Dollars and Sense: How Bankruptcy Lawyers Will Help You Out of Your Sticky Financial Situation

The word “bankruptcy” tends to strike fear into our hearts, especially if we’re going through financial trouble. But most people can’t see themselves ever filing for bankruptcy. The process seems like it’s made for failing businesses, government bodies, and other organizations. But personal bankruptcy laws exist to protect citizens who find themselves struggling with severe debt. If your finances drop into the red zone, taking the following steps will get you back on your feet:

Assess the Damage

Look closely at your financial portrait. If you owe large sums to multiple creditors, if collectors are calling your house, or if you find yourself paying for essentials with a credit card, you should start to consider remedying your situation. Begin by tallying up your financial assets – bank account balances, retirement funds, stocks and bonds, real estate, vehicles, and anything else of value. Once you have a grand total, compare it to the amount you owe. If your assets are worth less than your total debts, you should seriously consider filing for bankruptcy.

How Do I File?

You may voluntarily file for bankruptcy as soon as you determine it’s necessary. Alternatively, you may be compelled by your creditors to file. However your legal process originates, don’t try to navigate it by yourself. Get in touch with bankruptcy lawyers who will look closely at your circumstances and advise you on how to proceed. There are two different claims you can file, so an attorney will help you determine the legal route that best serves your interests.

Filing a Chapter 7 Claim

A Chapter 7 claim is fairly straightforward. If approved, this claim liquidates your assets and uses them to pay off a large chunk of your debt right away. In other words, it turns most of what you own into cash, and then distributes this cash among your creditors. It sounds scary, because you lose most of your holdings. But it’s not the end of the world – many people bounce back and rebuild their assets without all that debt holding them back. Especially with trusted bankruptcy lawyers on your side, this process can lead to a much-needed fresh start.

Filing a Chapter 13 Claim

Since they involve seizing most of the filer’s holdings, Chapter 7 claims aren’t great for people who own businesses, property, and other major assets. When you have large properties that you don’t want to lose, a Chapter 13 claim is the better choice. It allows people with consistent, predictable annual incomes to pay off debts over a three- to five-year grace period. Once a judge approves a Chapter 13 claim, creditors must stop contacting the debtor. The debtor then continues to work, paying off his or her debts as best they can during the grace period. No property or other assets are liquidated in this process.

Bankruptcy lawyers will tell you: filing isn’t so scary, and can drastically improve your situation. If you’re letting unpaid bills stack up and trying to ignore them, know that you can pursue legal options to relieve the stresses of debt and protect what you own.

How to Find a Skilled Bankruptcy Attorney

A bankruptcy attorney has the ability to guide you through the entire process of filing for bankruptcy. In the process of looking for the skilled professional, you want to find someone who you are comfortable discussing your private financial matters with, an expert in their field and will quote a fair price. Here are a few things to consider in the process of finding a skilled bankruptcy attorney:

Make the initial contact

There are several ways to get in touch with a bankruptcy attorney, including online directories, colleagues and friends. If you feel comfortable doing so, a recommendation from a colleague or friend is a great way to find a reliable professional.

It may be worth visiting official sites like the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and the American Bar Association (ABA). They are likely to include the type of lawyers that meet the required standards to provide a high level of service.

Try to get in touch with two or three attorneys and make sure to arrange an initial conference to discuss your situation and ask relevant question to make sure they are right for your needs.

Finding a specialist that has deep knowledge of this specific area of law is essential to achieve the best result, and avoids issues like a missing a deadline or not filing a form that could lead to a case being thrown out.

In the process of interviewing the attorney’s make sure to ask questions related to their background and what specialized training they have completed. If they are able to provide proof of their knowledge, such as a certification issued by the American Board of Certification then this will indicate they know how to handle a bankruptcy case. Try to find out the number of similar cases handled in the past. Also, a respected attorney has the ability to give guidance on other options, such as credit counseling.

Cost of services

The cost of the services quoted by the bankruptcy attorney is certain to be a major consideration. A Chapter 7 filing is likely to cost less than a Chapter 13. The most basic Chapter 7 case may start at about $500, but will increase depending on what is involved. However, the more complex cases related to Chapter can reach $6,000 or more. It is important to get an idea of the attorney’s fee structure at the first meeting to make sure they are within your price range.

Bankruptcy Forms, a Way to Pact With Debts You Are Unable to Pay Till the ‘D Day’

Debts are a mandatory thing in life in today’s lifestyle and society where to keep up with time and status, taking loans is inevitable. Out of the many ways of dealing with debts, levying a great stress on the debtors mind, one is by filing Bankruptcy. When everything appears of no use and bankruptcy is the only alternative an individual can cling on to voluntarily, then filing in a bankruptcy form is required.

Bankruptcy not just a personal decision is a legal process and after the Bankruptcy Forms have been completed they are submitted in the court for further processing. So, when deciding on taking any such step be sure for once submitted at the court rethinking on your decision can be like crying over spilled milk.

