blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Which Debts Are Discharged in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and DIsposable Income

Which Debts Are Discharged in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Determine which debts are discharged at the conclusion of your Chapter 13 repayment period.

You’ll get a discharge order after you finish your Chapter 13 repayment plan, which will wipe out the remaining sum of qualified debt. In fact, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge is much broader than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge because it eliminates debts that aren’t dischargeable in Chapter 7.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which debts are paid?

In bankruptcy, not all debts are treated similarly. Each one belongs to a specific category, which indicates whether the obligation must be paid or if it can be canceled.

The first stage is to determine if a debt is secured (backed up by collateral) or unsecured (no property may be taken if you don’t pay).

Priority and nonpriority unsecured debt are two types of unsecured debt. Priority unsecured debts are not dischargeable and are paid before nonpriority debts. Nonpriority unsecured debts are only paid if there is money left over, and the debt is usually dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Here are some of the most important details:

  • Debts that are secured. If the obligation is secured by collateral, you must either pay as promised or surrender the collateral (usually a house or car). Long-term debts, such as a 30-year mortgage, are not need to be paid in full under a Chapter 13 plan. If you’re behind on payments, you’ll have to make up the difference in the plan. The debt becomes a nonpriority unsecured debt if you surrender the collateral.
  • Unsecured debts take precedence. In a bankruptcy proceeding, these debts do not disappear. Priority claims must be paid in full in a Chapter 13 plan.
  • Unsecured debts that aren’t priority. The bulk of nonpriority unsecured debts are discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Credit card debt, personal loans, medical costs, and utility bills all fall into this category. Although student loans fall into this category, they aren’t dischargeable unless you can show in an adversary procedure (a separate litigation) that paying the debt will cause you undue hardship. You won’t have to repay your school loans in full under your plan because they are long-term debts.
  • Most non-priority unsecured debt balances will be discharged once your Chapter 13 repayment plan is finished. Student loan balances, on the other hand, will remain your responsibility.

Debts Eligible for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Some of the most prevalent types of non-priority unsecured debts are listed below.

  • Debt owed on a credit card. Most people who file for bankruptcy have credit card debt that they want to pay off. Because credit card debt is considered nonpriority unsecured debt, any leftover balance will be discharged once your repayment plan is completed.
  • Medical expenses. You can discharge your medical costs through Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have to acquire debt because your medical care was not fully covered by insurance.
  • Personal loans that aren’t backed up by anything. Any uncollateralized personal debts (like as a payday loan) are discharged at the end of your Chapter 13 case, much like credit card debt.
  • Tax obligations from the past. The majority of tax debts are non-dischargeable priority debts. Certain taxes (such as back taxes) may be designated non-priority debts and dismissed following completion of your case if you did not conduct fraud (and, in some jurisdictions, timely filed your returns).
  • Breach of contract or debt resulting from negligence. You can usually dismiss a judgment against you through Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you broke a contract (failed to pay or perform as required) or performed a negligent (accidental) act that caused personal or property harm. However, a debt for willful or malicious injury to a person will not be discharged under Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharges Debts But Not Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The following are examples of the debts that will be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy but will not be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  • Property Damage Caused By Willful and Malicious Acts
  • You can discharge debts deriving from willful and malicious damage to another person’s property (the harm was intentional, not accidental) but not willful injury to another person through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • Debts incurred in the payment of non-dischargeable taxes
  • If you pay your tax debt with a credit card, the debt is usually nondischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can, however, discharge debts incurred to meet nondischargeable tax obligations in Chapter 13.

Property Settlement Debts Resulting from Divorce or Separation

Alimony and child support are always non-dischargeable domestic support obligations. You can, however, discharge your duty to your spouse or former spouse for other obligations allocated to you in divorce or separation proceedings through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Example. Assume you were assigned and obligated to pay a joint credit card you shared with your husband in your divorce judgment. If you don’t pay it, the credit card company has the right to pursue both you and your former spouse, despite the fact that the debt was assigned to you by a family court judgment. You can discharge your debts to creditors but not to your former spouse if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your ex spouse is forced to pay the debt, he or she has the right to pursue you for the money. However, Chapter 13 relieves you of your debts to both the creditor and your former spouse.

Homeowners’ Dues After the Petition

You’ll be responsible for property taxes, utility payments, and homeowners’ dues until the home’s title is no longer in your name if you let go of a home in a Chapter 7 case (in other words, until the lender sells it in foreclosure). If you surrender your property as part of a Chapter 13 plan, some bankruptcy courts, but not all, will not hold you liable for homeowners’ dues.

Fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed by the government

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be entitled to discharge any debts you owe to a city, county, state, or other governmental agency, including those stemming from fraud. You will, however, be responsible for any restitution or criminal fines imposed during your criminal sentence.

