Filing for bankruptcy is often the best option if you cannot afford your minimum debt payments, are facing garnishment of wages for unpaid debts, or are at risk of losing your home or vehicle. Wherever you are in Salt Lake City, bankruptcy lawyers can stop the creditor calls, file all necessary paperwork and get you the best possible outcome for your debt.
An Attorney assist clients with the removal and consolidation of many types of debts, including but not limited to:
• Medical debts
• Divorce/separation debts
• Some student loans
• Payday/high-interest loans
• Credit cards
• Mortgage payments
• Car loans
Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Utah
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows qualified individuals to eliminate most or even all of their debts. Unprotected assets may be taken and sold to pay off creditors, so Chapter 7 is often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. In practice, however, the Utah exemption system allows filers to protect much of their personal property. Many people who file for Chapter 7 never lose any of their assets. In order to qualify for Utah Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors must meet strict criteria. Those who earn less than the median income for their county in Utah which is currently $64,806 for a one-person household and $93,474 for a four person household are generally eligible. Anyone who earns more than the allowed amount can only file for Chapter 7 if they pass the Means Test.
The Means Test compares the debtor’s earnings and living expenses to calculate the amount of disposable income available to pay debt. That’s the number that determines whether an individual qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As each county and region of Utah allows for different deductions in the means test, working with an experienced local bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure all allowable expenses are accounted for in the Means Test.
Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Utah
For debtors with a disposable income above the current Utah limit after the allowable deductions as well as those who have nonexempt property they don’t want to surrender filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Utah can be a smart approach. Also called a reorganization bankruptcy, Chapter 13 allows individuals to eliminate debt by committing to a three- to five-year repayment plan. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor makes monthly payments to a court trustee, who distributes the funds among the creditors. The amount paid is based on what the individual can afford, not simply the total owed. Once the repayment period ends, any remaining non-priority unsecured debts are discharged regardless of whether the creditors have been fully paid.
Filing for Chapter 13 can be advantageous for debtors who want to stop a foreclosure sale or car repossession, as this type of bankruptcy allows individuals to keep their property while catching up on the debts. Paying back taxes can also be easier, as Chapter 13 eliminates interest and penalties on certain tax debts. It’s important to remember that creating the repayment plan and getting through the filing process can be very challenging. Debtors are wise to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
What Documents Do You Need to File for Bankruptcy?
The documents you’ll need are the same whether you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 matter, with slight variations. However, for exact documentation requirements, be sure to check the guidelines provided by your district and your specific bankruptcy trustee. Not only do some trustees require more proof than others, but the particular evidence you’ll have to produce will also be determined by the facts of your case.
Below are the most commonly required documents in bankruptcy.
You’ll usually need to provide copies of your tax returns or tax transcripts for the last two years in a Chapter 7 case, and four years in a Chapter 13 matter. If you have unfiled returns because you weren’t required to file—for instance, your only income source was nontaxable disability benefits—you’ll need to explain why. A short letter of explanation will usually work. If you merely failed to file, you can expect the trustee to require you to do so and provide copies before concluding or approving your case especially in a Chapter 13 case.
If you’re an employee, you’ll need copies of pay stubs for the six-month period before the bankruptcy and your last two W-2s. You’ll also need proof of other income sources such as Social Security funds, disability, or rental properties. If you’re self-employed and filing for bankruptcy, you’ll probably need to provide a year-to-date profit and loss statement, as well as for the two full years before filing. Also be prepared to present business bank statements to verify the profit and loss amounts.
Proof of Real Estate Fair Market Value & Mortgage Statements
If you own real estate, you’ll likely need to provide proof of the property’s fair market value. You might choose an online valuation, a broker’s price opinion, or a full appraisal, depending on the potential amount of equity or the guidelines of your district. Also, plan to provide mortgage statements showing current loan balances and payment amounts. Some trustees also require the deed of trust and proof of home insurance.
Vehicle Registration, Proof of Value & Insurance
If you have a car loan, you’ll need a recent loan statement showing how much you owe and what your monthly payment is to prepare your paperwork. You might need to produce it along with copies of your registration and proof of insurance, depending on the particular trustee.
Retirement And Bank Account Statements
Recent bank and retirement account statements must be provided to the bankruptcy trustee for all accounts.
