May 28, 2017

Bankruptcy

Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, life takes a turn for the worse:

  • Marriages sometimes end in divorce
  • Businesses that we own are unprofitable or close for other reasons
  • We borrow money to educate ourselves or our children, and find it difficult to repay
  • Supporting adult children who had fallen on hard times
  • Someone we entrusted our businesses to embezzled or mismanaged it
  • Medical expenses become a huge burden
  • We are laid off, fired, or lose our income for other reasons
  • We owe more money on our house than it is worth
  • A mortgage we could afford in the past is no longer affordable
  • We lose money in investments
  • We face lawsuits or judgments that affect our finances

I have the experience and demeanor to help clients determine the least expensive and most practical solution to their real-world financial problems.  Sometimes that means bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Basics

My firm regularly files bankruptcy Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 cases.   There are specific, complex laws applicable to these bankruptcy cases; I strongly advise you to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to learn how those laws may benefit you.

In today’s challenging economy, clients increasingly ask for my assistance with asset planning and protection after filing bankruptcy.

Fear and Procrastination: A Debtor’s Worst Enemies

Most people I meet with harbor incorrect assumptions about many aspects of the law pertaining to finances.   What they read on the Internet, hear from friends and family, see in advertisements from “tax repair” services, “credit repair” services, “debt consolidation” services and the like is often (at best) misleading or misinformed, and (at worst) downright criminal.

I often hear these myths about bankruptcy from folks in financial distress:

  1. “I’ll never qualify for credit again.” Untrue. Ttypically, Chapter 7 debtors begin receiving credit card offers within 6 months of their discharge order; you can get financing for a car at certain dealerships the day you file for Chapter 7, and at any dealership the day you receive your discharge order, which is about 90 days after filing for Chapter 7; Chapter 13 debtors can borrow small sums during their case, and larger sums upon court approval; once you receive a discharge order in any chapter, you can do anything anyone else can do — own a business, obtain lines of credit, have credit cards, etc. — but you may have to pay higher interest rates or provide some collateral or other security)
  2. “I have to give up everything I own in a bankruptcy.” No; the law does not require that creditors take the shirts off debtors’ backs to satisfy debts. North Carolina residents (a term of art) can avail themselves of North Carolina exemptions in property that they own, which include a car with a certain amount of equity, a certain amount of equity in a home, a certain amount of household goods, clothing and furnishing, etc.
  3. “I can’t possibly file for bankruptcy; this can’t be happening to me, I didn’t buy a bunch of flashy things with credit cards.” Most debtors have one or more bad breaks – a job loss, a divorce, a medical problem, etc. You’re not a “bad person” just because you find yourself unable to pay your bills.

Before you make a decision, call me for an honest and experienced assessment of your situation and options. Engaging me means you are never serving as a case study for associate attorneys learning the ropes.


Bankruptcy Terms Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information