Debt from an Unsuccessful Bankruptcy Case

You could be eligible to get rid of debt in Chapter 13 if the court found that you weren’t entitled to a discharge in a previous bankruptcy case (say because you didn’t fulfill the Chapter 7 means test) or if you waived your discharge. You won’t be able to get rid of a debt that a judge has declared nondischargeable by filing another case.

Liens that have been stripped or crammed down

A creditor’s security interest (such as a mortgage or vehicle lender’s lien) on your property is usually not removed by bankruptcy. If certain circumstances are met (for example, the debt isn’t fully secured by the collateral and the property is worth less than the obligation), Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be used to eliminate an entirely unsecured junior lien or consolidate a secured debt (reduce the loan to match the property value). The percentage that has been stripped or reduced is classed as an unsecured obligation and discharged at the conclusion of the case.

Other Specimen Debts

You may also be eligible to discharge the following debts:

a debt incurred as a result of a wrongful conduct against a federally insured bank or credit union

a prisoner’s court fees for filing a lawsuit, motion, appeal, or other court document, and

Debts incurred as a result of securities law violations.

When will you be discharged under Chapter 13?

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must repay a specific amount of your obligations through a repayment plan before receiving a discharge. However, it isn’t based on the overall amount of debt you owe. Instead, the amount of your repayment plan is determined by the type of debt you have, the value of your home, your income, and your outgoings.

Specifically, you must pay your unsecured creditors the larger of the following amounts:

your disposable income (what’s left after you’ve deducted all of your allowable expenses), or

the value of your nonexempt property (that which is not protected by a bankruptcy protection).

The bankruptcy trustee distributes funds to creditors according to the priority of each debt. Unlike non-priority unsecured debts, certain priority debts (such as recent taxes, alimony, and child support) must be paid in full.

While it’s possible that you’ll pay less than you owe (especially if you have a lot of credit card or medical debt), you’ll repay all of your debt if it’s priority debt, such as current income tax liabilities and support obligations.

Any remaining qualified balances are wiped out once you’ve made all of your plan payments. Creditors will no longer be able to pursue you to recover debts.

You must devote all of your disposable income to your Chapter 13 repayment plan if you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13. You pay 100 percent of certain debts and a portion of other debts through the plan, which lasts three or five years.

Keep in mind that even if you can fund a Chapter 13 plan with your disposable income, you must still pay your unsecured creditors at least as much as they would have received if you had filed for Chapter 7. Your plan will not be confirmed if you are unable to do so. (See The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Repayment Plan for more information on the plan, including which debts must be paid in full and how much your unsecured creditors must receive.)

It can be difficult to calculate your “disposable income” for the purposes of your repayment plan. And the formula changes depending on whether your income is higher or lower than the state’s median income. Here are the fundamental guidelines.

Current Monthly Income Calculation

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you take your average monthly income for the six months prior to filing for bankruptcy to determine your current monthly income.

Gross wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime, commissions, income from a business, rental income, interest, dividends, and royalties, pension and retirement income, unemployment compensation, income from someone else who contributes to your household on a regular basis, and income from other sources must all be included.

What happens if your actual income is significantly different from your six-month average income? In the case of Hamilton v. Lanning, the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that bankruptcy courts can take into account changes in your current income and expenses when calculating your disposable income.

Expendable Income

The amount of income left over after paying required creditors and allowing for monthly expenses is referred to as disposable income.

Finding the Median Income in Your State

The median income in your state can be found on the United States Courts’ website (at www.uscourts.gov). Select “bankruptcy” and then “means testing” from the drop-down menu.

If your income is less than the state median income, you must calculate your disposable income.

Use your current monthly income minus child support, foster care payments, and disability payments necessary for the care of a child if your income is below the state’s median income.

To calculate your disposable income, subtract the following amounts:

  • expenses that are reasonably necessary to support yourself and your children (such as rent, utilities, costs of clothing, food, medical and dental expenses, etc.)
  • payments in installments
  • debts with the highest priority
  • secured debt arrearages (such as back mortgage or car payments), and unsecured debt arrearages

Liens are used to secure debts.

You must pay this amount to your plan each month if you have income after deducting these expenses. You won’t be able to fund (and the court won’t confirm) a plan if you don’t have any income after deducting these expenses.

If your income is higher than the state median income, you must calculate your disposable income.

Calculating your disposable income becomes more difficult if your income exceeds the state’s median income. You must use the IRS-approved expense amounts, which may differ from your actual expenses. You also deduct the following:

  • Expenses for medical care paid out of pocket
  • Income taxes, self-employment taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes are some of the most common types of taxes.
  • payroll deductions that are required
  • payments for child support and alimony, and
  • Priority claims are paid first.

