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Things You Should Know Before You File for Bankruptcy

March 29th, 2019 at 4:18 pm

bankruptcy-filingMost Americans have some form of debt — mortgages, credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, and personal loans are all part of consumer debt and most Americans have a combination of them. For many people, the debt can be handled through smart budgeting and curbed spending, but some people need to use other measures. Bankruptcy is used when people can no longer pay their debt and offers a way for those in debt to get a fresh start. The decision to file for bankruptcy is a difficult one, especially since bankruptcy laws are so complex. Here are a few things you should know before you file for bankruptcy:

There Is More Than One Kind of Bankruptcy

For individuals, there are two different types of bankruptcies — Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the type that most people associate the word bankruptcy with. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of your unsecured debts can be discharged, meaning you will no longer be responsible for paying them back. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you set up a repayment plan that allows you to repay your debts over three to five years. The kind you choose largely depends on your specific circumstances.

Bankruptcy Is Not Free

Though it may seem counterintuitive, filing for bankruptcy is not free. It can actually become quite expensive. Filing for bankruptcy can cost between a couple of hundred to a couple of thousands of dollars, depending on whether or not you hire an attorney and how much the filing fees end up costing.

Your Credit Will Be Affected

 

Once you have filed for bankruptcy and your case is finished, you will have to begin the process of rebuilding your credit. Getting a bankruptcy does make your credit score drop, but it does not really matter whether or not you go into the bankruptcy with a high or a low credit score. Most people end up around the same score range after they are done with bankruptcies.

A Kerrville, TX Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help

It can be difficult to make the decision to file for bankruptcy. Some people feel like bankruptcy is a failure, but in reality, it can be the best decision some people make. If you are thinking that bankruptcy may be right for you, you need to talk to an experienced New Braunfels, TX bankruptcy lawyer. Understanding what you are getting yourself into before you file for bankruptcy is crucial, which is why the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee are here. We can help you figure out which type of bankruptcy is right for you and the most strategic plan to benefit you. Call our office today at 210-342-3400 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.thesimpledollar.com/what-to-expect-when-filing-for-bankruptcy/

https://www.thebalance.com/top-things-to-know-about-bankruptcy-316198

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/bankruptcy.asp

https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymyler/2017/10/03/filing-for-bankruptcy-3-most-important-things-you-need-to-know/#611876127fe6

Signs Filing For Bankruptcy Might Be Your Best Option

December 7th, 2018 at 12:05 am

Texas bankruptcy attorneyIn today’s society, bankruptcy still has a stigma surrounding it. Many people think that if they file for bankruptcy they are failures or irresponsible for having to resort to such tactics. In reality, all kinds of people file for bankruptcy – rich and poor alike – for reasons beyond their control. Filing for bankruptcy can be a life-changing decision, which is why it should not be taken lightly. It is always a better choice to repay your debts than filing for bankruptcy, but for many people, their best option is to file for bankruptcy and start a clean slate. Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be difficult, which is why we have compiled a list of three signs that filing for bankruptcy might be in your best interest.

You Have Already Tried Negotiating

If you have a lot of debt, one of the things you can do is contact your creditors to try to negotiate out a repayment plan that works for you. If you have already tried to do this and your creditors are not willing to work with you, then you do not have many other choices but filing for bankruptcy.

You Have Looked Into Consolidating Your Debts

If you have debt, especially credit card debt, another option is to refinance or consolidate your debt. This means that you will take out a personal loan to cover the costs of your credit card debts, and rather than paying back the individual credit cards, you will be making one monthly payment to your loan provider. This is often beneficial because the loan interest rate is often much lower than your credit card interest rates. If you have tried to consolidate your debt but you still have credit card debt, you might need to consider bankruptcy.

Your Liabilities Are Much Greater Than Your Assets

One of the major reasons people file for bankruptcy is because they simply do not have enough money to pay their debts. For example, if you owe $3,400 a month in debts and you only make $3,000 a month, you do not have much of a choice. If your liabilities greatly outweigh your assets like this, you may need to consider a bankruptcy.

