Bankruptcy 101

WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?

Bankruptcy is a set of laws designed to help individuals and companies protect their property and obtain a fresh start through the elimination and/or reduction of their debts. Bankruptcystops all lawsuits against you and your property immediately. It stops foreclosures and repossessions, phone calls and harassment calls from your creditors. It will also stop garnishment and levy against your assets from most sources. Bankruptcy allows you to get back on your feet and reorganize your financial situation by giving you a short reprieve from payment of some bills, and eliminate or reduce the amount you have to pay back to other bills.

CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13?

CHAPTER 7
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to help individuals get out from under bills they simply can’t afford to pay and allows a fresh start. There is no monthly payment made to the court or Trustee. Chapter 7 is designed to settle your debts through the sale of any property valued above certain set limitations. Most people incorrectly believe that they will lose their property by filing Chapter 7. This is not true for most individuals. The law provides for certain property to be claimed exempt and retained free and clear of your debts. To keep property with liens against it often requires continuation of the monthly payments, although most household goods can be kept without making monthly payments, even though they were pledged as security.

CHAPTER 13
Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize most of your personal finances by setting up a monthly payment to your creditors that pays back a portion of the amount you owe. The amount required to be paid on these bills is determined by several things, including the amount and type of debts you have, the amount you can afford to pay each month, and the value of the property you owe. You most have a regular source of income. Chapter 13 will not result in the loss of property unless you choose to return property, and will handle payments to difficult creditor like the IRS and student loans. Plan payments can last from three to five years and, for most of your debts, will completely eliminate the entire debt even if the bill was not paid in full by the plan.