How Long Does A Bankruptcy Filing Take
Certain bankruptcy cases can be filed as quickly as it takes to prepare the paperwork. As soon as the Clerk of Bankruptcy Court receives your chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the clerks office assigns a bankruptcy case number, and your case is filed.
The bankruptcy process in a Chapter 7 case typically takes four to six months to complete. If your case includes assets that the trustee must sell off to clear your debt, then the case may take up to a year or longer to complete.
In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, once the case is filed, creditors are temporarily prohibited from taking any action. The debtor has four months to come up with a reorganization plan, but that can be extended to 18 months. Once the plan is filed, creditors vote on whether to accept or reject it. There is no set time limit for completing a payment plan, but most take between six months and two years.
The approval process for a Chapter 13 case is usually less complicated because creditors do not vote on the reorganization plan. If your income exceeds the median monthly income in North Carolina for a household of your size, your repayment plan must last five years, unless you can propose a plan that pays 100% of your unsecured debt in a shorter period. If your income is less than the median, you can suggest a three-year plan, even if you cant fully repay your unsecured creditors in that time. Chapter 13 cases usually take three to five years to complete.
Benefits Of Hiring A Professional
Just because you can file for bankruptcy on your own does not mean you should. The Bankruptcy Code is complex. The laws are continually evolving. Even a simple mistake can cause your bankruptcy petition to be dismissed. By hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, you can help ensure your case proceeds smoothly.
Do not put your home, car or other assets at risk. Trust Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP , to handle your bankruptcy case with professionalism, punctuality and an emphasis on personal attention. Our firm has worked with thousands of individuals and small businesses in the Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks area. We have detailed understanding of bankruptcy laws and will work hard to help you make a fresh financial start.
Whether You Should File For Bankruptcy Without An Attorney Depends On The Type Of Bankruptcy And The Complexity Of Your Case
By Cara O’Neill, Attorney
You don’t need an attorney when filing individual bankruptcy, and filing on your own or “pro se” is feasible if the case is simple enough. But most people benefit from representation. In this article, learn:
- when Chapter 7 is too complicated to handle yourself
- why hiring a Chapter 13 lawyer is always important, and
- if you represent yourself, how a bankruptcy petition preparer can help.
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What If My Income Is Too High For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Thats ok. Some people think that Chapter 7 is the only type of bankruptcy or the best type of bankruptcy. The truth is that Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 each have their own benefits and drawbacks. If your income is too high for a Chapter 7, you may need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This can have a number of advantages for you. Many times we can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and save you even more money than if you filed a Chapter 7! How is this possible? Chapter 13 allows us to do a number of things that we cannot do in a Chapter 7. For example, we can strip second mortgages or homeowners association dues. We can have certain debts like equitable distribution payments discharged. We can reduce car loan interest.
Contrary to what you may have heard, you may even be able to file a Chapter 13 without paying back any unsecured creditors! The only way to determine whether you will make out better in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Take A Personal Financial Management Instruction Course
Finally, you must complete a post-filing Personal Financial Management Instruction Course within 45 days of your meeting of creditors. Take a look at the U.S. Trustee Program’s site to find an approved course near you. After you’ve completed the course, the last step is to wait to hear from the bankruptcy court whether your debts have been discharged.
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Pro Se Only Applies To Individual Filings
As long as you are making an individual filing, you can file for bankruptcy on your own without a lawyer or a law degree yourself. This includes both types of personal bankruptcy filings as well as business filings as long as the business is not a partnership or incorporated entity.
You can NOT represent yourself in a partnership because you cant legally represent someone else without being a licensed attorney. Incorporated businesses cant be represented by the owner, so you must hire an attorney.
Of course, just because you can do something it doesnt mean that you should. Even on the official website for United States Courts it states:
While individuals can file a bankruptcy case without an attorney or pro se, it is extremely difficult to do it successfully.
How Hard Is It To File Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer
How hard youll find it to file a bankruptcy without a lawyer depends of course on the level of complexity in your case. Much of it is straightforward form filling, but you will also have to do a lot of your own research.
Heres a brief list of tasks you will have to undertake:
- Accurately fill out several bankruptcy forms and schedules
- Learn all about how bankruptcy laws work
- Research any exemptions that your particular state may have
- Follow all of the rules and procedures necessary to complete the process
Each of these tasks will take real time and precision. It should not be rushed, and should take all important matters into account.