When you go to your hearing with the trustee, you will be asked to show valid photo identification such as a driver’s license and proof of your social security number.
If you have other circumstances affecting your bankruptcy, such as being required to pay alimony, child support, or another unusual expense, you’ll need to show proof of these costs. For instance, it’s common to provide a copy of a child support order. If you’ve divorced recently, you might need to produce an order or marital settlement agreement documenting a property distribution.
Most of the information you’ll need to fill out your bankruptcy paperwork will be in those documents, including asset value and income information. For example, you’ll use the income documentation to calculate your average monthly income. Similarly, you’ll look to your real estate and car documentation to fill in the parts regarding the value of these assets, your lenders, and monthly loan payments. However, you’ll need to gather more information to fill out the rest of your bankruptcy petition, including creditor, co-debtor, expense, and pending lawsuit information. Start by finding loan statements or bills so that you can list each of your creditors in the bankruptcy. Alternatively, you can obtain a credit report that shows all your debts; however, be aware that you’re required to list the creditor’s billing address, and that address rarely shows up on your credit report. So it’s best to use the credit report as a tool to verify that you’ve listed all of your debts only.
You should also look at your utility bills and other expenses to determine accurate figures for your monthly utilities and expenses, such as food, dry cleaning, and transportation to name a few. Usually, you won’t be required to send these documents to the trustee (unless your expenses are higher than usual, in which case you might trigger a bankruptcy audit).
Credit Counseling Requirement
In addition to the documents above, the law requires that you complete a credit counseling class and obtain a certificate before you can file for bankruptcy. These courses can usually be completed online in under a couple of hours.
Pros of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy falls victim to all sorts of misinterpretations. In truth, it was designed to relieve certain debts and give individuals a fresh start. It should be seen as a way out rather than a punishment. So, if done properly Chapter 7 really can be a “fresh start” for someone and not a time when they lose everything.
The undeniable upside to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the debt relief it provides. It has the power to lift a major burden off your shoulders in just a few months. Most unsecured debt can be discharged, including credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans. Individuals, self-employed workers, small business owners, and corporations may all file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Relief is available regardless of how much you owe; there is no max limit that disqualifies you. However, individuals are required, within 180 days before filing, to receive credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency.
No Collections or Repossessions
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy automatically stays collection actions. This forces creditors to stop any lawsuits, wage garnishments, and phone calls. The bankruptcy clerk will alert all creditors whose names and addresses you provide. No more repossessions or debt collections to worry about. The Bankruptcy Code lets debtors protect most of their property. This protected property is considered exempt, which means the bankruptcy trustee cannot sell it to pay off your creditors. Exemptions vary by state. However, most things that are considered necessary for life usually fall under exemptions. Your car, most of your household items including clothes and furniture, and a portion of your home’s equity are often considered ‘exempt’. Credit Flexibility.
If you’re considering bankruptcy, you’re in a tight position and credit is hard to come by. Nobody wants to loan money to underwater borrowers. Once you file and assume the label of bankrupt, it will be even harder to qualify for any sort of credit. However, after some time, your credit score will rise again, and the more time that passes after filing, the less creditors will hold your bankruptcy against you. Eventually, with a little effort, you will be in good standing once more, but the only way to get there is by sticking out the entire bankruptcy process. Some lines of credit are easier to get your hands on than others. For this reason, it may be wise to apply for a secured credit card, which can improve your credit score when you pay your bill on time, each month.
Quick & Cheap Processing
Though a Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 10 years, the process, from initial filing to discharge, should take between four to six months. This is a good thing since the sooner your debts are cleared, the sooner you can begin the road to re-establishing good credit and healthy finances.
Here are some of the fees you will need to pay when you file:
• $245 case filing fee
• $75 miscellaneous administrative fee
• $15 trustee surcharge
Cons of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The consequences of bankruptcy may not be as severe as they were in the past, but it still comes with risks. Bankruptcy can wipe the slate clean, but there are measures in place to make sure the debtor is still held accountable for falling short on his or her agreement.
Here are some of the cons of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
Effects on Credit
A bankruptcy will tarnish your credit report for 10 years. This will make it harder to apply for credit, which means you may have to hold off on major purchases. Buying a house, returning to school, even applying for a credit card will all become more difficult after you file. Just keep in mind these effects are temporary, though long term.
