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Which Type of Bankruptcy Is Best for My Financial Situation?

August 26th, 2020 at 2:29 pm

Texas chapter 7 lawyer, Texas chapter 13 attorney Bankruptcy is often seen as a last-ditch effort to overcome the financial burden that you may be experiencing. While this is typically the case, the level of debt that one may be in can vary greatly depending on their circumstances. Some may have no income and are struggling to pay basic bills, while others may have a steady income but have found themselves buried by exponential medical or credit card expenses. There are two common ways that Texans can file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. By looking at your unique circumstances, you can determine what type of bankruptcy filing is appropriate.

Chapter 7

When imagining what filing for bankruptcy looks like, people often imagine something along the lines of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Also known as “liquidation bankruptcy”, this form of bankruptcy has the trustee sell the debtor’s property and use the money collected to pay off their debts, as close to the total amount as possible – all remaining debts will be forgotten. This form of bankruptcy may seem preferable to some, since the process only takes about six months and some debts may be forgotten, but it is not available to all debtors. If the debtor’s income falls below the state’s median household income, which in Texas is $59,570, he or she is eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debtor will not lose all of his or her assets during the bankruptcy process, since some personal property can be claimed exempt from the process.

Chapter 13

For those who have a steady, dependable income, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not an option. These debtors will file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which involves formulating a payment plan over a three- to five-year period. In other words, none of their debts are forgotten and they are expected to pay it off in time. However, Chapter 13 filers will not be required to give up any of their property or assets to pay off their debts as long as they follow the terms of their payment plan. A portion of their paycheck will go towards these unpaid debts once their basic needs are met.

So, Is Bankruptcy Really Best for Me?

You may still be wondering if filing for bankruptcy is your best course of action. You should consult a bankruptcy attorney for advice on whether your financial difficulties warrant filing for bankruptcy. Even before speaking with an attorney, you can take your own financial inventory to really see where you are at. Take a look at the following financial areas to gauge your need to file for bankruptcy:

  1. Debts. Take account of all of the debts looming over you. This includes any unpaid credit card bills, overdue loans, or other outstanding balances. List these debts in one area to give yourself a general estimate of your financial burdens.
  2. Monthly Costs. Next, list out your monthly expenses below your total debts. This should include any monthly bills, such as rent, utilities, food, and more. You can estimate some of your monthly costs but should include anything that you purchase on a regular basis.
  3. Income. Look at your income from the past six months, excluding social security. If you have a spouse, include their income in your calculations. By looking at your current debts and monthly expenses, you may be able to re-budget your income to begin paying off these debts.
  4. Assets or Property. Do you have an extra car that you rarely use? Or perhaps you have a vacation home that you are willing to part with. Before filing for bankruptcy, consider your other options to obtain the money you need to pay off your debts. If you do not have any additional assets or any that you are willing to part with, you may need to seriously consider filing for bankruptcy.

Contact a New Braunfels Bankruptcy Lawyer

Making the executive decision to file for bankruptcy can be one of the most difficult, and humbling, decisions you have to make. The stigma that surrounds bankruptcy often leaves people putting off the inevitable and continuing to build up debt in the meantime. If you are struggling financially, turn to the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee for advice. Our compassionate legal team provides free consultations to allow potential clients to discuss their case before making a decision. Rather than allowing things to stack up and become even more burdensome, contact our San Antonio bankruptcy attorney for help at 210-342-3400.

 

Sources:

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/bankruptcy_02.html

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/TX?

Can You File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?

June 15th, 2018 at 6:02 pm

bankruptcyMany people mistakenly believe that if you are married and filing for bankruptcy, you must do so jointly. You have several options after determining that bankruptcy is the right choice. If you are unmarried, you will file independently. If you are married, you may file jointly or as an individual. Both spouses may also choose to file bankruptcy separately, at the same time. Strategically, one option may suit your situation better than the others, depending mainly on location, debts, and assets.

Texas and the Other Community Property States

Texas, along with nine other states, is a community property state. Meaning, any assets or property acquired during marriage belongs equally to both spouses, even if only one spouse’s name is on the contract. The assumption is that all decisions are made together, rather than individually, and both parties are contributing their fair share. Any items owned before the marriage are excluded from the community property, as are any items inherited or given only to one spouse after the union began; this is separate property.

More Property Is at Risk

If you choose to file bankruptcy without your spouse, more property is at risk in community property states than in common law states. In a common law state, only the separate property owned by the filing spouse becomes a part of the bankruptcy estate. In Texas, any community property not covered by exemptions is at risk for seizure. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy together doubles the amount of the exemptions, allowing spouses to keep more items.

The Affected Debts

In a community property state, there, fortunately, is no such thing as community debt. Each spouse has separate obligations for accounts solely in their name, as well as any held jointly. If one spouse files independently, their individual accounts, as well as their joint accounts, are dischargeable. The non-filing spouse experiences what is known as a “phantom discharge” or “community discharge.” Any community property co-owned by both parties becomes off-limits to discharged creditors, including wages. However, because the non-filing spouse did not file, their separate property is unprotected and at risk of seizure to satisfy the debt for joint accounts.

What Is Right for You?

Navigating the avenues of bankruptcy is often confusing and stressful for filers. Attorney Chance M. McGhee has over 20 years of experience assisting clients just like you begin their journey to a better financial future. If you have questions about how to file or wonder about the best option for your situation, a New Braunfels bankruptcy attorney is here to give you the answers you need. At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, we are dedicated to helping you through the process. Call us today at 210-342-3400 for your free consultation.

What Do I Need to File for Bankruptcy?

April 29th, 2014 at 7:00 am

bankruptcy file preparation, bankruptcy in Texas, bankruptcy petition, Chapter 13 repayment plan, credit counseling course, file for bankruptcy, prepare for bankruptcy, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer, Texas bankruptcy attorney, types of bankruptcyThe best way to prepare for bankruptcy filing is to work with an experienced attorney, as there are strict rules and guidelines for filing bankruptcy in Texas. And knowing what to expect in advance can make the process easier for you.

Failing to file for bankruptcy properly could result in your case being dismissed entirely, so it is worth your time to review filing requirements ahead of time. Bear in mind that you will need to complete a credit counseling course before you can file, so you might want to plan several months in advance.

The first part of your bankruptcy file is your petition. You will also need to submit schedules, a statement of your financial affairs, a debtor statement of intention, a statement of your current monthly income, and a list of up to 20 unsecured creditors. These documents all should be submitted with your bankruptcy petition. Additional documentation to be submitted includes a pro se questionnaire if representing yourself, proof of credit counseling completion, a creditor matrix verification, and a Chapter 13 repayment plan if applicable.

It may help to gather all of the necessary materials in advance to discuss with your bankruptcy attorney. Maintaining copies of your tax returns for the last few years is also important. You will want to review your credit report in advance to match it up with your own list of debts and to verify whether there are any mistakes on the report. The more knowledgeable you are about your affairs, the easier it will be to file your bankruptcy petition.

Prepare for bankruptcy by working directly with your attorney. Specific regulations will depend on the type of bankruptcy you are filing, but you can have most of your questions answered by your lawyer. If believe that filing is your best option, contact a Texas bankruptcy attorney today to discuss your bankruptcy file preparation.

Call today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

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