Blogs

7 hours 6 min ago

How New York’s Taxi Titans Roiled Cities Hundreds of Miles Away

In the early 2000s, a group of New Yorkers did something unexpected.

They bought a bunch of taxi medallions that allowed them to own and operate vehicles hundreds of miles away, in Chicago. Medallions in that city were considered such an inexpensive commodity that Chicago had, at times, given them away free.

This turned out to be an early sign of a takeover of taxi markets across the country by some New Yorkers who were about to teach drivers in other cities a painful lesson.

The real taxi money wasn’t made by charging passengers; it was made by raising the price of medallions and financing loans to drivers who wanted to buy them.

The scheme started in New York.
In May, The Times’s Brian M. Rosenthal exposed the financial maneuvers that helped lead to the collapse of the taxi industry in New York City.

His series detailed potential market manipulation of taxi medallion prices and showed how some of the people who manipulated those prices also made money by providing drivers with high loan amounts, long loan lengths, steep fees and interest-only terms.

The Department of Justice and the New York attorney general soon opened investigations into the industry. The city arrested a debt collector, waived $10 million in fees owed by medallion owners and strengthened regulations.

The taxi titans expanded their operations to Chicago …
Symon Garber, a New York fleet owner, along with a group of partners, began buying medallions in Chicago and lending to other buyers. They eventually bought 800 of the city’s 7,000 medallions.

Michael Levine, a legend in New York’s taxi industry, bought more than 500 medallions in Chicago. Mr. Levine also was involved in a company that provided at least 750 loans to medallion owners.

At least 40 other New Yorkers bought Chicago medallions, including Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, records show.

… and to Boston, Philadelphia and elsewhere.
Then some of the same people who roiled New York’s industry expanded their operations. Medallion prices soared to $700,000 in Boston, $550,000 in Philadelphia, $400,000 in Miami and $250,000 in San Francisco.

But in Chicago, New Yorkers eventually bought almost half of that city’s medallions, records showed. The average cost of a medallion there — less than $50,000 in 2006 — rose to nearly $400,000 before prices began plummeting in 2013.

Today, a Chicago taxi medallion is worth $30,000 or less.

“In retrospect, it should’ve set off alarm bells” that New Yorkers were entering Chicago’s market,” said Michael Negron, who was a policy adviser to Rahm Emanuel, a former Chicago mayor. “Outside investors were coming in to upend the industry, and everybody kind of missed it.”

The New Yorkers who bought medallions in Chicago and elsewhere said in interviews with Mr. Rosenthal that they were never accused of breaking any laws. They said that as New York medallion prices rose, it made sense to pursue new opportunities.


7 hours 6 min ago

Pensions and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filings

With the increase in bankruptcy filings, many clients have contacted us regarding the treatment of their pensions in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing and whether they should borrow money from their pension prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Under the law in New York both Roth and traditional IRA’s are exempt  up to $1,283,025 in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit sharing plans, SEP & Defined Benefit Plans are completely exempt in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Pension monies are also exempt from the reach of creditors (“spendthrift trust”) so they cannot be liened or levied by creditors. If those monies are withdrawn from a pension plan they are subject to the reach of creditors and therefore if possible a debtor should not borrow from their pension prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Additionally, if a person borrows money from a pension (prior to the age requiring a mandatory withdrawal from the pension plan) they will have to report that money as additional income and pay a 10% excise tax on those monies.

Anyone with questions regarding personal bankruptcy should contact Jim Shenwick at jshenwick@gmail.com

jshenwick@gmail.com • Shenwick & Associates


7 hours 6 min ago

By: Steven P. Taylor
Law Office of Steven P. Taylor, P.C.

On August 23, 2019, the Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019 (HAVEN Act) was signed into law.   The Haven Act provides for exclusion of disability benefits paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense from the calculation of an individual debtor’s disposable income used for bankruptcy means testing for purposes of determining whether a veteran headed for bankruptcy would have to file a Chapter 13 repayment plan case.

According to the 2018 VA Annual Benefits Report,  4.74 million US veterans—or 25 percent of the total veteran population—receive VA disability benefits.   Veterans also make up a disproportionate share of bankruptcy filers. Nearly 15 percent of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers are veterans, who make up approximately 10 percent of the overall population. Approximately 125,000 veterans in Indiana and across the country filed for bankruptcy in 2017 alone.

Like the Social Security Act assists those citizens receiving social security benefits, the Haven Act assists these honored veterans and their surviving dependents in obtaining an opportunity for a fresh start.  Disabled veterans have earned their disability-related benefits in defense of our nation, and these disability-related benefits honor their service and the sacrifices that they have made. Forcing disabled veterans  and their surviving dependents to dip into these funds to pay off creditors dishonors their service and sacrifice.

Prior to the HAVEN Act, a disabled veteran declaring bankruptcy must include his or her disability benefits as part of disposable income which could force the disabled veteran to file for a Chapter 13 debt reorganization bankruptcy vs. Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  By contrast, current bankruptcy law explicitly exempts Social Security disability benefits from this disposable income calculation.   The  HAVEN Act now excludes VA and DoD disability payments made to veterans or their dependent survivors from the monthly income calculation used for bankruptcy means testing as well.  Now, more disabled veterans and their surviving dependents will now be eligible to file a Chapter 7 liquidation case where only nonexempt assets are sold to pay creditors.

TALK TO A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
Not all veteran or DOD benefits are excludable from the disposable income calculation. For this reason, if you want to file for bankruptcy to obtain a fresh start, consider talking to a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney in your area first to learn about your options.

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1 week 19 hours ago

You may have heard that Chapter 7 is a relatively quick process. But how long does bankruptcy Chapter 7 take from filing to discharge?
Typically, you can expect your case to last anywhere between four to six months. But the timeline may vary depending on the specifics of your case. An experienced Dallas bankruptcy attorney can help guide you through the process and help you avoid potential pitfalls that could delay your case.
What Are the Steps in the Chapter 7 Process?
The timeline for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will look something like this:
Preparing Your Case
Assuming that you’re eligible for Chapter 7, you will need to consider which debts can be eliminated and which debts will have to be reaffirmed — and which assets will be subject to liquidation and which assets you can protect under Texas’ bankruptcy laws.
Filing Your Petition
You will file your petition with the court. Once you file, you have up to 14 days to submit supporting documentation, including forms related to your debts, assets, and property transactions going as far back as ten years. It’s a tedious and complicated process, but this information will provide the backbone of your bankruptcy. Any debts you want discharged will need to be listed.
Informing the Court What You Will Do With Unsecured Debts
After you file for bankruptcy, you will have 30 days to decide what you want to do with your secured debts. These can include cars and your mortgage. You can surrender the property, and discharge any remaining delinquency or you can reaffirm the debt based on the original terms or negotiate revised terms.
Attending the Meeting of Creditors
Four to six weeks after you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you will be required to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors. This process is usually not quite as daunting as it sounds. Creditors generally do not show up for the meeting in a typical Chapter 7 case unless they have good cause. The bankruptcy trustee who presides over your bankruptcy case will ask you a series of basic questions relating to the information you provided on your bankruptcy forms. These questions are simply to ensure that you have been honest and thorough in reporting your assets and income.
After the meeting of creditors, creditors may be able to raise objections to your exemptions, but only have 30 days after the meeting of creditors to do so. After 30 days have elapsed, they’ve lost their chance. Creditors also have 60 days to object to the discharge of specific debts. Creditors have 90 days to file proof of claims, documents proving that you owe the creditor money.
Completing a Financial Management Course
Within 60 days of the meeting of creditors, you are required to take and complete a financial management course. This is different from the credit counseling course you took before filing for bankruptcy.
Closing Your Case
Around two months after the meeting of creditors, you will receive your bankruptcy discharge. The discharge formally acknowledges that you no longer owe the debts. While the discharge is the main point of bankruptcy, your bankruptcy may remain open for another two to four months.
What Factors Could Delay Your Bankruptcy Case?
The process described above is when everything goes smoothly and there are no creditor objections. However, some bankruptcies can get complicated. The following are things that could delay your case:
Trustee Must Liquidate Some Assets
If you have any assets that you could not be exempted, selling off the assets will delay your bankruptcy. The trustee will need to determine the value of the asset and then secure a fair market price for it. The money from the transaction will be turned over to your creditors.
Creditor or Trustee Objects
Generally speaking, when a creditor objects to a discharge, they are alleging fraud against the person filing for bankruptcy.
If a creditor objects to your bankruptcy exemptions, they have 30 days after your meeting of creditors to express their objections to the bankruptcy court.
If a creditor objects to the discharge of certain debts, they have 60 days after your meeting of creditors to file the objection with the court.
The objecting creditor has 90 days after your meeting of credit to file their claims with the court, providing evidence proving that you owe them money.
Trustee Objects
If there are any recent transactions, the trustee will look at those under a microscope since some individuals believe they can transfer valuable assets to family or friends as a way of protecting them. But this is fraud, and if the bankruptcy trustee or creditor has reason to believe you are acting in bad faith, it will hold up the bankruptcy process.
Trustee Sells Your Assets
If the trustee identifies assets that could be sold in your case, it will take time to value the assets, acquire them from you, and sell them.
How Long Does Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Take? Ask a Dallas Bankruptcy Attorney
Complications in your bankruptcy case can be time-consuming and frustrating. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you both avoid these complications and resolve them quickly if they do arise. To learn more, contact Allmand Law Firm PLLC today.
The post How Long Does Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Take? appeared first on Allmand Law.



