Bankruptcy is a very difficult word to say. You are not alone. Last year over 2 million people filed for personal bankruptcy, and in Ohio nearly 3,500 bankruptcies are filed each month… and unfortunately, the number of bankruptcies in the US is growing. Mark has personally completed more than 230 Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcies.
Do’s and Don’ts
Bankruptcy protection can allow you to reclaim your peace of mind by wiping out unsecured debts like credit card debts and giving your breathing room to repay debts on assets you want to keep. It will also stop creditors from making harassing calls, filing lawsuits, and garnishing your wages. Regardless of what type of bankruptcy you choose, there are some do’s and don’ts you must be aware of.
- Gather documents like tax returns, pay stubs bills and other records. This will help speed up the pre-filing process.
- Consult a bankruptcy lawyer. You may think you know which type of bankruptcy case you should file. However, a lawyer can determine which chapter you are eligible to file and evaluate which type of case is best for you.
- Be honest with your lawyer. You must tell the lawyer everything he or she needs to know.
- Compete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling. Credit counseling is required before filing a bankruptcy petition. The counseling session with an approved credit counselor, lasts about 90 minutes and can be done on line.
- Complete post-filing debtor session. This session, which is with an approved credit counselor, last about two hours.
- Attend all meetings. For example, the meeting with creditors is vital to a successful petition.
- Transfer property, money or other items into a family member or friend’s name. The courts consider this fraud and will reverse the transfers. Bankruptcy fraud is also a criminal offense.
- Go on a shopping spree. The courts look unfavorably on racking up additional debts close to the time you file a petition.
- Withdraw money from a retirement plan like a 401k or IRA to pay bills prior to filing the petition. The penalties and taxes aren’t protected by the petition and the assets in the plan may be exempt from creditor claims.
- Tell any creditors about the planned chapter 7 or 13 filing. Refer all creditor inquiries to your attorney.
- Miss a bankruptcy payment (applies to Chapter 13 case and to Chapter 7 cases where you agree with the trustee to “buy back” certain assets). If you do miss a payment, you should call your attorney immediately to talk about it.
A wide variety of circumstances can place virtually anyone in a precarious enough financial situation that may merit filing bankruptcy. Understandably, this can be a very scary thought for most individuals. Here at The Bamberger Law Co. LLC we handle matters in a caring and forthright manner.
There are literally thousands of lawyers within a stone’s throw of most of our clients, but finding a competent attorney is not so simple. There are massively large law firms with hundreds of lawyers, law firms with folks who have been in the practice for 40 years, solo practitioners who specialize in certain areas of … Continue reading How to Find a Competent Attorney
At the Mark Bamberger Company my staff and I have successfully completed hundreds of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies over the better part of the last decade. Bankruptcy, though never a thrilling experience, has allowed millions of people to start over (as in Chapter 7 cases) or to reorganize their debt (as in Chapter … Continue reading When NOT to File Bankruptcy