A New Braunfels Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help You Make the Decision

Deciding that you would be better off filing for bankruptcy is a serious and life-changing decision. Filing for bankruptcy does not come without its challenges and you will have to be OK with the fact that you will have to deal with these challenges for a couple of years. If you feel like you are drowning in debt and you are not sure which way to turn, you should contact a Boerne bankruptcy lawyer to help you make a decision. At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, we help people make the decision to file bankruptcy every day. We know the bankruptcy process inside and out and can help you prepare for what is to come when you file. Contact our office at 210-342-3400 to set up a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/bankruptcy-filing.asp

https://www.thesimpledollar.com/when-does-it-make-sense-to-file-for-bankruptcy/

https://www.thebalance.com/should-you-file-bankruptcy-960627

Debunking the Three Biggest Bankruptcy Fears

October 26th, 2018 at 8:25 pm

TX bankruptcy attorneyNearly 800,000 Americans file for bankruptcy each year, while millions more struggle with the decision filing. Often, those weighing the decision to file are doing so under the pressure of constant collection calls, the stress of impending foreclosure or repossession, and without all of the information necessary to make an informed decision. Let us help alleviate some of those fears:

Concern 1: My credit will be ruined.

While it is true that you will experience a decline in your credit score initially, also consider the impact late payments have on your credit score. While it may not be an immediate dramatic decline, the slow loss of credit from delinquency can be more harmful than bankruptcy.

As far as being able to apply for a credit card, a mortgage, or a car loan, all of these options will be available to you much sooner than you may anticipate. Many creditors are willing to offer you a credit card as soon as you complete your filing since they know you will be unable to file for bankruptcy again for an extended length of time. Furthermore, borrowers begin qualifying for new mortgages as soon as one year after the completion of a bankruptcy filing.

Concern 2: I will lose everything.

The thought of being homeless and without transportation often scares many families into coping with the onslaught of collection attempts. In reality, only 2% of debtors must turn over their personal property and real estate equity. According to the Texas homestead exemption, as long as you have lived in your home for 40 months or more, you will not lose your home, regardless of how much equity you have in it. If you live in a suburban area, you can keep up to ten acres of land, or if you are in a rural area, you can keep up to 200 acres per family or 100 acres for individual bankruptcy.

Concern 3: Everyone I know will find out I filed for bankruptcy.

We often hear of bankruptcy on the news, but rarely is it anyone we know intimately. While bankruptcy is a matter of public records, the only time it will potentially make headlines is if you have a high profile case. Many newspapers choose not to publish bankruptcy records now to save on publication costs.

A New Braunfels Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help

If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, a Kerrville, TX bankruptcy attorney will help answer any questions you may have. Attorney Chance M. McGhee has over 20 years of experience with assisting clients to overcome the financial crisis. Call our office at 210-342-3400 to find out how we can help in a free initial consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.thebalance.com/the-three-biggest-bankruptcy-fears-316359

Reversing Real Estate Judgment Liens with Bankruptcy

April 26th, 2018 at 11:40 pm

Texas bankruptcy attorneyCreditors know how to work the system to get the money owed to them. In some cases, creditors have the courts put a lien on debtor’s possessions without the owner’s consent or knowledge, granting the creditor a legal claim over the property. By placing a lien on real estate, a vehicle, or personal property, a creditor secures payment of the money owed, sooner or later.

Buyers will not purchase items without a clear title, and a lien makes any title unclear. Although a creditor has the option to sell the property, such as in foreclosure, most wait until the debtor chooses to sell the property. At that point, seller pays the debt out-of-pocket or uses part of the purchase price to repay the debt. Fortunately, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to avoid the whole ordeal by getting rid of the judgment lien altogether.

