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 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Important Factors on Bankruptcy Help in Scottsdale

If your financial struggles are becoming overwhelming and the future looks bleak, there are a few things you need to know before filing for bankruptcy.

1. There is No Shame in Filing – If you are considering bankruptcy but your feelings about what type of person you would be to file are stopping you, it’s time to get over it! These days, people from all walks of life file for bankruptcy. You should feel no shame in wanting to solve your financial struggles and get your life back in order. The stigma is in avoiding the problems, hiding from creditors, and not facing the facts – it’s time to fix your finances and turn a new corner.

2. You May Be Able to Keep Your Home – Arizona has well known homestead exemptions that allow you to keep your primary residence. Being forced out of your home is not a reason to avoid filing bankruptcy. The likelihood of losing your home is much greater if you do not file. A Scottsdale bankruptcy attorney can help you make bankruptcy choices that in most cases may permit you to maintain ownership of your home even after your bankruptcy concludes. And in this day and age when so many homeowners are underwater on their mortgage, the likelihood of your home not being included in your bankruptcy is even greater.

3. Bankruptcy is an Investment – If you feel as if you are sinking financially, now is the time to contact a Scottsdale bankruptcy attorney. He or she can help you assess your current situation and get a handle on where you are headed. This will give you some time to save up the money you need to file for bankruptcy before it is too late.

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent clients in the most sophisticated personal and business bankruptcy cases. The range of services we provide depends on an individual’s or a company’s unique situation. Call us today to schedule a consultation. 480-240-0400 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Does Bankruptcy Affect Students Financial Aid?

As back to school season is here, many parents are wondering if a previous bankruptcy can affect eligibility for education loans. Although it may affect some loans, it does not affect eligibility for certain forms of financial aid.

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-394) amended the US Bankruptcy Code at 11 USC 525(c) to prohibit denial of government student grants and loans based solely on the student’s or borrower’s past or present filing of a bankruptcy petition. The only exception is the Federal PLUS loan.

A child is eligible for federal student loans, such as the Stafford loan, regardless of the parent’s history of bankruptcy. Also, the Stafford loan does not depend on the borrower’s credit history in any way.

A parent’s history of bankruptcy also does not affect the child’s eligibility for federal grants, state grants, scholarships and money from the college, nor student employment programs like Federal Work-Study. The parent may also be eligible for tuition installment plans because these plans are usually structured as a qualified education loans to make them difficult to discharge in bankruptcy.

However, parents are ineligible to borrow from the PLUS loan program for five years from the date of the bankruptcy discharge. By law, PLUS loan borrowers must not have an adverse credit history. The regulations define an adverse credit history as having had a bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment or default determination in the last five years or a current delinquency on any debt of 90 or more days.

If a child’s parent is denied a PLUS loan because of an adverse credit history, the child becomes eligible for increased unsubsidized Stafford loan limits. Parents with a recent bankruptcy will be ineligible to serve as the borrower or co-signer on most private student loans. The provisions of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 apply only to federal student loans, not private student loans. Most lenders of private student loans ask about bankruptcy filings in the last 7 or 10 years. It really doesn’t matter whether the filing was under chapter 7, 11 or 13, as the lenders will be wary of lending money to anybody with a recent bankruptcy filing.

The bankruptcy lawyers at Canterbury law Group work attentively with bankruptcy clients to secure their fresh financial freedom. Whether filing as an individual or for your business, the bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group are experienced experts in all areas of bankruptcy cases in the Phoenix area. Please call us today to schedule your consultation.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions

At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale attorneys are renowned bankruptcy technicians. We represent clients through the entire bankruptcy process and, although all cases are unique, the end goal of bankruptcy is always a new beginning and fresh financial start.

We help clients determine eligible exemptions for their bankruptcy case. Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Arizona law (meaning that they will emerge from bankruptcy):

  • Alimony and Child Support – Alimony and child support, up to the amount needed for support. 33-1126.
  • Bank Deposit – A debtor may exempt $300 in a single bank account. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33–1126(8).
  • Homestead or Residential Property – Under Arizona law, debtors may exempt up to $150,000 (per debtor or married couple) of their home or other real property covered by the homestead exemption. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33–1101, 33–1103 and 33–1104.
  • Insurance Benefits – Life insurance benefits that are payable or received by a surviving spouse or child, up to $20,000.
  • Claims for the destruction of, or damage to, exempt property – Cash surrender value of life insurance policies, subject to length of ownership requirements and other exceptions.
  • Motor Vehicles – A debtor may exempt up to $6,000 in one or more motor vehicles. An elderly or disabled debtor, or an elderly or disabled spouse or dependent of the debtor, may exempt up to $12,000.
  • Pension and Retirement Benefits – Benefits from various employee pension systems are exempt. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33–1126 and 38–792.
  • Personal Property – A debtor may exempt the following personal property:
    • up to $6,000 in household furniture and appliances not covered by other exemptions
    • up to $1,000 total in bible, bicycle, sewing machine, typewriter, computer, burial plot, rifle, pistol or shotgun
    • up to $500 in clothing
    • up to $400 in musical instruments
    • up to $800 in animals
    • up to $2,000 in engagement and wedding rings
    • up to $250 in books
    • up to $150 in watch
    • wrongful death awards
    • prepaid rent or security deposit to $2,000 or 1.5 times your rent, whichever is less, in lieu of using homestead exemption.
    • all teaching materials for youth, and
    • certain professionally prescribed health aids.
  • Tools of the Trade – A debtor may exempt up to $5,000 in trade implements, which includes farming tools if the debtor’s primary income is from farming. All arms and uniforms that a debtor is legally required to keep are exempt. Library and teaching aids of a teacher.
  • Unemployment Compensation – Unemployment compensation is exempt as long it is not commingled with other funds and except for the enforcement of child support orders. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23–783.
  • Wages – A debtor may exempt the lesser of the following wages, per week:
    • 25% of his or her disposable earnings, or
    • earnings in excess of 30 times the federal minimum wage
    • Workers’ Compensation – A debtor may exempt up to $6,000 in one or more motor vehicles. An elderly or disabled debtor, or an elderly or disabled spouse or dependent of the debtor, may exempt up to $12,000.

