Debt can be overwhelming. You may feel there’s no way to successfully get out from under and get on with your life. For some people, the answer may involve filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you think you might be headed for bankruptcy, consider the following steps that may have you have a more successful Chapter 13.
#1. Investigate all of your options first.
Sometimes it’s not easy, but it is necessary. Carefully look at your financial situation, especially the amount of debt you have. Before assuming you have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, look into:
- Selling assets to pay off debt.
- Develop a strict budget that will allow you to pay off debt.
- Try to negotiate with your creditors.
- Contact legitimate credit counseling companies if your debts are less than $10,000.
If you decide Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the way to go, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney for advice.
#2. Understand which debts are dischargeable in a Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge all debts. It is unlikely or even impossible that the following debts will be completely eliminated:
- Government loans, including student loans;
- Child support and alimony;
- Certain taxes; and
- Restitution for criminal fines.
Your bankruptcy attorney can let you know which of your debts are dischargeable and which are not. Understanding this important element of a Chapter 13 should help you develop a workable repayment plan.
#3. Don’t rack up a lot of debt right before filing a Chapter 13.
Your credit options might be limited after your Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you feel your back is against the wall, you might be tempted to buy, buy, buy. However, increasing your debt now is not a good idea. Creditors could object to discharging debts incurred shortly before someone files for bankruptcy.
#4. Don’t give assets away before or after filing.
Any transactions that limit how much you have left to pay creditors is going to look bad. The bankruptcy administrator and your creditors could consider this to be bankruptcy fraud.
#5. Don’t try to hide assets or debts.
It’s natural to want to keep your stuff, and some debts may be embarrassing. However, you must disclose all your assets and debts when filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
#6. Organize paperwork before filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
You may have already done this during step #1 above. Also, it is certainly helpful to have your papers in order when you meet with your bankruptcy attorney.
Disorganized records could cause you to omit debts or assets when you file for bankruptcy. Even if your omission was unintentional, it could still spell trouble for you.
#7. Make sure you can afford the repayment plan.
Being honest and upfront with your attorney and the court can go a long way toward helping you get a repayment plan you can afford. In your zeal to get your Chapter 13 bankruptcy over, do not agree to a plan if you cannot make the payments.
#8. Hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Just like doctors, attorneys concentrate their practice areas. A lawyer that handles estate planning and trusts will know the basics of bankruptcy. However, you need someone who understands the process and the law to make sure you get the best result possible.
Call to Find Out if Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Is Right for You
Attorney Leslie Craft has the experience you need to deal with bankruptcy. Ms. Craft’s goal is always to help her clients get past their financial and legal problems and get on with their lives.
Bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a painful process. To schedule a free personal consultation, call Craft Law Offices at (252) 752-0297 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. My offices are located in Greenville, Morehead City, and Rocky Mount for your convenience. I also represent clients in surrounding Eastern North Carolina communities, including Warrenton, Elizabeth City, Roanoke Rapids, Goldsboro, and Jacksonville.