Filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy in St. Louis, United States
Coping with overwhelming debts may be extremely stressful, difficult, and anxiety-provoking. You’re concerned about losing your home, failing to continue your business, or resolving creditor harassment. Your debt issues could be the result of an unexpected job loss, a family emergency, a catastrophic illness, or unpaid college loans.
These elements can quickly accumulate a mountain of debt. You are unable to pay your mortgage, car payment, credit card bills, utility bills, or other monthly expenses.
When a debtor or a business is unable to repay creditors, the only option left is to file for bankruptcy. It is one of the most often used debt relief strategies, as it can help you remove a portion or all of the debt you owe to a creditor. Bankruptcy can assist you in restructuring payments, reorganizing your finances, and protecting critical assets.
Each individual who files for bankruptcy has a unique story to tell. However, no two people’s stories are identical. They each have a unique cause for declaring bankruptcy, a unique financial condition, and a unique life. However, one thing is certain: bankruptcy is a harrowing process. If you decide to file for bankruptcy, a reputable St. Louis bankruptcy lawyer can assist you in alleviating this load by offering expert legal assistance.
At Westbrook Law Group, our Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers pride ourselves on providing great legal service and removing the stress associated with bankruptcy. We will evaluate your financial circumstances to see if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case bankruptcy is the best course of action for a fresh start. Our bankruptcy law practice provides legal advice and assistance for a number of bankruptcy and debt management solutions.
What Types of Debt Are Dischargeable Under Chapter 7 Case Bankruptcy?
If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to have the majority of your debts discharged. This means creditors cannot pursue you indefinitely. Not all debt, however, is dischargeable under Chapter 7. These in include:
- Credit card debt and other debts that are dischargeable in Chapter 7:
- Medical expenses
- Balances due as a result of the sale of a repossessed vehicle or a foreclosed mortgage
- Personal loans without collateral
- Store accounts
- Debt incurred through commerce or a vendor
- Personal liability incurred as a result of guaranteeing another’s debt
- Certain types of tax liabilities
Call today for a Free Consultation
When you’re in debt, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. But there are steps that you can take to get out of debt – even if your credit is damaged or your income has been cut off completely! Call our St. Charles bankruptcy attorneys at Westbrook Law Group to find out how to escape the shackles of debt and get relief in Missouri.
What to Do Before Filing for Bankruptcy in St. Louis
Personal bankruptcy puts a stop to creditor phone calls, foreclosure, wage garnishment, and repossessions, while also safeguarding assets such as retirement funds and other investments. With so much on the line, it’s critical that your bankruptcy is filed in the appropriate manner. Some people attempt to file for bankruptcy on their own, and as a result, they do not receive the full benefits of bankruptcy protection.
Using a low-cost bankruptcy filing service carries the same hazards as using a high-priced one. This is exactly the type of mistake that our bankruptcy attorneys see in bankruptcy court on a practically daily basis. Occasionally, bankruptcy filings have failed because an unskilled attorney failed to file the documents in the right manner.
Westbrook Law Group is a bankruptcy legal firm that specializes solely in bankruptcy law. We believe that our competitive edge makes a significant difference in the protection of your financial interests. With our purpose in mind, we strive to give our clients quick, pleasant, and reasonable debt relief while ensuring that they obtain the full benefit and protection of bankruptcy debt relief.
Filing bankruptcy - basic steps
Here is what you will need to do when filing for bankruptcy.
1. Conduct a debt analysis
Certain types of debts, such as child support obligations, the majority of student loan balances, and current tax debt, are not dischargeable (wiped out) in Chapter 7. Additionally, if you pledged collateral for a debt (such as a house or car), the creditor may seize the property if you are delinquent at the time of filing and continue to be delinquent following the conclusion of your case.
2. Determine your exemptions for personal property
Each state has its own set of exemption regulations that govern which sorts of property you are entitled to keep if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The majority of people can preserve their household belongings, retirement accounts, a modest car, and a portion of their home’s worth. Before filing, you’ll want to ensure that you can preserve whatever you wish to save.
3. Verify that you are eligible.
The majority of people must take and pass a means test in order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. You qualify if your average gross income for the six months preceding your filing is greater than the median income for a household of your size in your state. If not, you’ll reduce permitted expenses from your income to determine if you’re eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
4. Redeem secured obligations or reaffirm them
If you pledged property as collateral for a loan, you must continue making payments to the creditor to keep the property. When you file for bankruptcy, you will be asked whether you want to “redeem” the property (pay the creditor the current replacement value of the property in one lump sum), “reaffirm” the debt, or “surrender” the property . Depending on your location, additional options may be available.
5. Complete the bankruptcy paperwork
You’ll fill out several dozen pages of forms in which you disclose everything of your property, obligations, income, expenses, and prior transactions to the court. You’ll list all of your creditors, property, and income, as well as your property exemptions. Then, you’ll select what to do with each of your secured debts. Finally, you will report real estate transactions that occurred up to ten years prior to the commencement of your case.
6. Enroll in a credit counseling class
Individuals who petition for bankruptcy must finish a course prior to filing or, in uncommon circumstances, shortly thereafter.
7. File the forms
The filing of your petition (which includes the main bankruptcy form, schedules, and additional paperwork) initiates your case legally. While most people file all of the essential paperwork simultaneously, if you’re pressured for time, you can opt for an emergency filing by completing a few required forms. You have 14 days to file the remaining forms.
8. Submit the filing fee or apply for a fee waiver.
When you file your forms, you will be charged a filing fee. If you are unable to pay it all at once, you may petition the court to have it divided into four installments. If you are unable to pay the charge in full, you may seek a fee waiver by completing an application that will be included with your bankruptcy petition. A court will review it and, in most cases, waive the charge if you appear to meet all of the required qualifications.
9. Submit documentation to the trustee in bankruptcy
You’ll be required to produce documents attesting to the veracity of the information on your bankruptcy forms. You should anticipate sending bank statements, pay stubs, profit and loss statements, and tax returns, among other papers, to the trustee.
10. Attend a meeting.
In most circumstances, you’ll only need to appear in court once for a brief meeting with the trustee. The bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will verify your identification and ask you typical questions that all debtors are expected to answer, as well as inquiries about the information on your forms.
11. If necessary, file objections or motions.
If you choose to contest a creditor’s claim against you or wish to erase specific liens, you must do so prior to your bankruptcy case being finalized.
12. Pay off secured obligations
When you filed your bankruptcy petition, you’ll submit a form outlining your strategy for dealing with secured obligations. You will need to take action on these concerns before your case is concluded. For example, if you said that you would return a vehicle, you should make it available to the lender.
13. Complete a course on debtor education
Following the filing of your paperwork, you must complete a second course, referred to as a debtor education course, before receiving a discharge. If you do not present your certificate on time, the court will close your case without granting you a discharge. Resolving this issue can be costly, since you will almost certainly be required to file a motion and pay another filing fee to reopen the case.
14. Obtain a discharge
Congratulations! This is the crux of the matter. The court will issue an order dismissing your qualifying debts at the conclusion of a successful bankruptcy. Once discharged, you are no longer legally required to repay the debt, and the creditor has no legal standing to collect it.
Get back on track with legal advice from us
Bankruptcy is an intimidating and sometimes embarrassing word for people that are dealing with cumbersome debt levels. But there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when you are struggling and are not sure what else to do.
Schedule a free consultation. By reaching out to experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers, you can begin the first step in getting yourself back on track. We can help guide you through the entire bankruptcy process whether that means restructuring your debt or discharging it all together.
Contact our Troy or St Charles bankruptcy attorney law office today if you want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.