People are living in tough times. The recent recession certainly isn’t helping anything either. More and more Utahans are being forced to declare bankruptcy and start over. Your situation doesn’t magically get better once you have declared bankruptcy. You have to start completely over…from square one. The bankruptcy process can be confusing and lengthy. However, there is one thing you can do to help facilitate the entire process.
You need to find the right Utah Bankruptcy Attorney. Your bankruptcy attorney will help you sort everything out. He or she will help you fill out all necessary paperwork and advise you concerning your debts, assets and anything else associated with the bankruptcy. Your attorney will give you specific and individualized attention and counsel regarding: -the declaration of your taxes -your home and other pieces of real estate automobiles the difference between a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy Declaring bankruptcy is never something you should do on your own. Since filing for bankruptcy is such a personal matter, you may not want to ask friends, neighbors or co-workers for referrals. If this is the case, log onto the Internet. The Internet is one of the best resources to steer you in the right direction. If you are filing for bankruptcy, you need a Utah bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney will help facilitate the process and give you the information that you need. Filing for bankruptcy in the state of Utah can be a confusing and daunting task. With the help of the right Utah bankruptcy attorney, this process can be a seamless one for you and your family.
Factors to Determine If You Should File For Bankruptcy
During difficult economic times, many of us review our finances and find that there is not enough money to cover all of the expenses we have. Paying for rent, shopping for groceries, and mailing in the heating bill are all things that have to be done and continue to chip away at our wallets. Filing for bankruptcy can be a great way to get a fresh new start. Before deciding if bankruptcy is right for you, it is important to go through your finances and determine if you are actually qualified to file bankruptcy, or if you would be better off with an alternative option. Below are 7 factors that you should think of when choosing where to head with your financial future.
1. How much debt do you have? Go through your finances and determine how much debt you have. It is important to figure out all the numbers before deciding if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. If you have at least $10k in debt, you should think about filing for bankruptcy, if you have less, work on finding alternative ways to eliminate your debt.
2. How much equity do you have in your house? When determining if you should file for bankruptcy, it is vital that you take all things into consideration, this includes considering how much equity you have in your house. In order to file for bankruptcy, you shouldn’t have more than $20-$40k in equity.
3. How much equity do you have in your car? Just as you take the equity you have in your house into consideration, you should also evaluate how much equity you have in your vehicles. This will come into play when you are filling out paperwork and going through the process of filing for bankruptcy, so it is important to know this information before you start the process. To file bankruptcy, you shouldn’t have more than $5k equity in your car.
4. Are your wages or bank accounts being garnished? If those to whom your in debt are taking part of your paycheck before you ever see it, you are in a situation that necessitates the filing of bankruptcy.
5. Are you closing a business that has a lot of debt that you personally guaranteed? If you are closing down a business that has a great amount of debt, and that debt is in your name, it is necessary that you file bankruptcy. Because of the effects this debt can have on your personal life, you should file for bankruptcy immediately.
6. Are you being sued by a creditor? If you not only owe money to a creditor, but are actually being sued by a creditor, it is time for you to get a fresh start and get the creditors off your back and out of your wallet. Being sued by a creditor is a primary reason for filing bankruptcy.
7. Have you filed a bankruptcy within the last 8 years? According to bankruptcy laws, there are certain people that are ineligible to file bankruptcy. Some of these include those who have filed bankruptcy within the last 8 years. If you have filed for Bankruptcy in the last 8 years, check with an attorney to determine if you may file again. You may not be able, but because every situation is unique, it is worthwhile to check first before assuming that you can’t. If the answers to the above questions indicate a need for you to file bankruptcy, find a trustworthy, well-reviewed bankruptcy attorney in your area and begin on the path to a fresh start.
Benefits of Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney
The benefits of hiring a bankruptcy attorney are quite plenty. This type of lawyer advises and counsels you on ways to protect your assets and represents you in court. Such an attorney has specialized in foreclosure, consumer and commercial law. Many people and companies have filed for bankruptcy thus the need for bankruptcy attorneys. A bankruptcy attorney would be able to protect you from creditors harassing you. Once you have informed your creditors that you have retained counsel, these creditors should only communicate with your lawyer. He would then be able to save you from having a headache by calling your creditors and telling them to stop any form of harassment that they inflict upon you.
Filing for a bankruptcy petition requires many steps and procedures. The court, bank trustees and creditors would frequently communicate with you. This would prove to be stressful because of the frequency of the communication and because you do not know how to handle them and what action to take so that your petition will be granted. Your attorney would know every step of the proceedings and would be able to tell you if you are on the right track and schedule or not. You would be spared of the anxiety during the whole petition. One of the benefits of hiring a bankruptcy attorney is that you get protection from things you are not aware of. When you file for bankruptcy on your own, you only have limited information with you thus things can take long or your petition for bankruptcy may even be disapproved. With a lawyer, you would be aware of laws and policies that you can benefit from. For instance, you may not know that the statute of limitations have run out on debts that are 5 to 15 years old, depending on the state.
With a bankruptcy attorney, you would be protected from mistakes. Filling out documents necessary for your petition can be difficult especially if you are not aware of what should or should not be placed in such documents. Your petition will be dismissed if you do not include your car or house in your petition. In addition, your attorney would do all the paperwork that would be quicker. Bankruptcy laws alter along with the necessary paper works. To achieve success in your petition, you should know how to fill out these paper works properly. You will lose money if your case is dismissed because of failure to accurately fill out the forms. Your lawyer would be there to advise you on what to do. These are the benefits of hiring a bankruptcy attorney.
