Different Ways to File the Bankruptcy

A bankruptcy is the last option any businessman wants to take. They can cause a big dent on their credit rating and deeply ruin their reputation. But sometimes filing for bankruptcy is the only solution to get a person out of dire straits.

An important thing when looking for the right form is location. Make sure it is for the state and whatever locality that you are in. State laws vary widely, so it is especially important to find the form for the state you live in. It is worthless if it’s for the wrong state. Also, make sure that the form is official. Look for government seals, or compare it with the others, and it will be easy to see whether it is or not. Filing with an illegitimate form won’t do you much good.

There are various steps which you must follow when you want to file the bankruptcy. First, you have to fill out a bankruptcy form where you will provide your personal information and information on your finances, recent financial transactions, secured and unsecured debts, expenses, creditors, assets, and tax returns. This will serve as a petition. Upon filing, you will have to submit one original copy plus three other copies to your local United States bankruptcy court. You will keep one copy for yourself for reference. At this stage, you can ask the help of a bankruptcy lawyer to help you decide on what kind of bankruptcy you want to file. If you choose to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be required to pass a repayment plan of three to five years.

Research your options as it relates to filing. Some people choose to file without the aid of a lawyer. But it’s highly recommended to hire a lawyer. Your research should help you decide on a lawyer. In most cases, people who choose large firms to represent them will work with a paralegal and not the lawyer. Try to find a firm in which you have direct contact with your lawyer.

In filing a bankruptcy case, do not use your credit cards. If you do so with the intent to file, a creditor can challenge the discharge of the debt owed or even your right to discharge any debt. If you obtained the debt knowing that you could not repay it, you may not be able to discharge that debt if the creditor challenges it through a lawsuit, or adversary proceeding, in your bankruptcy case.

Immediately upon filing, there will be a provision to prevent creditors from contacting you or laying claim on your property for a month. After a month, the bankruptcy trustee will call for a meeting where you and your creditors will have to attend. This meeting is called the 341 meeting. This meeting usually lasts just five minutes. If both parties are not able to compromise and an objection is made, a judge will intervene. If a compromise is reached however, a notice from the court will be sent to you after four to six months discharging you from debts.

Steve Buchanan writes article on many topics including Bankruptcy advice and bankruptcy information.

Sub-prime Mortgage Crisis & Chapter 13 Filings

In recent months, the amount of foreclosures filed throughout the country has more than doubled from the same time period last year. The reasons for such high percentage of filings are numerous. Primarily, the sub-prime mortgages have landed in the hands of individuals who most likely did not qualify for convention financing. Thus, the interest rates on the loans remain higher than other conforming loans. Additionally, many of the sub-prime loan products involved adjustable rates (ARMS) which typically re-set within the first few years of the loans inception.

As sub-prime loans relate to Chapter 13, the typical scenario is as follows: The homeowner qualifies for the loan without a substantial down payment and without significant income documentation. The monthly payment is a stretch for the homeowner; however, it is temporarily manageable. Depending upon the type of ARM, the loan may reset in one, two or three years. It is at that point in time that the homeowner may not be able to make the new, higher mortgage payment. The homeowner is also unable to refinance the debt on the property since the type of loan products needed to accomplish that task no longer exists. Thus, the homeowner is in quite a tough situation. The current real estate market would make it nearly impossible for the homeowner to sell the property and pay off the mortgage. Chapter 13, known as the home saver case, would not be practicable in the case of adjusting ARMS.

The idea behind Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to allow a homeowner to catch-up on whatever mortgage arrears have arisen in addition to making the current mortgage payment on time. As rates adjust and loans reset, the homeowner simply cannot make the current mortgage payment, let alone a partial payment to catch-up. The situation is basically a doomsday for both the homeowner and the mortgage company. The homeowner was banking on the ability to make the payments and/or refinance the outstanding debt at a later date. The lack of real estate appreciation has led to the inability on the part of the homeowner to do just that.

What we are likely to see is a large number of homes on the market for sale. Many of the borrowers will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and not Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I believe that the market will take five to seven years to begin to show some signs of appreciation. It will be interesting to see if Congress amends the bankruptcy code to allow mortgage debts to be adjusted. If not permanently, then for a short time frame of three to five years.

