How do I Know if I Need to File for Bankruptcy?

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The questions that are often asked by consumers who are considering filing bankruptcy are; How do I know if I need to file bankruptcy? What happens if I do file bankruptcy? Will my credit still be in good shape in a few years? How much will it cost me to go through this process?

a stack of past due bills

Bankruptcy is not a decision that should be taken lightly; it is a serious matter for your financial and personal life. It can affect you for the rest of your life. There are some people who choose to file bankruptcy just to start over with their finances, and there are some who have already done so. The fact that we are even having this discussion is indicative of just how serious bankruptcy can be.

What is Bankruptcy?

First, you need to know exactly what bankruptcy is before you begin to ask yourself if you should file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that occurs after all judicial proceedings have been completed and the case has been ruled on. This means that the person has officially filed for bankruptcy and the bankruptcy court has authorized the process to occur. When filing bankruptcy you will be asking to be discharged from all your debts, which include personal loans, credit cards, medical bills, child support, fines, and back taxes. Once you are declared bankrupt, you will not be able to file for additional credit until three years have passed. When filing for bankruptcy it could affect your relationship with your bank or credit union.

What are the Different Types of Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a very serious option to consider when you have fallen too far behind in your debts. In some cases, it is the only option. The truth of the matter is that there are different types of bankruptcy and they all have different requirements. However, there are certain criteria that most of them share.

Probably the most basic type of bankruptcy is liquidation. This is when a portion of your assets are sold and the money that is gained is given to those that were adversely affected by the bankruptcy. This is usually done through a bankruptcy court. One other thing to consider with this type of bankruptcy is that not everyone is able to qualify for it, so it may not be worth your time to file.

Another possibility is the debtor’s voluntary bankruptcy. A debtor’s voluntary bankruptcy is a little bit different from the others. This one is filed voluntarily by the debtor, usually because they can’t afford to pay their debts. This may be because of a layoff, an illness, or an incident such as home damage. People often use this option because they don’t know how they will pay off all their debts and have no way to collect alimony or child support, which can be issued against them if they go bankrupt.

If you can’t seem to find a good reason to file bankruptcy, you may want to ask a bankruptcy lawyer about your options. They can show you what is in chapter 13, what it will allow you to do to avoid bankruptcy, and give you advice on your repayment plan. This option should only be used if you are truly considering going this far if your debts are not so severe that you cannot repay them otherwise or if you know you won’t have the money needed to repay them. Bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort for serious financial problems. There are better ways to handle debt problems.

What Should I do Before I Consider Bankruptcy?

You should first try to negotiate with your creditors for a payment plan that will allow you to pay off your debts. Don’t let them intimidate you or talk you into anything you don’t want to do. There are some reputable companies, and many shady companies, that can help you consolidate your debt into more affordable payments. Make sure you fully understand the process and any paperwork that you will have to fill out when you seek debt consolidation services. It’s important that you take the time to learn what you will have to do and hire a bankruptcy lawyer to help you through the process.

How can I know if I need to file bankruptcy?

If you know that you cannot pay any of your current debts, you should definitely talk to a bankruptcy lawyer or accountant to see what kind of options might be available to you. Many times bankruptcy is one of the best solutions for someone who knows that they are not able to repay their debt. It is also helpful if you have been thinking about filing bankruptcy recently as the laws have recently changed, and it is important to be aware of these changes before you decide to file.

The new bankruptcy laws require that all people declaring bankruptcy must meet a number of financial obligations in order to discharge their bankruptcy case. Falling behind on your obligations or failing to meet the requirements of your bankruptcy case is a serious matter. This is why it is important to contact your creditors as soon as you know you are declaring bankruptcy.

How Long Will it Take for Debts to be Discharged After Bankruptcy?

Another important issue you should raise with your bankruptcy trustee is how long it will take for you to get your debts discharged. A few years is usually the time frame you will need to have these debts removed from your life. However, you should not expect your bankruptcy court to give you a very long period of time to repay the money you owe. Also, there are no guarantees that the bankruptcy court will reduce your debts by a large percentage. The bankruptcy trustee is legally obligated to tell the court how long it will take for you to repay the money you owe.

The only way to find out what this number is to ask the bankruptcy trustee. He will be able to give you the amount of time needed for your debts to be removed. You may feel uncomfortable having your bankruptcy trustee discuss such personal matters as credit cards and personal loans. However, you should feel absolutely confident discussing these matters with your bankruptcy lawyer.

Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney

So you’re facing possible bankruptcy and want to know how to hire a bankruptcy attorney? It is simple to lose your money and face serious consequences if you do not use the proper channels when considering your bankruptcy options.

At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we understand how complicated the process of considering bankruptcy can be. Don’t wait any longer than necessary. Save yourself a trip to our office by scheduling a free virtual consultation. Simply contact us online or call us at (866) 460-1990 to privately discuss your case right over the phone or in a secure virtual meeting. 

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