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Far more reasons that we can list, but three HUGE reasons:
Absolutely! The bankruptcy courts have been using electronic filing for almost two decades, and have now made it even easier to file remotely. We can conduct all of our meetings by phone and Zoom to better serve you, if you prefer.
Pretty darn quick. It usually takes us one to two weeks to prepare a case after we have received all required documents. The most common reason for delay is missing documents and information, which is entirely in your control. In rare emergency cases (i.e. imminent foreclosure, etc.), we can get a case filed within a day or two.
There are many options here, including use of tax refunds or stimulus checks, unemployment income or back payments, help from family members, and even the use of funds held in retirement plans if necessary, as the CARES Act modified some of the restrictions on the use of retirement accounts.
No. Do not engage in any unusual activities with your assets or finances without retaining counsel first. This can cause major problems with your case if not handled properly.
As far as we know, you will not lose it. If you have already received it, we will help you figure out the best use of the funds prior to filing the case. If you have not received it yet, the U.S. Trustee’s office has published guidelines suggesting that trustees in bankruptcy should not be seeking to take possession of these funds
In most cases, all of the equity in your home will be exempt (i.e. cannot be taken from you by the bankruptcy estate). You can elect to reaffirm the mortgage(s) and keep making your payments to avoid foreclosure. If you are already behind in your payments, you can use Chapter 13 to set up a payment plan and get caught up. Alternatively, you can elect to discharge the debt on your home and “surrender” the home to the mortgage company if you do not want to keep up the payments. There are other options as well, and a consultation is the best way to figure out what will work for you.
For now, Governor Kelly has substantially restricted the ability of creditors to file foreclosures or evictions. However, this is temporary. Moreover, creditors can still repossess vehicles without restrictions. Additionally, courts remain open electronically and are issuing garnishments as and when requested. It is important that you do not rely on the courts being closed to protect yourself from creditor activities.
In most cases, all of the equity in your vehicle (one only) will be exempt (i.e. cannot be taken from you by the bankruptcy estate). You can elect to reaffirm the loan and keep making your payments to avoid repossession. In some cases, you can use Chapter 13 to reduce the balance of your loan to the value of your vehicle, and/or restructure the remaining balance over 36-60 months. Alternatively, you can elect to discharge the loan and “surrender” the car if you do not want to keep up the payments. There are other options as well, and a consultation is the best way to figure out what will work for you.
Your right to receive unemployment is an exempt asset. If you are expecting to file a bankruptcy case, by the time you are able to gather all of the information and we prepare your case, you will probably already be receiving your regular weekly amounts.
Most taxes are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, including income taxes in the past three years, sales tax, and withholdings tax. However, older income tax and tax penalties can sometimes be discharged. Moreover, in a restructuring case, taxes can be paid off over a 60 month plan without additional interest or penalties, all while preventing further garnishments and tax liens.
One of the nice things about a chapter 13 is that we can modify the plan when circumstances change. In fact, if your situation has been severely affected by COVID-19, we may be able to modify and extend your bankruptcy plan beyond the normal 5 years. If you haven’t already contacted January or Lori about getting some information about this, please do so. Right now, we’re anticipating filing modifications in May, hopefully when we know more what our future situation is going to be.
Bad news on student loans. Generally, you cannot get rid of your student loans in a bankruptcy case. However, they are put in forbearance if you do a Chapter 13 payment plan bankruptcy, so that you do not need to worry about making those payments separately.
There are situations when you CAN get rid of your student loans. Doing so requires us to file a separate lawsuit within the bankruptcy case and proving that keeping the student loans would put you in an unduly hard situation. There are several requirements in order to get rid of student loans – you should discuss this with us at your consultation if this is something you would like to consider!
For direct deposit, it should have been received already. For paper checks, it may take several months. You can go to IRS.gov to check the status of your stimulus if you have copies of your 2018 and 2019 tax returns.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what most people think of when they hear “bankruptcy”. You are able to get rid of most of your debt, and you get rid of it within three to four months of filing your case. Some debts may be reaffirmed in a Chapter 7, such as a home mortgage or car loan that you plan to retain.