David M. Siegel is the author of Chapter 7 Success: The Complete Guide to Surviving Personal Bankruptcy. He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and currently practices bankruptcy law in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Additional information is available at http://www.chapter7success.com .

Auto Repossessions and Bankruptcy

What happens to an auto that is repossessed before, during or after a bankruptcy case? The answer will depend upon which type of bankruptcy or which chapter rather, that the debtor has filed. It also depends upon whether or not the debtor wants to recover the vehicle or simply let the vehicle go. The basic rule is as follows; the debtor remains the beneficial owner of the vehicle until such time that the vehicle is sold at auction. What this means is, the debtor has the ability to recover that vehicle and negotiate with the lender prior to the auto being sold at auction. This assumes of course that the debtor has filed a bankruptcy and that the automatic stay has gone into effect.

One typical case that I often see is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing where the vehicle is repossessed pre-filing. In that case, the auto finance company is often willing to negotiate for the return of the vehicle in exchange for certain documentation. That documentation usually includes proof of auto insurance and listing the finance company as the loss payee. In addition, the auto finance company will likely want to see a copy of the proposed chapter 13 plan indicating that the secured creditor is listed at the proper dollar amount at the proper interest rate. If all of those items could be shown, the auto lender is very likely to return the vehicle to the debtor without the debtor having to file an adversarial complaint in the bankruptcy court to recover the vehicle.

In a Chapter 7 case, whether not the debtor can recover the vehicle has to do with whether or not the debtor is current on the payments and/or can become current. If the debtor is behind on a vehicle in a Chapter 7 and the vehicle is repossessed pre-petition, the lender will simply bring a motion to modify the automatic stay, which will allow that lender to be able to keep the vehicle from the debtor. The debtor always has the ability to come up with the past due amount and become current to recover the vehicle, prior to the vehicle being sold at auction. The most important question that the Chapter 7 debtor needs to ask himself, is can I get current on that vehicle to the point where I can reaffirm the debt on that vehicle, continue to make monthly payments on time going forward, and maintain ownership of the vehicle. If the answer to any of those questions is, no, it really makes sense to surrender that vehicle back to the lender, because eventually the lender is going to move to modify the stay and repossess the vehicle down the road.

Additionally, if the debtor agrees to reaffirm the debt, and that it is subsequently repossessed post-petition, the debtor may in fact be on the hook for the rest of the balance or a deficiency on that vehicle unless the reaffirmation agreement can be rescinded in time.

Most people do not like to give up their autos. There is a pride factor, there is a love of the auto factor there is a transportation factor. The reality is this, if you cannot afford that vehicle, let it go. Do not reaffirm, do not stretch to fight to save the vehicle that you don’t have the ability to pay going forward. Maybe your economic circumstances have not changed since the bankruptcy filing. Maybe you really didn’t have the ability to afford that vehicle before the case was filed. These are all factors that a debtor must consider before agreeing to reaffirm a debt either under Chapter 7 or fighting to get the vehicle back and repaying it over time through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

David M. Siegel is the author of Chapter 7 Success: The Complete Guide to Surviving Personal Bankruptcy. He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and currently practices bankruptcy law in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Additional information is available at http://www.bankruptcy-lawyers-sanantonio.com .

Locating Good Bankruptcy Lawyers

Bankruptcy sucks! Anyone that has gone through bankruptcy knows what a painful process it can be. The emotional strain can be very stressful to say the very least. And it is something that can happen to just about anyone. The sad thing is that most people think that bankruptcy only happens to other people. Life is unpredictable. So like a good boy scout, it always pays to prepare yourself with valuable information about bankruptcy just in case it might happen to you.

Start with the Beginning

At the starting point of this painful process, a person will run through a gamut of emotions, which includes confusion over the steps that lie ahead. Declaring bankruptcy basically means that you have no means of paying off your bills. The good news is, if there is such a thing, there are many good bankruptcy lawyers who can guide you through the process and at the same time, preserve your financial life and your credit as much as possible. A good bankruptcy lawyer should be able to walk you step by step through this process. And if they’d do their job right, they should be able to preserve your financial life and your credit as much as possible.

