The Arrival Of The Covid
Bankruptcy filings have slowed somewhat due to government regulations placing a hold on foreclosures and evictions in some cases. Employees that arent working because of layoffs dont have a paycheck that can be garnished. I have no doubt that when people get back to work, creditors will resume collection activities and we will be ready to help…Read more
Bankruptcy Exemptions Under Chapter 13
Bankruptcy exemptions work differently in Chapter 13 bankruptcy than they do in Chapter 7. In Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case will sell your non-exempt property to pay your creditors. Under Chapter 13, the trustee wont sell your non-exempt propertybut the value of that property will be used to determine how much you must pay your creditors under your repayment plan. Either way, your creditors get the value of your non-exempt property.
Bankruptcy exemptions may include at least some of the equity in your home, your car, and personal property such as your clothes and household goods. Exemptions are determined by state law some states have their own exemptions, while others allow you to use the exemptions provided by the federal bankruptcy code.
For more information on Georgia law, see the Exemptions section of this website.
Qualifying For Bankruptcy In Georgia
If you’ve never filed for bankruptcy before, you’ll meet the initial requirement. Otherwise, check whether enough time has passed to allow you to file again. The waiting period varies depending on the chapter previously filed and the chapter you plan to file. Learn more about multiple bankruptcy filings.
You’ll also need to meet specific chapter qualifications.
You’ll qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your family’s gross income is lower than the median income for the same size family in your state. Add all gross income earned during the last six months and multiply it by two. Compare the figure to the income charts on the U.S. Trustee’s website .
Want an easy way to do this online? Use the Quick Median Income Test. If you find that you make too much, you still might qualify after taking the second part of the “means test.” If, after subtracting expenses, you don’t have enough remaining to pay into a Chapter 13 plan, you’ll qualify for Chapter 7.
Qualifying for Chapter 13 can be an expensive proposition because the extra benefits come at a hefty price, and many people can’t afford the monthly payment. To qualify, you’ll pay the larger of:
- your priority nondischargeable debt
- the value of nonexempt property, or
- your disposable income.
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Athens Georgia Bpp Bankruptcies
To stay with the tax example, a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer bankruptcy is a bit like using H& R Block to file an LLCs return. Tax preparers have some basic expertise. Additionally, they can fill out forms and offer some generic advice. But thats as far as it goes.
Similarly, BPPs are not Athens bankruptcy lawyers. In fact, there are no licensing or other requirements for BPPs. Anyone can be one.
Like the guy at H& R Block, a BPP can only fill out forms and give some generic advice about the nature of bankruptcy. Oh, and a BPP can also take your money. Theyre very good at that. Since your familys financial future is at risk, a BPP may not be the best way to go, especially in a complex Chapter 13.
How Should I Handle The Creditors That Are Calling Once I File Bankruptcy
We receive calls from clients occasionally that creditors continue to call after the filing of a bankruptcy. All creditors know that the filing of a bankruptcy automatically stays any collection action. If you receive calls from any creditors, first give them your attorneys name, as well as the case number. Most of the time, that stops the future calls, but if the calls continue, then I would ask you to call our office and let us know that the creditors are calling and we will contact the creditors and have that stop. If you have any questions, please give our office a call.
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Undoing Preferential Transfers That You Made Before Filing
One tool the trustee has is the authority to undo what are called “preferential transfers” — that is, money you transferred to someone else just before filing bankruptcy.
Under this power, the trustee will be very interested in undoing any recent repayments of debts you made to your relatives or friends just before bankruptcy, as these are called a “preference.” The trustee can reverse these transactions and reclaim it for the “bankruptcy estate” because, by repaying these people, you have “preferred” some people you owe money to over others — and bankruptcy does not allow this.
Pension And Retirement Exemption
Most pension and retirement plans are exempt in Georgia, including:
- Tax-exempt retirement accounts such as 401s, IRAs, and defined benefit plans
- Public officer or employee plans
- Reasonably necessary payments made on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service under a pension or annuity plan
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Filing For Bankruptcy Can Cost Anywhere From A Few Hundred To A Few Thousand Dollars Depending On The Type Of Bankruptcy Filed And Whether You Hire An Attorney Or Take A Diy Approach
Filing fees and other miscellaneous costs required to file a bankruptcy petition typically range from $300 to $400. If youre filing on your own, you may not have to pay much more than that.
Working with a bankruptcy lawyer can add to those figures significantly. Their fees can vary widely based on the type of bankruptcy you file for, the market rate where your attorney practices and the complexity of your financial situation.
