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Should I File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Charles, Missouri

Should I File for BankruptcyAm I being flooded with debt notices, and I just want to press the restart button on my financial status? Should I file for bankruptcy case to discharge all of my debts? If these are the questions you ask yourself, you are fortunate that a Missouri bankruptcy lawyer from Westbrook Law Group can help you get the new start you desire.

Continue reading in order for you to learn the basics of bankruptcy, such as 

  • Definition of Bankruptcy
  • Common Types of Personal Bankruptcy
  • When You Should file for Bankruptcy 
  • Bankruptcy Process

What is Bankruptcy?

When a debtor wants to wipe out (discharge) his/her debts, they will resort to filing for bankruptcy.

Essentially, bankruptcy refers to the legal procedure through which a debtor pays or discharges their obligations in a certain method, such as liquidating assets or arranging a repayment plan. A bankruptcy court oversees this process by appointing a bankruptcy trustee to your bankruptcy case

What is a bankruptcy trustee?

A bankruptcy trustee is a person who is appointed by the bankruptcy court to represent the estate of a debtor in a bankruptcy process. Essentially, they are in charge of facilitating or administering the bankruptcy process, such as evaluating whether or not your bankruptcy petition is valid.

In compliance with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, bankruptcy trustees assess and offer recommendations on different debtor demands. But, the bankruptcy court is still the supreme authority in the decisions in your bankruptcy case, like when deciding how your assets should be divided. Thus, the bankruptcy court must approve all decisions made by the trustee. 

Remember that a bankruptcy trustee does not act as your bankruptcy lawyer which is why seeking the help of one is crucial in your debt relief journey. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can properly advise you in debt settlement and is well versed in bankruptcy law.

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.

Two Types of Personal Bankruptcy

In filing for bankruptcy, you will be confronted with different bankruptcy Chapters. Chapter 7 bankruptcy (‘liquidation’) and Chapter 13 bankruptcy (‘wage earner’s plan’) are the two most prevalent types sought by an individual. It is critical that you understand how the various bankruptcy Chapters operate and what bankruptcy can and cannot do. In this way, you will be better prepared to face the bankruptcy proceedings.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is often the fastest and referred to as a straight bankruptcy or liquidation. Under Chapter 7, a bankruptcy trustee will round up all of your non-exempt assets or properties and evaluate their value in order to sell them as a way of paying back your creditors. 

Non-exempt properties are those that you possess that are not protected in the event of bankruptcy. This does not mean that you will have to give up everything you have. Some types of property can be exempt from liquidation. These include your automobile, clothing and household goods, pensions, and a percentage of any home value.

When it comes to paying off debt, secured debt is prioritized first than unsecured debt. The former refers to debt that has a property or valuable thing as collateral or to support the loan. On the other hand, unsecured debt refers to debts that have no collateral like medical bills, personal loans, etc.

Remember that the ultimate goal of bankruptcy is to relieve or lessen your debts and not cripple your chances of a fresh start and healthy financial situation.

Chapter 13

This is the polar opposite of the former, in which you will not have to liquidate your assets or properties.  However, you will be required to repay your creditor under a court-ordered repayment plan that might run anywhere from three to five years.

This allows a debtor with a consistent income to reorganize their debts, cash flow, or resources to repay their debt over time.

When should I file for bankruptcy?

Your ability to repay your creditors and your present financial situation will determine whether or not you need to file for bankruptcy.

People file for bankruptcy for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are as follows:

  • You lose your job due to unforeseen circumstances or having difficulty finding jobs paying nearly as well as your previous one
  • The total amount of your debt exceeds the amount you make or possess
  • Overburdened by medical bills not covered by insurance or government programs
  • Divorce or legal separation
  • Economic problems or other breakdowns in your small businesses.

When financial problems come, you often resort to getting insurmountable debt to mitigate it. Maybe if we saved enough, we wouldn’t have to resort to such a thing, and we’d be better prepared to deal with these unforeseeable situations. 

The reasons stated above are only a few of the most prevalent reasons why a person decides to file for bankruptcy. However, filing for bankruptcy is always contingent on each individual’s condition, which is why getting the assistance of a St. Charles bankruptcy attorney will help you assess whether or not you are eligible to file for bankruptcy.

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.

How does the bankruptcy process work in St. Charles, Missouri?

If you want to file for bankruptcy, you must realize that there are certain things or actions you must take in order to file your bankruptcy case. Keep in mind that failure to comply with all of these steps may result in the rejection of your bankruptcy case.

Taking a credit counseling session

In most states, you will be required to take a credit counseling session in order to be eligible to file for bankruptcy. In this session, a credit counselor will be assigned to you to discuss the different alternatives you could take besides filing a bankruptcy case. You will need to give the overall picture of your financial status in order for your counselor to assess the best alternatives for you. 

Remember that when you are done with credit counseling and still want to file bankruptcy, you will have to secure proof or certificate from the counseling agency that states you underwent credit counseling. This is important because this will, later on, be attached to your other bankruptcy paperwork. Both Chapters 7 and 13 will require this proof.

Filling up all bankruptcy paperwork.

To begin a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you must complete all of the bankruptcy paperwork. In this paperwork, you will be asked to supply information on your financial status, such as:

  • what kind of property you own
  • how much money you make
  • the entire amount owed to your credito,
  • monthly living costs
  • all other financial transactions and information related to your bankruptcy case

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.

Attending a 341 meeting conducted by the trustee.

When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court assigns a trustee to manage your case. Typically, around 20 to 40 days after you file, the trustee will organize a short meeting with the creditors (often called as a meeting of creditors or 341 hearing) 

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The first thing that happens in a 341 hearing is to prove your identity by showing your driver’s license and Social Security card or another acceptable form of identification. There will be a set of standard questions that the trustee will ask the debtor to determine if there are changes in the information the debtor gave in his/her bankruptcy petition. The creditors will be given a chance to ask questions, although they rarely do nor do they attend. Most of the time, the hearing will take less than ten minutes.

  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The 341 meetings both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 tackle the same topics except that for Chapter 13, but there will also be a discussion about your proposed repayment plan. The trustee and creditors may oppose or suggest recommendations to your repayment plan.

In contrast to Chapter 7, you will have a second appearance as well as a confirmation hearing. At the confirmation hearing, the bankruptcy court considers your proposal as well as the trustee’s and creditors’ concerns before approving or denying it.

Once the judge has approved your repayment plan, you will begin to implement it by paying your debts through your bankruptcy trustee. The trustee will be in charge of transferring your payment to your creditors. 

After reviewing the process, you might feel a bit intimidated by the steps or actions you need to take in filing bankruptcy. But you don’t have to worry because having an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Missouri ensures that you will be guided every step of the way.

Seek help from a St. Charles, Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney now!

Wanting a fresh start for your financial health is not a bad thing. Many have sought the help of bankruptcy in order to achieve this. If you want the to get started on your debt relief journey, walk with our bankruptcy attorney.  

Our St. Charles county bankruptcy lawyers are equipped with the proper skills and knowledge to handle your bankruptcy case and guide you in filing for bankruptcy. Contact us now for a free, confidential financial evaluation.

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