To be perfectly honest with you, even filing a straightforward Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be both very daunting and considerably time consuming.
And more often than not you would be better off using the services of an attorney if you can. Especially if you feel like you would lack the confidence to represent yourself.
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Keeping Property When Filing Bankruptcy In Massachusetts
You wonât lose everything in bankruptcy. Youâll use your state bankruptcy exemption laws to protect your property. We list the significant exemptions below, but first, understanding the following will help you maximize what youâll keep in your case.
- Exempt and nonexempt property. You can keep property protected by an exemption or âexemptâ property. When a bankruptcy exemption doesnât cover the property, youâll either lose it in Chapter 7 or have to pay for it in the Chapter 13 repayment plan.
- Choosing state or federal exemptions. You can choose whether you use the state exemption list or the list of federal bankruptcy exemptions, but you canât mix and match exemptions from both sets. Filers who use state exemptions can also use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
- Doubling exemptions. Spouses filing together can double the exemption amount if both own the property in most, but not all instances.
- COVID-19 recovery rebate exemption. You might be able to protect stimulus payments, tax credits, and child credits in bankruptcy with the federal recovery rebate exemption.
- Retirement accounts all filers can protect. You can keep your tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401s, 403s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans and traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,362,800 per person . .) Learn more about retirement accounts in bankruptcy.
Qualifications For Chapter 7
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if your familys income falls below the median income of Arizona, it means that you pass the means test. On the other hand, if your familys income exceeds the median income, you may still be qualified to pass the means test after you deduct a list of the allowable living expenses.
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Cleveland Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
The general impression of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that its a resolution to crushing debt, enabling you to make a fresh start without the burden of overwhelming financial obligations. This is true to a certain extent, but theres much more to the legal proceedings that you need to understand before filing. The eligibility rules are strict and complicated, possibly eliminating the option of debt liquidation. Even if you do qualify, there are serious long-term consequences that you must balance with regard to your future. Plus, you need to keep in mind that these laws are designed to protect your creditors just as much as your own interests. Based upon these factors, its critical to consult with a Cleveland Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer about the process.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we understand that many unfortunate circumstances lead people to consider bankruptcy. Were here to provide the advice you need to make an informed decision about your future, and were with you every step of the way during bankruptcy proceedings. Please call to set up a consultation with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, and read on for some background information about the process.
Do I Need To Hire An Attorney To File Bankruptcy In Ohio
The bankruptcy process is a complicated one that can have long lasting financial repercussions for those filing for bankruptcy relief. While there is no law requiring a person to have an attorney when they file for bankruptcy in Ohio, having an attorney has a number of important advantages for people to consider. An attorney can help a person to get the best deal possible when filing with the court for debt relief. In fact, it would be difficult for a non-attorney to navigate the bankruptcy process without legal representation.
The primary reason that a person who is filing bankruptcy should have a lawyer is the legal experience of the lawyer. Though there are many books and online sources of information on bankruptcy, there is no substitute for real experience in a local bankruptcy court. While the bankruptcy process should be uniform across the country, each court and each judge will have ways of doing things. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help his or her client to properly file papers with the court to get the hearing scheduled quickly and the case heard in a timely manner. Failure to comply with legal requirements can result in delays or even result in the entire bankruptcy Ohio procedure being thrown out of court.
Wood & Brewer, LLC
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Personal Injury & Bankruptcy Faqs
A skilled professional, like a bankruptcy lawyer, can explain all of your debt relief options available under the law. Can I file bankruptcy without an attorney
Can You File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney? While you are legally permitted to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, the process can be emotionally
What Is Personal Bankruptcy
Before getting into the details, you should know the basics of bankruptcy. Personal bankruptcy is a form of debt relief for individuals who owe more money than they can afford to repay. If you owe more than $1000 and you cant repay that amount in a reasonable manner, then this could be a way to resolve your debts and get necessary relief.
If you complete all of your bankruptcy requirements and receive no objections from your licensed insolvency trustee, creditors or the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, you will be granted an automatic and absolute discharge as early as 9 months after you file. Your debts to your creditors will be considered cleared. If there are any objections from the related authorities, you will have to attend a court hearing. They will decide which of the following discharge orders you will receive:
- An Absolute Discharge: You are released from the requirements to pay the debts covered in your bankruptcy.
- A Conditional Discharge: You are required by the Court to perform more actions or make more payments to your estate before receiving an Absolute Discharge.
