How Bankruptcies Work
By definition, bankruptcies are legal and financial arrangements designed to provide a person or business with temporary relief from their debt. The bankruptcy gives the individual or company (referred to as the debtor) time and flexibility to better organize their ability to pay their debt and other financial obligations. Part of the process typically includes the creation of a plan to fulfill certain financial obligations. There are also specific situations where debts are entirely eliminated.
Clearly, bankruptcies should be considered as an option after other opportunities to relieve the debt have been explored. For example, it is usually advisable to attempt to negotiate with creditors before considering bankruptcy.
While bankruptcies are incredibly complex, there are things that individuals and businesses can do to make the process less complicated. It’s critical that those considering bankruptcies go through a detailed planning process. Also, a recommended first step is enlisting the professional help of an attorney and a financial advisor.
What is bankruptcy protection?
In the US Legal System and in bankruptcy court there is an essential difference between bankruptcies and bankruptcy protection. Put simply; bankruptcy is the process a person or business follows when they can no longer satisfy their debts. Bankruptcy protection refers to the condition where. During and after the bankruptcy, a company or individual has financial protection from their creditors.
What steps should I take before filing for bankruptcy?
When preparing to file, the more organized you are, the easier things can be for you and your attorney. Here are the efforts we recommend doing, and in some cases, not doing, as you prepare.
Do: Determine the type of bankruptcy you should file. Bankruptcies come in several types, including Chapter 7, where most of your debts are forgiven and Chapter 13 which involves restructuring your debt into a manageable payment plan. Your lawyer is the best source of advice on determining which makes sense for your situation. Your lawyer may have you take a Bankruptcy Means Test to assess your ability to pay your debts. The results of this test could eliminate your qualification for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Do: Enroll in a credit counseling course. You may be required to take a credit counseling course either in person or online. Work with your attorney to determine which is best for your unique circumstances.
Do Not: Go on a spending spree. Many people inaccurately believe that all debt will be forgiven when you file for bankruptcy. The reality is that all of your debt will be examined and an appropriate course of action will be determined. When your debt is reviewed, the bankruptcy court will become aware of any significant spending you might have done before filing. A large amount of what could be seen as unnecessary spending might not work to your advantage.
Do Not: Conceal the truth. Ultimately, the only way to get out of an impossible financial situation is to be truthful and honest about how you got there. When you work with an attorney, the more they know about your situation, the better they will be able to help you.
Can bankruptcies be avoided?
It is entirely possible for many people to avoid bankruptcy and bankruptcy court. The most significant benefit to avoiding bankruptcy court is that you will preserve a higher credit rating. One of the ways you can avoid bankruptcies includes working directly with your creditors to organize a plan to satisfy your debt. Another strategy might be to sell non-essential items that you own and use the money to pay off debt. There are other tactics that should be explored, working with an attorney can help uncover all options that might exist for you.
Do I need a lawyer to file?
Facing overwhelming debt can be a frightening experience and could be a source of embarrassment for many people. You might not want to share details with family and friends, and that’s ok. But you don’t have to deal with the situation alone. Because bankruptcies can be quite complex, it can be to your benefit to hire an attorney early on. The attorney can help guide you through the process, work with you on deadlines and paperwork, negotiate with your creditors, and help make the process easier than going at it alone.
Ready to speak with an attorney about your options? You can contact us to schedule a consultation.