Are you overwhelmed by debt? Have you become unemployed, suffered significant medical expenses, been victimized by shady lenders or outrageous interest rates, or been traumatized by a divorce? You may want to consider filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a federal court process which helps consumers eliminate their debts or repay them under the protection of the bankruptcy court.
At Tramel Law Group, we understand the stress any of these situation can cause you. It’s no way to live. Federal bankruptcy laws may relieve you of your debt and stress and let you start over with a clean slate. And at Tramel Law Group can help make it happen for as little as $699*.
Types of Bankruptcy
There are basically two forms of bankruptcy for consumers under the bankruptcy code, Chapter 7, in which you pay nothing to your creditors, and Chapter 13, which is a court supervised repayment plan in which you simply pay what you can afford to your creditors, over a 3 to 5 year time period. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can be filed either by individuals or married couples. If you are married, you can either file by yourself individually (your spouse is not required to file with you), or jointly as a married couple.
Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy for individuals and is the fastest path to a fresh financial start. It helps you get rid of debt quickly and affordably and with legal protection from the court. Filing under Chapter 7 can allow you to wipe out many debts completely such as:
- Credit card debt
- Personal and unsecured bank loans
- Automobile loan obligations remaining on a reposed vehicle
- Mortgage loan obligations remaining on a foreclosed home
- Medical bills
- Utility bills
Chapter 7 can also allow you to reaffirm some of your debts so that you can save your home, save your car and get a fresh start.
Even if you are unable to qualify for Chapter 7 relief, if your current debt outweighs your ability to pay, you can still seek relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This allows debtors to get their debts under control by restructuring a full or partial payment of their debts according to their ability to pay. With Chapter 13, you use your income to pay some or all of what you owe to your creditors over time- from three to five years, depending on the size of your debts and income. In return, you may keep your property.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 address your debt in different ways. Before you choose which chapter to file for, there are several factors you should consider:
- If you have assets that exceed the exemption level as dictated in Chapter 7 filings, you may want to file for Chapter 13.
- If your monthly expenses substantially exceed your income, Chapter 13 is probably not a viable option, as you would likely not be able to fund your creditor repayment plan.
- If you are attempting to avoid repossession or foreclosure permanently, Chapter 7 will not help you do so. Only under Chapter 13 can you reorganize your debt in such a way as to decrease the likelihood of a repossession or foreclosure.
- If the majority of your debts are consumer debts, and if your income will greatly exceed your expenses after bankruptcy, you could be in danger of having your Chapter 7 case dismissed for “abuse.” In this circumstance, Chapter 13 would be the better option.
Qualifying for Bankruptcy
In order to file either Chapter, you must first complete the “means test,” which screens out applicants who do not truthfully require such a pervasive form of debt relief as bankruptcy. The test is a formula that determines whether you have enough income to pay the expenses that are allowed, plus extra money to pay to non-priority, unsecured creditors such as credit cards. The test looks at your aggregate monthly income over the past 5 years, minus certain expenses. If your income is over a certain amount as compared to the average income in your area, you will be disqualified from proceeding.
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there are many benefits to filing:
- Automatic stay: When you file for bankruptcy, your creditors must discontinue all collection efforts until the bankruptcy proceedings are completed. It is illegal for debt collectors to continue to contact you after you have filed. It also puts an end to wage garnishments.
- Debt discharge: Once your bankruptcy is complete, most or all of your debts will be resolved.
- Catching up on past due payments: If you file for Chapter 13, you will formulate a creditor payment plan that reorganizes and consolidates your debt. Through this plan, you may be able to pay off back taxes or past due payments on your mortgage.
- Fresh financial start: After bankruptcy, your slate will be wiped clean. As long as your credit rating improves, you will eventually be able to acquire loans for larger items, such as a home or vehicle.
The Bankruptcy Process
The first step on your road to financial freedom is to call our office for a free consultation. When you come and meet with one of our lawyers, you will need to bring:
- Our intake form: Our team will have you fill out a form to help us get started.
- Basic personal information: Bring your driver’s license and Social Security card.
- Tax information: We will need your tax returns for the past two years.
- Proof of income: Bring your pay stubs or other proof of income for the past six months.
- Bank statements: We will need all statements from the last 12 months.
- Vehicle ownership information: We will also need all information including title and registration for all vehicle you own.
- Home ownership information: Bring all of your lenders’ information.
- Matrimonial information: Bring all documentation on your marital status, including any child support or alimony you owe.
- Legal information: You will also need to bring copies of any lawsuits you’ve been a part of, including judgments rendered against you and money owed to the courts or other parties.
- Debt information: We will need all documentation of all your debts, including your most recent creditors’ notices on any notes that they owe-mortgage or car statements.
- Retirement information: Bring all retirement account information including 401(k)s.
- The value of all assets: You will need to know and document all of your assets including money in bank accounts, insurance, household items and business interests.
- Budget: You will need to fill in a form with your income and monthly expenditures.
Then, as soon as you retain our firm, we will begin diligently working on your case. And you can begin enjoying the sense of relief that comes with knowing your burdens are about to be lifted. You will be able to tell your creditors that you have a bankruptcy attorney and we will handle the collection calls for you.
Once we have all the necessary information and documentation we need from you, the official bankruptcy proceedings begin by filing a petition with the bankruptcy court. The petition will include a list of your assets, liabilities and creditors. If your petition is approved, you will receive an automatic stay, which is protection from any collection action or harassment from your creditors.
After the filing, you will meet with your creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. The hearing will be scheduled approximately 30 to 40 days after you file. The trustee will interview you regarding your petition and field any questions that your creditors may have. If you have filed a Chapter 7, your creditors can file an objection against the discharge of your debts. If this occurs, you will have to attend an adversary hearing.
The entire bankruptcy process typically takes approximately 5 months to complete. Once the bankruptcy process is complete, the Judge will issue an Order to all of your creditors which orders all of your debt to be wiped out for good.
How Tramel Law Group Can Help You
Tramel Law Group can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is right for you and which chapter would serve you best.
You may easily be tempted to file for bankruptcy on your own in order to save some money. And that makes sense. When we are having money troubles, that last thing we need are additional expenses. But attempting it without an experienced attorney by your side can too easily lead to the rejection or your case or the loss of too many assets.
Filing a petition can be difficult and complicated and it is easy to make errors. Missing a couple of hidden details could cause you to miss the chance to save your car or your home. We can help you make costly mistakes by providing you with personalized guidance through the entire bankruptcy process. Your chances of successfully eliminating your debt are greatly improved with the help of a bankruptcy attorney.
Our team will guide you through the process and help you reclaim financial stability and freedom from debt. And you can do so at the most reasonable rates in Las Vegas.
Call us at 702.233.2244 today for a free consultation and our team will get to work on your case right away.