Holiday Considerations for Bankruptcy
Filing bankruptcy is rarely someone's first choice. However, when you accumulate more debt than you can hope to pay on your own, bankruptcy may be your best option. Filing bankruptcy during the holidays can be somewhat complicated. Below are some tips for holiday bankruptcy filers to help you make the best decisions.
1. Don't accumulate debt on purpose.
In some cases, people know that they plan to file for bankruptcy, so they intentionally accumulate more debt. Since they believe all of their excess debts will be discharged anyway, it seems logical to run up as much as possible. However, this is a misuse of bankruptcy, and bankruptcy courts easily recognize this practice. It may even cause significant problems when you file. In addition, if you aren't able to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be forced to pay the entirety of this new debt over time.
2. Remember that the holidays affect office hours.
As soon as you file for bankruptcy, collection action stops. For this reason, it is important to file quickly once you have decided bankruptcy is your best option. However, during the holiday season, government offices and attorneys often work limited hours, which may make it more difficult for you to file promptly. As soon as you know you need to file for bankruptcy, make the necessary appointments. Otherwise, you may be forced to wait until after the holiday season to file.
3. Plan to spend money wisely during the holidays.
If you have already filed for bankruptcy, or if you are preparing to file, you will still face holiday expenses. However, in order to recover financially, it is important to spend your money wisely during this time. Don't buy anything you don't really need. When shopping for others, look for sales or coupons to reduce your expenses. Alternatively, you can also suggest monetary limits on gift-giving with friends and family, or you can suggest drawing names out of a hat to reduce everyone's costs. If you can't afford to buy gifts at all, consider making a craft or baked good for your friends and family instead of running up more debt.
4. Consult an attorney for bankruptcy planning.
The bankruptcy process can be complicated, especially when you are already overwhelmed by financial strain and the holidays themselves. Instead of attempting to deal with this issue on your own, consult an experienced attorney who can help you with bankruptcy planning. The right attorney will be able to help you understand your options and determine whether bankruptcy is the best way to deal with your debt. If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your attorney will also help you maximize the benefits of your bankruptcy case by preserving as many of your assets as possible. If you are filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your attorney will help you create an appropriate payment plan that is both affordable and effective.
5. Don't let bankruptcy ruin your holiday.
Even when you are facing financial trouble, the holidays can still be an exciting time. Deal with the bankruptcy as soon as possible, but don't let it take away your holiday cheer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Natalie M. Stec
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.