: Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to repay secured debts, even if you are behind on payments, without having the property that secures the debt be repossessed. You may be able to put your past due payments into your debt repayment plan, and pay them off over a period of years.

Other forms of Reorganization Bankruptcy

There are two other types of reorganization bankruptcy in addition to Chapter 13. These are Chapter 11 and Chapter 12.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings are normally used by struggling businesses as a way to get their affairs in order and pay off their debts. In addition, some individuals also file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy when they are not eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or own large amounts of non-exempt property (like several homes). However, Chapter 11 can be much more expensive and time consuming when compared to Chapter 13.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is very much like Chapter 13 bankruptcy, except that it is only available to people that have at least 80% of their debts arising from a family farm.

Who Can File For Bankruptcy?

Generally, anyone can, however, not everyone qualifies to file for a particular kind of bankruptcy. If you are an honest person who can’t afford to pay your bills, you can qualify for bankruptcy. If you have previously filed for bankruptcy, it may affect your options. For example, if you have recently filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot file another chapter 7 for eight years. Bankruptcy is for the honest debtor with too much debt and no real way to repay it. So, you cannot file for bankruptcy to defraud your creditors. If you are in financial trouble, you cannot intentionally run up large debts with the intention of filing for bankruptcy afterwards. There are records requirements. You must gather personal tax returns, proof of your income in the six months before filing, and a certificate of your attendance at a mandatory credit counseling class.

As layoffs, pay cuts and foreclosures pile up; debt-burdened Americans are toying with bankruptcy both personally and for their businesses. The number of filings reached 1 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, leaping more than 30% from the same period a year earlier, according to the administrative office of the U.S. Courts. Chances are those numbers would be even higher but for social stigmas dating to back to 16th century Europe, when deadbeats were publicly humiliated or thrown into debtor’s prison. Shame aside, the fact is that seeking bankruptcy protection may well be the right choice. As for having to forever wear a scarlet “B” on your chest, so by no means will you remain permanently persona non grata with lenders. The fact that you filed stays on your credit report for 10 years, but you can get credit again well within that time period. Your ability to do that depends on your pre-filing payment history, current income, debt-to-income ratio and how well you’ve paid your debts after the discharge. “If you can’t pay your bills and your debt is mounting, you’re already bankrupt,” If you’re in that situation, filing may be your way out.

How to File for Bankruptcy

The first part of filing for bankruptcy is determining whether it is the right call for you. It’s a huge undertaking, so ask yourself the important questions. How long will you likely have to repay these debts for? Are you legitimately unable to make the necessary payments? Can you compile the necessary information and documents? And are you prepared to deal with any fallout that comes with filing for bankruptcy? It can do significant damage to your credit score. Does your existing debt outweigh that consequence?

• Filers will also want to look into a bankruptcy lawyer. It’s possible to file for certain bankruptcy types without one, but at a time when you’re at your most vulnerable financially, finding someone who understands how to guide you through the various intricacies of filing.

• Before one can file for bankruptcy, United States Courts require you to take credit counseling, and after you file, it requires debtor education courses. Certificates of completion are required before debts are discharged.

• With credit counseling courses completed, the next step is to fill out the petition to file for bankruptcy. This and other bankruptcy forms are available on the U.S. Courts website. A bankruptcy attorney can help determine which other relevant forms will need to be filled out, based on what type of bankruptcy the filer is filing for, and how the specific local laws affect the case.

• If the petition gets accepted, the case is usually given to a trustee, a party not employed by the courts who can help oversee the case. The trustees will comb through documents to make sure all assets have been accurately collected and that no fraud has been committed. They will also set up a meeting with the creditors wherein the party who filed for bankruptcy must testify under oath.

Why Do People File for Bankruptcy?

The amount of debt the average American has continues to rise exponentially each year. There’s now over $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt alone in the country. With such astronomical debt hanging over so many American households, people look to drastic measures. Emergency medical situations have put many Americans in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt. Medical debt and student loan debt can be a toxic combination for someone’s bank account, especially if they are also dealing with a loss of their job. A combo of these three is an extreme, but many feel bankruptcy is still the “extreme” option, a last resort. Filing for bankruptcy can wreck a person’s credit score and take years to recover; for someone to declare bankruptcy, taking the time to build their credit score back up would have to outweigh the difficulties of living under their existing financial struggles and debt.

What Factors Lead to Personal Bankruptcy Filings?

