Struggling in a financial situation is stressful enough without worrying if you are picking the right bankruptcy lawyer. However, picking the wrong attorney can be the first blunder that gets a case rejected. The first step toward debt relief is picking an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. A good attorney will explain the basics of [...]
As any chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio will tell you, the decision to file for bankruptcy is not one that should be taken lightly. However, if you have been thinking about calling a lawyer to discuss your options to get out of debt, here is some information that you may want to consider. [...]
One of the most confusing aspects about filing for bankruptcy is the issue of what property is exempt and what property is not exempt. When property is determined to be exempt from bankruptcy, it cannot be taken away from you by a bankruptcy trustee. Many people erroneously believe that filing for bankruptcy means that they [...]
If you have found yourself in a situation where debt collectors are calling you constantly, you are probably feeling scared, stressed out and hopeless. The good news, however, is that it is more than possible to come back from this situation. San Antonio bankruptcy attorneys know that there are more than a few common sense ways that you can find debt relief, even if the collectors are calling you around the clock.
1. Prioritize Your Financial Well-Being.
If you have debt collectors calling you around the clock, it may be time to prioritize your financial well-being over everything else. This is the time to sit down with your spouse or partner (if you have one) and list all the debts you have that need to be paid. Once you have a clear picture of what debts need to be paid, you can develop a plan of how to pay it all off. A San Antonio bankruptcy attorney can help with this if you’re both feeling overwhelmed.
2. Cut Spending and Sell Non-Essential Items.
The first step you are going to have to take if you have debt collectors calling you is to cut spending on non-essential expenses. Obvious examples of things to cut include dining out and entertainment expenses, but you may need to get more creative. Look at everything that you currently spend money on and find ways to spend less. This may mean finding someone to carpool with to work or cutting cable and internet service at home. Finally, you may also want to investigate selling non-essential items, like a second car or unused furniture or musical instruments. Use the money you make from the sale to pay off debts.
3. File For Bankruptcy.
No one wants to file for bankruptcy, but it is the quickest and most efficient way to get debt relief and often lower monthly payments. If you think that bankruptcy may be the best option for you, consult a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio, who will be able to walk you through the process. One of the best things about filing for bankruptcy is that calls from debt collectors will stop immediately. Furthermore, after filing for bankruptcy, you will have lower monthly payments as you work towards paying off your debt.
The decision to contact a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can be a difficult one. Though you need debt relief and a financial fresh start, navigating the waters of Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be frightening. Many people do not fully understand what the process will entail, and many don’t know what their lives will look like after they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the help of a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney.
Get Relief From Those Harassing Phone Calls
The instant your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney files your paperwork for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court puts an automatic “order for relief” into effect. Sometimes called an “automatic stay,” the “order for relief” makes it illegal for any creditors to call you for any reason. While your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney is working hard to get everything in order for your bankruptcy, you and your family will be able to live in peace, free from those disturbing phone calls.
When it comes to finances, many people feel pushed to the brink prior to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy with a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. They have no idea how they will go about paying their debts to various creditors; they live in fear that they will lose their homes, cars and other property. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy with a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney eradicates that fear, by giving you debt relief. Everything that has frightened and confused you about settling your debts will now be in the hands of the court and its trustees. To free yourself from years of debt, all you need to do is work with your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney and follow their plan, which will leave you with lower monthly payments.
But will I lose my property?
In the old days, people who could not pay their debts were thrown in debtors’ prison, a bleak place where you would stay until you (or your family) had settled your debts. Thankfully, we are not so draconian these days. While you may have to give up some of your property to cover your debts, it will probably be luxury goods – fur coats, expensive musical instruments, coin collections – rather than necessities. You won’t be prevented from living a comfortable life. You’ll most likely get to keep your car, your household appliances and home furnishings, as well as clothing, jewelry and other personal effects. Work with your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney to determine which of your belongings can be exempted.