Speak With Our Bankruptcy Lawyers In Phoenix & Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group should be your first choice for any bankruptcy evaluation. Our experienced professionals will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome. You can on the firm to represent you well so you can move on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation. We can assist with all types of bankruptcies including Business BankruptcyChapter 7 BankruptcyCreditor RepresentationChapter 5 ClaimsChapter 13 Bankruptcy, Business RestructuringChapter 11 Bankruptcy, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cost 2021

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cost 2021

If you’re attempting to get out from under a mountain of debt, you’re undoubtedly thinking if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help. Your next queries are likely to be how much Chapter 13 will cost and whether it will work for you once you’ve decided it’s the best option for your financial position. We polled readers throughout the country about their recent bankruptcy experiences in order to acquire some real-life answers to these issues. What we gathered from people who filed for Chapter 13 is as follows.

What Are the Fees for Chapter 13 Lawyers?

The law of bankruptcy is complicated and perplexing. Cases involving Chapter 13 can be very complicated, and mistakes might lead to major financial troubles down the road. So it’s no surprise that almost all of our readers (97%) hired a lawyer to assist them with the Chapter 13 bankruptcy procedure. Their legal fees often ranged between $2,500 and $5,000. However, the majority of readers (63 percent) paid $3,000 or less. Nonetheless, the average cost of $3,000 was more than double what other readers spent their lawyers to handle Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. Because Chapter 13 cases take longer and need more labor, attorneys charge more for them. However, Chapter 13 has a benefit in terms of how attorneys’ fees are normally calculated: While the great majority of bankruptcy lawyers charge a flat fee for their basic services, they usually only require a down payment before filing the Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. (You’ll also have to pay the filing cost, which is $313 as of December 2020.) The remainder of the attorney’s fee is then included in your Chapter 13 monthly payments, which means it comes out of the money that would otherwise go to your creditors.

When a Chapter 13 Lawyer Might Cost You More or Less

The fees charged by bankruptcy lawyers are determined by numerous factors, including their level of experience and location of practice. Attorneys’ fees, like other expenses, tend to be higher in large urban centers on the coasts. However, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy situations, there is another crucial issue to consider: The amount you pay your attorney must be approved by the court. Many courts set fee standards that they will automatically consider reasonable in order to make the approval process easier (known as “presumptive” or “no look” fees). The rules may also include a list of fundamental services that should be covered, as well as additional costs for business cases and additional services that may be required (such as filing plan modifications or motions). These assumed costs differ from one state to the next, as well as between districts within bigger ones. In a few populated states, examples of the range of presumed costs for essential services include:

  • $3,300 to $5,000 in California
  • $3,000 to $3,825 in Texas
  • $3,500 to $4,500 in Florida
  • $2,600 to $3,650 in Michigan
  • $4,000 to $5,100 in Virginia

Our findings backed up the conventional assumption that most lawyers will charge that amount or less for basic services in regions where the courts have set guidelines. However, if your case necessitates additional labor, such as when:

  • You own a firm as a solo owner.
  • Your home is worth less than what you owe, and you want to get rid of your mortgage obligation (or “discharge” it).
  • you wish to get rid of your college loans, or
  • When you declare for bankruptcy, you become a defendant in a lawsuit.

Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/chapter-13-bankruptcy-what-will-it-cost-and-will-it-work.html

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Which Debts Are Discharged in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Which Debts Are Discharged in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Determine which debts are discharged at the conclusion of your Chapter 13 repayment period.

You’ll get a discharge order after you finish your Chapter 13 repayment plan, which will wipe out the remaining sum of qualified debt. In fact, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge is much broader than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge because it eliminates debts that aren’t dischargeable in Chapter 7.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which debts are paid?

In bankruptcy, not all debts are treated similarly. Each one belongs to a specific category, which indicates whether the obligation must be paid or if it can be canceled.

The first stage is to determine if a debt is secured (backed up by collateral) or unsecured (no property may be taken if you don’t pay).

Priority and nonpriority unsecured debt are two types of unsecured debt. Priority unsecured debts are not dischargeable and are paid before nonpriority debts. Nonpriority unsecured debts are only paid if there is money left over, and the debt is usually dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Here are some of the most important details:

  • Debts that are secured. If the obligation is secured by collateral, you must either pay as promised or surrender the collateral (usually a house or car). Long-term debts, such as a 30-year mortgage, are not need to be paid in full under a Chapter 13 plan. If you’re behind on payments, you’ll have to make up the difference in the plan. The debt becomes a nonpriority unsecured debt if you surrender the collateral.
  • Unsecured debts take precedence. In a bankruptcy proceeding, these debts do not disappear. Priority claims must be paid in full in a Chapter 13 plan.
  • Unsecured debts that aren’t priority. The bulk of nonpriority unsecured debts are discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Credit card debt, personal loans, medical costs, and utility bills all fall into this category. Although student loans fall into this category, they aren’t dischargeable unless you can show in an adversary procedure (a separate litigation) that paying the debt will cause you undue hardship. You won’t have to repay your school loans in full under your plan because they are long-term debts.
  • Most non-priority unsecured debt balances will be discharged once your Chapter 13 repayment plan is finished. Student loan balances, on the other hand, will remain your responsibility.