Consensual Versus Non-Consensual Liens

Liens are placed on property both with and without consent. If consent is given, it happens at the origination of the creditor-debtor relationship. For example, either the debtor is asking for money to purchase property, such as a home or a vehicle, where the bank would then own the property, and the purchaser makes payments to the financial institution; or the debtor is asking for a financial loan and offers property they already own as collateral.

Alternatively, if someone wins a judgment against another party in court and money is owed, a judge may grant a judgment lien, which frequently happens with unpaid debt. This is an example of a non-consensual lien.

Lien Avoidance

Through judgment lien avoidance, you can permanently remove a judgment lien. If this occurs during bankruptcy, you will own the property, free-and-clear with no other payments. Lien avoidance is recommended, if possible, even if you do not intend to keep the property long-term, as you can then sell the property to pay for other things. To qualify, the following must be true:

  • The lien is a court-issued money judgment;
  • There is exempt equity in part of the property; and
  • Property loss impairs the exemption.

Reduce Courtroom Surprises

Many filers do not realize they have any liens on their property. Others discover partial claims. Sometimes, debtors do not have equity during the bankruptcy filing, but that changes down the road. In all of these circumstances, a New Braunfels, TX bankruptcy attorney can help. If there is a lien on your property and you have little, no, or even negative equity, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee will explore all of your options. Call us today for your free, no-obligation consultation at 210-342-3400.

 

Sources:

https://study.com/academy/lesson/types-of-liens-equitable-possessable-statutory.html

http://www.landlordstation.com/blog/what-is-a-judgment-lien/

Questions to Ask Yourself before Filing for Bankruptcy

July 24th, 2015 at 10:37 am

Texas chapter 7 lawyer, Texas bankruptcy attorney, Texas chapter 13 attorney,Americans make financial decisions every day of their lives, such as where to purchase food and how to save money on basic living expenses. However, few choices have implications that can match the seriousness of filing for bankruptcy.

Choosing to file for bankruptcy is a critical decision, but for millions of debtors, it is the first step toward financial stability. Although an attorney is the best source for guidance in this matter, here are three questions that can help you decide if bankruptcy is a smart option:

What Is My Current Financial Situation?

Your financial situation, which involves your asset value and income, can affect your eligibility for bankruptcy. If your income is too low, then you may not qualify for chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you file for chapter 7, then there is a chance that you would have to sell assets to pay creditors. These are important considerations before you decide to file.

Will Bankruptcy Actually Solve My Problems?

This is another question that may be difficult to answer without the help of an attorney. Each case is unique, so there may be bankruptcy alternatives that could apply to your situation.

Depending on the chapter you file, bankruptcy can resolve a long list of financial issues. First, it can stop harassment from collection agencies, according to Uscourts.gov. If you file for chapter 13, then you will have a structured repayment plan that can help you organize and manage your debt and finances. No matter which chapter you file, bankruptcy can ultimately lead to a life that is free from the stress that comes with insurmountable debt.

What Are My Long-Term Financial Goals?

Filing for bankruptcy does have certain consequences. It may be difficult to acquire a loan for a home, car, or another investment. You also may not have access to credit. As a result, bankruptcy may limit your financial goals. Before filing, it is important to evaluate these goals and determine how bankruptcy will affect them.

If you would like to learn if bankruptcy is a smart option in your situation, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee at 210-342-3400 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney.

Factors Which May Impact Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Eligibility

May 22nd, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Texas bankruptcy attorney, Texas chapter 13 lawyer, bankruptcy qualifications, Filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy is a smart option for thousands of Americans who struggle to pay their debts. Choosing to file bankruptcy is a major decision, and you should only do so after evaluating alternative options. You should also be aware of the bankruptcy qualifications that apply when attempting to file for chapter 13:

Personal Income

According to Uscourts.gov, personal income is the first criteria when filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy. Proof of a stable income is essential.

Remember that chapter 13 differs from other forms of bankruptcy in that it is not an outright dismissal or liquidation of debts. Instead, this chapter offers the option to restructure and pay off debts over time. This is only possible when the filer has a stable income. The length of the payment plan depends on how the filer’s income compares to the state median.