- A Suspended Discharge: The date of your Absolute Discharge is pushed to a future date.
- A Refused Discharge: You are denied an Absolute Discharge.
If you want to know more about what to expect after bankruptcy, you should click the link. You should also explore our blog for useful articles like A Guide to Bankruptcy Recovery and How Often Can a Person File for Bankruptcy?
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Would You Lose Property In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is a “liquidation” bankruptcy, so one of the most significant filing risks involves losing property. The bankruptcy trustee will sell anything you can’t protect with a bankruptcy exemption.
Exemptions vary depending on where you live because your state decides what you can protect. But you’ll likely be able to keep things needed to work and livelike a modest home and car, furnishings, a television, tools needed in your profession, and an ERISA-qualified retirement accountbut not much else.
Bankruptcy law doesn’t protect luxury items, like expensive jewelry, designer clothing, collections, and valuable artwork. Household items worth more than the typical garage sale price won’t be exempt either. Rental property, stock, stock options, whole life insurance, and cash or money in a bank account are also challenging to protect.
Finally, if you own a home or car that you’d like to keep, talk to a lawyer. Not only will you need to protect all of your equity with a bankruptcy exemption, but if you’re behind on finance payments when you file, you’ll lose the property in Chapter 7. Filing for Chapter 13 might be the better option.
The Difference Between Chapters 7 11 & 13 Bankruptcy In Moore County Nc
The federal bankruptcy code contains several types of bankruptcy protection to fit a variety of clients and financial situations. Each type of bankruptcy is referred to by the chapter of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code where it is located.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy in the United States. Also known as a liquidation bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 filing is the most basic. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, an individual liquidates his or her property and distributes it to pay creditors. The individual retains ownership of property categorized as exempt. A business that files chapter 7 bankruptcy goes out of business. The business may be operated for a period of time by a trustee who takes charge of liquidating the business assets.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the cancellation of certain unsecured debts such as credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans and business debt. However, the bankruptcy court must decide whether your income is low enough for you to be eligible for Chapter 7. You have to meet certain financial requirements to qualify.
Once you file a Chapter 13 petition, an automatic stay stops foreclosure proceedings until your repayment plan is approved or rejected by the court. If the court approves your repayment plan, the mortgage lender is then bound by the plan. If you can make all your payments on time and keep up with your regular mortgage payments, you can avoid foreclosure.
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Why You May Want An Attorney Even If You Can Do It On Your Own
In many cases, even if you can file the bankruptcy on your own, it may still be in your best interest to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you are filing for aChapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be able to catch up on any missed car loan or mortgage payments, eliminate unsecured loans and even a second mortgage through lien stripping, and reduce the interest rate and principal balance on your car loan.
However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often much more labor-intensive and complex than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will have to propose a feasible repayment plan that is fair to your creditors. In addition, if you want to strip down your car loan or second mortgage, you will have to file additional paperwork.
If you have a complex Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it only makes sense to hire an attorney for a more complicated case. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should consider hiring an attorney if your income is significant enough that it may disqualify you from being able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you have a lot of assets that could be at risk, if you own a business, if your debts may not be dischargeable through bankruptcy, if you have creditors that could challenge your discharge, or if you have recently transferred assets out of your name.
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Consider Hiring A Bankruptcy Preparer
Even if you have a simple Chapter 7 case, bankruptcy can be an intimidating and time-consuming process. You will need to accurately fill out many forms, research the law, and attend hearings. If you understand bankruptcy law but would like help completing the formsthe average bankruptcy petition is approximately 50 pages in lengthyou might consider hiring a bankruptcy petition preparer.
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Do I Need A Lawyer To Help Me File For Bankruptcy
As it says in the instructions for official bankruptcy forms, It is extremely difficult to succeed in a Chapter 11, 12, or 13 case without an attorney. Reorganization cases are hard to get off the ground and require years of maintenance. For instance, a Chapter 7 case lasts about three months. But if it gets confirmed , a Chapter 13 case can last as long as five years.
The instructions to the official forms for individual debtors say it well. Completing the forms is only a part of the bankruptcy process. You are strongly encouraged to hire a qualified attorney not only to help you complete the forms but also to give you general advice about bankruptcy and to represent you in your bankruptcy case. If you cannot afford to pay a lawyer, you might qualify for free legal services if they are provided in your area. Contact your state or local bar association for help in obtaining free legal services or in hiring an attorney.