What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a “liquidation” bankruptcy. Technically this means that upon filing bankruptcy, the Court-appointed trustee liquidates the assets of your bankruptcy estate and sells them for the benefit of creditors. However, that sounds a lot worse than it really is. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are considered ‘no-asset’ cases. This means that the trustee makes a determination that there are no assets to be liquidated for the benefit of creditors.
You may have assets such as a car or home, but this does not mean you will lose them as part of the bankruptcy proceeding. In fact, most debtors are able to keep all of their assets without losing one piece of property! When the bankruptcy laws were passed, the intent of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Law was to give debtors (a debtor is a person who declares Bankruptcy) a fresh start. Taking all of your assets and leaving you on the street corner is not giving you a fresh start. This is why the law allows you to keep assets under different exemption categories. There are exemption categories for your home, your car, your household goods, your retirement, etc.
What all of this means for you is that it is possible to discharge (discharge means to get rid of) your debt while keeping your home, car, bank account, and other assets. This gives you the ability to start over and truly get the fresh start the government intended.
You are probably a good candidate for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if:
- You have substantial debt stemming from credit card or medical expenses.
- You need to stop a wage garnishment or bank levy.
- You have pending lawsuits you wish to have ended as well as any debt associated from the lawsuit.
- You have a lot of unsecured debts that continue to accumulate high amounts of interest.
- You have a large amount of unsecured debt that you have no means to pay off.
Can I keep my belongings in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
When we prepare your bankruptcy petition, we make sure to list all of your assets. We then place them into what are called exempt categories. There are different exemption categories and different standards for exemptions. We will determine which standards will best suit your situation.
Our goal is to ensure that you keep all of your personal belongings and assets. It is our job to represent you and make sure the bankruptcy is beneficial to you, our client. If one of our bankruptcy attorneys sees a problems with your case, we will be sure to let you know before you file.
In almost every case we handle, our clients are able to retain all of their assets.
Do I have to go to Court for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
There is one hearing you will need to attend. This hearing is called the Section 341 meeting, or the meeting of creditors. It is an opportunity for the Court-appointed trustee to inquire about your case and the information you have provided. It is also an opportunity for your creditors to ask you about your case.
When we attend the hearing with you, one of our Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorneys will be present to represent you to ensure your rights and that creditors are only allowed to ask questions which are relevant. Should any creditor get out of line, we are present to reign them in and control the proceeding.
When you go to the meeting, you must bring proof of your identify (driver’s license or other identification) and your social security card. If you do not have a social security card, you may bring other proof of your social security number such as a W2.
If you do not bring these items, the trustee will continue the hearing and require you to come back a second time.
What is the cost to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The Court will charge you $335.00 for the filing fee.
Our firm will charge you a fee which varies from case to case, depending on the complexity of your case. You will be provided a detailed free consultation and will have no obligation to pay the fee until we have quoted a fair price and you have agreed in writing to pay the price. Our fees are based upon our experience, expertise, and knowledge of bankruptcy. Our view of fees is that you get what you pay for. There are some firms out there who charge less than us and you may even be able to find a typing service to do it for you, but bankruptcy is a lot more than having a set of papers prepared.
The Bankruptcy Process
Declaring bankruptcy is not a static event. Creditors must be contacted, communication with the Court must be maintained, and the trustee must be satisfied that your case is being handled properly. Taking care of these issues only comes with experience and exposure to the bankruptcy system and the Court. Our bankruptcy lawyers have the expertise, knowledge, and experience to ensure that you receive the best representation throughout the bankruptcy process.
We recognize that there is a reason you are declaring bankruptcy and we have priced our services accordingly. Understanding that it is tempting to pay a petition preparer $200.00 for your original papers, is it wise to gamble your financial future based upon the lowest price?
You must also be forewarned. The bankruptcy rules became much more restrictive after October 17, 2005. Not only are the risks greater in filing, but if your case is dismissed, the automatic stay that protects you from creditors may not be present in subsequent cases.
Hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Los Angeles provides you with a team that has the experience to make sure your case goes correctly and is ready to step in when the case does not go the way it should.
How will bankruptcy affect my marriage?
This is a touchy question to answer. We can’t tell you how it will affect your marriage, but our experience has been that most of our clients’ relationship problems stem from financial issues. Many of our clients have reported that their relationship improves once the stress factor of money is removed. It is a fact that the biggest reason people get a divorce is because of money problems.
What about co-signors on accounts?
If someone cosigned on a debt with you, then they are equally liable for the debt. Discharging the debt in bankruptcy will remove your liability on the debt, but the co-debtor will still be liable. The company can collect against the co-signor. As long as the debt is timely and fully paid by someone, a co-signor’s credit will not be harmed by another persons bankruptcy filing.
Will I be able to buy a home after bankruptcy?
It will be possible to purchase a home at market interest rates in only a few short years.
How quickly you are able to purchase is up to you. Some people make rebuilding their credit a priority, others only get started when they want to purchase a home or new car. We recommend you start rebuilding the day after you file.
Do not try to rush into buying a new home or car immediately after your bankruptcy. Take the time to rebuild your credit and purchase a home you can afford with an interest rate you can handle.
Won’t bankruptcy ruin my credit for at least the next 10 years?
Wrong! This is the biggest myth about bankruptcy. Everyone thinks that filing bankruptcy destroys your credit. WRONG! It is what occurred before you filed bankruptcy that destroyed your credit. Most everyone waits too long to file bankruptcy. As your credit score dwindles so do your resources.
Bankruptcy will be on your credit report for 10 years, yes. However, you are going to rebuild your credit if you are responsible with your finances after your bankruptcy is filed.
Are all of my debts dischargeable?
No, certain taxes, student loans and child support, and other domestic support obligations are non-dischargeable. Debts incurred by fraud are non-dischargeable if the creditor brings an adversary action against you. This means that you will still be liable for these debts after the bankruptcy. A consultation with Ure Law Firm will assist in determining what debts may not be dischargeable from the above list.
Why Ure Law Firm?
There are many bankruptcy attorneys in Los Angeles who do excellent work. Tom Ure is one of the few who can count bankruptcy as a mainstay of his practice. Over the past ten years, Mr. Ure has developed a true consumer protection firm. As a trial attorney, he honed his trial skills representing those who could not afford representation. He has taken those litigation skills to the bankruptcy forum and effectively advocates for his clients on a daily basis. Armed with consumer protection statues such as the Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Mr. Ure is doing more than taking clients through a bankruptcy, he is truly ensuring that they get a fresh start.
Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorneys
But Mr. Ure is not the only reason to choose Ure Law Firm. The entire office is dedicated to the cause of the consumer debtor. It is a singular cause our Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorneys campaign for and that is to ensure that each client walks away from our office with the help and assistance they need to get their lives back on track.
If you are thinking about having someone type your papers up for a simple fee, remember this, a cheaper price does not guarantee quality. You get what you pay for. Remember a typist or paralegal cannot give you legal advice and cannot appear with you in your meeting of creditors. You would be foolish to rely on it. You are about to eliminate your debts and start over with a second chance.
Don’t you think you owe it to yourself and your family to do it right?