Because filing a bankruptcy case can be a huge decision with long-lasting consequences positive and negative people who are contemplating filing bankruptcy often want to know if their reasons for filing are typical, reasonable, or sound. A 2005 study reported that 46 percent of bankruptcies were related to medical debt. This conclusion has been borne out by other studies as well. This doesn’t mean that medical debt is the sole reason. There are lots of contributing factors and contributing debts. In addition to medical debt, leading factors that contribute to bankruptcy filings include unemployment and domestic issues like divorce. Note that most of these factors involve circumstances the filer could not control. According to this report, only 15% of filers report having to file because of actions they took and decisions they made that led to excessive credit card debt, large mortgages, or high car payments.

• The average filer is married, has a high school education, and makes less than $30,000 a year.
• In 2007, those younger than 25 made up less than 2 percent of filers. About 20 percent of filers are 55 years or older. The median age is about 45.
• Women are slightly more likely to file than men: 52.4 percent vs. 47.6 percent. Women make up 51% of the US population.
• People ages 65 and older make up about 8% of filers. Those ages 34 and younger make up about 19% of filers.
According to the Institute for Financial Literacy,
• 73% of filers have a job or are self-employed
• 27% make more than $30,000 a year
• 94% graduated from high school
• About 58% have at least some college
• 5% have a graduate college degree
• 30% are 34-44 years old
• 14% make $50,000 or more a year
Bankruptcy affects all age groups and all socioeconomic classes. In fact, it’s easy to argue that there is no one “average” or typical bankruptcy filer. But if we were to build one, she would likely be a middle-aged woman, married, Caucasian, with some college, who makes less than $30,000 per year. Even so, the statistics bear out that outside circumstances more so than age, income, or educational level play a huge role in decisions to file or not file.

Declare Bankruptcy In Utah Free Consultation

When you need legal help with filing bankruptcy in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

How do I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

According to Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules, it is necessary for a debtor to attend credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. After the completion of counseling, the debtor must pay a fee and provide the bankruptcy court with information about income, debt, expenses, and creditor holdings of secured and unsecured debt. Once the court receives the appropriate paperwork, a trustee will review the case. The trustee will request information from the debtor, communicate with creditors, and hold a creditors meeting. The debtor is also responsible for filing a repayment plan with the court. Once the bankruptcy court approves the repayment plan, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is complete.

Does filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy stop creditors from collecting a debt?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules state that a creditor may no longer pursue collection activities when a debtor files for bankruptcy. As soon as debtor files the appropriate paperwork and pays the filing fee, an automatic stay takes effect. An automatic stay prohibits creditors from further attempts to collect a debt. This means that any lawsuit proceedings must cease, a creditor may not report the debt to credit reporting agencies, and the debtor’s property and income are safe from seizure. Collection activities may continue for spousal and child support, tax debt, and pension loans, however.

Will a Chapter 13 bankruptcy erase my student loan?

No.

A bankruptcy court will require repayment of your student loan debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules treat student loan debt similar to priority debt–it is payable in full like back taxes and child support payments. Prior to 2005, student loan debt was only dischargeable when funded by a private lender. With the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, however, privately funded student loans are now treated the same as student loans guaranteed or issued by the federal government. This means that all student loan debt is only dischargeable upon a showing of undue hardship.

Typically, it is difficult to convince a bankruptcy court to discharge student loan debt. A bankruptcy court will consider such factors as poverty, the inability to pay the loan due to a permanent disability, and a debtor’s good-faith effort to repay the loan for a long period. To have a student loan debt dismissed, a debtor must file a separate action in bankruptcy court called a Complaint to Determine Dischargeability of a Debt.

If I miss a scheduled payment under my Chapter 13 repayment plan, can a creditor sue me?

If a debtor misses a scheduled payment, Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules allow the trustee to institute an action for dismissal with the bankruptcy court. Because the debtor agreed to repay creditors according to a court-approved Chapter 13 repayment plan, a trustee may request the dismissal of the case once those creditors are no longer receiving payments. A debtor may be able to prevent the dismissal of a case by establishing their ability to repay the debt under the current plan or by requesting that the court approve a new plan.

If the bankruptcy court dismisses the case, a creditor may reinstitute collection activities against the debtor. Bankruptcy laws that prohibit collection attempts no longer protect the debtor at this point. Consequently, creditors may collect the current amount owed on the debt and any interest on the debt that accrued while the debtor was in bankruptcy.

Changes to the Bankruptcy Law

In 2005, new bankruptcy laws required potential bankruptcy individuals to be involved in courses educating and informing them of their financial options. Before an individual files for a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must receive credit counseling from an approved agency. Any Chapter 7 Lawyer will tell you that it’s required. In addition, before a bankruptcy is discharged, the individual must attain a personal finance management course known as debtor education.