Before filing in the Bankruptcy Forms the individual must establish some things beforehand. These may entail the effect this can have on your family, know in detail about the previous transactions, will you be blamed for this and also that you are not guilty of any bankruptcy offense in the past.

With the service now having changed from hard copy to its soft copy version you can now complete this formality online as per the time and location that is apt for you via many online sites. Just follow the link that can guide you through some easy steps that can aid in filling such forms easily and correctly. So, when sure about what you are going to do and how this step can affect the vital aspects associated with your life go ahead and submit the thoroughly checked and filled form at the court and wait till your petition has been dealt and the order of the court unveiled.

What to Expect After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can offer a new lease on life by discharging unsecured debts and making monthly living expenses more affordable. But bankruptcy is nothing to enter into lightly or to choose without first considering the long-term consequences of filing. For many people, the lowered credit score is a small price to pay for being debt-free, especially when they’re well-informed about how to move forward and rebuild their credit after bankruptcy.

Starting Over

Most people who file bankruptcy have credit card debt, so the thought of having a credit card again can be scary. It’s of course best to live within your means and save up to make purchases in order to avoid debt. However, your credit score is important, and it won’t improve unless you take steps to rebuild your credit. Immediately after you file bankruptcy, your credit report will show the bankruptcy itself, plus any late or missed payments from your past. By making timely, full payments on any bills you have, this positive history will soon overshadow the negatives. It’s wise to apply for a small credit card, even if you have to start with a secured account with a high interest rate. Make small purchases and pay them off completely each month, and you’ll see your credit score improve. Soon, you’ll be able to negotiate a better interest rate, which can make a difference when you use credit for larger purchases in the future.

Future Purchases

If possible, it’s best to wait a while after bankruptcy to finance a car. If this is not an option, (for example, you lost your car in the bankruptcy and do not have enough money saved up to make a purchase with cash) be prepared to pay a high interest rate after making a large down payment. The longer you can wait to do this, while using your small credit card, the lower payments you’ll end up with. Just like taking on any debt, make sure you closely review your budget to ensure that the payments will be easily manageable.

You could be in a position to purchase a home within a few years of filing bankruptcy. The lender will review your credit score and history prior to filing, as well as your current income and situation. Most lenders will require a hefty down payment, and you may need to jump through more approval hoops and paperwork than other purchasers, but home ownership is definitely an option.

Making a Move

Each bankruptcy is different, but sometimes filers also have to deal with eviction or foreclosure as part of their case. Others may choose to move into a more affordable rental to make monthly expenses more manageable or want to upgrade after their debt is discharged. Regardless of the reason for moving, a new rental always includes a credit check. A bankruptcy won’t necessarily disqualify you from renting a home, but this depends on the landlord or rental company. It’s best to tell your potential landlord ahead of time so that they are prepared when they pull your report. Some people even attach a letter explaining their circumstances and proving that they are now able to make their rent payments.

No Need to Delay

It can be disappointing to file bankruptcy, but for many people it’s the best possible choice. Instead of having a credit report that shows staggering debt and late payments, you could have a bankruptcy followed by clean credit. If filing is inevitable, the sooner you file, the sooner you head in a positive direction.

How to Prepare for Your Bankruptcy Filing

There is a deep despair that creeps into a person’s life when they can’t meet their financial obligations. Don’t let the feelings of failure, anger, or hopelessness take hold of you. Oftentimes, unexpected twists and turns in life happen. Events that you simply couldn’t have planned for may be unaffordable, even if you had an emergency fund, especially if the emergencies all happen all at once.

When you come to the realization that you simply cannot keep up, there is hope. Bankruptcy offers relief for people just like you. Bankruptcy Attorneys can walk you through the process and make sure you don’t have to endure any more stress than needed.

First Steps

You may know what course of action to take, but taking the first step is the hardest part. Every person has a unique situation, so meeting with a Bankruptcy Attorney can help you work through the process. They will conduct the means test, and that will help you know which chapter of bankruptcy to file. From that point, you can make a plan and talk through all the steps so that you will be comfortable with the process.

You will need to complete some worksheets and gather your documentation, such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, current bills, and loan paperwork, all going back six months. You’ll also need to show what your current expenses and debts are, as well and what income and assets you have. The court trustee will need to see these documents to get an idea of why you need the relief of bankruptcy.

Another task you’ll need to complete is an online credit counseling course.This is a required course that is easy, affordable, and will hopefully be a good educational tool to help you rebuild your finances.

When you have finished gathering your documentation and have a course completion certificate, you will be ready to file. When you file, you’ll receive your case number and your automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay allows you to give your creditors your case number and my information, and they will no longer call you. The relief of filing for bankruptcy will have started, and now you can focus on rebuilding your life and future.

In the Home Stretch

Bankruptcy does take some time, and although it won’t be finished at this point, most of the work will be done. Just a few more simple steps and you will be able to relax as your Chapter 7 discharges all your debt or your Chapter 13 repayment plan will be structured with affordable payments. No one can stand under the weight of debt forever. When you simply run out of resources and the ability to pay, a Bankruptcy Attorney can take that weight off your shoulders and provide relief for you.