What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions
Every state has laws that designate certain types of property that are off-limits to unsecured creditorsthat is, creditors that don’t have a lien on your property. Credit card debt and medical bills are the two most common types of unsecured debt.
Unsecured creditors cannot force you to sell your exempt property to pay off your debt. Even if the creditor goes to court, wins a court judgment against you, and takes steps to attach a lien to your property, you are still entitled to your exemption amount before the creditor gets any proceeds form a sale.
If you sell your exempt property voluntarily, the creditor has a right to have its lien paid from the sale proceeds before you receive anything. As a practical matter, most of the property of people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is exempt, so they don’t want to sell what they have. If all of your property is protected by exemption laws, you are said to be “judgment proof”meaning that creditors can’t collect anything from you, whether or not you file for bankruptcy.
One important thing to remember is that an exemption protects only the “equity” in your property. That’s the difference between the value of the property and what you owe to creditorslike your mortgage lenderwho have a secured interest in it.
To learn what property is exempt in your state, see the Exemptions section of this website.
Fight Debt Today Call For A Free Review
In the face of crushing debt and, it is easy to think you have no options. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Federal bankruptcy law gives debtors just like you the opportunity tofile for bankruptcy in order to get a fresh start. By taking the proper steps and reaching out to abankruptcy lawyer, you could have your debtsdischarged through bankruptcy.
***as Of March 2020 Due To Covid
- The Hibbler Help Desk This helpdesk is providing assistance by phone at this time. To sign up for a phone appointment, please click HERE, call 312-435-5691, or send an email to [email protected]
- Bankruptcy Help Desk: The Bankruptcy Help Desk is providing assistance over the phone rather than in-person. If you would like advice on your pro se bankruptcy case, please call 312-229-6344, leave a message with your name and number, and a member of our staff will call you to set up an appointment.
- Juvenile Expungement Help Desk: If you would like to receive assistance with your juvenile record, please call 312-229-6072 and leave a message with your name and number, and a member of our staff will return your call.
As of 04.06.2020
Legal Aid Chicago partners with volunteer attorneys and community organizations to offer free help desks inside the federal and municipal courthouses. Learn more about our help desks when you read below.
Bankruptcy Help Desk
Dirksen Courthouse, Room 625219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL
A free walk-in help desk providing brief consultations and help filling out paperwork for people who have filed or are considering filing chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcies that do not currently have an attorney.
Walk-ins only no appointment necessary. Call 312-229-6344 for more information.Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Begins at 9:00 am
Daley Center Eviction Brief Advice Desk
50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Federal Court Help Desk
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Why Work With One Of Our Chicago Bankruptcy Attorneys
Some financial problems can be resolved without legal intervention, but if youre bombarded by constant feelings of anxiety and the pressure of your financial state seems to be growing each day, you clearly need help from a qualified bankruptcy attorney in Illinois. When people filed for bankruptcy in the past they often felt ashamed or disgusted, but those days are long gone. Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys will assure you that filing for bankruptcy will not harm your reputation, and in some cases may be the only option for financial relief. Maybe youve already considered filing for bankruptcy but never learned the appropriate steps to take. If this is the case, we will give you the opportunity to work with a bankruptcy attorney in Illinois that can simplify the bankruptcy process for you and your family. In other cases, our clients simply want to learn about alternatives to bankruptcy. Whatever your financial situation, we can help you develop a plan to get out of debt in the future. The relief that comes from living debt-free is within your grasp. All you need to do is contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney at Prime Bankruptcy to begin the process.
Filing For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
From the moment you call us for help until the end of your payment plan, we will be here to protect your interests. During our first meeting, we will help you decide if Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the right debt relief option for you.
- As soon as we file for bankruptcy, all creditor collections must stop.
- Your debts will be combined into one repayment plan that you can afford.
- The repayment plan is paid back on a regular basis for a period up to five years.
- After the plan is completed, most remaining debts will be discharged.
Harassing phone calls from creditors, wage garnishments and lawsuits can be overwhelming. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can put an end to all of that.
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Online Bankruptcy Filing Software
The U.S. Court system recognizes the problem people have filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy online and is working to develop software that will accommodate consumers and lawyers, but were not there yet, said Cathy McEwen, a judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Middle Florida.
There has been popular sentiment toward making bankruptcy more accessible and getting to the point where consumers could file online, she added, but the system is extremely complicated. Well get there. Were just not there yet.