Debts Eligible for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Some of the most prevalent types of non-priority unsecured debts are listed below.

  • Debt owed on a credit card. Most people who file for bankruptcy have credit card debt that they want to pay off. Because credit card debt is considered nonpriority unsecured debt, any leftover balance will be discharged once your repayment plan is completed.
  • Medical expenses. You can discharge your medical costs through Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have to acquire debt because your medical care was not fully covered by insurance.
  • Personal loans that aren’t backed up by anything. Any uncollateralized personal debts (like as a payday loan) are discharged at the end of your Chapter 13 case, much like credit card debt.
  • Tax obligations from the past. The majority of tax debts are non-dischargeable priority debts. Certain taxes (such as back taxes) may be designated non-priority debts and dismissed following completion of your case if you did not conduct fraud (and, in some jurisdictions, timely filed your returns).
  • Breach of contract or debt resulting from negligence. You can usually dismiss a judgment against you through Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you broke a contract (failed to pay or perform as required) or performed a negligent (accidental) act that caused personal or property harm. However, a debt for willful or malicious injury to a person will not be discharged under Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharges Debts But Not Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The following are examples of the debts that will be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy but will not be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  • Property Damage Caused By Willful and Malicious Acts
  • You can discharge debts deriving from willful and malicious damage to another person’s property (the harm was intentional, not accidental) but not willful injury to another person through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • Debts incurred in the payment of non-dischargeable taxes
  • If you pay your tax debt with a credit card, the debt is usually nondischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can, however, discharge debts incurred to meet nondischargeable tax obligations in Chapter 13.

Property Settlement Debts Resulting from Divorce or Separation

Alimony and child support are always non-dischargeable domestic support obligations. You can, however, discharge your duty to your spouse or former spouse for other obligations allocated to you in divorce or separation proceedings through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Example. Assume you were assigned and obligated to pay a joint credit card you shared with your husband in your divorce judgment. If you don’t pay it, the credit card company has the right to pursue both you and your former spouse, despite the fact that the debt was assigned to you by a family court judgment. You can discharge your debts to creditors but not to your former spouse if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your ex spouse is forced to pay the debt, he or she has the right to pursue you for the money. However, Chapter 13 relieves you of your debts to both the creditor and your former spouse.

Homeowners’ Dues After the Petition

You’ll be responsible for property taxes, utility payments, and homeowners’ dues until the home’s title is no longer in your name if you let go of a home in a Chapter 7 case (in other words, until the lender sells it in foreclosure). If you surrender your property as part of a Chapter 13 plan, some bankruptcy courts, but not all, will not hold you liable for homeowners’ dues.

Fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed by the government

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be entitled to discharge any debts you owe to a city, county, state, or other governmental agency, including those stemming from fraud. You will, however, be responsible for any restitution or criminal fines imposed during your criminal sentence.

Debt from an Unsuccessful Bankruptcy Case

You could be eligible to get rid of debt in Chapter 13 if the court found that you weren’t entitled to a discharge in a previous bankruptcy case (say because you didn’t fulfill the Chapter 7 means test) or if you waived your discharge. You won’t be able to get rid of a debt that a judge has declared nondischargeable by filing another case.

Liens that have been stripped or crammed down

A creditor’s security interest (such as a mortgage or vehicle lender’s lien) on your property is usually not removed by bankruptcy. If certain circumstances are met (for example, the debt isn’t fully secured by the collateral and the property is worth less than the obligation), Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be used to eliminate an entirely unsecured junior lien or consolidate a secured debt (reduce the loan to match the property value). The percentage that has been stripped or reduced is classed as an unsecured obligation and discharged at the conclusion of the case.

Other Specimen Debts

You may also be eligible to discharge the following debts:

a debt incurred as a result of a wrongful conduct against a federally insured bank or credit union

a prisoner’s court fees for filing a lawsuit, motion, appeal, or other court document, and

Debts incurred as a result of securities law violations.

When will you be discharged under Chapter 13?

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must repay a specific amount of your obligations through a repayment plan before receiving a discharge. However, it isn’t based on the overall amount of debt you owe. Instead, the amount of your repayment plan is determined by the type of debt you have, the value of your home, your income, and your outgoings.

Specifically, you must pay your unsecured creditors the larger of the following amounts:

your disposable income (what’s left after you’ve deducted all of your allowable expenses), or

the value of your nonexempt property (that which is not protected by a bankruptcy protection).

The bankruptcy trustee distributes funds to creditors according to the priority of each debt. Unlike non-priority unsecured debts, certain priority debts (such as recent taxes, alimony, and child support) must be paid in full.

While it’s possible that you’ll pay less than you owe (especially if you have a lot of credit card or medical debt), you’ll repay all of your debt if it’s priority debt, such as current income tax liabilities and support obligations.