Our legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business or personal bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. Our track record speaks for itself! 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Celebs end up in Bankruptcy

American society always seems surprised when learning about the newest A-lister or celebrity who has filed for bankruptcy. Having a celebrity status and earning millions doesn’t necessarily deter bankruptcy. How is it possible that so many millionaires find themselves in bankruptcy court, clamoring to protect what little assets they have left? With all the celebrity millionaires (and billionaires) who have gone broke, we may be able to learn from their mistakes.

1. No Financial Education – Often, when you go from having nothing to having everything, a financial education is not part of the package. Learning how to save, budget, and invest can take years, and if you’ve never had substantial money before, you may never have learned these essential financial management skills. When handed huge checks to cash, many celebs go out and buy the biggest house and fastest car they can find, rather than learning how to properly handle their money.

2. Lack of Trustworthy People – Many celebrities surround themselves with attorneys, accountants and insurance professionals to help them with proper estate, tax and insurance planning. However, in doing so, they often do not bother double-checking the work that is being done on their behalf, nor do they properly vet the financial professionals they hire. Not surprisingly, many fall prey to unscrupulous advisors. Worse yet, some celebrities are taken advantage of by friends and family who they hire to manage their affairs.

3. Unrealistic Career Expectations – It might be easy to expect a successful Hollywood or professional sports career to continue indefinitely. But sadly, most careers don’t last very long. Unfortunately, not every actor picks up another well-paying gig immediately after their show is cancelled.

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent clients in the most sophisticated personal and business bankruptcy cases. The range of services we provide depends on an individual’s or a company’s unique situation. Call us today to schedule a consultation. 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Steps When Filing Bankruptcy

At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys are renowned industry experts. We represent clients through the entire bankruptcy process and, although all cases are unique, the end goal of bankruptcy is always a new beginning and fresh financial start.

Here are three tips for those considering bankruptcy:

1. Gather financial documents. Start collecting financial documents that your attorney can use. Obtain a record of debt including credit card bills, unpaid medical bills, loan statements, etc. Also locate any documentation on assets you currently hold as well as your monthly income statements.

2. Find a qualified law team. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process and a simple mistake can be harmful to your case. Make sure you have a legal team that is experienced, understands your goals and can get the job done. Many law firms offer a complimentary first-time consultation. Call the Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule your appointment.

3. Improve upon your financial habits. You must improve your financial life after your file bankruptcy. Obtain a secured credit card or personal loan to start building up your credit but remember that you may have to wait some time before you can be approved for a secured credit card. Further educate yourself by reading books, reviewing financial websites and seeking out professional guidance.

As authorities in the legal industry, the bankruptcy team at Canterbury Law Group was uniquely formed to provide no-nonsense legal counsel for personal and business bankruptcy cases. The law group at Canterbury consists of a unified team of litigators and paralegals with the experience necessary to deliver high results. The team’s attention, experience and sophistication allows for innovative resolutions that have a positive client impact.

Our legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. Our track record speaks for itself!

Written by Canterbury Law Group

5 Steps to Becoming Debt Free

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent debtors, creditors, trustees and committees in both personal and commercial bankruptcies. The range of services we provide depends on an individual’s or a company’s unique situation but may include business bankruptcy, Chapter 7, adversary proceedings, restructuring, Chapter 11, creditor representation, Chapter 5 claims and Chapter 13.

If you’re debt is overwhelming your life, bankruptcy may be the right choice for you. However, if you’d prefer working towards eliminating some of your debt, we can also help. And, if you’ve already filed bankruptcy, the attorneys at Canterbury Law Group in Scottsdale want to make sure you stay on track and have a flourishing financial future.

The path to becoming debt-free can be a difficult and arduous one. But following these basic steps will help you and your finances.

  • Create a financial strategy. If one of your financial goals for the year is to get a better handle on debt, put together a debt payoff strategy that complements your budget and won’t overextend you financially. Keep track of future financial needs and contribute to a savings plan.
  • Pay off the most expensive debt first. Look at the interest rates of all of the credit cards you use to make purchases and sort them from highest to lowest. By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards.
  • Lower your interest rate. You can often lower your credit card interest rates by doing a balance transfer. Shop around and try to get the lowest interest rate for the longest duration (preferably until the debt is paid off completely).
  • Eliminate new debt. As you start to pay down your debt, stop using credit cards until you have your finances under control.
  • Pay more than the minimum. Break the habit of paying only the minimum required each month on your credit card statement. Paying the minimum – usually 2 to 3 percent of the outstanding balance – only prolongs a debt payoff strategy.

Our bankruptcy legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. 480-240-0040.