Guidance From A Skilled Bankruptcy Attorney
When individuals and businesses face insolvency, bankruptcy is the legal process, regulated by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, designed to help pay off debt and regain financial stability. Whether your personal debt is out of control and your home and family are at risk or your business is in financial trouble, it is crucial to seek legal help immediately. Filing for bankruptcy may be an option.
Alford Legal Group, LLC, is a debt relief agency, practicing bankruptcy law under the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005. Stuart Alford has represented hundreds of consumers and businesses that need the protection of bankruptcy and a chance to regain stable financial footing. He will answer your questions with compassion and explain the major differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.
Important Information About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. In most cases, all of an individual’s debts are discharged with the exception of certain limited debts such as student loans, domestic support orders and some forms of taxes. Many assets, including up to $500,000 in equity in one’s home, are exempt, which means that most Chapter 7 debtors are able to keep all their property while at the same time getting a fresh financial start.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most of your debts. This option is beneficial to those who want to start anew, debt free. As a result of having your debts discharged, a bankruptcy trustee will take all your nonexempt property and sell it so that the funds can be redistributed to your creditors. There are numerous assets, properties and other items that may be considered “exempt property,” depending on the equity that you have in the property.
If you own the property, usually the bankruptcy trustee must sell it in order to pay back the creditors. If you are concerned about losing your car, house or other properties, then filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be your best option. Also, Chapter 7 bankruptcies do not discharge debt owed for child support, alimony, debts not listed on your bankruptcy petition, student loans, loans you received by knowingly giving false information more. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy has both positive and negative repercussions – whether you should choose a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is entirely up to you.
When To Pursue Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, described as rehabilitation, involves filing a five-page document that shows the court how you plan to pay off the majority of your debts over the next three to five years. One of the main qualifiers to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to have a source of income. In other words, the court can’t approve your plan to pay off your debts if you have no way to pay them. The length of the repayment period will depend on your income. Those who are below median income will qualify for the three-year repayment plan. If you are above the median income, the payment plan shoots to five years.
Of course, many choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy because they don’t want to lose their car or their house. You’ll be able to keep your property so long as you create a reasonable payment plan that will allow you to pay your bills. That property would then be exempt according to Massachusetts state laws. In addition, filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will qualify you for a shorter credit reporting period, and if you owe money to the IRS – a debt that will not be wiped out by filing bankruptcy – Chapter 13 may work to your advantage over Chapter 7. Also, if you are able to make a repayment plan that pays off most of your debt, the bankruptcy courts will likely forgive the rest of your debt.
One who operates a business as an unincorporated sole proprietor may also utilize Chapter 13 to repay debts, but only if they’re filing as an individual and are including the business-related debts for which they are personally liable.
Getting Legal Help Makes A Difference
While bankruptcy is not always the answer to financial problems, seeking legal counsel is an important first step in exploring alternatives and determining whether or you can avoid bankruptcy.
When you need legal advice and guidance concerning insolvency, contact Alford Legal Group, LLC, to learn how attorney Alford can help. He will be glad to arrange a consultation to evaluate your situation and recommend a course of action.