Any remaining qualified balances are wiped out once you’ve made all of your plan payments. Creditors will no longer be able to pursue you to recover debts.

 

Speak With Our Bankruptcy Lawyers In Phoenix & Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group should be your first choice for any bankruptcy evaluation. Our experienced professionals will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome. You can on the firm to represent you well so you can move on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation. We can assist with all types of bankruptcies including Business BankruptcyChapter 7 BankruptcyCreditor RepresentationChapter 5 ClaimsChapter 13 Bankruptcy, Business RestructuringChapter 11 Bankruptcy, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Do Bankruptcy Exemptions Work

How Do Bankruptcy Exemptions Work

If you’re one among the millions of people who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, bankruptcy can help you clear your debts while keeping your retirement assets intact. You won’t lose your stimulus cash, though, because the new bankruptcy “recovery rebate” law preserves stimulus checks, tax credits, and child credits.

Exemptions from bankruptcy play an important role in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions are used in Chapter 7 bankruptcy to determine how much of your property you get to keep. Exemptions in Chapter 13 bankruptcy help you keep your plan payments modest. Learn more about bankruptcy exemptions and how they work by reading on.

What Are the Different Types of Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Exemptions allow you to keep a specific amount of assets, such as a cheap car, professional tools, clothing, and a retirement account, safe in bankruptcy. You don’t have to worry about the bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case taking an asset and selling it for the benefit of your creditors if you can exclude it.

Many exclusions cover specific property kinds up to a certain dollar value, such as a car or furnishings. An exemption can sometimes protect the asset’s total worth. Some exemptions, known as “wildcard exemptions,” can be used on any of your properties.

Is it okay if I keep my baseball cards? Jewelry? Pets?

The goal of bankruptcy is to give you a fresh start, not to take away all of your possessions. You’ll probably be able to protect other items as well, such as religious literature, a seat in a building of worship, or a burial plot, in addition to the fundamentals. Chickens and feed are even exempt in some states. However, you should not make the mistake of assuming that everything will be well.

  • Items of high value. There are no exemptions for boats, collections, pricey artwork, or holiday homes. Instead of filing for bankruptcy, owners with such valuable assets often sell the property and pay off their debts.
  • Jewelry. Many states provide protection for wedding rings up to a certain value. Don’t expect to preserve your Rolex, diamond necklace, or antique broach collection, though.
  • Pets. The dog or cat you rescued from the shelter is unlikely to fall into the trustee’s hands. Why? It’s not that you’ll have a specific exemption to protect it; rather, the trustee would have to pay more to sell it than it’s worth in most circumstances. However, if you own a valuable show dog or a racehorse with high breeding costs, you may be forced to sell it or pay for it in bankruptcy.

Exemptions: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Whether you’re filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, exemptions play a significant role.

Bankruptcy under Chapter 7

A liquidation bankruptcy is one in which the appointed trustee sells your nonexempt assets to satisfy your creditors. Because the bankruptcy trustee cannot sell exempt property, exemptions assist you protect your assets in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your state offers a $5,000 motor vehicle exemption and you only own one automobile worth $4,000, for example, you can keep it. See Exemptions in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for more details.

Bankruptcy under Chapter 13

You can keep all of your property and rearrange your debts with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which can mean paying less on some of them). The amount you must pay specific creditors, however, is still determined by how much property you can exclude. Unsecured creditors who are not priority (such as credit card companies) must be paid an amount equal to your nonexempt assets. Exemptions assist keep your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payments modest by lowering the amount you must pay creditors. See Exemptions in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for more details.

Bankruptcy Exemptions at the State and Federal Level

There are bankruptcy exemptions in each state. A series of exemptions is also provided by federal law. (See The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for further information.) Some states force you to use their exemptions, while others allow you to choose between their exemptions and the federal system (you cannot mix and match the two).

The state exemption rules you’ll be able to use will be determined by where you lived in the previous two years (called the “domicile requirements.”). Read Which Exemptions Can You Use In Bankruptcy? for more information on the distinctions between state and federal exemptions and domicile requirements.

Nonbankruptcy Exemptions in the United States

In addition to state and federal bankruptcy exemptions, there are a number of federal nonbankruptcy exemptions. These exemptions work in a similar way to bankruptcy exemptions in terms of preserving your assets. Nonbankruptcy exemptions from the federal government are only available if you use your state’s exemptions (you cannot combine the federal bankruptcy and nonbankruptcy exemptions). You can use nonbankruptcy exemptions in addition to state exemptions if you are using state exemptions. See The Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions for further details.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Many Times Can I File for Bankruptcy?

If you have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 before, can you do the same again? Can a debtor in Arizona file for bankruptcy multiple times? It’s not uncommon for Arizonians to fall into hard times and become severely indebted once or twice. Technically, it is possible to file for bankruptcy more than once under Arizona law and the applicable federal laws. However, the law specifies certain circumstances under which a debtor can actually do that.

