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January 16 2014


January 14 2014


Things to Consider Before Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When people think about bankruptcy, they often refer to Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy can cancel most if not all your debts, but in exchange you may have to give up some of your assets.

When planning to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, there are some things that you should bear in mind as they will help you be in an even better position after the filing.

In your bankruptcy petition, you are expected to declare to the court all of the pertinent details about your financial affairs. You must be honest in your filing to avoid bankruptcy fraud issues.

If you want to keep a nonexempt asset, it is possible to do it in a legitimate manner. You may be able to trade your nonexempt property with an exempt asset. Nevertheless, whether the trustee will allow such a swap depends on the value of a property and ease of converting it to cash. The trustee may refuse to exchange an exempt property with a nonexempt property that is tough to sell. Another option is to buy the property back from the trustee. You may also be able to negotiate a lower price.

You probably need or want to sell some of your possessions before you considered filing for bankruptcy. For example, you might want to sell an old car, or some pieces of equipment to pay your bills. Selling things might cause some problems when you file for bankruptcy. If you sell something improperly, particularly something with substantial value, then the bankruptcy trustee can reverse the transaction. Sometimes they even use such a sale as grounds to deny you your debt discharge. Hence, it is very important that you sell a property for reasonably equivalent value. You can hire an appraiser or check the blue book values to know the fair price of a property.

Filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 can discharge nearly all unsecured debts. It may be reasonable to stop making payments on those debts that are likely to be discharged under Chapter 7. In addition, this prevents preferential payments or preferences. It is also a good idea to stop paying on a secured loan if you have little equity in his property. The property will not be sold by the trustee because the lien holders will have to be paid first, which will leave only a little for the unsecured creditors.

Do not change the form of ownership to fend off creditors. This mainly applies to a property in a tenancy by the entirety state. Given that all tenancy by entirety properties are exempted in bankruptcy, you may be lured to convert your type of property ownership into tenancy by entirety. The court is going to reverse a property ownership conversion.

To know more about prebankruptcy planning, and things to avoid before bankruptcy, consult a Bankruptcy lawyer San Antonio. An experienced attorney will be able to help you file your bankruptcy case properly.


The Bankruptcy Petition

Under the federal law, you have the right to seek bankruptcy relief from your creditors. To commence the process, you are required to file a bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court that represents the district of the state you reside. You also need to pay a certain amount for the filing fee. If you cannot afford the filing fee you can pay it in four installments within 60 days. Moreover, the court may waive the fee if you do not have the means to pay for the fee. The cost of filing Chapters 7, 12, and 13 ranges from $200 - $300. For Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy and Chapter 11 reorganization, which wealthy individuals and businesses normally use, the cost of filing is $1,000.

Personal Bankruptcy

You will experience immediate relief right after you file a bankruptcy petition. The court will issue an automatic stay order to protect you from your creditors. Basically, the automatic stay freezes all your assets so that your creditors cannot try to take them away and, during this process, destroy your chance at a fresh start.

Joint Bankruptcy

If you are married, you and your spouse have the option to file a joint bankruptcy petition. In joint bankruptcy, you can share most of the work and documentation necessary for individually filed cases. As a couple, you will file a combined petition and schedules.

Corporate Bankruptcy

A corporate or partnership bankruptcy will be filed by an attorney. The consent of general partners is required when filing for voluntary petition. If any of the partners object, then the petition should be commenced as involuntary.

To file a petition, you need to use the Official Bankruptcy Forms and supply the supporting documents for the information written on the forms. You are under oath when you sign the forms. If you have an attorney representing you, then the attorney also needs to sign the petition. Usually, attorneys file the bankruptcy petition online.

In the bankruptcy petition, you are required to provide comprehensive information about your finances, which includes your income and expenses, assets and debts, and other relevant information. There are standard documentation requirements, but there are also other requirements that vary depending on the bankruptcy chapter that you file. There is also a deadline for submitting the required documents. They have to be filed with the court on time because otherwise, it will result to a case dismissal.

Once you file the bankruptcy petition, the automatic stay becomes effective. All creditors are prevented from collecting payments from you. Usually, creditors do not immediately receive the notice of the debtor's bankruptcy filing. If the creditors keep on contacting you after you have filed for bankruptcy, you need to properly inform them about it. Creditors are required to stop all their collection actions against you once they are informed of the bankruptcy filing. All creditors will receive a Notice of Commencement to notify them about the case.

It is usually wise to do some prebankruptcy planning before you file for bankruptcy.  With the help of a knowledgeable San Antonio Bankruptcy Lawyer you can learn about what things to keep away from so you do not sabotage your bankruptcy from the beginning.


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