Do I have to get Credit Counseling?

The purpose of credit counseling is to assist an individual’s evaluate his or her financial options and to determine if he or she can repay debts through a repayment plan without filing bankruptcy. In credit counseling, the individual will usually provide information regarding his or her income, expenses, and debts. The counselor then evaluates the information and proposes a repayment plan.

Personal Financial Management and Debtor Education

Debtor education information is meant to instruct individuals to be responsible with their finances. The education is meant for the individual to learn from his or her mistakes and never be in the postion to file bankruptcy again. A debtor education course will usually provide tips in developing a budget, managing finances, using credit responsibly, and how to deal with financial emergencies.

As part of the new bankruptcy laws, people wishing to file for bankruptcy (under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) must now complete a credit counseling program before they will be allowed to file a bankruptcy petition. In addition, bankruptcy filers must obtain debt management counseling before being allowed to complete the bankruptcy process. In order to comply with these credit counseling and post-discharge debtor education requirements, filers must work with agencies that have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program (a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice that is responsible for overseeing bankruptcy cases).

Two lists of agencies that have been approved by the Department of Justice — the first a list of agencies that provide pre-filing credit counseling to those wishing to file for bankruptcy, and the second a list of agencies that offer post-discharge debtor education to people who are completing the bankruptcy process. The third link below includes tips on choosing a credit counselor, from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

On April 15, 2013, the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) announced new policies on credit counseling and debtor education requirements. The list below is some notable new rules.

Quality – The quality of counseling must be consistent whether the debtor takes the course on the Internet, in person, and over the phone. In addition, the counseling must not be generic but individually specific to the debtor.

Use the Cheapest One – Credit counseling agencies and debtor education information providers must charge a reasonable fee that is $15 or less. An individual’s income that falls 150% below the poverty line is eligible for a fee waiver. We reccomend that you use Debtorcc.org – they are fast and the cheapest one that we could find.

Is credit card debt included in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan?

To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor must repay all secured creditors and priority debts in full and must repay a portion of the amount owed to unsecured creditors. “Secured debt” is a debt obligation backed by collateral such as a car or real property; “priority debt” includes child support payments and back taxes; and “unsecured debt” are those obligations that are not backed by collateral. Unsecured debt includes money owed on a credit card.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy places a filer’s debt into a repayment plan. A bankruptcy court will not approve a plan unless the arrangement requires that the debtor repay all priority and secured debt in full. The repayment plan must also require the debtor to repay unsecured creditors in an amount equal in value to the filer’s nonexempt property. Nonexempt property includes any interest held in real property, business assets, and artwork. Once a Chapter 13 repayment plan begins, a trustee will disburse the monthly payment made by the debtor to the creditors each month.

Free Consultation with Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How do I know when filing for bankruptcy is a good idea?

How Do I Know If Bankruptcy is Right for me

When is bankruptcy a good idea?

Many people believe that bankruptcy is and will always be nothing but a bad thing. In the public mind, bankruptcy means losing your house, your livelihood; everything you own. This is, for obvious reasons, an undesirable mental image. However, bankruptcy may be a wise and important choice to make, depending on your personal debt situation.

So, how do you know if filing for bankruptcy is the right decision for you? Understanding how bankruptcy works and what it is for can help.

What is bankruptcy?

There are two different kinds of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each has a different function and purpose.

To briefly quote our more in-depth article about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, “A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a bankruptcy case in which we give the debtor, the person who owes all the money, a fresh start, a new beginning. It essentially wipes out or erases the debt that the debtor has.”

In a Chapter 7, your assets may be seized and sold to creditors in order to pay off your debt. However, most people eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not have more assets than they are capable of protecting. In this case, you will be able to eliminate your unsecured debts without losing what you own.

In contrast, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is “a wage earner’s reorganization. What that means is … you will make a regular monthly payment, called Chapter 13 plan payment to the trustee who is assigned to the case. In the state of Utah, there is only one trustee, and at this time, it is Lon Jenkins … Depending on how your plan is structured, you may or you may not pay off all of your debt in five years. It really depends on the type of debt and how the plan is structured. The payment is usually a minimum of $100 a month, to the Chapter 13 trustee for at least three years.”

Since Chapter 13 bankruptcies help you repay your creditors with a piecewise payback plan, it is highly likely that you will be able to retain your assets.

How do I know when filing for bankruptcy is a good idea?