Not All Debts Are Discharged
For some, there’s just no escaping all of it. Certain debts will remain on your account when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will still be responsible for alimony and child support. Tax liens, student loans, and personal injury debts caused by intoxicated drivers are still on the docket, as well.
Loss of Property
This chapter of the Bankruptcy Code provides for liquidation – the sale of a debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors. The keyword here is ”nonexempt.” Essentially, this means you will be able to keep most of what you need to get by. However, you may have to give up some property. Luxury items are the first to go. If you have a second car or vacation home, then you won’t have them for much longer. Exemptions vary by state. For example, borrowers (who have equity) filing in Florida face little risk of losing their home thanks to the state’s homestead exemptions. Check your local laws to verify what qualifies as exempt.
There is a $245 case fee for filing federal bankruptcy, along with a few other administrative fees. However, you can pay these in as many as 4 installments. Just keep in mind, the last installment must be made 120 days after filing the petition. You may be able to have these fees waived if your income falls below 150% of the federal poverty guideline. There is a means test required for debtors currently making over a monthly limit. If you make more than the median monthly salary of your state, then a means test is required to determine if you’re truly in a position that calls for bankruptcy. If the court finds that you make too much to file for Chapter 7, your case may be converted to Chapter 13 or dismissed.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law St. George Utah Office
Ascent Law Ogden Utah Office
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, Utah
|City of Salt Lake City
“The Crossroads of the West”
|Great Salt Lake
|Erin Mendenhall (D)
|110.81 sq mi (286.99 km2)
|110.34 sq mi (285.77 km2)
|0.47 sq mi (1.22 km2)
|4,327 ft (1,288 m)
|122nd in the United States
1st in Utah
|1,797.52/sq mi (701.84/km2)
| • Urban
|1,021,243 (US: 42nd)
| • Metro
|1,257,936 (US: 47th)
| • CSA
|2,606,548 (US: 22nd)
|• Summer (DST)
|GNIS feature ID
|Salt Lake City International Airport
|Salt Lake City Government
Salt Lake City (often shortened to Salt Lake and abbreviated as SLC) is the capital and most populous city of Utah, as well as the seat of Salt Lake County, the most populous county in Utah. With a population of 199,723 in 2020, the city is the core of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which had a population of 1,257,936 at the 2020 census. Salt Lake City is further situated within a larger metropolis known as the Salt Lake City–Ogden–Provo Combined Statistical Area, a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along a 120-mile (190 km) segment of the Wasatch Front, comprising a population of 2,606,548 (as of 2018 estimates), making it the 22nd largest in the nation. It is also the central core of the larger of only two major urban areas located within the Great Basin (the other being Reno, Nevada).
Salt Lake City was founded July 24, 1847, by early pioneer settlers, led by Brigham Young, who were seeking to escape persecution they had experienced while living farther east. The Mormon pioneers, as they would come to be known, entered a semi-arid valley and immediately began planning and building an extensive irrigation network which could feed the population and foster future growth. Salt Lake City’s street grid system is based on a standard compass grid plan, with the southeast corner of Temple Square (the area containing the Salt Lake Temple in downtown Salt Lake City) serving as the origin of the Salt Lake meridian. Owing to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, the city was originally named Great Salt Lake City. In 1868, the word “Great” was dropped from the city’s name.
Immigration of international members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, mining booms, and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed “The Crossroads of the West”. It was traversed by the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, in 1913. Two major cross-country freeways, I-15 and I-80, now intersect in the city. The city also has a belt route, I-215.
Salt Lake City has developed a strong tourist industry based primarily on skiing and outdoor recreation. It hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is known for its politically progressive and diverse culture, which stands at contrast with the rest of the state’s conservative leanings. It is home to a significant LGBT community and hosts the annual Utah Pride Festival. It is the industrial banking center of the United States. Salt Lake City and the surrounding area are also the location of several institutions of higher education including the state’s flagship research school, the University of Utah. Sustained drought in Utah has more recently strained Salt Lake City’s water security and caused the Great Salt Lake level drop to record low levels, and impacting the state’s economy, of which the Wasatch Front area anchored by Salt Lake City constitutes 80%.