BAPCPA and Multiple Bankruptcy Filings

In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) went into to effect. The law made it less easy for debtors to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The idea is to prevent unwarranted practices by higher income individuals who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to take advantage of its debt discharge clauses. BAPCPA aimed to force rich debtors to file for Chapter 13 instead and to pay back what they owe under a court-mandated payment plan.

As a result of BAPCPA, there are now several significant limitations for multiple Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings in Arizona.

What are the Limits on Multiple Bankruptcy Filings?

Here is a list of the most significant limitations to multiple bankruptcies that debtors should be aware of:

  • Debtors must wait for at least 8 years before filing for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The days are counted from the day the debtor filed the first Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. From then on, the debtor must wait exactly 8 years before filing for bankruptcy under the same chapter once again.
  • Debt discharges during the second bankruptcy could be more impaired based on discharges offered during the earlier bankruptcy filings. For example, if you are filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you cannot obtain a debt discharge if you were granted an earlier Chapter 13 debt discharge in the previous two years. If you have obtained a debt discharge under Chapter 7 in the previous 4 years, then you can’t get a Chapter 13 discharge for a new case. However, this doesn’t prevent you from being able to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy regardless of how many bankruptcies you have filed before. There are certain circumstances, such as owning too much mortgage debt, that allow debtors to do this. Chapter 13 filings are accepted even for issues like needing a payment plan to pay off taxes owed.
  • Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, regardless of precious bankruptcy history, enables automatic stay on a current debt between three to five years. However, the court must be specifically requested to enforce the automatic stay if you have had a bankruptcy dismissed by the court during the previous 12 months.

The above limitations are not too restrictive when it comes to filing for another bankruptcy. If your case is complicated, you must consult with an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney. Keep in mind that you may not be able to keep filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in rapid succession as per the recently amended rules and regulations.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

The Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy

Most people perceive bankruptcy as a dreadful thing, like a complete end to financial stability and future prospects. This is a rather misguided notion of bankruptcy. Filing for personal bankruptcy does have its benefits other than reaching a legal solution to overwhelming debt. Don’t believe it? Read below to find out:

Stop the Never-Ending Collection Calls

One of the major positive aspects that follow declaring personal bankruptcy is the definitive end to collection calls. In Arizona, creditors are legally obligated to stop attempting to collect the debt when a debtor has filed for personal bankruptcy. Your creditor won’t be able to call you, try to foreclose your home, notify your employers, or do anything else to attempt to collect your prior debt. If the creditor harassment continues, you will have a good case for your bankruptcy proceedings. You should contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale to find out what your options are if credit harassment continues.

Keep Your Home

Arizona law allows exemptions for homesteads or the primary residence owned by a debtor. The court will not make you homeless and take away your shelter when you file for personal bankruptcy. So it’s a sensible way to try to save your home from debtors. This exemption has a dollar and equity limits and certain exceptions that you should clarify with a lawyer. But filing for bankruptcy will stop a creditor from foreclosing your home.

Protect Personal Assets

The Arizona bankruptcy law allows many personal property exemptions when filing for bankruptcy. That means you would be able to keep valuable assets like books, furniture, cheap motor vehicles, various electronic gadgets, family antiques, clothing, pets and so on in your possession. Creditors will not be able to claim these as collateral.  They are prohibited from taking your things.

Stay in Control of Business

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows business owners control of their company even after filing for business bankruptcy. So it’s a good way to keep a business afloat when the debts threaten to run your company to the ground. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy also facilitates business owners to reduce debt gradually over time.  Chapter 11 can also aid in getting rid of high-stakes litigation by discharging the pending litigation claims that were previously being waged against your company.

Retain Your Pension Fund and Retirement Assets

You can retain your considerable IRA or other types of qualified retirement plans or pensions when you file for bankruptcy. It’s one another valuable personal asset that will be kept away from the debtors. Put another way, you will exit bankruptcy with virtually identical retirement assets as when you went into bankruptcy.

Start Improving Your Financial Status

When you file for bankruptcy, your credit score would hit rock bottom. But afterward, it will start to climb up again, sometimes rapidly. Filing for bankruptcy is sort of the last step towards regaining financial footing and security. After that, it only gets better. When you start to make debt payments, your credit score would start rising again.  Many creditors are attracted to persons coming out of bankruptcy and offer them credit because they know that the person cannot file another bankruptcy for many many years.

Have a Trustee Oversee Your Monetary Affairs

During your bankruptcy, the court appoints a Trustee between you and the creditors to oversee how the discharge on your bankruptcy filing is being carried out. This spells only good things for your future financial dealings. If pursuing a chapter 11 or 13, you will get a handcrafted debt repayment plan to get back on your feet after the declaring.   If pursuing Chapter 7, most if not all of your debts will be canceled.

