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When you are swimming in debt, ignoring phone calls from creditors, facing a repossession or foreclosure, and your mailbox is filling up with lawsuits and letters from collectors, it can feel as though your life is spinning out of control. But, is bankruptcy really the right debt solution for you? And if it is, which personal bankruptcy option should you choose? While there are a number of factors to consider in reaching the answers to those questions, and a qualified attorney is best suited to guide you, the following information on bankruptcy basics will help you understand the basics.

Common Types of Personal Bankruptcy

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies allow you to manage or eliminate unsecured debts and stop the proceedings of foreclosures, garnishments, repossessions, utility shutoffs, and debt collections. However, child support, alimony, fines, some types of back taxes, and most student loan debts may be exempt, leaving you still obligated to pay them. Additionally, both may allow you to keep certain assets (within your state’s maximum valuation), such as a car or primary residence. But, this is where the similarities for the types of bankruptcies end.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sometimes known as “straight bankruptcy,” you will be required to sell all non-exempt assets, including (but not limited to) vehicles, work-related tools, basic household furnishings, and additional properties. In some cases, this sale must be completed by a court-appointed trustee. In others, the items may need to be turned over to the creditor. Once your bankruptcy is discharged, you must wait another eight years before you can file again.

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mythsThere are many negative perceptions about bankruptcy. On one hand, some of these perceptions are well-deserved. After all, there are some potential drawbacks to filing. Yet there are also some major misconceptions about bankruptcy—some of which could keep someone from filing when they really should. The following information is designed to debunk these bankruptcy myths. It may even help you decide what your next step should be, and if bankruptcy might be the right solution for you.

Myth 1: Bankruptcy Ruins Your Credit Forever

True, your credit can take a hit after filing for bankruptcy, and it may be difficult to obtain new lines of credit once the process starts, but bankruptcy does not completely ruin your credit. If anything, it gives you a clean slate to start over. It is also usually less damaging than continuing to make late payments on your debts. If you are still a little apprehensive about filing, talk to a qualified bankruptcy attorney for a comprehensive analysis of your financial situation.

Myth 2: You Lose All Your Personal Property

Many people think you have to give up everything in bankruptcy, but this is not always the case. In fact, bankruptcy is designed to help protect some of your possessions from creditors. Furthermore, you may be able to keep some of your unprotected items by agreeing to continue paying on them. Do not expect to keep it all, just do not expect to lose it all either.

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bankruptcyLife can be unpredictable. Life can be messy and complicated. And, sometimes, the worst things that can happen to us are completely out of our control. But what do you do when the messy, unpredictable, and complicated lead to financial problems? How do you turn things around and regain control of your financial future? The answer really depends on where you are in the debt collection process. While some may be able to find a viable bankruptcy alternative, others may need more aggressive action. The following information may be able to help you in determining your best course of action for settling debt with creditors.

Creditor Harassment with No Negative Actions

If you have only just started being hounded by your creditors and have not yet received any notice of wage garnishment, tax or property liens, bank seizures, home foreclosure, or any other negative actions against you, you may be able to negotiate a repayment plan with your creditors. But, because not all creditors are willing to work with consumers, and because they have no incentive to actually help you, it may take the assistance of a skilled attorney to resolve the matter before things escalate.

Liens, Levies, Wage Garnishment, Foreclosure, and Other Negative Actions

If matters have already started to spiral out of control and you are facing negative actions, such as a tax lien or levy, wage garnishment, home foreclosure, vehicle repossession, or bank account seizure, resolving the issue can be a little more complicated. In some situations, a lawyer may be able to assist you with a negotiation that can keep you from further actions. If, however, the process has already begun, your only option may be to file bankruptcy.

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TX bankrupcy attorney, Texas debt lawyer, Whether you are planning on filing for bankruptcy or simply need assistance in developing a budget, credit counselors can provide you with the tools and resources you need. Unfortunately, not all credit counselors are created equal. In fact, some can leave you worse off than when you started, which makes finding an experienced, reputable credit counselor absolutely essential for your financial future. The following tips can help you find the one most suited for your needs and preferences and improve your chances of finding the financial empowerment you are looking for.

Know Why You Need a Credit Counselor

Each credit counseling agency and provider has an area in which they are best equipped to help their clients. With this in mind, it is critical that you first know why you need credit counseling. To find the answer, consider your goals and examine your current financial situation. If you are filing for bankruptcy, then you will also want to ensure you find a credit counselor that is approved by the United States Department of Justice since those who are not accredited will not be accepted by the courts.

Check and Verify Credentials and Qualifications

While credit counselors that are listed on the Department of Justice’s website most likely carry some of the highest levels of certification and meet some of the most stringent government standards, it is necessary that you check and verify the credentials and qualifications of all other credit counselors. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Financial Counseling Association of America are both renowned agencies that ensure the quality of certified professionals, but the Council of Accreditation is also a reliable accreditation held by qualified credit counselors. You may also wish to check the agency’s rating with the Better Business Bureau to determine if they have any major complaints from other consumers.

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TX bankrutpcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy lawyerWhen you file for bankruptcy, you are granted an automatic stay on most of your debts. Essentially, this means your creditors cannot contact you or attempt to collect the debt. What happens, though, if the creditor keeps calling and harassing you through the mail, at your work, or at your home? Rest assured: you can enforce the protections that bankruptcy offers.

When Contact Is a Genuine Oversight

All creditors know (or should know) that a bankruptcy filing means they must cease all contact with you, as the debtor. As such, most who violate this rule have simply done so due to an oversight. Perhaps they did not remove your name from the system properly, or they have not received the paperwork yet that notifies them of your filing. In any case, it is important that you not overreact or panic during the initial contact from a creditor. Instead, simply inform them that you have filed for bankruptcy and politely refer them to your attorney.

If the contact was made by phone, document the date and time of the call, the agent’s name and extension number (if applicable), and the creditor’s name and phone number. If the contact was by mail, copy or scan the mailing (after you have written a response that indicates your bankruptcy filing and your attorney’s number). This information gives you proof of contact and ensures you can take action if the contact continues or escalates.

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