1 week 19 hours ago

By now, you’re probably well aware of the benefits of bankruptcy. And if you’ve been struggling with unmanageable debt for a while, you may be seriously considering pursuing debt discharge through Chapter 7. But what how does it work, and what can you do to prepare your case? Below, we discuss how to file bankruptcy Chapter 7 and what you can expect during each step of the process.
Analyze Your Debts
While Chapter 7 is a great way to discharge certain kinds of debts, it’s important to be aware of what it can and cannot discharge. If your debt is primarily mortgage or car payments, Chapter 7 can eliminate those debts but you will lose the property that the debt secures. Additionally, child support payments, student loan debt, and some tax debt are not dischargeable in Chapter 7. An experienced Dallas bankruptcy attorney at Allmand Law Firm PLLC can help you analyze your debts and advise you as to your best steps moving forward.
Assess Your Exemptions
Chapter 7 bankruptcy repays your creditors by liquidating your non-exempt assets. So if you have valuable property you want to keep, you will need to consider whether or not it will become part of the liquidation process. Typically, you will be able to retain your car, retirement accounts, and household items. In Texas, you can exempt a considerable amount of money in overall property value.
Determine Your Eligibility
Not everyone is eligible to file under Chapter 7. In order to qualify, you must pass the means test. That means that you will want to figure out whether your income is at or below the state median (which is adjusted periodically). If you’re below the state median, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7.
If you earn more than the state median, you will have to calculate the difference between your income and expenses to determine your eligibility. You must present to the court an itemized list of all of your debts and income to show that paying off your debts is not financially possible. A bankruptcy attorney can help you with this process.
Redeem or Reaffirm Secured Debts
You can discharge delinquency fees and late fees in Chapter 7, but you’ll have to reaffirm your secured debts such as your mortgage or your car loan if you plan on keeping them. You have three options:

  1. Redeem the property in a lump sum that pays off the entire existing balance.
  2. Reaffirm the debt by continuing to pay as per the loan agreement.
  3. Surrender the property (but you wouldn’t owe any more money on it).

File the Petition
You will need to take a credit counseling course directly before filing for bankruptcy. After completion of this course, you can then file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. This process marks the official beginning of your bankruptcy. While most file all the forms at once, others make an emergency filing completing some of the forms. This is so that the automatic stay goes into effect sooner.
Once you have all of your ducks in a row, you can begin the process of filing a petition. You will be required to fill out forms that list your property, debts, income, monthly expenses, property exemptions. You will also need to decide on how you want to handle your secured debts and disclose any property transactions that occurred up to ten years prior to your bankruptcy case.
Pay the Filing Fee
You’ll need to pay a filing fee when you submit the forms to the bankruptcy court. If you cannot pay all at once, you can make payments in four installments. If you can’t pay at all, you can apply for a fee waiver by filing out yet another form. However, the fee waiver is generally only granted in cases where your household income is within 150% of federal poverty guidelines.
Submit Documents to Your Bankruptcy Trustee
During your bankruptcy, the trustee will request documents that prove your debts and income. This can include bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and just about anything else that the trustee requests.
Attend a Creditors Meeting
After the trustee reviews your documents and verifies the accuracy of your claims, you will go to a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors. In most cases, creditors will not bother to attend the meeting. The trustee will ask you a series of basic questions, confirm which debts you want discharged in bankruptcy, and your creditors will also have a chance to speak, if they wish.
Complete a Debtor Education Course
Once you are done filing your paperwork, you will complete a debtor education course.
Receive a Discharge
If your petition is successful, the court will discharge your debts. Typically, this occurs within 4 to 6 months of filing.
Learn More About How to File Bankruptcy Chapter 7
If you are struggling with debt, Allmand Law Firm PLLC can help. To learn more about how to file bankruptcy Chapter 7 and how to get on the road to financial freedom, contact us today.
The post How to File Bankruptcy Chapter 7 appeared first on Allmand Law.



1 week 2 days ago

Finally, New Bankruptcy Protection for Disabled Vets
Disable Vet’s Income Not Offered Any Protection in Bankruptcy – until now!
It only took 15 years, but Congress finally decided that disabled vets should have some of the same protection as those on Social Security.
disabled vet
In 2005 Congress changed how those on Social Security would be treated in bankruptcy, but ignored disabled vets.
The HAVEN Act, short for Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need, fixed that loophole and ensured that veterans’ disability benefits could not be taken away by creditors.  The Act was signed into law on August 23, 2019 and became effective immediately.
What was the problem?
Anyone seeking protection from their creditors face challenges if their income is above a specific limit (based on family size, residence, taxes, child care costs and other limited expenses).  This is referred to as the “means test”.  The goal for most filing for bankruptcy protection is to start their financial lives over, without the burden of high medical, pay day loans or old credit card debts.  Income is based on all sources of “income”, but in 2005 Social Security was exempt from the means test.  Congress forgot to include VA disability as an exception.
As a result of this error, hundreds of thousands of disabled vets were either forced into a five year repayment program (Chapter 13), or go without the protection of bankruptcy.  Why is a five year repayment program burdensome?  The means test limits what a family can spend on housing, utilities, food, schooling and other normal expenses (these limits are based on the IRS guidelines).  Typically, a family of four can have $270 left at the end of each month to cover unexpected expenses – vehicle repairs, medical, schooling, etc.  If they are in the Chapter 13 repayment plan, those living on a fixed income (like Social Security or VA disability) have no way of covering those unexpected expenses.
The HAVEN Act offers relief to those who have put themselves in harms way.
One woman whose family of six found itself in financial distress told Law360 that she expects the Haven Act will open new doors for them. Her husband, a former missile specialist in the Army, came home from the Gulf War with permanent loss of motion in his dominant hand and severe PTSD, preventing him from working. The VA gave him a 100% disability rating.
After making the tough decision to file for Chapter 13, but now can ask the Bankruptcy Court to modify their bankruptcy plan is officially approved, the family expects to save a total of $65,000. Their previous five-year repayment plan will be condensed into a three-year plan, and their monthly payments will decrease by $600.  “Knowing now that we only have 36 months instead of 60 is huge,” the woman said. “We couldn’t have done it without the bill.”
Specific benefits protected under the HAVEN Act:

  • Permanent Disability Retired Pay
  • Temporary Disability Retired Pay
  • Retired or Disability Severance Pay for Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Disability Severance Pay
  • Combat Related Special Compensation
  • Survivor Benefit Plan for Chapter 61 Retirees
  • Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance
  • Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living
  • VA Veterans Disability Compensation
  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, and
  • VA Veterans Pension.

Again, this took 15 years and thousands of hours of hard work by those who cared enough to fix the error in the bankruptcy law.

disabled vets

MUSINGS FROM DIANE:
disabled vetI am married to a disabled vet and I have never heard him ask for help, but he is always there for everyone else.  The new law provides relief to a segment of the population that really needs our assistance. Nearly 15 percent of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers are veterans, who make up approximately 10 percent of the overall population. Approximately 125,000 veterans filed for bankruptcy in 2017 alone.  According to the 2018 VA Annual Benefits Report, 4.74 million US veterans—or 25 percent of the total veteran population—receive VA disability benefits.

How Can I Help You?
The post Finally, New Bankruptcy Protection for Disabled Vets appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.


2 weeks 13 hours ago

What Can I Expect to Happen During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
What Can I Expect to Happen During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Most people who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy have little assets and qualify to have most of their unsecured debt discharged. Unsecured debt that may qualify to be wiped off or discharged includes medical bills and credit cards .  Having little assets and qualifying debt can help make the process a lot easier. Keep in mind, there are specific qualifications that should be met in order to complete your bankruptcy case successfully.
In the beginning, you’ll share concerns and discuss your situation with your bankruptcy attorney who will review legal issues and solutions for your finances.  You’ll present necessary documentation to have a petition created for your case. Credit counseling is required to be completed upon filing but if you have not completed it, a legal expert can recommend an approved agency for you to begin the counseling.
When your bankruptcy petition is completed, you’ll review and sign off on the documents so they can be filed with the bankruptcy court. Take time to review these documents carefully to ensure information is true and correct. The fee to file bankruptcy may be collected at this time.
When your case is filed, your creditors are notified about the proceeding and about a month or so after they are notified, a meeting is scheduled with the creditors and Trustee. Creditors often don’t attend but you will be asked questions about your finances under oath. The Trustee then creates a report that details their findings about your situation after the meeting. Creditors have about 60 days to object although this is rare. If no objection is made, your case may conclude in getting your debts discharged.
After your case has been filed, you’ll be required to complete a financial management course in order to receive a discharge of your debts.
Contact us for a free bankruptcy consultation
What to Expect When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy , many debtors experience anxiety about the process.
Let’s take a look at the process for debtors filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
Step #1 – Meet with your bankruptcy attorney to discuss your financial situation.Bring a list of your creditors, bills, income records and credit report. At the meeting the bankruptcy attorney will help you determine the amount of your debts, your income and which debts you may or may not discharge during bankruptcy.
Step #2 – The debtor who decides to file bankruptcy must take a credit counseling course which can most likely be done online. This credit counseling course is a requirement for all debtors filing bankruptcy.
Step #3 – The bankruptcy attorney will file the debtor’s bankruptcy petition with the court. The petition will include all of the information you compiled and gave to your attorney; creditors names, debt amounts, income etc.
Step #4 – The debtor will attend a meeting with his/her bankruptcy attorney, the bankruptcy trustee and maybe a few of the debtor’s creditors. This is NOT a meeting where creditors will confront you or anything along those lines. They will just ask you basic questions about your ability to pay the debt.
Step #5 – The debtor must attend a financial management class where he/she will learn how to manage his/her money. Attendance at this class is required.
Step #6 – The debtor will receive a discharge of his/her debts and begin a brand new financial start.
Have Any More Questions About the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process?
If you have any questions regarding the chapter 7 bankruptcy process or would like to set up a free consultation, feel free to give us a call or submit your questions here.
What To Expect In A Business Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

What To Expect In A Business Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When a Business Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When a business decides that they can no longer pay their debts and must file bankruptcy, the process is different than if they were an individual.
Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Once you decide to place your business in Chapter 7 bankruptcy , you are deciding that the business will no longer exist.
  2. You will need to declare all of the business’ liabilities and assets when you file the bankruptcy petition. Even though the business is being liquidated, the listing of assets and liabilities must be accurate.
  3. Within a day or two of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy for your business, a bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to your case. It is the responsibility of the bankruptcy trustee to make sure creditors are repaid if possible, using the assets of the business.
  4. The business owner is responsible for surrendering all of the business property to the bankruptcy trustee. The property includes equipment, furniture, vehicles, inventory and receivables.  The bankruptcy trustee will return appropriate property to secured lenders and liquidate other assets so that priority creditors and if possible, unsecured creditors can be repaid.
  5. The liquidation of a business’ assets in bankruptcy can take weeks or even months.  The bankruptcy trustee is responsible for auctioning off assets which have value and distributing the proceeds to the administrative estate, priority creditor and then unsecured creditors. Even if there is not enough money to pay off creditors, the business will not receive a discharge of their debts.  The business will simply no longer exist because it was liquidated in bankruptcy. However, if the owner of the business personally guaranteed debts, his personal assets may be at risk if unpaid creditors decide to pursue him for payment.

