Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy
Q. What are the benefits to filing a bankruptcy case?
A. A successful personal bankruptcy results in the discharge of your debt. This typically includes your credit card debt; medical bills; business guaranty debt; and mortgage deficiency debt on lost properties. Filing bankruptcy also results in the immediate termination of collection calls; collection letters; foreclosure cases; collection suits; wage garnishments and freezes to your bank accounts.
Q. How long does the bankruptcy process take?
A. In most cases, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases will be completed with 4 months of the commencement of the case. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases usually take 60 months to complete. But the result of a Chapter 13 case may be the preservation of the family home, and the discharge of a tremendous amount of debt.
Q. What types of debts will survive my bankruptcy case?
A. There are a number of debt types that survive a personal bankruptcy. Some of these make good sense, such as debts related to child support and alimony. Other debts that may survive a bankruptcy are "fresh" tax obligations and federally backed student loans. In addition, debts incurred through fraud are nondischargeable, although the Bankruptcy Judge--and not your creditor--is the entity who decides whether a debt was incurred through fraud, or not. There are other debts that survive a bankruptcy, and I will need to examine your case to see if you have any such obligations.
Q. How do you determine which assets and which debts will be included in a personal bankruptcy case?
A. All of your property and all of your debt must be listed in your bankruptcy case. Moreover, should you fail to list a creditor of yours, you will not be released from that debt. We strongly advise that you pull a credit report--which we will assist you in obtaining--to help ensure all of your creditors are listed.
Q. How many times do I go to Court in my personal bankruptcy case?
A. In all likelihood, zero. Most Chapter 7 cases do not result in any activity requiring you to go to Court. Many Chapter 13 cases are concluded without the need for a Court appearance. In all cases, you will be required to attend a meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee, but this is not a Court hearing and is completed in a matter of minutes in most cases.
Q. Do I have to give up all of my property in a bankruptcy case?
A. Absolutely not. The Bankruptcy Code provides for an allowance of personal property that you are permitted to keep. Even if the value of your personal property exceeds your personal allowance, you may be able to "buy back" the property from the Bankruptcy Trustee, and thus never suffer an interruption in your possession or use of your property.