Coming up with any extra money might seem impossible if youre already struggling to pay for basic expenses and creditors are breathing down your neck. Luckily, assistance may be available if you believe bankruptcy is the right choice for you.
Lets look at the two common types of bankruptcy, the fees you may be responsible for and a few ways you might be able to pay for them.
Helping Debtors Throughout Georgia Get Back On Their Feet
You work extremely hard to support your family, but every week on payday, your paycheck disappears when you hand all of your money over to creditors. Your income is steady and reliable, but it’s just never enough to pay your billsand keep food on the table and clothes on your back. It seems like you’re just constantly treading water, barely keeping your head above the surface.
This way of living is far too common for many Americans, but they do not realize that filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help them get a grip on their debts and create a payment plan that they can afford.
for a free consultation at 872-7117.We’re ready to help you with filing for Chapter 13 in Georgia.
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Diy Bankruptcies In Athens Ga
If you are considering bankruptcy, money is probably tight. Additionally, there is a very strong Do-It-Yourself impulse in Georgia. These two factors often prompt people to file DIY pro se bankruptcies, without any help from an Athens bankruptcy lawyer or anyone else.
The forms are available online, usually for a minimal fee. Moreover, some bankruptcies, like a no-asset Chapter 7, are relatively straightforward. So, in a few cases, a DIY bankruptcy is a good idea, especially if you have some free time and some legal expertise.
Filing bankruptcy is much more complex than filing a personal tax return. In fact, filing bankruptcy is like filing an LLCs tax return without looking at the instructions. Its a very daunting task. Additionally, if there is any bump in the road, DIY filers are on their own. To an Athens bankruptcy lawyer, small bumps are nothing. But a small speed bump often causes a DIY filer to lose control of the vehicle.
Find Out If You Qualify For Bankruptcy
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must show that you dont have enough income to repay your creditors a reasonable amount. You can do this by:
- proving that your income is below the Georgia median income for your household size, or
- comparing your income to expenses under a complex formula called the bankruptcy means test to show that you cant pay.
If your income is above the median income for your state and family size and the means test shows you have enough disposable income to make reasonable payments to your creditors, you may still qualify to file under Chapter 13. To qualify for chapter 13, your debt must be under the limit set by the bankruptcy code and you must be current on your tax filings for the last four years.
To take the means test, you can use our free means test calculator.
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Wipe Out Credit Card Debt Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
At Clark & Washington, we understand how easy it is to fall behind on credit card payments, and we know how much relief our clients feel when their credit card problems are resolved through bankruptcy.
When credit cards have high interest rates, even reasonable spending can quickly lead to large balances. Its not unusual for people who are struggling with other bills, such as a mortgage and car loans, to devote their paychecks to those bills and then rely on credit cards to buy food, clothes and other necessities and then find themselves overburdened by credit card debt on top of their other obligations. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide instant relief from credit card debts, giving you a fresh start after your case is completed.
Cost To Use A Lawyer To File For Bankruptcy In Georgia
Bankruptcy fees are set by the federal laws and court system, so it costs the same to file for bankruptcy in every state, including Georgia. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the fee is $338, and to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the fee is $313 . The filing fee is the same whether or not you use a lawyer, but of course, if you hire a lawyer, you’ll have to pay attorney fees as well.
If you can’t afford to pay the whole fee at once, you can ask the court for permission to pay in up to four installments. If you file for Chapter 7, you can also ask the court to waive the bankruptcy filing fee altogether .
Attorney fees can vary according to where you live and the complexity of your case. For a relatively straightforward Chapter 7 case, an attorney might charge you a flat fee. For Chapter 13 cases or Chapter 7 cases that have some complications, an attorney might charge by the hour. Either way, find out how fees will be assessed and how much you will have to pay, so there are no surprises down the road.
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Understanding The Factors That Contribute To The Cost Of Bankruptcy
One thing that surprises some people about bankruptcy is that it costs money to file. Of course, bankruptcy is a legal process, and there are costs involved in any legal process. The good news is that these costs are vastly outweighed by the benefit of wiping out your debts.
At Gingold & Gingold LLC, we are committed to being as upfront as possible about the costs of filing bankruptcy in Georgia, without creating misleading expectations. Generally, the amount of money you can expect to pay to file bankruptcy will be based on the following factors:
- Court costs: In order to file bankruptcy, you must pay a filing fee to the court. There are separate fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and these fees do occasionally increase, which means that much of the information you find online may be out of date.
- Legal fees: We set our fees based on the type and complexity of each case we handle. We do not publish one fee online and then charge people something else. We offer a free initial consultation so we can assess the facts of your case and quote you a fee.
