Dealing With Your Car Loan
If you own a car that you still owe on, youâll have to let the bank and the court know what you want to do with it one one of your bankruptcy forms.
If you want to surrender the car to the lender and discharge the debt, you donât have to do anything other than stop making your payments. The bank will either file request with the bankruptcy court to ask permission to retake the car, or wait until your discharge is granted before picking it up.
If you want to keep the car, you can either reaffirm the loan or redeem the car. If youâre reaffirming your loan, the bank will send you a reaffirmation agreement after your case is filed. You have to complete and sign the agreement and return it to the bank within 45 days from your 341 meeting. The bank files the signed agreement with the court for approval.
To redeem the vehicle you have to file a motion with the court and, once granted, buy the car from the bank for its current value. This gets you out of having to pay the amount left on the loan, but payment has to be made in one lump sum.
Is Bankruptcy Better Than Debt Settlement
Determining how to handle your debts is not an easy decision. It is essential to evaluate each option carefully to ensure that you choose the best option. The surest way to achieve this goal is to seek the guidance of a legal expert who knows the pros and cons of debt settlement and bankruptcy. By seeking the services of an experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney, you can help ensure that you consider every angle during the decision making process.
How Much Does It Really Cost To File Bankruptcy
If you’re thinking about going it alone, you’re probably pretty strapped for cash, and you’re worried that you won’t be able to come up with the funds to hire someone to help you. To some extent, legal representation can indeed be costly. To get quality representation, like most things, you’ll need to pay for it.
However, before you jump to any conclusions, you may find that it’s more affordable than you think. Many consumer bankruptcy lawyers offer a free initial consultation.
An attorney can also help determine if you’re eligible for assistance through legal aid or a pro bono program offered by a bar association near you.
Keep in mind that what you’ll pay to file bankruptcy is less than what you’ll pay if you continue to try to service your debts. And that’s not counting the stress, frustration, aggravation, and years you’ll spend rehabilitating your credit.
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Typical Steps In The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
Liquidation Requirements For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. In Chapter 7, the borrower may be required to sell certain assets as a requirement of the case. Fortunately, not all of a debtorâs assets will be subjected to liquidation by the bankruptcy court. Florida bankruptcy law provides exemptions for many of the assets a debtor might own. If an asset is exempt from liquidation the borrower will not be required to sell the asset. To learn more about which assets may be protected in bankruptcy, .
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How To File Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer In Pa
The court provides a detailed Chapter 7 checklist online, but here are the steps you will need to take to file a bankruptcy case in Pennsylvania pro se:
- Print out the PA bankruptcy documents you need
- Gather all of the required financial information and documents
- Complete the PA bankruptcy documents
- Complete your means test analysis to show you are income-qualified to file Chapter 7
- Take your and get the Certification of Completion
- Go to the Court to file all of your forms
- Mail the required documents to the Chapter 7 Trustee
- Take the Financial Management Course and get the Certification of Completion
- Attend your 341a Meeting of Creditors
- Supply any additional information or documents that the Trustee requests
- Wait to receive your discharge and then your case closes.
Filing And First Meeting Of Creditors
Once you have completed your pleadings, the documents must be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. Shortly thereafter, a Trustee will be assigned to your Case and a Hearing in front of the Trustee will be scheduled. This Hearing is called the “First Meeting of Creditors” and is usually conducted within about 30 days after your case is filed.
At the First Meeting of Creditors, you will be required to appear before the Trustee and answer questions regarding your assets, liabilities, income, expenses and financial affairs. You will also be required to produce certain documents such as deeds to your real property, titles to your vehicles, bank statements, tax returns and other documents evidencing your financial assets, liabilities and affairs. It is imperative you answer these questions honestly and provide all of the requested documentation at the hearing. Failure to do so could lead to the dismissal of your case, a denial of the discharge of your debts and, if you conceal financial information, you could be charged with Bankruptcy Fraud. Please hire a Bankruptcy Attorney to represent you.
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Approval Process For Credit Counseling And Debtor Education Courses
In Alabama and North Carolina, the bankruptcy administrator approves credit counseling and debtor education providers. Lists of approved providers for the six judicial districts in Alabama and North Carolina are maintained by the bankruptcy administrator for that district or bankruptcy court.
