Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is often called the “Fresh Start” bankruptcy. Individuals can file for bankruptcy in a federal court under Chapter 7 (also referred to as “straight bankruptcy” or “liquidation”) and are generally discharged of many types of unsecured debts such as credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, and some judgments. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy puts into effect something called an “automatic stay,” which immediately stops your creditors from trying to collect. As a result, creditors cannot garnish your wages, empty your bank account, or go after your car, your house, and your personal belongings. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the individual is allowed to keep certain exempt property. Each state has its own set of exemptions and a qualified bankruptcy attorney will be able to outline the type of property that is exempt from liquidation in a Chapter 7. In some cases, all property is exempt and there is nothing for the bankruptcy trustee to liquidate. If you have any questions you should contact Christian for a Free No Obligation Legal Evaluation.
What Exactly Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy that wipes out most of your general unsecured debts such as credit cards, personal loans, and medical bills; all without the need to pay back anything. It allows you to keep your property which has little or no equity. Filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy is a straight forward process for those who qualify, and have had their assets and income carefully reviewed and evaluated by an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. All of my clients end up keeping everything they own in a chapter 7, but only after a very in-depth assessment of their situation prior to filing chapter 7. I’ve seen too many persons filing without an experienced bankruptcy lawyer lose their property and belongings.
What Requirements Must Be Met In Order To File For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Prior to filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a Means Test that determines whether you qualify for chapter 7. The means test takes into account where the filer lives, the size of their household, the amount of secured debt they have, how much tax debt they have, and determines how much they can afford. That’s the first step in determining whether or not they can file for chapter 7.
What Property Or Assets Will I Be Able To Keep After Filing For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
If I was retained to represent someone, they would not be filing a chapter 7 unless they get to keep all of the property they wanted to keep. There are exemption laws that allow you to keep certain amount of value, or equity, in any particular real estate, personal property, car, cash, retirement account, etcetera. If in evaluating the case, I see that there are assets above those protected values, then a chapter 7 might not be the best option. Any experienced bankruptcy lawyer worth his or her salt should be able to counsel their client how to keep everything they want to keep in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.
What Type Of Debt Is Dischargeable In A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The Bankruptcy Code lists specific debts that are not dischargeable. Accordingly, in the absence of fraud or misconduct, everything else is dischargeable. The most common types of dischargeable debts include the credit card charges (including overdue and late fees), collection agency accounts, medical bills, personal loans from friends, family, and employers, utility bills, dishonored checks, repossession deficiency balances, auto accident claims (except those involving drunk driving), business debts, money owed under lease agreements (includes past due rent), civil court judgments, tax penalties and even some unpaid taxes past a certain number of years, attorney fees (except child support and alimony awards), social security overpayments, and veterans assistance loans and overpayments.
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