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Frequently Asked Questions

I Received A Foreclosure Notice. Can Bankruptcy Help Me?

Yes. Filing for bankruptcy generally provides you with the protection of the “automatic stay,” which halts all collection activities and **STOPS FORECLOSURE**.

Is Bankruptcy Right For Me?

Maybe. You should meet with a qualified attorney to discuss your situation and decide if filing bankruptcy is right for you. Depending on your particular circumstances it may solve all, some or none of your problems! Please contact us today to set up your free consultation.

Can I Keep My Property?

Even though every bankruptcy case has to be evaluated separately, it would be safe to say that in most cases the Debtor does not have to give up their property or possessions. The reason for this is that the law allows a certain amount of property exemptions. The exempt property is protected by law. In fact, exempted property allows you to keep not only the property that belongs to entirely to you but also the equity that you might have on the property. It is important to note that in order to keep your secured property, such as a house or vehicles, the Debtor must continue to pay that particular creditor.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, also known as liquidation or a straight bankruptcy, is the way to achieve a “fresh start”. Most debtors are usually able to keep all of their property; however in the unlikely event the debtor has a non-exempt asset, that asset can be sold. (For example home equity and retirement accounts are generally exempt and therefore protected from unsecured creditors). In most cases the debtor has no assets to lose and most (if not all) debts would be discharged within months of the attorney filing a bankruptcy petition. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy filing.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a repayment plan. Debtors in a Chapter 13 need or want the opportunity to repay some or all of the debts in their name, often on better terms, i.e. lower or no interest. Unlike Chapter 7, which involves liquidation of assets, this process involves restructuring debts, which allows the debtor to use whatever income they may have in the future to pay off the creditors. This process is court supervised where the Debtor pays the Trustee for a term no longer than 5 years.

Can I File Bankruptcy Under The New Laws?

Yes. In 2005 Congress imposed a Means Test that all Debtors must fit under. Its format is similar to a tax return and is designed to keep Debtors with higher incomes from filing a Chapter 7 case (and filing a Chapter 13 instead). It is a convoluted process and unlike most attorneys, with my CPA background I am able to run this test for you usually during the first consultation so you know your options.

Will I Have To Go To Court?

In most cases no. However, you will have to attend a Meeting of Creditors, which is scheduled about 30 days after your case is filed. This is a relatively quick meeting with the Trustee (not a judge) where you go over your bankruptcy schedules and answer any questions that the Trustee may have. I am there to represent you and you will be prepared ahead of time about what to expect in the meeting. Despite the name, creditors rarely show up at this meeting. The meetings are usually routine and there is no reason to be particularly anxious about the meeting.

Are There Any Debts That Cannot Be Discharged? What kind of unpaid fees, charges or debt are included?

Yes, not all debts are included in a bankruptcy discharge. Most common are recent taxes and tax liens, property taxes (DO NOT get high interest property tax loans to pay off) student loans and alimony or child support. It is important to fully disclose all debts when meeting with your attorney to determine if they are dischargeable (even unpaid Dallas toll charges are dischargeable), or if they must be paid back in a Chapter 13.

Do I Have To Take The Credit Counseling Class?

Yes. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 – BAPCPA (although there is darn little consumer protection in the act that I’m aware of – the law change was all about protecting the banks and credit card companies who are now being bailed out with your tax dollars) states that people who plan to file for bankruptcy protection must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within 180 days before they file. They also must complete a follow up debtor education course to have their debts discharged. We can provide you with a list of approved providers and you can take the class in person, over the phone or on-line. The class is quick and not difficult. The companies usually charge around $55 for the class.

What Is The Meeting Of Creditors?

This is a quick meeting with the Trustee (not a judge) where you go over your bankruptcy schedules and answer any questions that the Trustee may have. I will be there to represent you, and you will be advised ahead of time about what to expect in the meeting. Despite the name, creditors rarely show up at this meeting. The meetings are usually routine and Debtors should not feel apprehensive about them. If a creditor does decide to attend, the meeting is conducted in a civil manner and the creditor is not permitted to harass or demean you.

What Is Confirmation?

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case, a plan is filed that outlines who gets paid what. The Bankruptcy Court conducts a confirmation hearing to determine whether the proposed Chapter 13 plan is feasible, and has been filed in good faith. Any party in interest may file an objection to confirmation, although usually most issues are able to be worked out by your attorney without the necessity of a court hearing.

Will I Ever Get Credit Again?

Yes, credit is available to the recently bankrupt. It may be offered with a higher interest rate or other unfavorable terms, but it is available. In some cases, filing bankruptcy could actually improve your credit. When rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy you will need to make sure you make all your payments on time and use credit cautiously. We advise clients NOT to fall prey to the credit card offers that will appear after discharge. The creditors would LOVE for you to start the whole cycle again!

Can I Buy A House After Bankruptcy?

Generally yes. Some studies show that 18-24 months after a bankruptcy discharge, bankruptcy debtors can qualify for a loan on the same terms as if they had not filed bankruptcy. That means that the lender will be more interested in your down payment, the stability of your income, and the relationship between the loan payments and your monthly income than your past financial troubles.

I Really Want To Pay My Debts. Does Filing Bankruptcy Make Me A Bad Person?

Absolutely not! Please remember that bankruptcy is NOT a moral failing but an often-necessary financial decision necessitated by life circumstances in an economy founded on consumer debt. It is a necessary business decision you may have to make to protect your future.

Still Have Bankruptcy Questions?

Call ‭(214) 288-1917‬ or request a FREE evaluation right away and we will be happy to talk with you about your unique situation. We can help!

Your Financial Future Matters To Us!

During tough times, your family needs an EXPERIENCED, AGGRESSIVE Dallas- Plano bankruptcy attorney with the knowledge to assist you with your debt problems & financial future.

The recent bankruptcy law changes imposed by Congress have increased the complexity of cases significantly.