An entity seeking to become an authorized credit counseling or debtor education provider in Alabama or North Carolina must go through an application process administered by the bankruptcy administrator for that district.
When Can I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Again
The waiting period to refile a Chapter 13 is less than it is to refile a Chapter 7. If you previously obtained a discharge of debt in Chapter 13, you only need to wait two years to refile. On the other hand, if your previous case was a Chapter 7, you will need to wait four years. The 4-year waiting period begins on the commencing date of the last case. Filing a Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as Chapter 20.
Filing Bankruptcy On Your Own
If youre looking to save money, the obvious choice is to file your bankruptcy case by yourself. There is no law that says you have to hire an attorney. In this case, however, going the DIY route may not be the best option. Very few bankruptcies are successful with pro se litigants, and there are many ways to misstep when filing a bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process, involving steps such as:
You may find it takes too much time away from your job and family to research the state laws, file the paperwork, and go to court. If youre unable to put in the time and you want to make sure your case goes smoothly, consider hiring a personal bankruptcy lawyer.
Go To Court To File Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once you enter the doors of your local courthouse, you will be greeted by security guards, who will ask you to pass through a metal detector. Once you pass security, you will go to the clerkâs office and tell the clerk that youâre there to file for bankruptcy. They will take your bankruptcy forms and your filing fee .
Do not submit your bank statements or tax returns to the court. These documents go to the trustee after the case is filed. Check out Step 7 below for more info on that.
While you wait, the clerk will process your case by scanning your forms and uploading them to the courtâs online filing system. This usually takes no more than 15 minutes.
Once done, the clerk will call you back to the front desk and give you:
Your bankruptcy case number
The name of your bankruptcy trustee
The date, time, and location of your meeting with your trustee
At this point, your case has been filed! Congrats! The automatic stay now protects you from all debt collectors. But youâre not home yet – there are other steps you need to complete to get a fresh start under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code!
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Should You File For Bankruptcy Without An Attorney
It is possible to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, but is it wise?
- Just because you can, doesnt mean you should
Law is a knowledge service lawyers do things for clients which clients do not know how to do themselves.
People often hire professionals for many knowledge-based services.
- You go to a mechanic to figure out why your car is making a funny sound and fix it
- You go to a doctor to figure out why your stomach hurts and fix it
- You go to a plumber to figure out why your pipe is leaking and fix it
Bankruptcy lawyers figure out how you got into debt and fix it.
In fact, filing for bankruptcy may be one of the worst services for do-it-yourself for the following six reasons:
District Of New Jersey Requirements
New Jersey is a single federal district that has been divided into 3 divisions, headquartered in Camden, Newark, and Trenton and broken down by county. One of the main requirements for you to remember is that you have to bring 2 full copies of your bankruptcy documents to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey.
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Gather Your Financial Information And Documents
In exchange for getting the protection of the bankruptcy courts automatic stay prohibiting creditor contact, you must disclose every aspect of your financial situation, including income, expenses, debts, and assets.
First, gather all of your bills and bank statements. Then get a copy of your credit report to ensure you are not missing any creditors or debts. Make a list of your monthly expenses, and collect pay stubs or other proof of income to determine your total monthly income.
Make a list of your assets, including personal belongings, and their value. Houses and cars can be evaluated using online tools. The value of personal belongings such as clothing, jewelry, hobby, and sporting equipment, and household goods, can be estimated using a common sense yard sale value. If you are uncertain, consult one of the online auction sites to see what similar items to the one in question recently sold for at auction.
Types Of Online Bankruptcy
It might pay to know that if youre struggling with debt you are far from alone. More than half a million of us filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
While that number is high, total bankruptcies actually dropped 29.7% from 2019. Jon Lieberman, a bankruptcy attorney with the law firm Sottile & Barile in Loveland, Ohio, attributes the drop in filings to stimulus payments and extra federal unemployment money along with a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
Even car lenders were working things out with consumers, said Lieberman, the former co-chair of the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee at the American Bankruptcy Institute. The thought is that after COVID restrictions ease and stimulus money ends that people will start filing again.
