When falling behind financially, the pressure from debt-collectors and creditors can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, bankruptcy laws provide a way for those overwhelmed with debt to end the nightmare and start over.
Filing for bankruptcy will initiate and Automatic Stay, immediately stopping all debt collection activity.
Moreover, it will relieve past debts, giving the debtor the opportunity to have a clean financial slate once again.
While the idea of ending the pressure might be appealing, there are cons of filing for bankruptcy. So, many will find themselves asking, “When should I file for bankruptcy?”
When to File for Personal Bankruptcy
Most people will declare bankruptcy for the obvious reason of getting rid of their overwhelming amount of debt.
Perhaps most appealing, however, is the fact that the annoying and sometimes harassing phone calls will cease. This is one of the biggest reasons why individuals will begin to consider bankruptcy.
Once filed, creditors are legally bound to end all collection activity, including phone calls or contact of any kind.
In addition, declaring bankruptcy may provide temporary relief from eviction, foreclosure, or discontinuation of utilities.
Which Type of Bankruptcy Should You File?
For individuals, there are two main types of bankruptcies: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Prior to filing with the court, one should hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assist them in making the right decisions.
Likewise, a bankruptcy lawyer will make sure that all paperwork is filed properly, they will represent you in court, and they will make sure all possible exemptions are considered.
This will ensure that your case is handled properly and that you come out of your case in the best possible financial position.
When to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When your income is great enough to pay off unsecured debts, and you do not have a lot of non-exempt assets, chapter 7 may be your best option.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of all non-exempt assets. The funds acquired will be divided among your creditors.
If there is any remaining unsecured debt, it will be discharged.
This is why chapter 7 is a good option for those with smaller salaries and few non-exempt assets.
Any remaining unsecured debt after this will be discharged, leaving the debtor with a clean financial slate.
When to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Unlike chapter 7, chapter 13 works by reorganizing your debts and defining a debt repayment plan that is affordable.
This makes it possible for a person to pay off their debt without amassing more.
If your salary is substantial enough to afford a repayment plan, and you have a lot of assets, then a chapter 13 bankruptcy might be your best option.
In addition, as you are repaying your debt through the repayment plan, you get to keep all of your assets.
So, if you are far behind on a mortgage or car loan, chapter 13 is an ideal option to avoid foreclosure or repossession.
Whatever financial situation you are in, it is always advisable to seek out an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to help you make all related decisions.
The decision to file for bankruptcy is ultimately the decision of the debtor.
There is never a “best time” to file. However, there are some general guidelines to follow prior to making the choice.
First, a thorough assessment of your finances should be done. Try to negotiate payment plans with your creditors.
If you fail to see a reasonable outcome, or if it will take more than 5 years to pay off the debt, then considering filing for bankruptcy may be an option.
Should You Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney?
A bankruptcy can be a very stressful and drawn-out process. There are many laws and regulations that must be adhered to.
Much time and effort have to be placed on discovering exemptions, filing paperwork, collecting financial information and more.
An attorney can not only assist with these things, but they can ensure that everything is proper and completed in time.
Likewise, they will ensure that come out of your case with the best possible financial outcome.
The lawyers of Parker & DuFresne, P.A. will meet with you at no charge to evaluate your case. Then we will provide you an estimated cost.
Put Parker & DuFresne’s experience to work for you.