What You May Not Know about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

What You May Not Know about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy can sometimes be complicated but it can be even more challenging when you don’t understand the process clearly due to myths, misconceptions or false information that isn’t true.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy may help you get the fresh start you’re looking for but it also helps to get accurate details to help you make an informed decision so your financial situation has a positive outcome.
Many people who complete the bankruptcy process obtain credit quicker than most realize; giving consumers an advantage in rebuilding their credit sooner.  If you are married, your spouse may not need to file a bankruptcy petition especially if one spouse has an overwhelming amount of debt. Obtaining a discharge of qualifying debt is usually granted within about six months.  While some may opt to file on their own, it is often not recommended due to the complexity of the process.  Working with an experience bankruptcy attorney often plays an important role in making sure procedures are being followed accordingly, which greatly increases chances of getting debt discharged successfully.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is good option for those who have limited assets.  A bankruptcy trustee may utilize qualifying assets to satisfy creditors but in most cases a discharge of debt left outstanding is granted by the court.  If the majority of your debt includes medical bills , credit card debt or other unsecured debt, it’s likely you will qualify.  A means test is used to help determine eligibility for Chapter 7 filing which includes reviewing household income and expenses.  Certain types of debt may not qualify for discharge such as child support and certain tax debts .  Chapter 7 offers a wide range of exemptions that allow many who file to keep personal property.
http://www.morriscountybankruptcylawyer.com
Call for a free bankruptcy consultation
Break the Poverty and Debt Cycle with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Break the Poverty and Debt Cycle with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Need to Apply for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?  Then You’re Not Alone
The US Census Bureau has determined that the average income, for the past five years,  for American households leveled at just over $46,000. But for millions of families across the country, they fall not just below the median income, but the poverty line altogether. Statistics indicate that almost 39 million families (or 13 to 17% of the population) live below the poverty line.  Astonishingly, more than 40% of the population will be considered below the poverty line in the span of their lifetime.
So what does this have to do with debt and Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Poverty is bad enough, but when you’re also suffering from too much debt, it can seem almost impossible to not only improve your credit, but your financial situation in general. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, prioritizing paying off your debts is often an impossible choice, as your finances are obligated to paying for your necessities.  Yet there is hope out there for many families who are struggling to do both at the same time.
Filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way to give families the chance they need to start over again financially, thus relieving themselves of an enormous debt burden.  Filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to eliminate your unsecured debts, such as credit card bills , medical bills and other loan obligations.  Additionally, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to keep hold of your home and your car (up to a certain federal exemption amount), so you won’t have to sell your residence just to pay off your debts.
So how do you know if you need to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Simple: if you’ve gathered up your debts and determined that there’s no way you’ll be able to pay off your debts in seven to ten years, then you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy.
Why the seven to ten year figure?
Simple: that’s how long a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit score – so if your debts last beyond that, then it’s well worth it to make an appointment with your local bankruptcy attorney. If you’ve been living off of credit cards or continually turn to payday loans just to make ends meet, then it’s time to break the cycle of poverty and too much debt. Contact a local bankruptcy attorney today to take a stand against the mountain of debt you’ve been battling for so long. After all, don’t you and your family deserve the chance to start your finances over again.
Redemption In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Redemption In Chapter 7 BankruptcyIn Chapter 7 bankruptcy a debtor may have an opportunity to redeem some personal property. Redemption is not reaffirmation; but is similar in that the debtor gets to keep secured property in bankruptcy.
Let’s take a closer look at redemption in Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
What Is Redemption?
Redemption is when a bankruptcy debtor pays off the secured portion of a loan so that they can not only reduce their monthly debt payments but they can also reduce the loan balance and keep the property. When a debtor redeems personal property in bankruptcy, they are NOT reaffirming the debt. They are only paying off the secured portion of the debt. For example, if a bankruptcy debtor wanted to redeem a vehicle valued at $10,000 and it had a loan of $18,000 on it, they could use redemption. Using redemption, the bankruptcy debtor could pay the lender $10,000 cash and keep the property. Because the $18,000 loan is only secured up to $10,000, the remaining $8,000 balance would be treated as unsecured debt and might be discharged depending on the details of the bankruptcy case.
What Type Of Property Can Be Redeemed?
A bankruptcy debtor can redeem personal property only. This includes cars, household appliances and anything else used by the debtor and their household.  Real estate is not considered personal property so it cannot be redeemed in bankruptcy. But there are other ways to keep real estate when a mortgage is not fully secured by the property’s value. Business property is not eligible for redemption in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  For example, while a bankruptcy debtor could redeem a personal computer, they could not redeem a computer used primarily for business purposes.
How Can A Debtor Use Redemption?
A debtor can work with their bankruptcy attorney to redeem property or they can file a motion for redemption with the bankruptcy court. Some creditors are more open to redemption than others so the debtor will need to decide which route is the best one.   The bankruptcy debtor will also need cash or a loan to redeem some types of property.  For most debtors, coming up with thousands of dollars to redeem personal property is difficult.  But if the debtor plans carefully, they can redeem their most important assets in bankruptcy without causing additional financial distress.
What Are Alternatives To Redemption?
Redemption is just one way to keep personal property; there is also reaffirmation and the voluntary surrender of property. Each bankruptcy debtor must decide if it is worth it to keep property when weighing their options.  With redemption you free yourself from future debt payments if you can pay with cash, while reaffirmation obligates you to post-bankruptcy debt that might otherwise be discharged.
What Is The Process Of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

  1. After the debtor delivers all requested paperwork to his/her bankruptcy attorney, the bankruptcy petition is filed with the bankruptcy court.  The bankruptcy petition is generally 45 to 50 pages long but may be shorter if we are filing an “emergency bankruptcy” which is used when you need bankruptcy fast to stop an imminent foreclosure, wage garnishment etc. Eventually all paperwork must be fully completed.
  2. Once the bankruptcy petition arrives, the bankruptcy trustee will review the petition. If there are errors or mistakes, the bankruptcy case could be dismissed. Errors could include failing to take the debtor’s course or misstating your income or expenses, among other things. This is why it is important to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney for your filing.
  3. Once your paperwork has been processed, the bankruptcy court will send each creditor a bankruptcy notice.  Remember, you must list all creditors on your petition. Everyone must be included in the bankruptcy. All creditors will be notified of your bankruptcy filing.
  4. After about 30 days, a “meeting of creditors” appointment is made. What this means is that you will meet with your creditors, the bankruptcy trustee and bankruptcy attorney to discuss your case. Don’t worry, it is not an interrogation.
  5. If you have no assets that can be liquidated to repay creditors and no creditor has challenged your bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee will discharge all dischargeable debts and your case will be closed/discharged.

If you have no assets and no creditors contest your bankruptcy, your bankruptcy case will probably be discharged in about 60 days.  On the other hand, if you have assets and/or a creditor contests the case, the bankruptcy case could last for over 90 days.
Call for a free bankruptcy consultation today.
The Trustee Review Process In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The Trustee Review Process In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Trustee Review Process In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are overseen by a trustee who is responsible for examining and liquidating assets to pay creditors.  It’s important for the bankruptcy debtor to understand exactly how this process works so that they can do thing that will make the process go smoother.
Let’s take a closer look at the bankruptcy trustee review process:
Petition Review
The bankruptcy trustee will review the bankruptcy petition.  They will make sure that it is done correctly and look at the assets and liabilities listed.  It’s up to the debtor to make sure they have listed all of their assets and debts on their bankruptcy petition and that the forms are correct. If there are any obvious errors, the case may be dismissed.
Meeting Of Creditors
At the meeting of creditors the bankruptcy trustee will once again examine the bankruptcy petition and confirm with information with the debtor.  If the debtor has made a mistake, forgotten to include information or needs to make a change, they can mention it at this meeting. However, it may be better to mention changes and errors to the bankruptcy attorney before attending the meeting of creditors so that changes can be made quickly. It’s important to note that the meeting of creditors is usually a quick process, only taking a few minutes.
Examination Of Exemptions
The bankruptcy trustee will examine the assets of the case and determine the amount of non-exempt property.  If there is no non-exempt property in the bankruptcy case, the trustee will file a “Notice of No Assets” and discharge the case.  However, creditors and the trustee can challenge bankruptcy exemptions.  For example, if a debtor claims a vehicle as exempt and the trustee doesn’t agree, the trustee can challenge the exemption.
If there are assets which are non-exempt, the bankruptcy trustee can liquidate the property and pay creditors.  But before creditors are paid, the trustee deducts his/her administrative fees from the sales proceeds.  Sometimes after doing calculations, the bankruptcy trustee concludes that the property is not valuable enough to warrant liquidating it.  In this case the trustee will abandon the property and return it to the bankruptcy debtor.
It’s important to note that pro se debtors sometimes overlook valuable bankruptcy exemptions.  The bankruptcy trustee will not educate the debtor about overlooked bankruptcy exemption.
Unlisted Hidden Assets
Sometimes the bankruptcy trustee will discover unlisted assets.  When this happens the debtor is compelled to turn the property over to the bankruptcy trustee. Sometimes failure to list assets happens because of an innocent oversight or because a bankruptcy debtor received assets post-petition.  For certain assets such as a lawsuit settlement, the debtor must list it if they were involved in a lawsuit prior to filing bankruptcy or if they knew there could be a possible settlement.
What Happens When You Can Not Afford Filing Fees for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

