If you are drowning in debt, can’t sleep because you are so worried about your bills or can’t answer your phone because it is always bill collectors, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the fresh start you need.
Most bankruptcy cases filed in the United States are Chapter 7 cases. The purpose of a Chapter 7 is to provide the Debtor with a “fresh start” through a discharge of his or her debts and equitable distributing any available assets among credits. In most cases there are no non exempt assets to be sold and thus most Debtors retain all of their assets and discharge their debts without any payments to creditors. If you are having problems paying your debts as they become due and owing, here is what you need to know about Chapter 7.
- Who is Eligible - A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be filed by any person or entity who resides in or has a place of business or property in the United States, other than a railroad and certain financial institutions and insurance companies.
- No Debt Limit - Unlike a Chapter 13 case, there is no debt limits in a Chapter 7.
- Exemptions - The Bankruptcy Code and California law allows Debtors to retain many assets in a bankruptcy including retirement accounts, personal injury and workers compensation awards and additional assets in the form of “wild card” exemptions. For most individuals, all of their assets will be protected and none will be able to creditors.
- Means Test - If the person filing a Chapter 7 is an individual consumer with a majority of his debts being consumer debt i.e. debts incurred by an individual primarily for personal, family or household purposes, the individual must disclose financial information using a “means test.” The purpose of the test is to determine potential ability to pay creditors. If the result of the means test demonstrates the debtor has the potential ability to pay a minimal amount, a presumption arises that the debtor’s bankruptcy filing is an “abuse” and the case is subject to dismissal or conversion to Chapter 11 or 13.
- Secured Debt - Secured debt payments such as a home loan or car loan can be used on the means test if the Debtors are making the payments. However, there are recent bankruptcy cases in which the court has held that when a debtor is no longer paying on secured debts, they may not include said payments for purposes of calculating the means test.
If you do not have sufficient income to pay your bills as they come due and owing, you should seek legal counsel before withdrawing any monies from a retirement account, savings account or defaulting on a home or car loan. These are difficult times, but do not miss the help and protection provided by the Bankruptcy Code and California law by waiting too long.
WE ARE A DEBT RELIEF AGENCY. WE HELP PEOPLE FILE BANKRUPTCY. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT PROVIDED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON IN MAKING ANY DECISION REGARDING A VOLUNTARY DEFAULT, SHORT SALE, FORECLOSURE OR BANKRUPTCY. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR OBTAINING TAX & LEGAL ADVICE REGARDING AN INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. © 2012 Joan Grimes