Bankruptcy Law Firms
When a person needs to consult bankruptcy law firms, he has legal options to keep in mind that will help him figure out if this option is the right one at this time. This area of the legal system is one of the most complex in our country, and sometimes people don't understand the ramifications of filing for this protection and which of the laws would be most appropriate for the situation. Both individuals and companies can file for debt protection, but the laws have changed recently. No one's situation is hopeless. There are remedies that can be gained by consulting a bankruptcy law office and asking the right questions. People get into debt for various reasons, and most people do not intend to run up their bills to the point that they can't manage them. Many people find themselves in the position of working hard to pay off these bills, but get further and further behind. The reasons for the debts are also varied, such as unexpected medical expenses, the loss of a job, a divorce, or even a natural disaster.
Bankruptcy law firms are specialists in looking at an individual's or a company's finances and guiding him through the legal morass. They will advise their clients on which of the many options will best fit the situation. The two most common remedies for an individual are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Chapter 7 requires a means test, which means that the applicant must qualify by having an income that is either lower or equal to the median income in his state. For example, if the median income in his state is $50,000 per year, then he cannot make more than that amount to be able to file for this protection. The bankruptcy law office will have the information needed about the median income. If the filer's income is greater than the median income, then the attorney will make other calculations to see if the person still qualifies. If the person qualifies, then the attorney will devise a plan to settle the debts. One advantage is that as soon as the person begins the process, all creditors must back off and become part of the process. In other words, the harassing phone calls and letters will end.
A person can qualify for Chapter 13 much easier, but this entails making a full or partial repayment through the court. The debtor makes up a plan, which must be approved by the court. Once the court approves the plan, then the debtor begins a payment schedule. The court approves a trustee that oversees this payment. The trustee makes the payments to the creditors, and this may involve three to five years of payments. When all payments have been made by the debtor as required by the court, the debt is discharged. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 does not have a means requirement; however, the debtor must have a regular income from which he can pay his debts and with which he can make a budget.
Bankruptcy law firms are expert in helping a person decide which of the two bankruptcies would be most advantageous. A simple answer would be that a person who has lots of unsecured debt like credit cards and medical bills would be better off filing under Chapter 7. For this option, a lot of the unsecured debt may be discharged leaving the debtor with few creditors to repay, and the court process flows much more quickly. Also, creditors cannot contact the person under this protection. Chapter 13 is better for the person who has a regular income and some property that would fall under the court and needs to be protected, especially equity in a home. However, this option requires most of the debt to be repaid, just over an extended period of time. Because the repayment goes through a trustee, once again, the creditors will have no contact with the debtor. But because of the additional legal process, the time in court also takes longer. If a person has a foreclosure pending or a repossession, choosing Chapter 13 with its automatic stay can help the debtor catch up on past due payments. The bankruptcy law office will review the specific financial needs of the client and advise him on which way would be best to take.
In 2005, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code required a complete U.S. Trustee approved Credit Counseling Briefing. Petitions filed without this certificate may be dismissed, so it is important to hire a bankruptcy law office to help write up the correct document in the right format. If the petition is dismissed, creditors can take collection action, move on foreclosure or repossession until the automatic stay is in effect. This can result in catastrophe for the person who struggles to keep up with payments and keeps getting further behind. Another requirement for fulfilling the law is to complete a U.S. Trustee approved financial management course, which is often called Debtor Education. This must be completed before the debts can be discharged. Bankruptcy law firms will have the information on where this course can be obtained.
Many hard working people find themselves in financial distress and need the help of bankruptcy law firms. But asking for help does not absolve anyone of the responsibility of being a wise steward. The Bible says, "For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it" (Ecclesiastes 7:12).
Bankruptcy Law OfficeApproaching a bankruptcy law office for the first time can be a daunting experience. The fear and shame that can be attached to any kind of bankruptcy decision will often inspire insecurity and trepidation in even the most confident individual. Locating the right legal professional to provide leadership in this difficult experience can be a challenge. The desire for a fresh start and a way out from under impossible debt are what usually drive clients to seek out a bankruptcy law office. Five different kinds of types or chapters of this legal procedure exist. For individuals, only three chapters apply. Chapter 7 is a type of liquidation to pay off debt. Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 involve a reorganization of debt. In recent years, more stringent guidelines apply to anyone who faces going bankrupt. For this reason, consulting a seasoned legal professional is an absolute must. This is an area of law that no layperson should attempt to handle alone.
When seeking the appropriate bankruptcy law office, a client should not settle for anything less than a professional with extensive experience in this area. A good source for names of working professionals in this field is the local bar association. Obviously, local phone books or online directories can also provide a list of appropriate names. A potential client should not be afraid to take the time to meet with and interview several lawyers before making a selection. In sensitive areas such as this, personal chemistry can be almost as important as expertise. A bankruptcy law office that is intimidating or uncomfortable will not encourage a client to ask needed questions or share personal information. Many professionals will offer consultations and initial evaluations of individual cases free of charge. Friends and family members may also be able to guide a potential client to a respected professional in this field. An important question to ask an attorney is the amount of experience the lawyer has in this area. Another possible question to ask might be who will be handling the case, the lawyer being interviewed or a junior associate? Of course, a client will need to see a full schedule of legal fees.
Once an acceptable bankruptcy law office has been located and a client understands the fees that will be charged, there will still be other details to iron out. A client should make sure that they understand what services are included in the fees that are being charged. If there is a dispute with the trustee, is there an extra charge involved in handling this dispute? Are issues such as lien avoidance and non dischargeable actions included in the fee schedule or will there be an extra charge for handling these problems? As things proceed, a client should never withhold information from the legal professional who is working for them. Doing so can only cause problems down the road. Just because a legal professional has been retained does not mean that the client can kick back and coast. All communications, court notices, legal agreements, and other information should be read carefully by the client. A client should never hesitate to ask questions about anything that they do not understand. If additional information is requested, the client should comply and furnish this information in a timely manner. Important deadlines are frequently looming, making this data crucial in insuring that things move along as smoothly as possible.
In times past, a Chapter 7 filing was much easier to achieve. More stringent laws now apply, making the need for help from a competent bankruptcy law office mandatory. Six months before any filing can move forward, a client must undergo credit counseling. Also necessary under the law is attendance at a debt management class. Under new laws it is easier for courts to dismiss some bankruptcy cases. Courts also have the right to change a Chapter 7 filing to a Chapter 13. Professionals at a bankruptcy law office can guide the client through these changes in the law. A Chapter 7 case generally means that assets will be liquidated and the proceeds applied to the debt that is owed. The client is then released from any responsibility to pay off any remaining liabilities. When filing in the Chapter 13 category, reorganization is the operative word. A consumer's indebtedness is organized in a way that hopefully makes pay off with future earnings possible. The same is true for Chapters 9, 11, and 12. The Bible talks about the eternal qualities of the Word of God. "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1:25)
A reputable bankruptcy law office can also help a client hang on to as many assets as the law still allows. Legal professionals understand which properties might be considered exempt by the court. Many clients are relieved to find out that they not need to loose everything that they own. This exempted property is protected from seizure. In many cases, not only is the property protected, but any equity that the property may have earned is protected as well. Equity is basically the difference between the money that is owed for a piece of property and the value of that property. Of course, these possible exemptions can vary from state to state. There are also differences between the exemptions that are allowed under federal regulations and ones that are allowed under state regulations. Some states will allow the client to choose which regulations will apply to their case.