Bankruptcy is different for every individual situation, so understanding your debts is the very first step to knowing if filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you. If all other alternatives to bankruptcy are exhausted or not working, it may be time to consider bankruptcy.

However, it is important to note that there are debts that a bankruptcy proceeding cannot relieve. These debts can include:
• Child support
• Spousal support
• Criminal restitution
• Fines
• Tax debts
• Bad checks
• Credit card fraud
• Student loans

The rules and regulations for non-dischargeable debts are complicated and should be discussed with a lawyer or someone else with extensive knowledge before filing for bankruptcy.

Figure out what will happen to your home, car, pension, credit score, co-signers, and personal life if you file for bankruptcy. Consult with a lawyer or other knowledgeable person about the projected outcome and consequences of filing for bankruptcy.

If you are considering bankruptcy and would like more information or guidance about your options, call (801) 676-5506 for a free initial legal consultation.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

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Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer – Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit? (801) 676-5506

Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer

Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer – Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit?

How Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit?

The general rule is that filing for bankruptcy will hurt your credit. All 3 of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, collect information every day from the United States Bankruptcy Courts. In the old days, I remember going to the Utah federal courthouse and you would see people going through the bankruptcy court listings and they would fax the information to the credit reporting agency. Later, people with laptop computers would come into the courthouse to data mine the information.

Now, the federal bankruptcy court has all of its filings online and the credit reporting agencies get that information directly from them.

So, the way the credit bureaus will report your bankruptcy is that it will simply indicate a bankruptcy filing. If you later have your bankruptcy case dismissed, the bankruptcy filing will still report on your credit reports.

If you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will stay on your credit report for 10 years. The general rule is that a debt will fall off of your credit report after 7 years; however this is not true for the chapter 7 bankruptcy case filing.

What will your credit score be after filing for bankruptcy?

Most people start off within 400s and 500 credit scores when they file for a chapter 7. This is because people have been waiting so long to take care of the debt situation, that they are usually behind on several bills and they may have even been sued. If that’s the case, then they will start off low and filing bankruptcy could actually improve their credit score. So, depending on your situation you could have a 600 plus credit score after filing, it just depends. Depending on the lender and what type of bankruptcy you filed, you may be able to buy a house the day after your bankruptcy case is concluded. You should also keep in mind that if you filed a chapter 13 case, the chapter 13 bankruptcy only stays on your credit for 7 years. I’ve previously explained a chapter 13 bankruptcy here and a chapter 7 bankruptcy here.

Just remember, even if your scores are in the 600 or even 700 range, if the bankruptcy is showing up on your credit report, it can still be taken into account and will cause your interest rate to be higher as a result, but the more you rebuild your credit, the better rates you are going to get. Additionally, the older the bankruptcy is on your credit report the better. This means the further back in time you filed, the less importance and weight the lender usually gives to it.

Watch this video for more information:

Just do your best not to get back into the same situation that you got into bankruptcy so it doesn’t happen again. Most of us know that huge medical bills, loss of employment and other issues can take a huge toll on you financially.

Lenders look at what they call the Universal Default Rate. Before you file for bankruptcy and you start defaulting on a loan, every other piece of credit that you have will switch from whatever interest rate you had to the Universal Default Rate for that line of credit…..which is almost always at least 30% higher than what you were paying. This is because lenders get scared and freak out because they don’t want to lose money. This happened all the time during the 2008 financial crises in the US. If this happens to you; then, the amount of money you owe will rise dramatically, making matters worse.

In the time that passes after you file for bankruptcy relief…you will still be able to get loans (yes even a mortgage after bankruptcy), but keep in mind that the interest rates will be higher as a result. Do your best to stay out of debt to avoid paying really high interest rates.

One way to improve your credit is to buy furniture from RC Willey after your bankruptcy case is concluded. RC Willey has the ability to set up a credit account for you and they will report positively on your credit so long as you stay current on your payments and make your payments on time.

If you have really high interest rates; that should make you to pay more in additional interest for years to come, which is why you should pay down debt and even pay off debt when you can.

The best thing to do after bankruptcy is to set up at least 1 to 2 new accounts and then to take it easy on credit for a while. Be sure you make timely and consistent payments because one mistake and it could be all over and back downhill.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the commonest denotation of bankruptcy. It stands for discharging or canceling of debts that you have incurred. As an individual, you can select between Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Selecting between the two is not easy. A good bankruptcy lawyer will review your specific circumstances before helping you to decide which type of bankruptcy is applicable to you.

Call us if you have any questions, we are standing by, ready to help you, so call Mike Anderson today at (801) 676-5506.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 876-5876
4.7 stars – based on 49 reviews