Bankruptcy Law - Chapter 7, 11, 13



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What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy allows individuals, couples, and businesses that cannot meet their financial obligations to be excused from repaying some or all of their debt. Bankruptcy has been in existence since ancient times. In the United States, the rules and procedures for filing bankruptcy are governed by federal law. States are prohibited from legislating in this area of the law.

Generally speaking, there are two types of bankruptcy. In a liquidation bankruptcy, debtors must surrender their property, which is sold, and the proceeds distributed to creditors. In return, all debts are permanently discharged. In a reorganization bankruptcy, debtors are allowed to keep their property. But the debtors must agree to an installment plan to repay creditors a portion of the amount they owe.

Filing for bankruptcy involves submitting a petition and fee to the bankruptcy court. The fee is close to $300 for most personal bankruptcies. The petition will contain sworn statements by the debtors concerning the amount of money they owe, their income and expenses, as well as a complete list of all of their assets. After filing, a court hearing is held to review the information in the petition.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies are by far the most common. These are liquidation bankruptcies in which the debtors must turn over all “non-exempt” property to a supervising officer known as the bankruptcy trustee. Property is exempt if it falls within specific categories of assets that debtors are allowed to keep, such as a certain amount of clothing, household items, tools for work, and in some instances, vehicles and the family home.

The Chapter 7 trustee will take the debtor’s non-exempt property (if there is any), and sell it. The money will be paid to the debtor’s creditors. This may result in creditors receiving a small fraction of their claims. The balance of the debtor’s loans and obligations are forgiven and can never be collected. Creditors who attempt to collect debts that have been discharged face severe penalties under federal law.

Keep Your Property

The fact that a liquidation bankruptcy wipes out debt completely is obviously attractive to anyone who cannot afford to pay their bills. But what about people who have non-exempt property that they do not want to give up? Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy. It allows debtors to keep their property by agreeing to make monthly payments toward their debt over the course of three to five years.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies offer a number of benefits besides allowing debtors to keep their property. For example, certain types of secured debt, like a car loan, can be restructured by reducing principal to the market value of the collateral, and lowering payments by extending the repayment period to 60 months. Other obligations, like mortgages, student loans, and tax liabilities can be modified as well. Creditors are given no choice in the matter.

Bankruptcy is not available to everyone. Those who have had their debts discharged in a Chapter 7 within the past eight years cannot re-file. For Chapter 13, the waiting period is six years. Too much disposable income is also a problem. Congress has established a “means test” for this purpose. Debtors who make enough money to repay their creditors will be barred from filing a liquidation bankruptcy, though reorganization may be an option.

Businesses that have become insolvent but want to stay in business may be able to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Like a personal reorganization, Chapter 11 allows businesses to obtain protection from their creditors while they put together a repayment plan. Liabilities can be reduced and restructured to give the business another chance at achieving profitability.

Whether a debtor is considering filing under Chapter 7, 11, or 13, they must comply with a vast number of federal laws and regulations. An error at any step of the process can result in the court refusing to discharge the debtor’s liabilities. When the bankruptcy process ends this way, the consequences are disastrous. With so much at stake, hiring a licensed bankruptcy attorney at the outset is wise investment.

Know Your Rights!

Articles About Bankruptcy Law

  • The “Pro Se” Bankruptcy Filing Problem in Detroit
    The Detroit bankruptcy court in recent years has been inundated with a large number of "pro se" bankruptcy filings. In many of these cases, the debtors have been helped with the preparation of their petition and schedules by individuals whom the court has prohibited from assisting people for failure to abide by the rules that bankruptcy petition preparers must follow.
  • Dealing with Harassment from Debt Collectors
    The Texas Debt Collection Act and the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibit debt collectors from taking certain actions when dealing with alleged debtors. They also provide remedies for people when collectors fail to comply with the statutes. This article is to help you determine whether a debt collector has violated the law and what you can do about it.
  • Murrieta Bankruptcy Law: The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline
    Bankruptcy is when you lawfully proclaim that you can no longer repay your debts. Individuals have the option of either proclaiming chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcies, depending on the intensities of their debts and the incomes being made.
  • Weigh the Benefits and Drawbacks Prior to Proclaiming Bankruptcy
    Bankruptcy takes place when a procedure is started where a debtor obtains court bought relief from needing to settle his/her debts.
  • A Cabin and a Sash for Molly
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  • Bankruptcy with a Little Pride
    There's one bankruptcy. I think I’ll remember for a long time. Nobody at my office could understand why the man bobbed his head in at first. It was about a year or so ago. Most clients schedule an appointment. But this man just knocked on the door wearing his round felt hat. He was much older than most of my clients and had a solemn voice. He took off his hat and asked my secretary Kathleen to speak with a “straight-talking lawyer.”
  • Fighting The Post-Bankruptcy Survival Of Federal Tax Liens On Property Excluded From The Bankruptcy Estate
    The federal tax collection system is founded on the concept of voluntary compliance.[1] The United States government expects taxpayers to compute and timely pay all taxes owed. Most taxpayers fulfill this obligation. However, a minority refuse to comply. Those falling within the latter category are subject to forced collection and various penalties.
  • There Are Bankruptcy Laws That Can Shield United States Citizens
    Some times individuals get to a point where they have taken on too much credit and become overpowered by the weight of too much debt, simply keep in mind though that there are Murrieta Bankruptcy Attorney laws that can protect us. There are some creditors that will think absolutely nothing of bullying and harassing individuals who do not pay on time, this isn't really such a bad thing when there are people that are simply plain reckless.
  • Personal Bankruptcy And Harassing Creditors
    Just about everyone who gets a little behind on their bills will get a friendly reminder call from a creditor. But once in awhile, those calls turn out to be not so friendly. While there are certain laws to protect the consumer from harassing calls at home and at work, not every debt collector plays by the rules.
  • Considerations to Filing Bankruptcy
    Filing bankruptcy ought to just be thought about after the other options have been tired. Bear in mind the fact that a number of services for debt consolidation are in fact illegal and will cause you more issues. Keep the suggestions from this post in mind in order to make ideal financial decisions and keep away from debt.
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United States Bankruptcy Courts

Bankruptcy Law - US

Organizations Regarding Bankruptcy Law

Publications Regarding Bankruptcy Law