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What Happens When You Can’t Afford Filing Fees for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
One reason why many debtors may not have started the filing process for
Chapter 7 bankruptcy
is their inability to pay filing fees. It is possible you may be able
to have them waived if you meet necessary qualifications for your state.
For instance, if you want to file for protection in Texas, your household
size and monthly income may need to be below the poverty level set by
the state. In this case, it needs to be below 150 percent of the poverty line.
Depending on household size (meaning how many people live in your household)
and the amount of monthly incomes the household receives, you may be eligible.
The debtor may also need to prove they will not be able to make payments
in installments. To get permission to waive filing fees a motion is filed
with the court when your petition is filed.
If the motion is filed and it gets rejected, the debtor will need to make
payments in installments. In the state of Texas the debtor may be granted
4 installment payments. Each payment is spaced out during the duration
of the filing. If the debtor does not make payments accordingly their
case could be dismissed without debts being discharged.
Debtors who feel they may qualify for filing fees to be waived should discuss
their personal circumstances with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
It is possible to work out an arrangement that can help you pay fees in
a timely manner.
Reference:
http://www.txbankruptcyblog.com/2014/02/articles/debt-relief/filing-a-fee-waiver-in-a-chapter-7-case/
Potential Dangers of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on Your Own – Bankruptcy Attorney

Debtors exploring the option of filing
Chapter 7 bankruptcy on their own without an attorney, (pro se) may be in for a few surprises
if they do not know what they are getting themselves into. While it is
true you have the option to file on your own, it is often not advised
for debtors to do so for several reasons. The bankruptcy code is filed
with complex rules and regulations an experienced bankruptcy attorney
practices and exercises on a regular basis. Plus, many debtors who try
to file on their own turn out unsuccessful in the end.
There are a number of pitfalls debtors have come across in the case of
representing themselves in bankruptcy court.
The following points detail a few common problems:

  • Debtors often choose to file bankruptcy but it turns out to be the wrong chapter. This may happen when the debtor didn’t take time to review their options
    in full detail, or they didn’t realize there are multiple bankruptcy
    chapters with different purposes. Sometimes filing the wrong chapter could
    lead the debtor into losing their property or not being granted discharge of debts.
  • Paperwork related to the filing is either inaccurate, missing documents,
    or not filed out correctly.
    You may have an idea of which chapter you want to file, but the petition,
    schedules, and related documentation need to be completed in its entirety
    before the court will consider reviewing them. If you are missing documents
    your case could be dismissed before it gets reviewed.
  • Failing to understand property exemptions. Such
    exemptions help you retain and protect assets and personal property, but they work
    differently depending on which chapter you file, and vary at state and
    federal levels. You must also list property values accurately or you stand
    to lose them.
  • Credit counseling and financial management: failing to understand their
    differences.
    Each is different from the other while they are both required in either
    bankruptcy chapter you decide to file. Debt may not be granted discharge
    if each course isn’t completed.

Why You Need an Attorney When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Dallas, TexasIt can be tempting to seek a bankruptcy without an attorney to avoid legal fees. But you may end up with unnecessary stress and spending an excessive amount of time on your case if you go it alone. If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. With extensive experience in helping clients navigate the bankruptcy system, Allmand Law can help you. Call us today at 214-884-4020.
Making Sure You File the Right Chapter 7 Legal Documents
Filing Chapter 7 requires a lot of paperwork. If the legal documents are not drafted precisely and completed accurately, your case may not be accepted or it may be dismissed. Many debtors who represent themselves fail to complete all of the necessary paperwork and end up spending an excessive amount of time revising documents that they do file.
Although the court clerk, whom you file paperwork with, can help you find document templates online, they cannot give you legal advice. They also cannot fill out paperwork for you. To make sure your filing is complete, you should consult with a bankruptcy lawyer.
Making Sure You Protect Your Property
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation of debt, allowing you to completely get rid of most of what you owe. However, it also requires that you sell or forfeit some of your assets to pay for debt. A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can help you protect some of your property, such as your house or car, when filing Chapter 7. If you attempt to file alone, you may end up losing valuable property, such as family heirlooms.
Attending Your Hearings With You, or Even for You
When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must attend several hearings. In many cases, your attorney can attend these for you. However, you will have to attend a meeting of creditors along with your attorney. If you attempt to file Chapter 7 alone, you may face creditors by yourself and answer questions from the bankruptcy trustee without knowledge of the law. An attorney can help when filing Chapter 7. You should be thoroughly prepared for questions about your debts, income, spending, and assets.
Facing Adversary Actions With You
When dealing with creditors after filing Chapter 7, you may have to face adversary actions. These may challenge the dischargeability of your debt or accuse you of fraud. It’s important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side at the meeting of creditors and other hearings to face any adversary actions that are filed. Otherwise, you may not be able to discharge all of your debt, or you may be unable to defend yourself against accusations of dishonesty.
Meeting Deadlines When Filing Chapter 7
All legal procedures involve strict deadlines and timelines. You must establish residency within your bankruptcy district prior to filing, you must present proof of debt within a certain amount of time, and you must file legal documents in certain time restrictions. Statements of current income and a Means Test must be completed on time. It’s important to comply with all court deadlines and understand how bankruptcy timelines impact your case.
A Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Pitfalls When Filing Chapter 7
Financial difficulty can be embarrassing, but you shouldn’t try to handle the situation alone. A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can help you navigate the system and manage your finances in a discrete manner. If you are considering filing Chapter 7, contact Allmand Law at 214-884-4020.
Making It through Meeting of the Creditors in the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Making It through Meeting of the Creditors in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
An important meeting during
Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings includes the 341 meeting, also known as meeting of creditors
or trustee’s meeting. As long as you provide honest and accurate details
about your finances you should be fine. Some debtors are known to get
nervous about the meeting, but having experienced legal representation
can help you get a general idea of what to expect. The good news is the
process may not be as difficult as you think, yet there are a few things
you can do to help make things easier.

  • Your attorney will be with you during the meeting. You may not actually face a judge but more likely meet with the U.S.
    Trustee who ensures both the debtor and the creditor have a fair opportunity.
  • Try to relax, be courteous and calm when answering questions. Take time to listen to what is being asked before answering. Keep this
    in mind since most questions asked to debtors are similar in nature, but
    they may be adjusted somewhat to accustom your situation.
  • Try to avoid providing unnecessary information that is not asked. In short, avoid rambling; just answer questions to the best of your knowledge
    without providing a long extended answer. Some people who are nervous
    may feel they need to provide additional information to justify their
    answer when it may have you looking guilty.
  • Just tell the truth; plain and simple. Your testimony is recorded under oath. If you provide false information,
    incomplete information, or are dishonest about your situation, this may
    lead to bankruptcy fraud charges.

Reference:
http://www.txbankruptcyblog.com/2013/10/articles/chapter-7-bankruptcy/answering-chapter-7-trustee-questions-at-the-341-meeting/
Contact a bankruptcy lawyer.
What You Should Know about Meeting of Creditors in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

What You Should Know about Meeting of Creditors in Chapter 7 BankruptcyIn Chapter 7 bankruptcy , a meeting of creditors takes place with attendance being mandatory for the debtor.  It’s a small hearing that allows creditors to get information about finances of the debtor.  The meeting may also be referred to as the 341 hearing.
The meeting of creditors allows the bankruptcy trustee and creditors to review your financial situation while asking questions about your filing.  The meeting also verifies information presented in your bankruptcy petition.  Debtors should keep in mind you are under oath when asked questions about your situation; they should be answered to the best of your knowledge.  Questions asked help determine the accuracy of your petition.
In most cases, a judge may not be present unless debt is being reaffirmed or a discharge is being challenged.  The meeting will be conducted by your bankruptcy trustee.  Creditors listed in your bankruptcy documents are invited to attend, but many often chose not to since the meetings are on a limited timetable.  In some cases, a creditor may be present if they suspect fraud or the debtor is hiding assets.
The meeting is about an hour and the trustee appointed to your case will examine you under oath.  This process is quite simple since it is verifying information filed with the court (your bankruptcy petition).  You may also be questioned about any assets you may have.  During this time creditors in attendance may ask questions.  In most cases, the bankruptcy trustee will conclude the hearing if no additional information is needed; getting you another step closer to obtaining your discharge upon meeting necessary requirements.
http://www.nolo.com
Call our bankruptcy attorney today.
5 Frequently Asked Questions about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Understanding Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you make an informed decision about whether filing is the best option for your situation.  Getting answers to questions you may have about the process can be an important factor in choosing how to move forward with your finances.  It’s an opportunity to learn the facts while clearing up misconceptions about how the process works.  While the following questions may help shed light on basic details, talking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney should help you learn other aspects about the process.

  1. What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?  Chapter 7 helps eliminate or wipe out debt, giving debtors a fresh start.  Most who file this chapter are able to keep personal property through exemptions.  The process can also help debtors liquidate assets to repay creditors.
  2. Is it true it’s harder to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?  In 2005 revisions were made to bankruptcy laws in an effort to improve the process for both debtors and creditors. While the criteria for eligibility include different factors, debtors can easily learn if they qualify by reviewing their situations with a bankruptcy expert.
  3. Can the process wipe out all of my debt? Most types of unsecured debt can be eliminated, yet certain debts such as back child support, student loans and certain income tax debt are not eligible for discharge.
  4. Can I keep my house in Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Most debtors can keep their home including equity through state and federal exemptions.
  5. Do I have to give up personal property to pay creditors if I don’t own a home? In Chapter 7 there are a number of exemptions that keep property such as jewelry, retirement funds, and household goods from creditors. In many cases debtors keep their personal property due to the vast amount of exemptions available.