Signs That You Might Need to Talk to a Bankruptcy Attorney
The important thing to do when you are facing serious financial trauma is to take everything into account before you do anything rash, because in most cases a steady dose of discipline and will power can get you through the storm. But there is a point, however, when bankruptcy becomes the only feasible option, and it is at this point that you want to make sure that you have all your bases covered. There are several indicators to look out for that may tell you that you’re on the road to bankruptcy. Here are some areas to analyze and compare with your current financial situation. If you find yourself appropriately described by several of these topics, then it may be a good idea to sit down with a bankruptcy or taxation lawyer and figure out what your next steps should be.
Continual overdraft fees: Overdraft fees happen to everyone from time to time. However, if you find yourself in a position where you are over drafting on a very regular basis, you may want to take a look at your bills and your living expenses to determine if you are living beyond your means, or if you are totally unable to produce the funds needed to cover your debt and expenses.
Credit card trouble: First off, get all your credit card statements together. How many credit cards do you have? How many of them are maxed out? How many are past or right at the limit? You want to be able to stay under thirty percent of the credit limit on your credit cards and loans; anything else and you may wind up in a bad spot.
Children: As painful a realization as it is, if you are in a financial mess and you have kids, it becomes much, much harder to pull yourself out of a hole. Children are a leading predictor in bankruptcy cases – you would be wise to compare your bills with your monthly budget and figure out if you are realistically able to provide for them.
Collectors won’t leave you alone: If you are used to ignoring your phone due to nonstop bill collectors ringing you for past dues, odds are you are not headed down a good road.
These are but a few areas to look at as you are determining your financial future. Bankruptcy is a serious decision, and should only be a last resort for most people. For most folks, there’s a good chance that they’d be able to pull out of the hole that they’re in if they were able to sit down and come up with a plan that eliminated debt over time by sacrificing some luxuries and getting help with a monthly budget. However, if you find it more and more unlikely that you will be able to get your head above water anytime soon, then you may want to look into bankruptcy as a possible new start.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe out many forms of overwhelming debt under the protection of a federal court. You may have to give up some assets, like an expensive car or jewelry, but the vast majority of filers do not. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest and most common form of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy erases most unsecured debts, that is, debts without collateral, like medical bills, credit card debt and personal loans. However, some forms of debt, such as back taxes, court judgments, alimony and child support, and student loans generally aren’t eligible. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will leave a serious mark on your credit reports for 10 years. During this time you’ll likely find it harder to get credit. Even so, you’ll probably see your credit scores start to recover in the months after you file.
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you:
Must pass the means test, which looks at your income, assets and expenses.
Cannot have completed a Chapter 7 in the past eight years or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the past six years.
Cannot have filed a bankruptcy petition (Chapter 7 or 13) in the previous 180 days that was dismissed because you failed to appear in court or comply with court orders, or you voluntarily dismissed your own filing because creditors sought court relief to recover property they had a lien on
How Do You File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You can probably complete the process within six months. You’ll have to follow several steps.
Credit counseling: You must complete pre-file bankruptcy counseling from a qualified nonprofit credit counseling agency within 180 days before filing.
Find an attorney: Before diving into the various forms required to file Chapter 7, find a qualified bankruptcy attorney to help. It’s hard to find money for a lawyer when you need debt relief, but this is not a DIY situation. Missing or improperly completed paperwork can lead to your case being thrown out or not having some debts dismissed.
File paperwork: Your attorney will help with filing your petition and other paperwork. But it’s on you to gather all relevant documentation of your assets, income and debts. An automatic stay goes into effect at this point, meaning that most creditors cannot sue you, garnish your wages or contact you for payment.
Trustee takes over: Once your petition is filed, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will begin managing the process.
Meeting of creditors: The trustee will arrange a meeting between you, your lawyer and your creditors. You’ll have to answer questions from the trustee and creditors about your bankruptcy forms and finances.
Your eligibility is determined: After reviewing your paperwork, the trustee will confirm whether you’re eligible for Chapter 7.
Nonexempt property handled: The trustee determines whether assets that aren’t exempt are worth selling so proceeds can go to creditors. Nonexempt property can be jewelry, or the equity in your house or car if it’s higher than your state’s exemption limit. The majority of individual Chapter 7 cases, however, are “no asset” cases where there are no nonexempt items to liquidate.
Secured debts: To resolve your secured debts, the property held as collateral may be ordered returned to the creditor. Or you may be able to redeem the collateral (you pay the creditor what it’s worth now) or reaffirm the debt (arrange to exclude the debt from bankruptcy and continue to pay it back).
Education course: Before your case is discharged, you’ll have to take a financial education course from a qualified nonprofit credit counseling agency.
Discharge: Three to six months after filing your petition, your case will be discharged, meaning that eligible debts are forgiven. Shortly thereafter your case will be closed.
Rebuilding After Bankruptcy
Your financial life particularly your credit will need some attention after bankruptcy, but having many debts resolved gives you a good starting point. Take two steps to rebuild after bankruptcy:
Make a financial plan: Build a budget, create financial goals, and consider enlisting the free help of a nonprofit credit counselor to help you along the way.
Restore your credit: Make all payments on time, keep your credit balances low and dispute mistakes on your credit reports.
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
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