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 [...]
In the past, we have spoken extensively about ways to take charge of your financial life. This has included advice geared specifically towards keeping your home and pursuing lower monthly payments, primarily by contacting a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio. However, if you are in a position where your financial missteps have taken over the rest of your life, it is time to start taking your debt relief seriously. Our expert bankruptcy lawyer recommends the following steps.
Debt Relief Must Become Your Number One Priority
Too many people believe that they can hold off on seriously pursuing debt relief, thinking, “I’ll have more money next month,” or that “things will even out in the end.” A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio knows that the longer you wait to settle your debt, the worse your debt will become. If you are in over your head and debt collectors are calling you around the clock, it is time to make debt relief your top priority.
You Do Not Have to Do it Alone
There is a lot of shame associated with filing for bankruptcy in this country, which, unfortunately, leads to more and more people attempting to battle their debts on their own. To tackle debt effectively, people in financial duress should be getting in touch with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio.
Do not delay, as debt relief is just a phone call away. Attorneys often have lower monthly payments than credit card companies do, and a qualified debt relief lawyer knows how to get the debt collection companies off of your back forever. As soon as you file, the calls will stop automatically.
It is Not the End of the World
Above all else, you must remember that contacting a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in San Antonio is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your financial freedom. Bankruptcy exists to help people get the debt relief that they so desperately need.
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.