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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What Can You Expect From Your Bankruptcy Trustee

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filing for bankruptcyDid you know that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what one might file for personal debt? There are many advantages of filing for bankruptcy, as many loans can be forgiven or restructured. However, it typically only takes around six months to complete, and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs $306, and stays on your credit report for 10 years after it is arranged.

But, sometimes the pros outweigh the cons, and in these cases, it is important to know what the Chapter 7 process looks like, and when and how to get help. For instance, it is good to know exactly what your bankruptcy trustee’s role will be.

When filing Chapter 7, an impartial bankruptcy trustee is appointed to oversee and administer your case. Their duties are wide-ranging, and include:

Reviewing Documents
When you file for bankruptcy, you file a petition along with other documents that disclose your personal and financial information, including information about your debts, your property, your income, and your financial affairs. Your trustee will often want to look at your pay stubs, tax returns, and other information about your assets. Their job is to make sure that your petition matches your financial documents.

Liquidating Nonexempt Assets
Luckily, some of your things can be exempt from the bankruptcy process, but everything else is sold off by your bankruptcy trustee, who is in charge of determining the value of your property and deciding whether or not they should be sold in order to pay your creditors.

Avoid Transfers or Security Interests
Before many people file for bankruptcy, they have properties transferred over to other people to avoid liquidation, or they pay back favored creditors, like family members. If your bankruptcy trustee detects any such actions, they can take the necessary actions to get the asset or funds back to distribute to creditors.

It is your bankruptcy trustee’s responsibility to make sure that your finances are restructured and all creditors are given at least something, but it is still important to enlist in bankruptcy help from a bankruptcy lawyer. If you are filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, then specifically a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.

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5 Tips for Those Considering Filing Bankruptcy

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filing for bankruptcyIn 2013 alone, there were an estimated 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States — 728,833 were Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, and 8,980 were Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. But for every single case, at least one individual had to go through the process of filing for bankruptcy and navigate those murky waters.

Luckily, bankruptcy lawyers are there to provide much-needed bankruptcy help.

1. Assess Your Finances
During your bankruptcy process, your trustee, creditors, and advisers will give you advice and tell you what to do and what not to do. Make sure to review you finances, debts, and expenses beforehand so you understand exactly where you actually stand.

2. Pull Your Credit Report
Many people feel relieved when the debt collectors stop knocking and calling, and think that their debt might have magically gone away. This is not so. In fact, it is more likely a calm before the storm. Remember, your creditors can petition for your bankruptcy in court. Look at your actual credit report to see exactly what you owe and how it affects your credit report.

3. Inform Debt Collectors and Creditors
Since your creditors won’t legally be allowed to contact you once you have filed for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to inform your creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy and under which district.

4. Get Credit Counseling Certificate
Obtaining a certificate of successful completion of a credit counseling course is required before filing bankruptcy. The counseling can take place up to six months prior to filing, so get it done sooner rather than later. Plus, this counseling session will directly benefit you and will help you move onto a new phase in your financial life.

5. Get a Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy laws are quite complex, and many consumers are unable to file by themselves. Don’t take the risk, or make the process any harder on yourself than it needs to be, and get help filing for bankruptcy.

No matter what, filing for bankruptcy should be something that allows you to gain more freedom and a chance to restart your personal or business finances. Follow these tips and get the help you need.

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How to Bounce Back After Bankruptcy

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chapter 11 bankruptcy attorneySometimes, if you have racked up extensive debt and your creditors have been badgering you, the only way out may be to declare a Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Despite the negative stigma associated with the procedure, filing for bankruptcy is actually designed as a way to help people restructure their finances and lives, so that everyone, including the original lenders, end up at least a little happy.

Indeed, there were an estimated 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States during 2013, 728,833 of which were under Chapter 7. It usually takes approximately six months to complete the bankruptcy process; after that, you won’t be able to file again for another six years, so it is important that you regain your financial autonomy. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorney will be able to give some advice, but you should also check out these tips:

Make a Budget
It’s time to make — and adhere to — a strict budget, which may be difficult, depending on your previous spending habits. But it will greatly benefit you in the long run, so don’t be afraid to seek financial advice from your bankruptcy attorney or a financial consultant.