Reference:  http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/chapter-7-bankruptcy-faq-32407.html
Call to speak to bankruptcy consultation
Most Common Questions About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Common Questions About Chapter 7 BankruptcyChapter 7 bankruptcy may be the most common chapter filed but it is common to have questions about the process if it is being considered as a solution to help handle overwhelming debt. Discussing questions and concerns with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer can help determine if the process if right for you.
Common Questions About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The following questions are often asked by consumers considering Chapter 7:
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
It is a personal bankruptcy that allows consumers to eliminate or discharge qualifying debt.  It’s often filed by those with little or no assets.  Also known as liquidation, consumers with non-exempt assets can use the proceeds to pay off creditors.
What is Considered a Non-Exempt Asset?
When you file bankruptcy there are exemptions in place that allow you to keep certain assets, meaning they are off limits for creditors to seize as a form of payment. Each state has specific exemptions for Chapter 7 that allow consumers to keep their home, vehicle and other personal belongings.
What is the Means Test?
The means test helps in determining whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7. The test basically reviews your financial situation including income and family size. The information helps understand what you pay in monthly expenses, what disposable income you have available (funds remaining after paying necessary expenses) and likelihood of your income meeting or exceeding the median amount for your state. If you exceed the median amount, you may qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy .
What Debt is Eligible for Discharge in Chapter 7?
Unsecured debt such as credit card debt and medical bills; unsecured debt doesn’t have property attached to it. There are different types that qualify for discharge but certain debts such as student loans, alimony and child support are non-dischargeable.
Why is it Recommended to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney?
While you have the option to file independently, the bankruptcy code is complex for someone unfamiliar with the system. Retaining legal counsel ensures bankruptcy laws are followed accordingly and reduces the chance of getting your case dismissed without discharging debt.
Considering Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Let us See if Bankruptcy is Right For You
If you are considering chapter 7 bankruptcy but you are not sure if it is right for you, let us know. You can call us or fill out our contact form to set up a free consultation. We are always here to help.
The Five Biggest Myths About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The Five Biggest Myths About Chapter 7 BankruptcyIt seems like everyone has an opinion about Chapter 7 bankruptcy – and they’re all too willing to share it with you.  From gut-wrenching assertions that you’ll lose your house to fear-inducing statements about the black mark it will leave on your credit score forever, there’s no denying that these opinions create an aura of fear, uncertainty and stress regarding filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Fortunately, many of these negative opinions are blatant myths – and if you’re buying into them, they could be costing you the opportunity to get the debt relief you need.
Five biggest myths about Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
You’ll Lose Your Home/Car. This is perhaps one of the biggest myths about Chapter 7 bankruptcy – and nothing could be further from the truth. Under new bankruptcy laws, you can keep your house (and potentially your car) if it’s only worth a certain amount (this limit is pretty generous).  If you own a significant house, it might be worth your while to look into a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy to keep more assets.
Your Retirement Funds Will Be Cleaned Out. Certain retirement assets are exempt from being used to pay off debts, including your 401(k) plan and any IRAs. However, there is one exception to this rule: if you have recently taken out money from your retirement funds in an attempt to pay off your debts, the bankruptcy courts can use these funds to meet your creditors’ demands.
Your Credit Will Never Recover. After filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (or any type, for that matter), the bankruptcy will fall off your credit report after seven to ten years. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to get a loan – in fact, you’ll find that credit card companies and alternative lenders are more than willing to work with you after a couple of years of financial responsibility.
You Have to Qualify to File. Prior to the 2005 bankruptcy law changes, it was much harder to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, thanks to a means test that involves income and liability limitations, it’s much easier for individuals to have their petitions approved by the bankruptcy courts.
You Can Only File Once. While it’s true that bankruptcy laws have limited the amount of times you can file; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t file more than once. A new Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition can be filed for a minimum of eight years after your last Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Don’t let the five biggest myths about Chapter 7 bankruptcy prevent you from getting the relief you need.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Misconceptions

Many consumers and small business owners who consider
Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection are confused about the process due to many misconceptions or
false information. While bankruptcy laws were updated in 2005, there still
seems to be a considerable amount of misunderstandings about who can file
and whether it damages your reputation. One of the most effective ways
in debunking such myths includes getting advice from a bankruptcy expert.
Misconceptions about bankruptcy:

  • Bankruptcy will keep me from being approved for credit. This is false. You can apply for credit and many lenders will be willing
    to work with you. People have successfully obtained credit for a home,
    vehicle, credit card and more within weeks or months of their bankruptcy
    case being completed.
  • You can choose which creditors to list on your petition when you file. This is false. Bankruptcy is designed to treat everyone fairly who is
    included in the process, including debtors and creditors. If you are not
    being honest about who you owe this may be considered a form of fraud.
  • If Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed you will lose your home. In most cases this is false. Each state has homestead exemptions that
    can help you protect your home, including equity.
  • Tax debt cannot be discharged. If your debt meets requirements it is possible to have it eliminated,
    under specific circumstances.
  • If you are unemployed you cannot file for bankruptcy. This is false. There are qualifications you need to meet in order to file,
    but if you are unemployed you may still meet such requirements to file
    a petition. There is legal assistance available for those who are unable
    to pay filing fees.
  • Bankruptcy will get your fired by your employer or make it harder to get hired. Most employers are not concerned about your bankruptcy filing and they
    should not treat you any different if you file.

What Is the Role of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy TrusteeThe court appoints a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee to preside over every Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The trustee is not entirely a neutral party. Although appointed by the court, the trustee works on behalf of the creditors. This means going through your paperwork to see that everything is in order, reversing recent transactions that may be invalid in the context of a bankruptcy, and liquidating property that can be liquidated for the purpose of repaying your creditors.
To learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how an experienced bankruptcy attorney can protect your interests, contact Allmand Law Firm PLLC today.
How Is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Paid?
The court allots the trustee a small fee for examining your finances and other paperwork. The trustee also makes a percentage of any assets he can find to liquidate. This includes property that was sold or transferred prior to the bankruptcy. In this manner, the trustee has considerable incentive to represent the creditor’s interests. The trustee’s interests are aligned with the creditor’s and not the debtor’s.
Reviewing the Bankruptcy Petition
When you file for bankruptcy, the Chapter 7 trustee goes over your paperwork with a fine tooth comb. They will request that you back up any claims you make with pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and a list of all your assets expenses. They will also need to know which debts you are hoping to have discharged.
The trustee’s job is to verify your claims. If there is something suspicious, like a recent transaction of a prized personal asset to a loved one for little or no money, you can expect them to inquire about that transaction.
Investigating the Debtor
After your case is filed, you are required to attend the 341 meeting of creditors. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee presides over the meeting. When your paperwork is in order, this meeting generally does not last very long. Creditors can ask you questions during these meetings if they believe you are hiding assets. Generally speaking, they do not show up. The trustee asks you pertinent questions about your paperwork, and the meeting is generally over in 30 minutes.
Finding Assets to Liquidate
In addition to reviewing your paperwork and investigating you, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee goes through your assets and liquidates anything assets that he can find. This money is then given to your creditors and the trustee takes a percentage of that money.
Chapter 7, however, allows you to exempt or protect certain property. The trustee must work around those exemptions in order to find property to liquidate. Common exemptions include home and car equity. In addition, many states, including Texas, allow a wildcard exemption.
In Texas, filers have a choice between Texas exemptions and federal protections, but they cannot choose both nor mix and match.
The majority of cases are “no asset” cases meaning the trustee finds nothing to liquidate. In certain cases, a trustee can dispute the “exemptability” of a particular asset. If they do, then the bankruptcy judge has the final say over whether the debtor can exempt the asset.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Lawyer Manage Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy attorneys are in the business of helping debtors discharge their debts. We help folks with the filing, preparing the paperwork, and exempting their most important assets. While it’s entirely possible for a savvy individual to file for bankruptcy on their own, when the debtor files for bankruptcy, they are not directly dealing with anyone whose interests overlap with their own. In fact, unless there is a dispute, a debtor will not even be dealing directly with a neutral party.
Bankruptcy attorneys streamline the process, ensure that all your paperwork is in order, and can advise you on how to protect your assets from liquidation.
Bankruptcy Law Is Complicated
Again, while there’s nothing stopping a savvy individual from filing their own bankruptcy, the law regarding bankruptcies is complex. What you save in money, you lose in time. A bankruptcy attorney can help streamline the process for those filing under Chapter 7.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney Today
The Dallas bankruptcy attorneys at Allmand Law PLLC can help you throughout the bankruptcy process. Contact us today. We can represent your interests against the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and your creditors.

The post What Happens After Filing Chapter 7 appeared first on Allmand Law.



2 weeks 13 hours ago

Deadlines in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Deadlines in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
What are the Deadlines for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Like all things legal, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy has deadlines that signify important milestones in your case. The following deadlines are ones you want to take particular note of because they’re very important.
10 Days after the 341 Meeting
Ten days after your 341 meeting with the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors you will receive a notice regarding the Means Test. This notice will tell you whether you’ve passed or failed. If you’ve failed the Means Test the trustee will file a statement to dismiss your case within 30 days.
30 Days after the 341 Meeting
If there are  no objections to your exemptions within 30 days after  your 341 meeting then typically your assets are safe. If any amendments were filed the 30 day clock starts from the day refilled.
60 Days after the 341 Meeting
Sixty days after your 341 meeting your creditors can no longer claim that certain debts shouldn’t be discharged. If they miss this deadline then they have no recourse and those debts will be wiped out with the bankruptcy. Also within that 60 day time period if anyone believes there was misconduct and wants to refute the discharge entirely they need to bring it to the courts attention.
Once these deadlines have passed you can assume that you’ve completed your paperwork properly and that no one is disputing any of your claims. The bankruptcy should then proceed smoothly.