A Chapter 13 Payment Plan bankruptcy can also be beneficial for getting rid of most or all of the same debts dischargeable in Chapter 7, and some that are not. In addition, you will set up a payment plan that may include your car loan, taxes, or back payments on your mortgage. You may also be required to pay back some of your credit cards and unsecured debt if you are a high income earner or have a lot of assets.
Check out our page discussing the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 for information, or call us to discuss your situation!
There is simply no way to know, because we don’t know what it would include. However, if it looks like the existing stimulus program, the trustees will probably not pursue it. More importantly, if you file a bankruptcy before a new stimulus bill is passed, any additional funds would be yours to keep.
If you’re in a chapter 7 case that was filed, then the tax refund is not your property, and the portion owed to the bankruptcy estate must be paid, or you will lose your discharge. If you’re in a chapter 13, there may be some flexibility in turning over the money now versus paying it into the bankruptcy plan over time. Either way though, the money is property of the “bankruptcy estate”.
Generally, you are allowed to keep your house and car, as well as furniture, electronics, clothing, social security funds, and retirement accounts. You are also allowed to keep, up to a certain amount, jewelry and tools used for work. If you have a loan on one of these items, such as a mortgage, you would need to keep paying that loan in order to keep the asset.
Property that you generally cannot keep includes money you have when your case is filed, tax refunds for the year of filing, firearms, some collectibles, stocks or interests in businesses, and more than one house or vehicle (per person). We will help you find a way to retain value from these items through proper exemption planning.
Keep in mind that the lists above are not exhaustive, and so if you have property that is not listed, just ask! This information may also change if you have lived in Kansas for less than two years or if you file for a Chapter 13 Payment Plan bankruptcy.
Magic! Seriously though, we may be able to help our clients look up some information. Otherwise, the local courts are open, but operating with reduced staff – it may be a longer waiting time to try to get help from them.
Although you are able to discharge (get rid of) most debts in a bankruptcy case, there are a handful of debts you cannot – this includes most taxes, student loans, child support and alimony, fines and tickets, or debts you obtained fraudulently. If you have a debt you are not sure about, just ask us!
A bankruptcy case is reported on your credit for 10 years. Most people discover that their credit score actually increases after filing bankruptcy, by getting rid of all of the negative accounts. One of the keys to success is having a payment post-bankruptcy that will help build new credit history. Even with an improved credit score, some lenders or loan types may have waiting periods before you can take out a new loan. For a mortgage, there is typically a two to four year wait, while many credit cards and car lenders are prepared to extend credit immediately after your case concludes.
Sure, you may be able to avoid bankruptcy, but if you are reading this, you’re probably already feeling overwhelmed with your debt. Outside of bankruptcy, there are options for negotiating debt settlements. We help with this type of debt relief also. A lot of the financial information we would need is the same, so when you are talking to us, just mention that you might be interested in avoiding bankruptcy – we’ll go over some options!
No. Federal law requires that you list everyone you owe money to. Keep in mind that arrangements can be made for creditors tied to your assets, such as the house or car you want to keep. Even debts that you cannot discharge in bankruptcy must be listed, such as child support obligations, taxes, and student loans. The word to keep in mind with bankruptcy is “DISCLOSURE” – you need to disclose all of your financial information.
Garnishments by almost all creditors are strictly prohibited while a bankruptcy case is pending. It may take a few weeks for the garnishments to fall off, depending on the pay schedule and responsiveness of the payroll department. Once the underlying debt is discharged in the bankruptcy, if dischargeable, the debt will be permanently uncollectible
Overwhelming bills from doctors, dentists, hospitals, ambulances, etc. are one of the biggest reasons that individuals file bankruptcy. Medical debts can be discharged in every Chapter of bankruptcy! Due to the “doctrine of necessities” in Kansas, individuals are usually liable for the medical debts of their spouses and minor children. As a result, medical liabilities typically mean that a joint bankruptcy should be filed if you are married.
Short answer – it depends! We charge different fees depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file and your situation. A consumer (non-business) Chapter 7 costs $1,750 for the attorney fee, plus costs of $372-$409. The entire fee must be paid before filing. For a Chapter 13, the fee is $3,350, plus costs of $310 for a standard case. However, only $500 is due before filing the case and the rest is paid through the payment plan. If you file a Chapter 11 or 12 case (farms/business), the fees are billed at our hourly rate, and will always require an upfront deposit typically ranging from $7,500-40,000.