- : Under the federal bankruptcy laws, anyone filing bankruptcy must participate in a court-approved credit counseling course. There are a number of providers that offer this service at relatively low prices, usually by telephone or online. We will help you find a reliable provider.
What Property Is Exempt From Sale Under Chapter 7 Relief
Under Georgia law, some property and income is exempt from being sold off in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. Those exceptions include:
- The homestead, up to $21,500 in value
- Income from child support or alimony
- Workers compensation
- Motor vehicles, up to $3,500 in value
- Unemployment compensation, Social Security benefits or public assistance
- Aid to disabled persons
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Filing For Bankruptcy In Georgia
Debt can make you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you’re experiencing a financial setback, it’s easy to get behind, but it can be nearly impossible to get caught back up. By the time you can afford to make the payment you missed, the next one is due, and your creditor has added an unreasonable late fee plus interest to your bill. Sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything but watch yourself slip deeper and deeper into debt.
It’s time to take action! Filing for bankruptcy can lift the burden of perpetual debt off your back so that you can retake control of your life. Call or text DebtStoppers today at 678-673-2142 to request your zero-cost personal debt evaluation with one of our skilled Atlanta lawyers, and learn how bankruptcy can get you over this bump in the road.
Common Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions
Here are some of the Georgia bankruptcy exemptions that bankruptcy filers often use. Spouses can double the exemption amount if they both own the property and file a joint bankruptcy case. Other exemptions you can use in addition to Georgia’s exemptions:
- the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, and
- the federal COVID-19 recovery rebate exemption .
- 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 . .)
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Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The second bankruptcy course has to be completed before you can get your Georgia bankruptcy discharge. This financial management course is similar to the credit counseling course you completed before you filed. Youâll receive quite a few advertisements from companies that offer the second course shortly after filing. Itâs important to take the course from a provider that is approved to offer it in Georgia. Once done, youâll receive a certificate of completion. Some course providers automatically file the certificate with the bankruptcy court for you.
Will I Have To Appear In Court
When you file a bankruptcy case, you have to attend a hearing titled Section 341, First Meeting of Creditors. This hearing is scheduled approximately 30 days following the filing of the case. If you file a Chapter 13 case, you may have to attend a confirmation hearing. The confirmation hearing is when the judge assigned to the case approves the repayment plan filed by the debtor. Further, you may have to attend additional hearings depending on the circumstances of your case.
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How Long After Filing Bankruptcy Could I Qualify For A Mortgage Or A Car Loan
We have helped people buy cars and homes immediately after filing, but the time for qualifying for a loan depends on each individual case. As a general rule, you need a pretty consistent work history and a credit score of around 640 to qualify for a mortgage these days. Depending on the economy, those qualifications can change month to month…Read more
Georgia Legal Aid Organizations
Legal aid in Georgia includes a few organizations that can assist you when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Legal Aid Atlanta, in addition to their headquarters in Atlanta, serve the counties of Clayton, S. Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett. Additionally, folks outside of Atlanta can turn to the Georgia Legal Aid or Georgia Legal Services to get help. Finally, if you are a member of the military, the State Bar of Georgia can connect you with an attorney that is willing to provide free or reduced-fee legal services as part of its Military Legal Assistance Program.
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Attend Your 341 Meeting
The 341 meeting is a meeting with the trustee that takes place about 30 – 40 days after your Georgia bankruptcy is filed – you can find the exact date and time on your Form 309A. A primary purpose of the meeting is for the trustee to verify your identity, so make sure you are prepared and bring a valid picture ID and proof of your social security number.
In most cases, the 341 meeting takes only a few minutes and most folks walk out of the meeting relieved that it’s over but also surprised about how straightforward everything was. Your creditors can attend the 341 meeting to ask you questions about information in your bankruptcy forms. Donât worry though, most 341 meetings are completed without any creditors showing up.
All You Need To Know About The Means Test
There are also income limits on who can qualify in Georgia. To ascertain if you have any other means to pay back what you owe, you will have to pass the “means test.” The means test assesses your household income and your disposable income, and if you are over the limits, you can’t file Chapter 7.
DebtStoppers can help you determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 and decide if it’s the right choice for you. Call or text us today at 678-673-2142 to schedule a free one-on-one debt analysis with one of our experienced Atlanta lawyers.
DebtStoppers is proud to offer genuine $0 up-front Chapter 7. We even advance your $335 filing fee, so you don’t have to wait one day to get the help you need. Don’t stay in debt another day: call or text us at 678-673-2142 now!
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