Fall in Love With Cash
Start paying for things mostly in cash, which can help you limit the amount you spend. Spending money you didn’t have is what most likely got you into this mess in the first place, so a new approach may be in order. Some people have found success by allocating a certain amount of cash to each of their budget items and placing that cash in an envelope. When the money is gone, so is your ability to spend it — at least until the next month.

Pay Bills On Time
This might seem to be a given, but it is extremely important that you start to build your credit back up, and late payments can delay that process. Make sure to pay all bills, no matter how small, on time or early. Mark due dates on a calendar, or even set yourself alarms on your phone to make sure you don’t forget.

Take Out a Credit Card
Part of building up your credit again means not taking your credit card for granted. Use it with caution, in order to show the credit companies that you are indeed going to pay every bill in full. You may be able to get a regular credit card, since the credit companies know that you have little debt after the bankruptcy, but you can also always get a secured card of some sort.

Your Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorney should be able to give you more financial advice for the period after you file for bankruptcy.

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The Pros and Cons of Declaring Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Diving into bankruptcy is not a good idea. Any Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will tell you that there are advantages and disadvantages to declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of which must be weighed. Check them out here to figure out if it’s the best way for you to restructure your debts or not:

Pros

  • The actual process doesn’t take too long, and is usually over with three to six months. That being said, it does stay on your record for years. Your missed debt payments, defaults, and repossessions — not to mention possible lawsuits — will also hurt your credit score.
  • Most states have exemptions in place that prevent important possessions from being liquidated, and sometimes they even allow you to keep more of your property than you need. You will be able to keep your salary and the things you purchase after you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • The sooner you get debt assistance, the sooner you can start rebuilding your credit and entire life. Use the required financial counseling to your advantage and use bankruptcy as an opportunity to start budgeting, saving, and refraining from taking out loans.

Cons

  • Bankruptcy of any kind can ruin your credit for a long while to come. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years after it is arranged.
  • You will lose all of your credit cards, and also any property that was not exempt from sale by the bankruptcy trustee, plus any other luxury items that weren’t exempt.
  • Declaring bankruptcy now may make it harder to declare later if you are in a more dire situation. That’s why you should make sure that it’s absolutely necessary. If you file Chapter 7, you cannot file again under that chapter for another six years.
  • Chapter 7 (or Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy) will never exempt you from child support payments, alimony, or student loan payments.

The fee for filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 in the U.S. is currently $306 — which could be excessive if you truly have no money, but is also relatively cheap as far as loan forgiveness and debt alleviation go. Consult your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney for how best to go about filing for bankruptcy.

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Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

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chapter 11 bankruptcy explainedBankruptcy cases are more common than you might think. In 2013, there were an estimated 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States. Of these cases, a majority were Chapter 7 cases (728,833 of them, to be exact). But a sizable amount (8,980 cases that year) were Chapter 11. Most people are familiar with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as that is what one would most likely file as an individual, but it is also important to know about all the specificities of each case. Proceed to see Chapter 11 bankruptcy explained:

Chapter 11 is also sometimes known as a “reorganization” bankruptcy and is often used specifically for a corporation or partnership. People in business, or individuals, can also seek relief under Chapter 11, granted they meet certain specifications. For example, you may be eligible if you have too much debt or income to qualify under Chapter 7 or 13.

The point of Chapter 11 is to allow a struggling business or business individual to restructure their finances in order to maximize the return to their creditors and investors. Some notable filers under Chapter 11 bankruptcy include General Motors, United Airlines, Lehman Brothers, and K-Mart.

As with most other types of bankruptcy, the first step is to file a petition in bankruptcy courts. Typically, these cases are voluntary.

There is no absolute limit on the duration of a case of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Some can last a few months. Others can last up to two years.

The major characteristic of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that, although the filer usually continues to conduct business, they do lose control over major decisions. The bankruptcy court must now approve any sale of assets, like property, the entering into or breaking of a lease, mortgage or other financing arrangements, and the shutting down or expansion of business operations.

Usually, the debtor has a chance for four months after they file Chapter 11 to propose a reorganization plan. After that period has ended, the creditors’ committee or other involved parties have the chance to propose competing reorganization plans.

Essentially, a Chapter 11 case leads to a contract between the debtor and lender as to how it will operate and pay its obligations in the future. If you or your business is thinking of filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, contact a bankruptcy attorney to have Chapter 11 bankruptcy explained fully.

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