If you are like most people, you have been wisely saving whatever you can toward your eventual retirement, despite your rising debts. Now that you find yourself on the brink of filing for bankruptcy with your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, you may wonder whether you will be able to keep that money, which was intended to provide for you and your family after you are no longer able to work.
The good news is that you don’t need to worry. As your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney knows, much of what you have set aside for your retirement is exempt from bankruptcy proceedings. This means that your retirement funds cannot be garnished by the court or its bankruptcy trustees.
Exemptions Protect Filers
It is an unfortunate misconception that bankruptcy results in a court-ordered truck loading up everything you own, to be sold off to settle your debts. In fact, most of the possessions required for a normal, comfortable life are exempt from the bankruptcy proceedings. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio can explain more, but generally your car, household goods and personal effects are exempt from bankruptcy proceedings. Furthermore, your retirement savings are exempt, as long as they have been saved in a 401K, IRA or similar account. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio can discuss with you which of your belongings and savings will be exempted.
Things to Consider about your Retirement Savings and Bankruptcy
Even though your retirement savings accounts are exempt from garnishment during bankruptcy, there are some major things to consider before you file for bankruptcy with your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. First, and especially if you are self-employed, be sure that your retirement savings account has been set up to meet the qualifications for exemption. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio can explain those qualifications to you before you file. Many self-employed people believe that their retirement savings accounts are exempt, only to later find that the account has not been properly set up. Additionally, you must be careful not to preferentially dump money into your retirement account in the six months prior to filing for bankruptcy. This is called a “fraudulent conveyance” and could possibly result in your retirement savings account’s inclusion in the bankruptcy.
There are many reasons why a bankruptcy case would be dismissed. With the help of an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, you can avoid making the majority of these mistakes so that you have a clearer path to debt relief. A Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can assist you in thoroughly preparing for every aspect of your bankruptcy case. Individuals filing for bankruptcy often face the following problems, but many of these issues are completely preventable.
This is a huge problem! When you file for bankruptcy, there is a whole slew of paperwork that is required to prove your eligibility. If you make one simple mistake, your case may be thrown out. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you to fill out all of the appropriate papers based on the nature of your case.
Failing the Means Test
Although you may not be able to control the results of the means test, failing the test does not mean that you cannot file for bankruptcy. If you work with an experienced Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, he or she can asses the situation of your finances to determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 before the means test is even conducted. If you are not eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can assist you in filing for reorganization and lower monthly payments under Chapter 13.
Missing the Creditor Meeting
In many states, failure to attend your creditor meeting can result in a case being dismissed. Although meeting with your creditors may sound intimidating and unappealing, the actual meeting is relatively quick and painless in most cases. With the support of your lawyer, you must answer questions under oath to clarify the state of your finances. Often, creditors won’t even show up.
Failure to Disclose Assets
If you attempt to mislead your creditors and the court in any way and it is discovered, your entire case will be dismissed immediately. Fraud of this sort might include concealing assets or withholding tax information. In the event that someone suspects you of defrauding the court, they can challenge your bankruptcy case. In order to avoid this type of dismissal, be completely honest with your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney about the state of your finances and assets.
Life after bankruptcy can be both exhilarating and terrifying. With the help of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio, you are in the midst of a fresh start in the wake of your debt relief. Even if you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy with an attorney in San Antonio, you can see light at the end of the tunnel when you complete your payment plan for lower monthly payments at the end of 3 to 5 years.
You San Antonio bankruptcy attorney will assure you that it is a myth that it will be impossible for you to buy a home or a car as you rebuild your credit. This is true, but as you start your new life, it is crucial to make a plan and change your lifestyle in order to avoid falling into the old routines that brought on bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years. During that time, you must demonstrate that you have learned from your mistakes and are working to rebuild a better lifestyle. Even while your bankruptcy is on your credit report, there are many steps that you can take to reestablish your good credit.
How To Regain Good Credit Scores
The first step that you must take is to develop a reasonable budget and then stick to it. Your bankruptcy lawyer will be able to assist you in finding wise counsel in regards to your budget. Cut out any unnecessary expenses and avoid making large purchases. It is essential to develop a barebones lifestyle for the time being so that your resources can go towards improving your credit. In addition, reducing expenses allows you to build up your savings in order to avoid future catastrophe.