The administrative office of the U.S. Courts said it is developing software the will make it possible for anyone and everyone to file for bankruptcy electronically and the system could debut as early as summer of 2018.
While you wait for the filing software to be developed, there are some parts of the bankruptcy process that can be handled online such as:
- Evaluation of your finances to see if you qualify for bankruptcy
- Mandatory bankruptcy credit counseling from an approved provider before filing
Each of those represents a step in the bankruptcy process, but there are so many twists and turns in the road to the finish line that even Judge McEwen isnt sure if the system will ever allow someone to receive a bankruptcy discharge without ever leaving their keyboard.
For the record, there were 486,347 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases and 294,637 Chapter 13 cases filed in 2017. Only about 8% of those cases were filed Pro Se, meaning people tried to represent themselves.
The Cons Of A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
You cannot keep your credit cards and you will lose property that was not exempt from sale by thetrustee, in addition to other luxury items that were not exempt.
If you declare bankruptcy now, it will be harder to declare it later if you find yourself in an even worse financial situation. Make sure that filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is necessary. Once you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will not be able to file again under that chapter for another 8 years.
If you previously filed aChapter 13 bankruptcy and less than 70% of your unsecured debt was paid to creditors in good faith, you must wait 6 years before you are able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Chicago Explained In 10 Steps
Making the decision to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago can be overwhelming. It is important to understand the process from the start.
These 10 steps will guide you through the chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago.
1. Free legal consultation the first step is to meet with your Chicago bankruptcy lawyers and have the opportunity to ask your questions and they can determine if they think they can help you. Most Chicago bankruptcy lawyers offer free consultations so you can meet with more than one lawyer and choose the best one without spending a fortune.
2. Organize Your Accounts the attorney you choose is going to need all kinds of documentation from you. They will need a copy of every bill as well as a principal balance on all loans. Addresses and contact information for all creditors will be required as well as basics like you and your spouses social security numbers and residential and employment history including pay stubs. The better organized you are the more efficiently your Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can do their job.
3. Credit Counseling it is a requirement that everyone filing for bankruptcy take a credit counseling class. These classes range in cost approximately $50 and online classes are available. Ideally the class should be taken at least 180 days prior to filing bankruptcy. The goal of the requirement is that less people will file for bankruptcy thanks to the class.
Each Client Receives Detailed And Personal Attention
Greg takes pride in providing each of his clients with personal attention. He understands that bankruptcy and foreclosures are not comfortable topics for most of his clients. He takes the time to ensure that every client understands all the options. He helps his clients determine the best option in their case. He takes the time.
He is the owner and founder of Gregory K. Stern, P.C. Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Attorneys in Chicago, IL. 312-427-1558. Located at 53 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 1442, Chicago, Illinois 60604, the firm of Gregory K. Stern P.C. helps bankruptcy and foreclosure clients throughout the Chicago area. Helping Mr. Stern is a small group of highly talented individuals. See Our Attorney pages for more information.
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Do I Qualify For Bankruptcy
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must show that either:
- your income is below Illinoiss median income for your family size, or
- your income and expenses, calculated together, leave you unable to pay your debts. This is determined under a complex formula called the bankruptcy means test.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, 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.
Where Do I File For Bankruptcy
Most people file for bankruptcy in the federal district court closest to where they live. However, if you run a business in a different district and most of your property is located there, you may have to file in that location.
Also, if you’ve moved in the past six months , you may have to file in the federal district court where you used to live. It all depends on where the greater portion of your property has been for most of the past 180 days.
Wherever you’re required to file, know that you can handle most of your business with the court, including filing your bankruptcy forms, by mail. However, you will need to visit the courthouse in person at least once, for a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee.
For more details, and to find your local court, see our articles on How to File for Bankruptcy.
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How To File Bankruptcy For Free In Illinois
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In a Nutshell
10 step guide on how to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois without a lawyer. This guide provides an overview of the bankruptcy process for filers seeking debt relief in the Illinois Bankruptcy Court.
Written byAttorney Andrea Wimmer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of things much harder than they used to be. If youâre reading this, youâre probably having a hard time financially. Minimum payments are taking up more of your disposable income, making it harder to keep up with regular living expenses. And thanks to the coronavirus, thereâs no end in sight, either.
