Individuals that are in trouble with their finances, usually look for alternatives to fix their debt problems without filing bankruptcy. Many debt settlement companies promise to have tricks known only to them that will make your bills disappear for almost nothing. It is true that many creditors will accept a partial settlement on each of your debts. The reality of it is you will need lots of cash to pay for each settlement as long as the creditor will accept your terms. The reason bankruptcy is better is because it wipes out all unsecured debt with a few exceptions. The power of the federal bankruptcy court enforces the law to make sure creditors leave you alone. When it's all finished you should be pretty close to debt free.
When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you should have no problem keeping your house as long as you are current on your mortgage. The general rule is if you can continue to be current on any secured debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy you should be able to keep the property. All other unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills will be eliminated in the Chapter 7. If you don't want to keep the house or your car you can surrender it to the creditor in your bankruptcy filing. By doing this you eliminate future liability to the creditor if something happens later causing a deficiency. This is a big decision to make when filing for bankruptcy and should be discussed with your bankruptcy attorney because it could affect you down the road.
In a bankruptcy filing some property is protected from your creditors and the amounts vary from state to state. Most people mistakenly think that if they file for bankruptcy their home is automatically protected from creditors. The exemption laws that protect property from creditors are different throughout the US. Some states have high exemptions for residential property while others are much lower. The equity in the property is what the bankruptcy trustee will be interested in. Depending on the state that the debtor lives in they need to weigh all the benefits and negative aspects of filing bankruptcy.
The amount of property people get to keep and a bankruptcy filing is usually the deciding factor on whether someone files Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Most people are interested in trying to protect their home, the family car and their 401(k). This is where the experience of a bankruptcy attorney comes into play. Most attorneys know the current exemption laws inside and out and this will help the debtor to make an informed decision on what's best for their family. In today's economy, the bankruptcy trustee does not want to take property that will not be easily liquidated. Many times, the cost of selling property, and the time it takes overrides the net amount that can be split amongst all the creditors.
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