Above all, you will feel less stressed. Your money matters will be taken care of, and the creditors will finally go away.  Consider speaking with competent bankruptcy legal counsel today.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing for Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona

If you have decided to file for bankruptcy, you may be wondering whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not suitable for all situations. Also, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is usually the more common option for petitioners who are behind on mortgage payments but still want to keep their property. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the borrower to agree to pay back overdue charges and settle back on the original mortgage contract. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly used option for those who are severely indebted and simply wish to start over.  

You can always consult with a local bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale or your area to decide which option is best for you. Otherwise, take a look at advantages and disadvantages of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 forms of bankruptcy to decide which option is the best for you:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona

Most Arizonans who are in heavy debt choose this option to solve their financial situation. Under Chapter 7 filings, a court will most likely discharge unsecured debts like credit card debt or personal loans. The petitioners will only have to pay back debts secured with assets once the parties have agreed on a “Reaffirmed Agreement.”

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is particularly attractive to many because it offers protection against debt collection efforts like constant calls and holding back wages. If you earn any wages on a property you have bought, the money will belong to you, not the creditor, following the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing date.

There is also no minimum debt amount needed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can expect the proceedings to end within 3 to 6 months from the filing date.

As attractive as it may be, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not without its setbacks. Mainly, the law does not cover assets given up as collateral for a loan, such as a property or a vehicle. The petitioners could lose non-exempt property, which would later be sold by a court-appointed Trustee. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not typically suitable if your home is undergoing foreclosure. Filing for bankruptcy will only temporarily halt the proceedings. Co-signers will also be contractually bound unless they separately file for bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona

This option allows petitioners to keep all property, whether exempt or nonexempt, under a court-approved payment plan. If you have many secured loans, then Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best option for you. Some debts will not be canceled under Chapter 7, but a judge can reduce them. Like with Chapter 7, Chapter 13 filings afford protections against collection calls and similar efforts by the creditor.   When pursuing Chapter 13, you’re most likely going to need experienced legal counsel by your side.  

If you agree on a full payment, co-signers will be protected from creditor’s collection efforts. You can also obtain protection against foreclosure of your home if you completely follow the new payment agreement. You can also get more time to pay off debts under this proceeding, especially ones that are not discharged, like child support or taxes. You can also repeatedly file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The disadvantage is that the payment plan you agree to will be based on your income earned after the filing date. You will have to be frugal until the debts are paid back as per the agreement. These plans can last from 3 to 5 years. As a result, the proceedings can last up to 5 years. Attorney fees for Chapter 13 bankruptcy also tend to be higher.  Some professions, like stockbrokers, cannot file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arizona.

Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages given above before discussing your bankruptcy with an attorney.  For more email the firm at [email protected] or call 480-744-7711.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

When you file for bankruptcy in Arizona, you are bound by state as well as federal laws. Before you file for bankruptcy, you need to know whether you actually need to. Most people who are deep in debt opt to file for Chapter 7, which provides a certain degree of debt relief, asset protection and management of existing debt. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can only be used once every seven years. So, you really need to know whether you want to file for bankruptcy now or seek alternative solutions.

When it comes down to it, it will be up to you to decide whether you should file for any form of bankruptcy. A credit counselor may be able to help you. Before you make up your mind, here are several tips on filing for bankruptcy in Arizona:

Take Advantage of Arizona’s Exemption Laws

Arizona’s Exemption Laws allow a certain degree of protection against repossession of assets by creditors who have provided unsecured debt. For example, if you are neck deep in credit card debt, you don’t need to fear that the credit card company might show up and demand your house or car. Credit card debt is mostly dischargeable under Arizona law. Likewise, if you want unwanted collection calls to stop, you can simply do so by informing the creditor that you have filed for bankruptcy. Consult an attorney in your local area, for example, a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale, to know whether you can benefit from exemption laws and avoid filing for bankruptcy, or hastily seek to file.

Income may Only Qualify You for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your household income must be below the state median income for households of your size. If you fail this “means test,” you may have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Moreover, a bankruptcy judge can later examine whether your income is sufficient to repay debt under Chapter 13, rather than file under Chapter 7.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to repay your existing debt in part under a strict household budget. Your finances will be closely watched by a court-appointed Trustee. If you fail to meet any of the court-mandated obligations, then the Chapter 13 filing could later result in sanctions or “conversion” to another type of bankruptcy under the code. Having competent legal counsel at your side at all times is critical.

Moving on with the Proceedings

If you have made up your mind to file for bankruptcy, you will have to go to a court at the zip code you have lived in for at least 91 of the past 180 days. If you haven’t lived at your current address for this amount of time, you should use the court relevant to your old zip code address. Expect most of the proceedings’ paperwork to be distributed through via snail mail. With or without counsel, you will have to go to the bankruptcy court in person at least once. Go online to find information about your court and to download important documentation.  Appearing in a federal court house is often easier to digest with a competent licensed attorney by your side.