Should My Business File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

File BankruptcyWhile individual debtors have the right to file Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, corporations and LLC’s only have the right to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  While we often hear of companies filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, we don’t often get to see the inner workings of a corporate Chapter 7 bankruptcy aka liquidation.  But many business owners often consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy because they believe it may be easier or more suited for their business especially if they don’t plan to continue operating that business.
Reasons why a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be beneficial to some businesses:

  1. The business considering bankruptcy has some assets and they also owe taxes, such as trust fund taxes–withholding taxes or sales taxes.  Oftentimes if taxes are not paid by a business, the tax authority will go after the individual owners of the business.  If a business files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, once their assets are liquidated, the taxing authorities will receive priority payment reducing the individual business owners’ liability for the debt.
  2. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can decrease the chances that individual business owners will be sued by creditor. And since the bankruptcy trustee will oversee and approve/disapprove of distributions to the creditors, there is the increased chance that creditors will feel that they’ve received equitable treatment during the bankruptcy.
  3. If a debtor has many creditors and does not intend to continue operating their business, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best decision.  One of the drawbacks of having a lot of creditors is that someone is bound to feel that they did not receive their fair share.  But as we have mentioned above, having a third party (bankruptcy trustee) make the final decision on how creditors will be paid decreases the chance that creditors will become litigious after the bankruptcy is closed.

Four Reasons Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Be Right For You

Bankruptcy Can Help

  1. If you are low or no-asset debtor, it is unlikely that you will need to pay any money to your creditors or be required to liquidate any of your assets.  Because of the bankruptcy codes’ generous exemptions system, many Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors are able to protect all of their assets from seizure during bankruptcy. Because of bankruptcy exemptions, most Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors are able to protect their home from foreclosure by filing bankruptcy. But it should be noted that if a debtor keeps their home in bankruptcy, they will be required to continue to pay their mortgage.
  2. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually a quick 90 t o 100 day process. When a debtor does not file bankruptcy, creditors can pursue that debtor for years, file lawsuits, garnish wages and even seize bank accounts with a court order.  But once a debtor files bankruptcy they are approximately 3 months away from being debt free and on the road to a new financial start.
  3. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stop creditor harassment and collection actions immediately.  Once a debtor files Chapter 7 bankruptcy an automatic stay is put into effect prohibiting all creditors from attempting to collect on any debt owed by the bankruptcy filer.  This makes bankruptcy very effective in stopping foreclosure, lawsuits and even wage garnishments . If a creditor attempts to collect on a debtor who has filed bankruptcy, they may face sanctions.
  4. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a lot less stressful than handling scores of creditor calls, letters and lawsuits.  Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors are only required to attend a 5 to 10 minute meeting with the bankruptcy trustee which is called the “meeting of creditors.”

Speak to a bankruptcy lawyer today.

Filing a Joint Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition
Filing a Joint Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition
Married couples that face mounting debt can file for joint bankruptcy together for the purpose of discharging the debts that they cannot pay. This is simply known as a joint bankruptcy or joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Determine Whether You Qualify for Joint Chapter 7
Allmand Law Firm, PLLC can help you and your family get a fresh start. If debt collectors are after you and it doesn’t seem like you’ll ever be able to pay off your debt, joint Chapter 7 is a powerful option available to help you start over again. Contact us today to discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Understanding the Joint Bankruptcy Option
When you and your spouse file for bankruptcy together, you file a single set of bankruptcy papers with the court. You disclose all property, debt, income, and expenses to the court. This information forms the basis of your petition.
The debts can be those owed by you and your spouse individually or debts owed by the two of you together. Any debt that you want to have discharged can be added. The benefit of this is that a single joint petition can discharge any debt that is allowed to be discharged by Chapter 7. There are, however, certain instances in which filing jointly may not make sense. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
One thing you want to bear in mind is that Chapter 7 discharges your debts by cannibalizing your assets. While some assets can be protected, others cannot. If one spouse files for bankruptcy, any property that they own or property that is owned jointly would be automatically protected. So there is a danger in filing jointly.
Federal and State Bankruptcy Exemptions
Texas allows you to choose whether or not you use state or federal exemption rules to protect your property in bankruptcy. Those who choose either can double the amount of personal property exemptions they claim by filing jointly — up to $100,000. In addition,
Texas offers a homestead exemption for any residence up to 10 acres in a city or 100 to 200 acres in the country, depending on whether or not you have a family. In addition, Texas allows you to exempt one motor vehicle per licensed family member.
Most families will probably choose Texas exemptions, but Texas doesn’t exempt the proceeds of lawsuit settlements even though federal lawsuits would.
A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine which option better suits your situation.
The Pros of Filing a Joint Bankruptcy

  • It’s cheaper. Filing for bankruptcy is expensive. It’s cheaper to file jointly than it is to file two separate bankruptcies and will save you money on both attorneys fees and filing fees.
  • It eliminates all dischargeable debts. Filing a joint bankruptcy discharges all debts owed by you and your spouse. If one spouse files for bankruptcy, they can only discharge debts owed in their own name.
  • It’s more efficient. Filing for bankruptcy is a tedious time-consuming process. When you file jointly you can economize and streamline the process by getting it all done at once.

The Cons of Filing a Joint Bankruptcy

  • You expose all of your assets. Any property that is considered valuable can be liquidated by the trustee during a joint Chapter 7. If one spouse owns a lot of property, that property could be up for grabs. It may, in certain cases, be better to expose the assets of only one spouse.
  • You owe too much priority debt. There are certain kinds of debt that cannot be discharged by Chapter 7. These include taxes, mortgages, or child support. If you file jointly, you must pay your debts in full through a joint Chapter 13. In most cases, the spouse that owes the debt is better off filing for bankruptcy themselves.

Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney for More Information
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if filing a joint Chapter 7 is in your family’s best interest. There are a number of factors that you need to consider. This includes what kind of debt you owe, what assets you have, and what assets you want to hang on to. For more information, contact Allmand Law Firm, PLLC bankruptcy attorneys today.
Filing For Divorce During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Proceeding

Filing For Divorce During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy ProceedingDebt and financial instability can impact all facets of your life, and
can play a role in adding stress to an already rocky relationship. As
such, it is not uncommon for financial turbulence to complicate a divorce
After all, married couples typically intertwine their finances and enter
into financial obligations they may not always be able to keep. Whatever
the situation may be, and whatever the reason behind a divorce, there
are a few unique issues and options to consider when bankruptcy and divorce coincide.
At Allmand Law Firm PLLC, our Dallas bankruptcy lawyers have helped individuals and families throughout the Dallas – Fort Worth area address all of their debt and financial concerns. Because these are personal matters,
we often work with spouses who are considering, initiating, or in the midst of a divorce. Because we provide comprehensive service to our clients, we always make it a point to openly discuss their questions and concerns
about how divorce can impact their bankruptcy, and what steps are most appropriate for them to take based on their unique circumstances.
When it comes to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation bankruptcy, the bankruptcy process can be completed in
a much shorter amount of time than in Chapter 13. Because Chapter 7 can be filed and completed in a matter of months, it is important to consider the benefits of delaying a divorce, filing jointly, getting a debt discharge, and then initiating the divorce process. Doing so can help both spouses obtain a financial fresh start as they begin their new lives.
Other important factors to consider:

  • Household income – Filing bankruptcy jointly while married can save money when it comes to filing fees and attorney fees. However, filing jointly will mean that your income is higher than if you filed independently. When your income exceeds the limits for qualifying for Chapter 7 (the median monthly income in Texas), it may prevent you and your spouse from filing for Chapter 7. Should this be the case, it may be wise to wait until after a divorce if it means qualifying for Chapter 7.
  • Property and assets – Because married couples have community property and assets, it is important to consider how they will be protected if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed jointly before a divorce. In some cases, spouses may be able to benefit from double exemptions, and this option can be evaluated for its benefits in your particular situation.
  • Your relationship – Divorce is a personal decision between two people, and it will have the greatest impact on your decision making process. If spouses can communicate effectively and weigh their options for filing jointly after the bankruptcy process has been completed, they may benefit from the debt discharge and other factors. However, rocky relationships could make things complicated, especially if one spouse is hostile and refuses to cooperate. Understanding the nature of your relationship and how it may affect the process is critical to helping you make a decision about whether or not you should wait to file divorce.
  • Divorce during bankruptcy – A joint bankruptcy, which can only be filed by spouses, is two bankruptcy filings merged into one. If the bankruptcy process has already been initiated and a married couple chooses to divorce, they do have the option of separating their cases. This can be done by filing a motion to “deconsolidate” the bankruptcy, which will allow each partner to make independent decisions about the course of their case. Still, deconsolidating a divorce may not always be the best option, which is why it is important
    to consult a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.

All relationships are unique, and every financial situation is different. Because of this, it is essential to personally evaluate your situation, available options, and how they may benefit you and your spouse should you choose to wait to file a divorce until after bankruptcy, or initiate a divorce before or during the process. Our attorneys at Allmand Law Firm, PLLC can work closely with you and your spouse to evaluate all of your available options with your unique situation, needs, and goals in mind. We can then provide the insight and counsel you need to make an informed
decision, and deliver the support and representation to guide you swiftly and successfully through your bankruptcy journey.
To discuss your situation personally with a member of our legal team, do not hesitate to request a FREE financial empowerment session. Contact us today to get started.
Which Assets Become Part Of Bankruptcy Estate After Chapter 7 Conversion?

