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san carlos bankruptcy attorney

Bankruptcy is a legal process that people can take when they can’t pay their creditors. The bankruptcy code is the government’s way to grant relief from all or most of their debts.  When you find yourself overwhelmed by debts, unable to sleep at nights, or afraid to even answer the phone, contact EH Law, your trusted San Carlos Bankruptcy attorney.

Bankruptcy is a complicated and often misunderstood legal process. There are two primary types of bankruptcy: 

Chapter 7, which clears away unsecured debt such as credit cards or medical bills so you can focus on more important debts like your car loan or rent.  The second type is Chapter 13, in which an individual negotiates with creditors to pay back what he owes over time by submitting monthly payments under the supervision of a trustee who distributes those funds as required.

Both types of bankruptcy are effective at clearing debt.  But, which one is right for you?  Let’s look further at the two most common forms of bankruptcy used by people/entities in the United States:

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 7 bankruptcy deals with the liquidation of assets to help pay back creditors. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, unsecured priority debt (like tax debt or child support) are the first to be paid off, followed by general unsecured debt.  Secured debts like car loans remain on their schedule.

To be eligible for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must pass what is called a bankruptcy means test. This test is required in situations where more than half of the debts originated from consumer debts. The basic criteria for the means test is a comparison of your monthly income to the median income of an individual with a family your size.
  • Even if married, you can file by yourself.  Chapter 7 is also the default bankruptcy for sole proprietors, partnerships or a business.
  • You have not experienced a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge in the past 8 years or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge in the past 6 years.
  • You have received credit counseling from a government-approved credit counseling agency within 180 days prior to filing for bankruptcy.

HOW CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY WORKS

The steps in Chapter 7 bankruptcy are clear and well documented. Here, we list the typical steps to expect in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • Filing of the petition and other required documents such as a record of your assets and liabilities, your income and expenses, a statement of your financial affairs, and details of executorial documents and unexpired leases. After filing of the petition, it automatically stays most collection actions against the debtor.

  • Case trustee appointed: An impartial case trustee is appointed by the court to manage the case and the liquidation of assets of the debtor. The trustee takes action to liquidate the non-exempt assets of the debtor so that the debtor can get maximum returns.

  • Meeting of creditors convened: The trustee will gather all the creditors and the debtor will be placed under oath and questioned.

  • Financial management course completed by the debtor.

  • Bankruptcy discharge issued by the court, which ends the automatic stay on debt collection and lists the debts that have survived the bankruptcy claim, such as alimony payments and child support.

The bankruptcy case will be closed by the court unless the trustee hasn’t yet disposed of all non-exempt assets

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a legal proceeding where debtors go through a process of reorganizing their finances under the supervision of the court. Under the Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors are expected to submit a plan to pay back their creditors over a 3-5 year period.

To be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You do not owe more than $419,275 in unsecured debt and no more than $1,257,850 in secured debt.

  • You are an individual or sole proprietor who demonstrates the ability to make monthly payments.

  • You are up-to-date in your tax filings.

  • You have not had a prior bankruptcy petition dismissed in the 180 days prior to filing if your prior filing granted a relief from stay.

  • You have participated in credit counseling provided by a government-approved credit counseling agency within 180 days prior to filing for bankruptcy.

HOW CHAPTER 13 WORKS

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a complicated process with the typical steps being the following:

  • Filing of the petition along with required documents such as a list of creditors with the amounts owed to each, a record of the debtor’s source and amount of income, a list of all the debtor’s monthly expenses, a record of the debtor assets, and tax details.

  • A trustee will be appointed by the court to manage the case. They will work with the debtor to manage the repayments and will be the one making the payments to the creditors.

  • A repayment plan will be proposed and the court will determine whether it is a feasible solution.

  • The debtor is entitled to discharge upon completion of his payment plan.

WHY HIRE A SAN CARLOS BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

You might be wondering why to hire a lawyer for bankruptcy when the processes are so properly described in steps. The reason for this is that there is a lot of technical expertise involved in every step of the process. A bankruptcy petition can be over 60 pages to be filled out.

What’s more, a professional will be much better equipped in helping you identify the bankruptcy chapter best for you. Additionally, filing all the required paperwork on time is key to ensuring a smooth and easy process, something a lawyer can help you with. And, finally, not all cases are as straightforward and lawyers become your best bet at navigating a complicated situation.

Here’s what a bankruptcy lawyer can do for you:

  • They will give you sound legal advice such as the bankruptcy chapter best suited to you, what to expect from the process, and what challenges your case holds

  • They will prepare and file your paperwork as per the requirement

  • They will represent you at hearings

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A BANKRUPTCY LAWYER

As beneficial as hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is, its benefits are limited to how experienced your lawyer is in bankruptcy actions. It is critical to do your research when hiring a lawyer for the job. Here are some things to look for in a bankruptcy lawyer:

  • Bankruptcy Experience: While any licensed lawyer can represent you, it is best to look for a lawyer with experience in the field of bankruptcy.
  • Local Experience: Because bankruptcy laws vary from state to state even county to county, it is best to hire a lawyer with local experience so he knows the laws specific to that area.
  • Positive Client Reviews: A lawyer with positive customer reviews can be trusted and relied upon to do the job right.
  • Compatible With You: Bankruptcy is a hard time. You want to choose a lawyer you are comfortable with so the process goes as smoothly as possible for you.

When you are in need of a professional bankruptcy attorney, it is important to hire one who will be able to make the process as manageable for you as possible.  The EH Law Group can assist with every phase of the bankruptcy process.  We have over 10 years of experience in the San Carlos area with positive customer reviews.  Give us a call today to discuss your case.

FULL SERVICE BANKRUPTCY

You deserve a fresh start!

We help you get it by being there from the start all the way to the end.

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