Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer | Debt Assistance

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Reliable Help From A Texas Bankruptcy Attorney

An unexpected life event such as death or divorce can alter your financial situation for the worse. Financial instability can lead to the inability to keep up with bills and debts owed. The stress of overdue bills, harassing phone calls and threats of lawsuits may begin to affect your enjoyment of life. No matter the cause of your financial situation, filing for bankruptcy can be the reset that you need. In addition to hitting the reset button on your debts, filing for bankruptcy can help you sleep better at night and give you peace of mind during the day. Contact a qualified Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm can help free you from mounting debts and back to back creditor phone calls.

Our compassionate debt-assistance team is ready to meet with you and help you determine your next steps. Navigating the bankruptcy process requires an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you from start to finish. Deciding to file for bankruptcy is not a decision made lightly. But you can count on The Carlson Law Firm to ensure you understand the totality of your decision and every small detail of your claim. We will be with you every step of the way toward your financial freedom. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy in the United States. Unlike its Chapter 13 counterpart, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not require a repayment plan. Instead, the debtor is assigned a trustee who is in charge of gathering all non-exempt assets and selling them. The profits from this sale will then be evenly distributed to the various creditors. This process will be accomplished according to the United States Courts Bankruptcy Code. This procedure can give the debtor the freedom to retain exempt property and he or she is discharged from paying any remaining debts.

In many cases, debtors are allowed to keep “exempt property” to help with their fresh start. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer.

How do I Qualify for Chapter 7?

You can qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by passing the means test. The means test reviews all aspects of your income to make sure that you are below the median income of the specific state. If you are under the average income, you are probably qualified to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The process begins with the action of filing a petition with the bankruptcy court. Immediately after filing, creditors should cease all debt collection attempts against you. The process takes approximately four months to complete, though the exact amount of time may vary. Our dedicated bankruptcy department will walk you through this process. 

The Truth about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

There are several myths that exist about filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. However, these myths persist because finances are such a personal topic, that many people are afraid or ashamed to discuss their bankruptcy. The truth about Chapter 7 bankruptcy is:

You don’t lose everything

In fact, the opposite occurs, you may actually be able to save the assets you want to keep by filing for bankruptcy. The majority of Chapter 7 filings are “no-asset cases.” This means that the debtor gives up no possessions. Additionally, by law, you are able to retain basic assets necessary for your daily life. For example, you can keep exemptions such as your house, car, computer or other equipment needed for you to work. Creditors are not likely to want any other possession not classified an exemption.

For some, filing for bankruptcy is a better decision

The truth is, a majority of people live with some form of manageable debt. However, the general rule is when your total debt exceeds more than 50 percent of your annual income and you can’t pay it off within five years, bankruptcy may be your only longterm solution to achieve a debt-free life.

Bankruptcy doesn’t absolve all of your debts

While bankruptcy provides relief from some debts, you are not entitled to relief from debts you are personally responsible for. Debts that aren’t usually forgiven include:

It is important to remember that while in most situations bankruptcy does not do away with these four obligations, it can free up money to make meeting these obligations easier.

Filing for bankruptcy is a good decision

Filing for bankruptcy is not the sign of a character flaw or that you’ve failed at adulting. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Filing for bankruptcy shows just how responsible you are with your finances as well as how important planning for your financial future is. In addition, bankruptcy can provide the remedy for unforeseen events in your life such as job loss, sickness, divorce or the death of your family’s sole income provider.

Bankruptcy actually rebuilds your financial future

Our clients can attest that within a few years of their Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing, they are able to rebuild their credit, receive offers from car dealerships, loan companies, and credit cards. However, we won’t lie to you. It will be hard at first. Your credit score will take a hit after filing for bankruptcy. In addition, it will be difficult to obtain credit for the first year or so after filing bankruptcy. Further, you will receive higher interest rates on credit lines extended to you for the 10 years your bankruptcy remains on your credit report. But the light at the end of the tunnel is knowing that you hit the reset button and that you will come out on the other side.

There is no substitute for a knowledgeable Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with a member of our debt-assistance team.

Benefits of Chapter 7

There are many benefits to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for those facing immense debt. For starters, filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to walk away from your debt and look toward a healthy financial future. This process is fast, there are no monthly payments that have to be stressed and unsecured debts are released after the process is complete. A chapter 7 bankruptcy also ends any attempts at credit collection. You can stop harassment as soon as you file as well as halt foreclosure to help you to keep your home.

If you are having trouble sleeping because you are worried about your insurmountable debt, contact a Carlson Law Firm Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer. Our firm is available 24/7 to take your call and get you scheduled for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

Our firm has offices in Killeen, Temple, Waco, and other Texas cities as well.

What is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process?

For a successful bankruptcy filing that meets your needs, you need to understand the process. Our debt assistance team has helped hundreds of people get some or all of their debts eliminated. The following 10 major steps are part of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy process:

Step 1: Credit counseling

Prior to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer must get credit counseling from an approved agency within six months prior to the bankruptcy filing. There are approved classes available online.