Which Assets Become Part Of Bankruptcy Estate After Chapter 7 Conversion? Your Assets After a Converted Bankruptcy
One of the most common conversions that occurs in bankruptcy is the conversion of Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases to Chapter 7 bankruptcy . But what happens to assets when the conversion takes place?
Let’s take a look at what the bankruptcy code says:

  1. Except as provided in paragraph
  2. when a case under chapter 13 of this title is converted to a case under another chapter under this title- (A) property of the estate in the converted case shall consist of property of the estate, as of the date of filing of the petition, that remains in the possession of or is under the control of the debtor on the date of conversion;

What Does This Mean?
Generally speaking, only the property that was part of the original Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing will become part of the new Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. But this does not include property that has paid for via Chapter 13 bankruptcy or property that simply does not exist because it was sold, was destroyed or donated. Also, the new Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not include property that was acquired after the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case was filed. For example, if you were in Chapter 13 bankruptcy for 2 years and purchased a new car in that time, the new car would not become part of the new Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. However, there are some exceptions….
(2) If the debtor converts a case under chapter 13 of this title to a case under another chapter under this title in bad faith, the property of the estate in the converted case shall consist of the property of the estate as of the date of conversion.
An example of bad faith would be if the debtor received an inheritance that was large enough to repay his/her creditors in full but instead the debtor decided to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case the inheritance money would become part of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and would be used to repay creditors.
Converting Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Into Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

 Lawyer and client converting a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Into Chapter 13 BankruptcyIf you’re in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and behind on your car payments and home mortgage you could face a vehicle repossession and foreclosure. For those Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors facing vehicle repossession and/or foreclosure converting their Chapter 7 bankruptcy into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the right choice.
Changing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Into Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Here’s what you need to know:

  1. It is a lot easier to convert a Chapter 7 bankruptcy into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy than the other way around. However, you will still need to convince the bankruptcy trustee that the conversion is not being done in bad faith. You may not be granted a conversion if you converted in the past.
  2. To receive approval for a conversion from Chapter 7 bankruptcy to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to have a very good reason to convert. Most likely if you’re facing a vehicle repossession or foreclosure that may be reason enough.
  3. You must be able to afford the Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments.  If it is obvious that you cannot afford Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you won’t be granted the conversion.
  4. Once your Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 bankruptcy conversion is approved you will need to have another meeting of the creditors and some of your debts may be treated differently. For example, if you have credit card debt, you may be required to repay some or all of those debts in your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  5. And finally, once your bankruptcy conversion is approved you will be granted a brand new bankruptcy trustee who will then review and approve/disapprove your Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan.

The good news is that once you convert to Chapter 13 bankruptcy your creditors will not be able to move forward on any collections actions because of the automatic stay. If you have any more questions feel free to contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Allmand Law to schedule a free consultation.
Can I Convert My Chapter 13 To Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to repay all or part of their debts over a 3 to 5 year period of time.  However, some debtors who have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy may find themselves facing new financial difficulties at some point during the repayment period that prevents them from making agreed upon payments.  This reason alone has been major factor is scaring off some debtors from filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  However, while that fear is understandable, it is unnecessary since bankruptcy law states that a debtor may convert their Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy at any point during their repayment plan.  Below are a few reasons why you may want to convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  1. Your financial situation has changed significantly. Maybe you suffered a job loss that prevents you from making payments to the bankruptcy trustee.  If so, converting to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a simple and of course logical decision.
  2. You have suffered an illness that has created medical debt that you can’t pay.  Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy and converting to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of medical debt may be a smart choice.
  3. Your household size has changed.  Maybe you just had a child and the increased expenses make it impossible for you to continue your Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments. If this is the case speak with your bankruptcy attorney about how this will impact your ability to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  An increase in household size could place you below the median income for Texas.

It’s also important to note that if you decide to convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy any assets you acquired after filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be exempt from seizure.
Speak to our bankruptcy attorney today.
Good Faith vs. Bad Faith Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Conversion

Good Faith vs. Bad Faith Chapter 7 Bankruptcy ConversionMany debtors considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy worry about their ability to make bankruptcy plan payments if they lose their job or their income decreases for some reason during their course of their bankruptcy. But the bankruptcy code has already taken into account the possibility that a debtor may not be able to complete their Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan and will allow a debtor to convert their case to Chapter 7 bankruptcy under certain circumstances. What this means is that the debtor’s remaining debts will be discharged (if they are dischargeable under the bankruptcy code) and the debtor will be free of any obligation to repay that debt despite the fact that they initially filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  However, this is only the case if the debtor is converting to Chapter 7 bankruptcy in good faith and only if the debtor filed their Chapter 13 bankruptcy in good faith. What is a good faith bankruptcy and more specifically what is a bad faith bankruptcy?
2 examples of bad faith bankruptcy filings:

  • A bad faith bankruptcy would be a bankruptcy filing where the debtor hid assets.  For example, a debtor who filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy but hid the fact that they had cash income from a side business might be considered a bad faith bankruptcy filing.
  • A Chapter 7 bankruptcy conversion might be considered bad faith if a debtor has experienced positive change in their financial situation and now wants to convert their bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  For example, if a debtor found a significantly better paying job during their Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan and then tried to convert their case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that might be considered a bad faith Chapter 7 bankruptcy conversion.

 

The post When to File Bankruptcy Chapter 7 appeared first on Allmand Law.



2 weeks 13 hours ago

Dischargeable Debts in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

dischargeable debts - filing bankruptcy for credit card debtWhen it comes to Chapter 7 bankruptcy , the primary goal is to get most (if not all!) of your personal debts discharged. From the sky-high credit card bills to medical debts – and everything in between – discharging your biggest debts can give you the fresh start you need to start living a financially stable life.
However, it is important to note that not all of your debts will be dischargeable under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Additionally, you may find that more non-exempt property (such as second cars or houses) can be used to satisfy your debts in a Chapter 7 than in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy .
So what are dischargeable debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy – and what debts will be leftover once your bankruptcy case has been approved?
Let’s take a look:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Dischargeable Debts
Dischargeable debts will vary according to your state laws; however, using federal guidelines, these are the debts you can expect to discharge under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • Any business debts that were incurred under your tax ID or Social Security Number
  • Credit card debts
  • Medical debts
  • Mortgages (however, there is a significant risk you will lose your home if you discharge your mortgage debt)
  • Auto loans and leases (again, you run the risk of losing your car if you discharge your auto debt)
  • Any collections against you
  • And other personal debts

Now that you know the debts that can be discharged against you (including the risks they carry), here are debts that you will still have to deal with once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case has been approved.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Non-Dischargeable Debts
Under federal and state laws, these debts cannot be discharged under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • Child support and alimony (including any back support owed);
  • Student loans  (the only exception to this rule is if paying off the student loans will cause you significant financial hardship. This can be difficult to prove, so be sure to have an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney by your side for this fight);
  • Income taxes that are less than three years old;
  • And any court judgments against you that resulted from drunk driving (for example, if you injured or killed someone while driving intoxicated).

Find an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
Find an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help ensure that any and all potentially dischargeable debts are eliminated when you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Credit Card Fraud in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

How to Stop a Lawsuit From a CreditorWhile most credit card debt is dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are occasions when a judge may require a debtor to repay a lender.
The most common reason for judges to require repayment of credit card
debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy is if the debtor committed fraud. In other
words, if the judge determines that the debtor charged up a high balance on their card without any intention of paying it back.
Creditors who suspect fraud from an individual filing for bankruptcy can have the judge review the case for evidence of this accusation. One of the telltale signs is the incurring of large credit card charges after consulting with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, or finding that the individual’s bankruptcy fees and expenses were paid with a credit card. Judges will also look at credit transactions in the months leading up to the bankruptcy filing. Often, people mistakenly assume that since they are already going to file for bankruptcy, they can safely make huge purchases without worrying about having to pay them back. However, this too is considered fraudulent behaviour, which may result in the debt not being eligible for a discharge. If the judge finds that you made no attempts at repayment on purchases made just before a bankruptcy filing, you may end up still having to pay the debt, which defeats the entire purpose of a bankruptcy filing.
Fraud is a very serious matter when it comes to bankruptcy. To avoid having your Chapter 7 bankruptcy complicated or even denied due to fraud, it is best to avoid any use of your credit card once you begin considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is in your best interests to speak with a Dallas bankruptcy lawyer at Allmand Law Firm, PLLC about the bankruptcy process and how it can benefit you. We are here to guide you through the process and help you avoid any potential complications.
Call for a free consultation
Initial case evaluations are provided free of charge, so contact us today to take your first steps toward financial freedom.
Does All Unsecured Debt Qualify for Discharge in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Does All Unsecured Debt Qualify for Discharge in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common chapter filed because of its ability to wipe out unsecured debt. Filing Chapter 7 may help eliminate most types of unsecured debt but it often depends on the type of debt. Common debts that are wiped out in Chapter 7 include medical bills and credit card debt .
There are unsecured debts that are considered non-dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy; meaning they cannot be wipe out or eliminated. Non-dischargeable debt in Chapter 7 includes back child support, alimony or spousal support and student loan debt . Student loan debt is often difficult to discharge under specific circumstances. Child support and alimony are considered priority debts. Filing bankruptcy may help you discharge other unsecured debt in order for you to make support payments easier.
Tax debt is another unsecured debt that often doesn’t qualify for discharge in Chapter 7 unless certain requirements are met. For tax debt it has to be at least 3 years old, assessed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and all tax documents for years in question would have to be filed. If you have debt related to fraud, such as writing bad checks or providing false information on a credit application, it may not qualify for discharge under Chapter 7.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a powerful tool to help debtors gain control of their finances. It is important to review eligibility requirements and qualifications. Questions and concerns about outstanding debt obligations should be reviewed with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
http://www.nolo.com
Call to speak to our bankruptcy lawyer!
How is Credit Card Debt Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