Total Debt

There is a limit to how much debt you can have when filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy. The current maximum for unsecured debt is $383,175, and the filer may have no more than $1,149,525 in secured debt. These amounts can shift based on the consumer price index.

Previous Dismissal

If your request for chapter 13 bankruptcy has been dismissed previously, you will not only be ineligible to apply for chapter 13, but you will also be unable to file for other chapters for a period of 180 days. Grounds for dismissal include failure to appear at hearings or violating court orders.

Attorney Chance M. McGhee is a dedicated San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer with more than 20 years of experience. He can help you understand your debt relief options and decide if filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy is a smart decision in your particular situation. Contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee at 210-342-3400 for a free consultation.

Warning Signs of Financial Trouble

September 24th, 2014 at 7:30 am

Bankruptcy Financial TroubleAll of us struggle with finances at one time or another. However, for many people, that struggle may become overwhelming and feel as if it is never-ending. For those people, bankruptcy can often be the first step to gain control over their financial future.

There are certain signs that financial advisors point to as red flags that your debt has become unmanageable and bankruptcy should be considered. These signs include:

  • The balance of your credit card debt continues to increase, yet your monthly income is either staying the same or has decreased;
  • You pay only the minimum amount due on your credit cards. Some months, you pay even less than the minimum or completely miss the payment;
  • You have multiple credit cards and they all have balances on them;
  • When you receive an offer for a new credit card, you immediately apply;
  • You are using credit cards to pay credit card bills. If you have applied for a credit card, only to take cash advances in order to pay other credit card bills, that is a definite red flag to serious financial trouble;
  • You are close to or at the limit on most or all of your credit cards;
  • You are charging more each month on your cards than you are sending in for your monthly payment;
  • You are using your cards to purchase food, gas, utility bills and other life necessities;
  • Your credit cards are no longer used for ‘extras’ or for convenience sake. Instead, you are using them because you do not have any money;
  • The phone is ringing and letters piling up in your mailbox about your late bill payments;
  • You do not know the true amount of what your total credit card debt is, and you do not want to know.

If you recognize your situation in this list, then it may be time to consult with an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. Find out what your best options may be to help and get you back on the road to financial recovery.

Why Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Be the Answer for You

September 22nd, 2014 at 8:29 am

Chapter 7 BankruptcyLet’s face it: bankruptcy is a daunting prospect. Many first-time filers feel stressed, anxious and even overwhelmed at the idea. The truth, however, is that bankruptcy comes with many benefits: no more calls from creditors and no more worrying about losing your home, to name two.

When most individuals think of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 comes to mind. That is because it is the most common type of bankruptcy.

According to UScourts.gov, Chapter 7 allows for an immediate stop of wage garnishments, home foreclosure, phone calls from creditors and repossessions. A trustee will evaluate your assets to see if liquidation is an option, but in most cases, filers can keep their properties.

Ultimately, very few creditors appeal the results of creditors’ meetings. The bankruptcy process ends with the court wiping away or discharging eligible debts.

It is important to note, however, that the court cannot discharge all types of debt. Ineligible debts include school loans, child support and employee tax debts.

Another advantage of Chapter 7 is the relative speed of the process. In fact, it usually takes less than six months from the time you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to become relieved of debt.

There is a tradeoff, of course. Filing for bankruptcy means you cannot apply for credit for up to 10 years. Still, filers enjoy the relief that comes with having a plan and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in San Antonio, Texas, we can help. Chance M. McGhee is a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. He will sit down with you, examine your situation and help you determine if filing for bankruptcy would be the right solution.

Mr. McGhee will also explain the pros and cons of Chapter 7 bankruptcy so you are aware of how the process works. To schedule a consultation, please call our office at 210-342-3400.