Cost

There are a number of fees associated with filing for bankruptcy in Arizona. In addition to paying for a lawyer, you will have to pay fees for things like mandatory pre-filing credit counseling, filing forms, making copies, and other similar tasks. Fees for different things will vary. For example, getting counseling can cost between $25 and $100.  Costs can be as little as $400 for preparing documentation. However, hiring a lawyer may cost as much as $5,000.  Every case is different.  Be careful agreeing to the “lowest cost” bankruptcy attorney who later calls you demanding thousands more in fees to continue with your case.  Like anything in life, lowest price does not mean highest value.   

If your income is too low, some of these costs may be waived off or you might only have to pay a portion of the fees. Filing for bankruptcy is not free, so do expect to pay as you go through the federal proceedings.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips on Filing for Bankruptcy

Many people opt to file for bankruptcy when their income isn’t sufficient to repay creditors. Certain types of bankruptcy filings can lead to elimination of at least some or all debt and a halt for collection calls. While bankruptcy can be devastating emotionally, it does have many benefits. If you are planning on applying for bankruptcy, here are several useful tips to know about:

Learn About the Different Types of Bankruptcy

There are several different types of bankruptcy. The two main types many people know about are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 eliminates virtually all debt, especially from unsecured loans. Chapter 13 is used to come up with a court-approved plan to partially repay all debt in 3 to 5 years. You will have to learn about what each type entails and which type of bankruptcy is best suited for you. Before you file your case, you will have to learn about the law a bit first.

Hire a Lawyer

It’s virtually impossible to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. The body of law in this area is muddled and complicated so you will really need an experienced attorney. Hire a lawyer from the county you live in, for example a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale. It’s best to consult with an attorney before you decide to proceed with a court filing. Your attorney will tell you how to fill out the legal documents and what evidence to present in court. Attorneys are necessary because, in some cases, creditors have the right to sue you back. A lawyer may be able to intervene and reduce the risk of this.

Understand Your State Laws

Bankruptcy law differs from state to state. How many of your assets you can keep, or how much debt will be discharged will depend on the law in your state. Therefore, it’s very important that you understand the rules and guidelines set forth in the state of your residence. You can get expert help too. For example, you can ask a local bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale for state laws in Arizona.

Bankruptcy Does Not Get Everyone off the Hook for Debt

Filing for bankruptcy often removes the obligation of a single debtor to a creditor. This does not apply to others responsible for the same debt, such as the other joint account holder or a co-signer. If there’s credit card debt, then all the people formally responsible for that account will have to pay. When you file for bankruptcy, the other person could end up being solely responsible for the debt. You may want to think in advance to avoid this scenario. Ask your lawyer for the best course of action.

Inform All the Creditors

You will have to inform all your creditors that you are filing for bankruptcy, not just the creditors responsible for the overwhelming debts. In some states, it’s required by law. When you are in the process for filing for bankruptcy, you must inform all debt collection callers of the situation and provide the name of the attorney handling the case so the calls can stop.

Bankruptcy need not be expensive and emotionally draining. Follow the above tips to make it less so.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips to Avoid Losing Money in the New Year

The Scottsdale lawyers at Canterbury Law Group are authorities in bankruptcy matters. As we enter the New Year, we realize that many Scottsdale residents are trying to improve their financial affairs. Unfortunately, the world is full of opportunities for you to give up your hard-earned money unwisely. Becoming an informed consumer is a big step toward avoiding these minefields—and developing the financial power that will keep you out of debt troubles.

Here are some tips for today on how to avoid money traps.

Avoid the “Free” Trial Offer – Ever wonder why businesses are willing to offer that free trial? Sure, it may build customer loyalty and maybe you’ll happily become a repeat buyer. But companies know that many of us will never read the fine print and the vendors typically make no attempt to remind us when the free period is over. Instead your “free” subscription or service converts to a paid one. You are left with an unwanted monthly expense and now they have a steady revenue stream. It is often challenging, if not impossible, to terminate these subscriptions.

Skip upgrades and add-ons – Upgrades at fast food, electronics, retailers and car dealerships make for huge profits so companies really push them. To avoid this trap, do your homework. Know ahead of time what you really want. For example, quiz your insurance agent about how much your own insurance covers you in a rental car. If you later decide an extended warranty or other add-on is appropriate, fine. If not, just say NO. And stick to it.

Don’t co-sign for others – Remember, your best friend or family member can lose their job, and when they do that car will be repossessed and the bank will be coming after you—for the entire unpaid balance.

Filing bankruptcy can seem overwhelming. However, at Canterbury Law Group, we will represent you through the entire process and fight diligently to secure your fresh financial start. Call us today to schedule your consultation. We can put you on the path to reach financial success!

1 2 3 4