First, know that youâre not alone. According to a recent survey released by the National Endowment for Financial EducationÂ®, 48% of respondents are worried about upcoming bills. Keep reading to learn how a personal bankruptcy might offer a much needed bailout for your family. No one really ever wants to learn more about theirbankruptcy options, but recognizing the option exists is a good first step.
Get On With Your Life
Youll undoubtedly be eager to get your life back on track after your bankruptcy filing we hope you can breathe easier and start to rebuild when your bankruptcy is done. Occasionally, things do pop up after the end of a bankruptcy case that you’ll need to deal with, from discovering new non-exempt property to dealing with a creditor that tries to collect a debt discharged in your bankruptcy. If questions come up after your case is over, know that you can get answers.
If youve been working with a lawyer during your bankruptcy case, you can ask for additional guidance. You can also find information about dealing with post-bankruptcy issues in How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13: Keep Your Property and Repay Your Debts Over Time.
Counties in Illinois
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Problems In Your Chapter 7 The Shimotake Law Firm Llc Can Help
Chapter 7 bankruptcies generally go pretty smoothly. However, in all bankruptcies, creditors are entitled to object. The panel Trustee and the U.S. Trustee are also involved in every Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ultimately, with so many factors, a problem may arise that may have not been foreseen. In these events, the Shimotake Law Firm, LLC can be in your corner. The Shimotake Law Firm, LLC has experience with complex litigation that stem from bankruptcy, including:
- Adversary Complaints
Want To Check Lawyer Discipline
It is always a good idea to research your bankruptcy lawyer prior to hiring. Every state has a disciplinary organization that monitors attorneys, their licenses, and consumer complaints. By researching lawyer discipline you can:
- Ensure the attorney is currently licensed to practice in your state
- Gain an understanding of his or her historical disciplinary record, if any.
- Determine the seriousness of complaints/issues which could range from late bar fees to more serious issues requiring disciplinary action.
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Complete A Credit Counseling Class
Sometime during the six months before you file for bankruptcy, you must complete a mandatory credit counseling session with a government approved credit counseling agency. You can satisfy this requirement in-person, over the phone, or online. It will take about 90 minutes and may cost as little as $0 or as much as $100, depending on your ability to pay. After you take the class, youll receive a certificate that you must file with your bankruptcy petition.
Avoid Bankruptcy: Contact A Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
If you own a home and are experiencing financial hardship, reach out for assistance. Foreclosure defense encompasses a wide area, including helping people avoid filing bankruptcy by looking at other avenues of help for debt relief.
You should always have an attorney investigate ways of using your home to leverage money to assist in meeting your other financial needs. Your home may be your saving grace to avoid bankruptcy and all the negative ramifications it brings.
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Reasonable Fees For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing In Illinois
The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy attorneys at Suburban Legal Group PC are sensitive to the difficult time you may be facing. If you need a bankruptcy attorney in Illinois, we can help! While filing and going through bankruptcy can be complicated and frustrating, the attorneys at Suburban Legal Group PC can help you successfully complete navigate the process and get a fresh, debt-free start.
Request a Free No Obligation Chapter 13 Consultation Today. Let us help you determine what your options are and create a road map to help you get out of debt. Our goal at Suburban Legal Group PC is to change your financial future, and we provide a reasonable fee and payment plan options that helps you accomplish this.
Filing Bankrupcty In Illinois: Real And Personal Property Exemptions
The biggest difference between filing for bankruptcy in Illinois and filing in other states is the type of property that is exempt, or protected from creditors. Some states allow use of a federal exemption, while bankruptcy filing law in Chicago and the rest of Illinois applies their own exemption statutes to all property in a bankruptcy case.
What should you expect to keep in a Bankruptcy filing in Illinois? See below:
Property That is Protected From Creditors in Bankruptcy Filings
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Bankruptcy Lawyers In Chicago Illinois Can Help You
If you’re experiencing severe financial difficulties, bankruptcy can provide a path to debt relief and help you get a fresh start. Whether you are just starting to consider bankruptcy or have already filed, getting a bankruptcy lawyer involved can help you maximize the benefits afforded to you by the United States Bankruptcy Code. We’ve assembled a list of trusted local lawyers that you can use to find the right Chicago bankruptcy attorney to help you stop wage garnishment, prevent creditor harassment, get debt relief, and protect your property.