Step 2: File the bankruptcy petition

In order to get the benefits of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must file the correct documents with the court. In addition to the bankruptcy petition, you will also give the court paperwork with detailed information about:

  • Your assets and liabilities
  • All current income and expenditures
  • A statement of financial affairs
  • A schedule of executory contract and unexpired leases
  • Copies of tax returns or transcripts from the most recent and previous years

In addition, debtors with mostly consumer debts will have to file the following additional documents:

  • The credit counseling certificate
  • A copy of debt repayment plans developed through credit counseling
  • Evidence of payments from employers (if any) received 60 days before filing
  • A statement of monthly net income and anticipated increases in income or expenses after filing
  • A record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts

Married couples may file joint or individual petitions. However, even when filing jointly, married couples are still subject to all of the document filing requirements of individual debtors.

Step 3: Automatic stay goes into effect

Once your petition is filed with the court, an automatic stay immediately goes into effect. As a result, all of your creditors are prohibited from continuing collection efforts against you.

Step 4: Bankruptcy trustee assigned

The next step in the process will consist of the court assigning a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your case. The primary role of the trustee is to

  • Ensure unsecured creditors are paid by maximizing assets
  • Inspect your paperwork for inaccuracies
  • Check for fraud

“It is important that you are honest and don’t try to hide anything,” said Carlson Law Firm Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Vicki Carlson. “Sometimes, people may have a credit card that they don’t want to give up and they try to hide it. But the process is set up in such a way that we will find it. It’s better to just be upfront with your finances to make the process smoother.”

Step 5: Meeting with creditors 

As part of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing process, you must attend a meeting with your creditors. This meeting is not a court hearing. Instead, it is run by your bankruptcy trustee who will ask questions about your petition and finances. Creditors may show up to ask questions, but they typically don’t.

Step 6: Court determine Chapter 7 eligibility

While this is pretty late in the actual bankruptcy process, this will be something that you and your bankruptcy attorney establish prior to filing. However, it is at this point that the court decided whether or not you are eligible. One reason that you may not be eligible is that you don’t pass the means test. The calculation for passing the means test can be found on Form 122A-1 and Form 122A-2. If you do not pass the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test then you may still eligible for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Step 7: Seizable and exempt property

As mentioned before, the items you need to live day to day are typically untouchable. However, the trustee will likely direct the seizure of boats, second homes and anything else that can be deemed as a luxury.

Step 8: Determine what to do with secured debts

At this stage, you must determine how you want to proceed with debts you pledged property as collateral, such as a mortgage or car loan. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides you with several options. You can:

  • Surrender the property
  • Redeem the property
  • Reaffirm the loan
  • Do nothing and keep paying for the loan.

Step 9: Financial management course

Before the court discharges your debts, you must take a debtor’s education course. This course is in addition to the credit counseling course you took in step 1.

Step 10: Discharge

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the quickest type of bankruptcy you can file. The process takes between three and six months for you to receive a discharge of debts owed. When this happens the automatic stay ends.

If you are considering bankruptcy, but are not sure what benefit it can have to you, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer from our firm could prove invaluable.

What exemptions are available in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Each state has a set of exemptions that apply to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, a number of states allow a debtor to choose between state exemptions and federal exemptions. For example, Texas actually allows bankruptcy filers to use a combination of certain federal exemptions along with state exemptions.

Texas bankruptcy exemptions include:

  • Homestead
  • Personal property (can include athletic and sporting equipment, 2 firearms, home furnishing, one vehicle per family member with a driver’s license, livestock, burial plots, health aids and benefits.)
  • Insurance
  • Business partnerships
  • Pensions
  • Public benefits
  • Tools of trade (equipment used for work, includes boats, cars and books)
  • Wages

Federal bankruptcy exemptions include:

  • Retirement exemptions
  • Survivor’s benefits
  • Death and disability benefits
  • Military deposits in savings accounts while on permanent duty
  • Military insurance
  • Railroad workers’ unemployment
  • Seamen’s clothing and wages
  • 75 percent of earned by unpaid wages (a bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors)

If you are in need of debt assistance, give The Carlson Law Firm a call. We will set you with our qualified Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. Our bankruptcy team is ready to help you.

What is the Foreclosure Defense?

Foreclosure can occur when a debtor falls behind on mortgage payments. The moneylender can execute the process of repossessing the property of the individual that owes them money. With the current state of the economy, foreclosure has been occurring quite frequently. If foreclosure is occurring to you, confusion has probably overwhelmed your thinking and clouded your mind. One of the most important steps that you could take is to enlist the assistance of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm. When you ask yourself, “What can I do as I face this foreclosure?” our firm can be your guide through the process.

When it comes to foreclosure, your options are limited but they do exist. The most important step that you can take is to hire a lawyer who understands the process of foreclosure and the options available to you. Involving a knowledgeable lawyer who can guide you through the process is a tool that can be used to effectively help you reach a positive solution. A lawyer can help you understand what to expect and can advise you on topics, such as whether you should apply for loan modification, deed in lieu of foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy.

Guidance from a Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are in need of debt assistance, the very first step you should take is to talk to a knowledgeable Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer from our firm. You can then file for bankruptcy with the bankruptcy. At this stage, the creditor will have to seek a court order to finish the collection attempts.

We are available to you, 24/7.

After the bankruptcy proceeding, a meeting of creditors will have to take place. This meeting can take place on your own or accompanied by your legal representative. With an effective execution of this process, you can find financial relief and you can have a new-found sense of control over your finances. You will then want to protect your financial future and develop a plan. Our firm can help you understand the process, so contact us today!

Questions? Check out our Bankruptcy FAQs!

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