Financial difficulties can be extremely stressful, with debt collectors calling constantly, threats of wage garnishment or property liens and constant worry about how to pay your bills. An AP Survey in 2013 found that four out of five American adults face economic insecurity during their lifetime. What this indicates is that as many as 80 percent of the adult population in the United States has or will feel worry and anxiety related to finances, whether it is due to the loss of a job, mounting medical bills or other factors that can damage our financial well-being. For many of these Americans, the only option is bankruptcy, which allows those who have faced financial disaster through no fault of their own get a fresh start and begin anew. Before choosing bankruptcy, however, it is important to understand the various types of bankruptcy and debt relief in order to choose the option that is best for you.
If you do not own property and have no steady income, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be the answer for you. This type of bankruptcy gets its name because it is found in Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and is known as a liquidation bankruptcy. It takes about four to six months as well as filing and administration fees involved. You must complete credit counseling with an agency approved by the United States Trustee and you cannot file Chapter 7 if you have received a bankruptcy discharge in the last six to eight years.
Even if you own property or have a job, liquidation bankruptcy might still be an option. Some types of property, such as a home or a vehicle, may be considered exempt from bankruptcy proceedings. If it is not exempt, the trustee can order the property sold to repay your debts.
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If you have steady income, it may be a better option for you to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, you repay your debts over a three to five-year period. Because you repay your debts under a special payment plan, it is known as a reorganization bankruptcy.
You will be required to demonstrate to the court that you can repay your debts. In addition, there are limits to the amount of debt you can owe. Secured debt cannot be more than $1,149,525 and your unsecured debt cannot be more than $383,175. Just like Chapter 7, you must complete credit counseling when you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, named because it is found under the 13th Chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
The trustee will determine if you have any priority debts, such as child support, alimony, tax obligations and other federally-subsidized loans as they must be paid first. You must also be able to pay secured debts, such as your mortgage or vehicle loan. If you are behind on those loans, payments may be included in the bankruptcy plan to bring them up-to-date. All disposable income you have left after paying these required payments will go toward repaying your unsecured debt.
If you are struggling to pay your current mortgage, a loan modification may be an option to help you bring your mortgage up to date and make the payments easier to manage. There are many options available for mortgage modification, some offered through the federal government.
Loan Modification can help you avoid foreclosure, lower your payments and be less damaging to your credit than a foreclosure sale. It is important to know that a modification changes your loan permanently, so if your financial hardship is temporary, it may not be an option. In addition, a second mortgage or home equity line is not usually affected by a modification.
The job of a real estate attorney covers many different specialties, including contract drafting and representing an individual that is involved in a dispute. It is important to have an attorney to read over the contracts and observe the signing process anytime you sell, lease, rent, or purchase any type of property.
If you are facing foreclosure, a our attorneys may be your best option to help save your home. It is sometimes difficult for individuals to get modifications on their mortgage directly from the bank, but our attorneys understand the law and can help negotiate modifications, refinancing or review other options that can help save your home and get you out from under your financial nightmare.
If you are struggling financially, you need to discuss your options with bankruptcy attorneys who understand the stress and frustration you are going through. Call us today or fill out our contact form to discuss your situation with our bankruptcy attorneys to see what options are best for you.