Be smart about opening new credit accounts. You may find the process of obtaining credit cards challenging and expensive in the aftermath of your bankruptcy case. No matter what, make your credit card payments on time. You might find it easier to live on cash in order to more closely monitor your budget.
Most importantly, make all payments on time, whether they are for your credit card, your mortgage, or your electrical expenses. Focus on diverting money towards savings and consider utilizing a secured credit card. Finally, maintain a positive attitude – however challenging the current circumstances may seem, they are massively improved from where you were before you filed for bankruptcy.
The choice to file with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio allows you to begin a journey towards debt relief. Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in San Antonio are able to help you get a completely fresh start, but deciding to go with Chapter 13 lets you continue to repay your debts with lower monthly payments. Although a Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 10 years, it still demonstrates that you were committed to repaying your debt as opposed to simply erasing it.
How The Payment Plan Works
When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your San Antonio bankruptcy attorney will assist you in developing a repayment plan. The resulting plan will detail a certain amount that you must pay monthly to a bankruptcy trustee, who will in turn begin to repay your debts. Certain debts must continue to be paid in full, which will affect the amount of your monthly payments. The debts that must be paid at a rate of 100% include:
- Administrative costs: the fees that pay your bankruptcy trustee and lawyer
- Priority debts: obligations that cannot be dismissed, such as taxes, alimony, and child support
- Mortgage expenses: the default on your mortgage that must be paid in order to keep your house
Unsecured debts may be adjusted to ensure that you owe lower monthly payments going forward. Expect to negotiate with your lawyer and the court to determine the amount of your disposable income that must be directed towards your debts. The point of a Chapter 13 payment plan is to institute monthly fees that are manageable, so that when you complete the plan you are ready for the fresh start offered by Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The Chapter 13 Plan Timeline
In order to allow you a clean slate at some point, there is a cutoff time for Chapter 13 payment plans. At that point, all remaining debts are forgiven and you are free from all monthly payments. The length of your plan is determined by the size of your income. Debtors with income that exceed the median income for households of a similar size are required to continue payments for a period of 5 years in order to more fully repay their debts. However, individuals with an income that is less than the median income must only persist with their monthly payments for 3 years.
Ask your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio for assistance in developing a payment plan that will help you erase your debts.
In considering a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio, it is important to understand the differences between the two cases. Either option will give you immediate debt relief, as a court order bans all creditor harassment once you file. A San Antonio bankruptcy attorney can clarify for you the expectations and results of a bankruptcy case, whether is it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 considerations
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with an attorney in San Antonio, your debts will be discharged and assets that are not exempt will be liquidated to repay those debts. Eligibility for Chapter 7 is determined through a “means test.” Debtors with an income higher than the state median income are generally disqualified.
What are the advantages of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Most importantly, the majority of debts are completely forgiven. Debt collectors must stop harassing you and your family. In Texas, further advantages come from the state’s liberal exemption laws.
However, there are many negative repercussions to be considered as well. Although most debts are forgiven, certain financial obligations cannot be discharged, such as student loans, taxes, and child support. Bankruptcy remains on your credit score for ten years. A Chapter 7 San Antonio bankruptcy attorney can help you decide if a Chapter 7 case is appropriate for you.
Chapter 13 issues
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio will explain to you the benefits of choosing debt consolidation as opposed to a discharge with Chapter 7. When you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are granted lower monthly payments in order to achieve your debt relief. A repayment proposal must be submitted to the court that suggests a reasonable plan for repayment of your debts based on your income.
The pros of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case include the protection of your assets under the Texas exemption laws. These exemptions will reduce the amount of money that the court deems you must repay. Choosing Chapter 13 allows you to continue with lower monthly payments in your plan. A lawyer can assist you in understanding how the Chapter 13 laws apply to you.
For a reliable San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, contact us.