How to Find a Good Lawyer

The best way to find a good bankruptcy lawyer is to make sure that you’re dealing with a firm that specializes in bankruptcy. Check the Yellow Pages or go online and do a search for “bankruptcy lawyers”. Lawyers can specialize in many areas of law, so you have to make sure that the lawyer you pick has ample experience in the field of bankruptcy. As funny as this may sound, you have to find a lawyer that you can trust. Make sure you do some research before settling on a firm. Look for one that this open and forthcoming with information and that has a good payment plan that you can work with.

Good bankruptcy lawyers will offer you good counsel in the matters of your money and property. They should help you to preserve your asset base as best as possible and protect your financial health. Let’s face it; bankruptcy is a life-changing event in a person’s life. It can easily cause a person to lose confidence in themselves and in their abilities. However, that doesn’t mean that it is the end of your financial future or your life. A good bankruptcy lawyer should constantly remind you of this and at the same time guide you through the steps of your bankruptcy process.

Keep in mind that a good bankruptcy lawyer will fight for you and your interest in every way possible. The bankruptcy process usually involves a lot of paperwork that requires filling out and filing. This by itself can be a very daunting task. When you’re faced with this mountain of paperwork, it will help to know that you have good bankruptcy lawyers on your side to help you with this task and to ensure that it is done correctly.

Kerry Ng is a successful Webmaster and publisher of The Personal Bankruptcy Blog. For more great helpful information about Personal Bankruptcy visit Personal Bankruptcy Tips

Dealing With Reluctance to File for Bankruptcy

Like many people, you may be reluctant to file for bankruptcy even though a Washington bankruptcy lawyer has advised you that bankruptcy is the best – maybe the only — solution to your financial problems. Your resistance is understandable.
You may feel embarrassed – you should be in control of your finances, but you’re not. And there’s a certain stigma attached to bankruptcy, whether you go through the process yourself or are represented by a Washington bankruptcy lawyer. The filing is a public admission that you are unable to pay your debts. Bankruptcy also carries with it several unpleasant consequences, including the following:
• For 10 years, the bankruptcy will be reflected on your credit report (and there’s nothing a Washington bankruptcy lawyer can do to change that).
• You can obtain credit after bankruptcy, but it will cost you more.
• Though it’s highly unlikely you’ll be fired from a job because you declare bankruptcy, there are some jobs and licenses you can’t obtain because of bankruptcy. For example, some professions – stock broker is one — don’t allow a bankrupt to be employed in certain positions. These positions usually involve trust and money. (If you’re considering bankruptcy, a Washington bankruptcy lawyer can advise you about bankruptcy’s impact on your employment.)
• There are restrictions on how soon you can re-file for bankruptcy. For example, if you file under Chapter 7, you can’t file again under that chapter for eight years. (A Washington bankruptcy lawyer can explain these timelines to you.).
• Bankruptcy is listed in the top five life-altering negative events, along with divorce, severe illness, disability and loss of a loved one.
While these consequences are unpleasant, there’s another side to bankruptcy, as a Washington bankruptcy lawyer can explain to you. The right to file for bankruptcy is in the U.S. Constitution. Underlying this right is the idea that those in financial trouble deserve the chance for a fresh start. As every Washington bankruptcy lawyer is aware, some people abuse the bankruptcy system. However, the vast majority of people, whether they represent themselves or hire a Washington bankruptcy lawyer, have a legitimate reason for choosing bankruptcy. And often, as every Washington bankruptcy lawyer knows, those reasons are divorce and medical expenses.
It often helps to discuss feelings about bankruptcy with a Washington bankruptcy lawyer. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel bad about filing for bankruptcy. It’s your right. Filing lets you take control of your financial life. Filing makes you feel better about your situation. Filing amounts to a commitment to fix the problem and start fresh. At Resolve Legal, we can help you assess whether bankruptcy is right for you. Find out how, and get started on the road to financial recovery.

Please visit http://www.resolvelegal.com for more information about Washington bankruptcy lawyer.

Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney

It is possible to represent yourself in a bankruptcy proceeding – at least a Chapter 7 one, which involves liquidation of your assets. But, in most cases, it’s far wiser to be represented by a skilled bankruptcy attorney. That way, you’ll be sure to keep more of your assets and discharge more of your debt.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a bankruptcy attorney, including reasons why you should consider a Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal:

• Look for an attorney that understands consumer bankruptcy law. Resolve Legal, located in downtown Seattle, was founded to provide legal services solely for consumer bankruptcies. Each attorney in our firm is a seasoned Seattle bankruptcy attorney providing quality services in Seattle and throughout the Puget Sound area.