There are two major forms of bankruptcy for individuals, Chapter 7, known as liquidation bankruptcy. and Chapter 13, known as wage earners plan.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly used form of bankruptcy, accounting for approximately 69.6% of cases in 2020. An individual asks the bankruptcy court to wipe out unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills and maybe personal loans. A court trustee tries to pay off as many creditors as possible by selling off non-essential property, which means pretty much anything that has value, but you dont need it to get by. Common examples of non-essential property are jewelry, art, stamp collection, second house/car and fur coat.
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Bankruptcy Fees Waivers And Payment Plans
If youre unable to pay your filing fees, the court will usually try to work with you. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be able to roll your court fees into your repayment plan, paying the court in monthly installments. If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and youre unable to pay off the fee in installments over 120 days, you might be able to request a fee waiver. The bankruptcy court bases fee waivers on income limits, so your combined family income will need to be less than 150 percent of the poverty limit. If you dont qualify for a fee waiver, you may want to consider applying to pay in installments.
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Obtain Your Credit Reports And Complete Credit Counseling
The next step is to obtain from all three credit bureaus. You’ll need all three reports because creditors don’t typically report to every bureau. If you fail to report a debt, it won’t be discharged in bankruptcy.
Next, you’ll have to complete a . The U.S. Trustee Program has a list of approved credit education agencies on its site.
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Filing Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer In Florida
One of the most frequently asked questions in my practice is In Florida, can I consider filing bankruptcy without a lawyer? Honestly, yes you can file without an lawyer, and it doesnt matter what chapter you file. Chapter 7, 11, 12, 13 it makes no difference. You can absolutely Home Depot that if you think you have the chops.
But heres why you shouldnt.
Forms, Forms, Everywhere a Form
Getting all your information filled in and submitted correctly is vital to having a successful bankruptcy. If you are going to file by yourself, you have to fill out the paperwork you are submitting perfectly. Theres no room for error, and if you omit something you can amend your filing, but it wont look good to the trustee or the courts. A bankruptcy filing is a sworn statement, and you are attesting by filing that paperwork that everything in there is true and accurate theres very little room for a Whoops!
The Right Bankruptcy Filing
Additionally, there are qualifications for certain types of bankruptcies, and I am not talking about business or personal. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy for individuals comes with a means test. If you dont meet the criteria, you filing may be converted into a Chapter 13. Thats much more complicated and drawn out than a Chapter 7, and you will have to pay back some of your debts. Even filing for a simple Chapter 7 is more complicated than it looks at the starting line.
Stupid Creditor Tricks
Filing Bankruptcy Pro Se In Il And Mo Is Highly Complex
Bankruptcy cases are known for their complexity, and they can be even more complicated if you own a lot of assets or jointly own property with a spouse or another individual. The primary problem with filing without a bankruptcy attorney is that the courts offer no forgiveness for mistakes, even if they are seemingly small and technical mistakes.
Any error made while filingbankruptcy in Illinois or Missourican be potentially disastrous, and you may have to live with the consequences of the error for seven years. Thats how long a botched Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your credit report. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a problematic pro se filing can remain on your credit report for 10 years.
Some of the mistakes that those filing bankruptcy without an attorney often make include forgetting to list debts, forgetting to list assets, and not taking the proper exemptions.
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When You’ll Need A Bankruptcy Attorney
It’s usually best for any bankruptcy filer to hire an attorney. That said, as discussed above, individuals can represent themselves in the right circumstances. It just depends on the case and the comfort level of the person.
You’re Filing for Chapter 13
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool that can allow you to:
- catch up on your missed mortgage or car loan payments
- eliminate unsecured junior liens from your home through lien stripping, or
- reduce the principal balance or interest rate on your car loan with a cramdown.
But Chapter 13 bankruptcy is considerably more complicated and labor-intensive than Chapter 7. If you want the court to confirm your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must propose a feasible repayment plan, which is challenging to do without legal knowledge and the software used by bankruptcy lawyers.
Further, if you wish to pay less on your house or car by stripping a second mortgage or cramming down a car loan, you’ll need to file a motion or adversary proceeding with the court, which also isn’t an easy task.
Learn more in Releasing Liens in Bankruptcy: Lien Avoidance.
You’re Filing a Complicated Chapter 7
Of course, if you don’t believe you can navigate the bankruptcy process, or if you aren’t comfortable with it, it’s probably best to hire a bankruptcy lawyer.