How is Credit Card Debt Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows qualifying debt such as credit card debt to be discharged.  Once a discharge is granted the creditor can no longer pursue payment from the debtor.  In most cases, the debtor is not required to pay income tax on debt that has been discharged and the debt is no longer enforceable against you.
Credit card debt is an example of unsecured debt; signature loans and medical bills are also under this category.  Unsecured debt usually is not secured with property such as a home loan or vehicle loan.  So when the bankruptcy court grants a discharge of the debt, the creditor receives nothing in return.  When a discharge is being sought, it comes down to whether or not the debt was incurred honestly.  This ensures the debtor receives an honest fresh start that many often seek when this chapter is filed.
In some cases, the debtor may not receive a discharge if the debt wasn’t incurred honestly.  This could happen if you fail to report all credit card accounts or even continue using credit cards while filing your petition. If you go on spending sprees before filing and purchase luxury items or take out large cash advances from the card just prior to filing, the court may not grant a discharge.
Getting credit card debt discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often fairly simple.  As long as you are honest with your attorney about your finances and report all outstanding debt, this may make your case easier for the court to review.
Call our bankruptcy attorney today.
Can I Keep My Credit Card if I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Dischargeable debts
Most people look to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate credit card debt .  Some feel it may not be a good idea to keep your credit card especially if you plan on using it after your case is completed. The good news is it is possible to keep your credit card after filing bankruptcy.  Many like to have at least one credit card afterwards for emergencies or when certain times call for a credit card such as making reservations online. But, if overspending lead your finances to spiral out of control you may want to avoid credit card use after bankruptcy.
In order for you to keep the credit card you’ll need to reaffirm debt associated with it. This basically states you will pay what is owed on the card after reaching a deal with the credit card company. When you file bankruptcy and include credit card debt, you list all the credit cards you have. This is important because you may not be able to get debt discharged.  It is suggested that debtors review this decision carefully. If you reaffirm the debt on the card you will be responsible for making payments under a new agreement. The credit card company may decide if affirming the debt is an option. The credit card company may be willing to work with you in this situation and you may be able to negotiate a reduced amount depending on circumstances.
Reference:  http://www.thebankruptcysite.org/resources/bankruptcy/credit-card-debt/using-credit-cards-during-bankruptcy
Call for a free bankruptcy consultation.
Reaffirming A Debt In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy a debtor is allowed under certain circumstances to reaffirm a debt. What this means is that the debtor will be allowed to continue to pay a debt so that he/she can continue to keep property such as a house or a vehicle. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor who desires to reaffirm a debt must get the approval of the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy court will only allow a debtor to reaffirm a debt if the debtor can afford it and if doing so would be in the debtor’s best interests.
For example, a debtor who earned $3,000 a month but had $2,900 in monthly expenses would most likely not be allowed to reaffirm a debt that would cost him/her $200 a month because it would put the debtor $100 into the hole. On the other hand, if that same debtor wanted to reaffirm a debt that would cost him/her $50 a month, the bankruptcy court would most likely approve of the plan.
Most debtors use reaffirmation to keep their home or car during bankruptcy while discharging other unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills and personal loans. If you are considering reaffirming a debt during bankruptcy, discuss your options with your bankruptcy attorney before you file. The bankruptcy attorney will take a close look at your budget and let you know if you would likely qualify for a reaffirmation or not.
Contact our bankruptcy lawyer today.
Using Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to Discharge Business Debt

Many business owners are confused on whether a personal bankruptcy filing has the ability to wipe out business-related debt. In many cases, this is possible depending on the type of debt and whether you are indeed personally
liable for the debt. The way your business is structured may also affect your ability to obtain a discharge.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge common types of business debt similar to debt included in a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. These debts include medical bills, credit card bills, and judgments or lawsuits. Personal loans, promissory notes, obligations under contracts or lease agreements completed by a sole proprietor may qualify for discharge. Other unsecured debt obligations owed by a sole proprietor such as accountant, professional or supplier
fees may be included for elimination.
If you have secured debt (property that is considered collateral) and file bankruptcy they are handled differently. If the secured debt has a deficiency (meaning you owe more on the outstanding balance than what the collateral
is worth), the difference may qualify for a discharge. Keep in mind, the creditor can repossess the collateral if payments are in default.
The way your business is structured may help determine how business debt is discharged. If the debt is owed by the LLC (limited liability corporation) or corporation, the creditor may pursue the business for payment. In this
case, the debt may be handled differently. To learn whether your business debt can be discharged in bankruptcy, discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Reference:
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/business-debts-discharged-chapter-7-bankruptcy-32415.html

 

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2 weeks 13 hours ago

Fail the Bankruptcy Means Test and Still File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Fail the Means Test and Still File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Some people who fail the Means Test aren’t satisfied with the option of filing for a Chapter 13 . There is still a chance that you can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy but you’ll have to prove that you have a special circumstance that requires a review and is an exception to the rule or you’ll have to work around the Means Test.
Review the following with your bankruptcy attorney from Allmand Law to see if any one of these situations apply:

  • Timing is very important in a bankruptcy case. If for some reason the Means Test reviewed your finances when you had more income and now you have less (i.e. a job loss), then waiting a few months will give you a lower mean income and you may then pass the Means Test.
  • If you don’t have health insurance then getting it before you attempt the pass the Means Test is a good idea. Health insurance for you and your dependents can be deducted, because it is considered a necessity, and can lower your income and boost your expenses.
  • How many people live in your house? The Means Test looks at income based on how many people live in the same household, not just immediate family. You may or may not be able to use this to your advantage.
  • If you do file a Chapter 13, and your situation changes will you be able to convert it to a Chapter 7 at a later date?

Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney
Set up a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney to help you receive the most benefit from your bankruptcy so you can have a fresh start.
Do You Have to Pass the Means Test to File Chapter 7?
bankruptcy timeline, bankruptcy process, Dallas, Hurst, TexasBankruptcy involves a very thorough review of your financial situation. An icky but necessary process. Obviously you and your attorney need to examine your broken balance sheet in order to know what needs to be fixed and how to fix it. Part of that process will be determining whether or not you are qualified to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy through a means test.
Simply put, a means test is a standard measure of income and expenses, used to demonstrate a person’s anticipated ability or inability to repay their debt
Working with a qualified attorney, you and your spouse will need to complete Bankruptcy Form 22A “Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means-Test Calculation”. The form looks similar to a standard tax form, with specific questions pertaining to income. You will be asked to report income from all sources, including salary, wages, interest, rent and unemployment.
If your household income is less than the median family income for a family of your size in your state, then you qualify for Chapter 7. If your income exceeds the median income for your state, then you and your attorney will
need to review your household expenses to further investigate whether or not you are qualified to file Chapter 7.
To calculate your deductions from income, the court follows the Standards of the Internal Revenue Service. The national standards for food, clothing and other items as well as healthcare are combined with local standards
such as housing, utilities, transportation, taxes, payroll deductions, term life insurance, court-ordered payments, some education, childcare, healthcare, telecommunications, etc.
Your income and deductions are multiplied to show a five-year projection. If it appears that your income does not exceed your expenses by about $6500 (for a five year period), then you may file Chapter 7. If your income exceeds your expenses by more than $10,950 (over five years), then you may not file Chapter 7.
As you can see, it is really important that you review the details of the form with a qualified attorney. He or she will be able to help you remember where every penny you earn is spent. Your attorney will help you make sure you are exhausting your options so that you can make an informed decision about filing.
If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, don’t feel discouraged. It may be an indication that reorganizing your debt under Chapter 13 is a better option.
Call for a free bankruptcy consultation today
Do I Make Too Much Money To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 Means TestFor debtors considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, determining if their income level makes them eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves taking a “means test.” Typically, debtors who earn above the median income level for their family size must file Chapter 13 bankruptcy .
Median Income For Texas
The median income for Texas is:

  • One person: $38,545
  • Two people: $54,908
  • Three people: $57,053
  • Four people: $66,400

What this means is that if you are a single person or a one person household earning less than $38,545 your income qualifies you for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Or if you are a two person household, (example: parent/child) you would qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with less than $54,908 in income. If you earned more than the median income, even if it was just by $50 you may need to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
 For Special Cases
However, in some cases debtors who earn more than the median income are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they have other large expenses like a mortgage, car payment, medical bills , etc. It is important to go to a skilled bankruptcy attorney who can analyze your situation and make a recommendation on which chapters of bankruptcy your qualify for.
Have a Bankruptcy Related Question? Let us Know
If you would like to set up a free consultation with one of our bankruptcy attorneys feel free to contact us today.
How Do You Know If You Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates unsecured debt such as medical bills, credit card debt, and payday loans. In order to understand whether you qualify is by reviewing your eligibility factors. The most effective way to learn if you qualify includes discussing your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Meeting qualifications of the means test and providing proof of completion of credit counseling are a couple of factors to review. There are a number of requirements to meet in order to file and obtain a successful discharge
from debt. Yet, many people learn quickly they do qualify and meet such requirements.
Means Test
This reviews the situation of the debtor regarding assets, debt, household size, and monthly income. The test also gives some insight on possible eligible exemptions.
State income requirements
Each state has income guidelines for Chapter 7. Also known as the median income level for the state, if your income is below this amount you may qualify to file.
Complete credit counseling and debtor education courses
Credit counseling is required prior to filing bankruptcy and debtor education should be completed before debt gets discharged. These courses can be completed online or by phone and there are agencies approved by the court to provide each session.
If your income is considered too high you may qualify for a court-approved repayment plan in Chapter 13. When you file your petition proof of completion of credit counseling may be required. If debtor education is not completed before your case is closed, your debt may not be granted a discharge.
Are You A High Income Debtor? You May Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Are You A High Income Debtor? You May Qualify For Chapter 7 BankruptcyHigh income debtors who might otherwise not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may still be able to liquidate their debts if the majority of their debts are non-consumer debts.  In an effort to make sure that entrepreneurs felt free to take risks in business, the bankruptcy code was written in a way that high income individuals with mostly non-consumer debts incurred in the course of business would be able to discharge their debtors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy much like individual debtors with consumer debts. How do you know if your debt is a non-consumer debt?  Let’s take a look at some examples of what non-consumer debts may look like:

  • If you’re a high income debtor and have credit card debt incurred to buy equipment and supplies for your business, you may be able to discharge those debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example: If you purchased computers, printers and desks for your office on a credit card those debts may be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy even if you have a high income.  On the other hand, if you incurred debts on a credit card remodeling your personal residence because you wanted to resell it later at a higher price, that debt may not be dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you are a high income debtor who cannot pass the means test to qualify for a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • If you took out a personal loan and used that loan to purchase inventory for your business, even if you are a high income debtor you may be able to discharge that debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  On the other hand, if you took out a personal loan to pay your mortgage because you didn’t make any profits from your business for a few months, that debt might not be dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you are a high income debtor who cannot pass the means test to qualify for a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Remember, debtors who earn over a certain amount of income may not qualify for a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy; but if the vast majority of their debts are non-consumer debts, then they may be able to still file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Call now to speak to a bankruptcy lawyer!

 

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