• Look for an attorney that is experienced. Each Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal has practiced bankruptcy law, including consumer bankruptcy law, for many years. Consequently, when you’re represented by a Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal, you have an experienced bankruptcy practitioner on your side.

• Look for an attorney with excellent credentials. Each Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal attended a leading law school. In addition, each Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal previously practiced law with one of the Seattle area’s largest law firms. So each Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal has the type of “big firm” experience that will be invaluable in your bankruptcy proceeding.

• Look for an attorney with the best possible skill set. Because each Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal focuses primarily on bankruptcy cases, each brings a bigger legal “toolkit” to your individual case. Consequently, when represented by a Seattle bankruptcy attorney at Resolve Legal, you can be assured of an excellent result.

• Look for an attorney that’s not part of a bankruptcy “mill.” Many bankruptcy attorneys try to attract clients through low fees. Often these attorneys operate “mills,” designed to process as many bankruptcies as possible by treating clients’ financial problems all the same. That’s not the Resolve Legal approach. We don’t compete on price. Instead, we compete on quality. For each client, a Seattle bankruptcy attorney in our organization reviews the client’s individual financial and legal situation and designs the most appropriate action plan.

Please visit http://www.resolvelegal.com for more information about Seattle bankruptcy attorney .

What Happens at the Chapter 7 Court Date?

Shortly after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will send notice of your filing to all parties and creditors listed on your bankruptcy petition. The clerk will also assign a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and set a date for your Section 341 meeting of creditors. There are several reasons for the Section 341 meeting of creditors. 1. The meeting is required in the bankruptcy code. You must be examined under oath with regard to the information contained in your schedules to be eligible to receive a discharge. 2. It gives creditors an opportunity to ask questions of you with regard to the information listed in your petition and schedules; 3. It allows the trustee to take sworn testimony from you with regard to the information contained in the petition and schedules. A trustee will ask you additional questions with regard to your assets, liabilities, income, expenses and statement of financial affairs.

How long will the meeting take?

The meeting can take five minutes or the meeting can take thirty minutes or longer. The meeting can also be continued over to another date if the trustee requires additional information for you to provide.

You should be prepared prior to the meeting with the types of questions that are going to be asked by the trustee. In some jurisdictions, the trustees are required to ask identical questions of each debtor. In other jurisdictions, the trustees are given greater latitude to ask questions of their choosing. In either case, the questions are typically straightforward. They are not designed to trick you into saying something that is not true. They are more or less fact-finding questions so the trustee can determine whether or not there are any assets that can be administered in your case. The overwhelming majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases do not involve the administration of an asset. An exception to this occurs when you either understate the value of your property or you fail to disclose an item that has value beyond what the exemptions can protect.

Who appears at the meeting of creditors?

In most cases, the only three people who will be present at your meeting of creditors are you, your attorney and the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee. The most common creditors such as credit card issuers, medical providers and unsecured loan companies rarely if ever appear at the meeting of creditors. Every once and a while an uncommon creditor will appear such as a former friend or enemy that is owed money. Most of the time, these people do not realize that there is nothing to gain by attending. They read the notice that they received about your bankruptcy case and assume that they need to be present. In reality, they are usually wasting their time since in the majority of cases; there are no assets available for creditors.

In some cases, especially if the amount of debt is excessive, a representative from the U.S. Trustee’s office may sit in on the case and monitor the answers given by you. The U.S. Trustee’s office has a separate and distinct function, which I will detail later in this writing. For now, lets suffice to say that the U.S. Trustee’s office oversees the complete process of the bankruptcy case and the process of receiving a discharge in that bankruptcy case.

A secured creditor, such as an auto finance company, may appear through one of its representatives. That person may be tendering a reaffirmation agreement for you to sign. If that is the case, your attorney will check the agreement and ask you if it is something that you are interested in signing. In smaller jurisdictions, most agreements are mailed to your attorney prior to the meeting of creditors.

David M. Siegel is the author of Chapter 7 Success: The Complete Guide to Surviving Personal Bankruptcy. He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and currently practices bankruptcy law in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Additional information is available at http://www.bankruptcy-lawyers-sanantonio.com .