Exploring Texas Bankruptcy Options

July 2nd, 2014 at 8:25 pm

bankruptcy options, Chance M. McGhee, filing for bankruptcy, government statistics, Texas bankruptcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcyThe American economy has seen better days since the financial collapse of 2008, having a significant impact on citizens from all walks of life. The concept of bankruptcy was once foreign to many, whereas in contemporary society it has become a serious reality. In fact, government statistics indicated over a million new bankruptcy cases were filed in 2013. Many residents of Texas in particular have seen hard economic times. It is a trend that dates back decades.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has seen a much higher overall poverty rate compared to the rest of the country since at least 1980. Naturally, instances of bankruptcy have followed a similar trend. It is crucial to consult with a time-tested, reliable, and accommodating bankruptcy attorney to ensure your personal needs will be met on an individual basis.

Consider the following factors when filing for bankruptcy in Texas, keeping in mind the intricacies that must be addressed in depth with each concept:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas: The most common form of consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 7 offers the benefit of absolving much of your debt. On the other hand, the pitfall of Chapter 7 can be staggering. Any nonexempt assets are often liquidated to pay off as much as possible. This type of bankruptcy is also more likely to negatively affect your credit for a longer period of time.
  • Filing for Chapter 13: Generally the option for individuals with an income higher than the average, Chapter 13 offers a strict payment schedule in exchange for a better protection of assets such as your home and automobile. In addition, Chapter 13 subsidizes payments based only on disposable income, and helps to maintain your quality of life through and after the process.
  • Texas-specific bankruptcy options: Texas offers consumers options not available in other states. For instance, the state allows you to choose between Federal bankruptcy exemptions, or Texas’ own exemptions. State homestead exemptions allow you to retain the value of your home and property, and other regulations can also make this applicable to your vehicle, as well as things such as farming equipment and even livestock.

The avenue you choose to pursue when filing for bankruptcy in Texas will always be dependant on your individual situation, and making an incorrect decision can hurt you financially in both the long and short term. Nobody wants to end up in a situation where bankruptcy is the only option. However, making a proactive decision when choosing an attorney can put you back on track towards financial recovery.

At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, our attorneys serve the greater San Antonio, Texas area and strive to work with our clients on an individual basis. We offer more than just twenty years of experience in Texas bankruptcy cases. You can expect personalized services catered directly to your needs using the opportunities the State of Texas has open to consumers. Contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee today for any and all of your bankruptcy needs.

Rebuilding Life after Filing Bankruptcy

June 21st, 2014 at 3:00 pm

filing bankruptcy, filing for bankruptcy in Texas, filing for bankruptcy, Texas bankruptcy attorney, realistic budget, financial crisis, financial stressFiling bankruptcy as an individual or a married couple can be difficult to handle. In order to improve your situation following bankruptcy, you will need to perform a couple of tasks that can help restore your finances and your emotional state. Bankruptcy not only affects your wallet, it also affects your state of mind. However, there are steps you can take to rebuild your credit and your life.

End the Feeling of Guilt

When a person files for bankruptcy, he or she will undoubtedly struggle with their emotions. For instance, they might feel like a failure or that they are worthless. The more negative thoughts you have about the situation, the harder it will be to move forward with your life. Look to the future and think positive. When you begin to do this, everything will start to fall back into place.

Develop a Budget and Pay Bills by Due Date

Make sure you put together a realistic budget for your finances and that you pay your bills on time each month. Do not make a single late payment after filing bankruptcy. This will only make things more difficult. The best way to do this is to create automatic payments that are sent each month to your creditors. This will help you prevent missing any payments. Also, put together an emergency fund in the event that you need to pay for a large project, such as a new roof, so you do not have to go back into debt to fund it.

Analyze Your Situation

After filing for bankruptcy, you need to reflect on how you got into this situation. Try to find out what went wrong and what put you so deep into debt. You need to look at how you could have handled your finances differently and surround yourself with people who will help you overcome the situation.

Rebuilding your life after bankruptcy is possible. If you or a loved one is moving towards filing bankruptcy, contact a Texas bankruptcy attorney today to discuss your rights and learn the next steps.

Call today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

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