Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Help You Determine If Filing Is Right for You

Bankruptcy Attorneys Allen TXIf you have lost a primary source of income or become overwhelmed by debts and basic living expenses, consulting bankruptcy attorneys can help. Filing bankruptcy can be challenging and confusing since most people do not understand the process. An attorney can help you decide if filing for bankruptcy is the right course of action and, if so, which type of bankruptcy to file.

Consider Alternatives

First and foremost, you should understand that bankruptcy can affect your credit for up to 7 years. Because of this severity, your attorney will help you consider other options to ensure you make the right decision. Assistance and advice from the professionals will prevent you from making a bad financial decision.

For some people, making a few small changes can help gain back control of your finances. Your attorney will use your current income statements and credit reports to determine if there are viable options.

Consider Different Bankruptcy Filings

Bankruptcy attorneys will also educate you on the different types of bankruptcies and which would be the best option for your needs.

Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy since it wipes out all of your unsecured debts in a period of a few months. Since this is a liquidation type of bankruptcy, you will lose access to credit card accounts and may need to give up some of your personal property, as well.

Filing chapter 7 requires passing a means test. To wipe out these debts, your attorney must see you do not have the means to pay all or a portion of these debts.

If you are unable to pass the means test, your attorney may suggest filing chapter 13. Chapter 13 involves a repayment plan to help you pay off your total debts over a period of a few years.

Consider Exemptions

Your attorney will also discuss the process of filing exemptions if you choose to use the bankruptcy route. Each state has its own set of laws about exemptions.

In Texas, for example, you can file bankruptcy exemptions for your home, your vehicle, your retirement accounts, and pension. These exemptions allow you to save your assets or continue paying for them without using them towards your debt repayments or wiping the debts clean after filing.

Understanding bankruptcy is key to making your decision to file. With the help of experienced bankruptcy attorneys from Collins & Arnove in the Allen, TX area, you will learn if filing bankruptcy is right for you, so contact them today at 972-516-4255.

Collins & Arnove | Bankruptcy Attorneys Allen TXhttp://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/

Should I File for Divorce or Bankruptcy?

Money is easily one of the biggest causes for divorce as finances can make or break a marriage.

It should not be surprising that divorce and bankruptcy are often connected. One either precedes the other or shortly follows.

Many couples wonder if they should wait to file for bankruptcy together before going towards divorce, or if they should go the other way around. How do you know?

Efficiency and Saving Money

For many couples, it comes down to efficiency and saving on costs.

Anytime a legal case is filed, a filing fee is associated. Whichever spouses chooses to file for divorce will be the one bearing the cost of the divorce proceedings.

If the spouses decide to do bankruptcy separately, each of them will be pay their own respective fees and for their own attorneys for the bankruptcy case. However, if they file together, they will be saving costs on both ends.

The spouses can have one bankruptcy attorney and only pay one bankruptcy filing fee. They can bear that cost together instead of paying separately. The only caveat for this idea is that the attorney the spouses use together for the bankruptcy will then not be able to represent either of the parties for the divorce.

A conflict of interest is created when the bankruptcy attorney represents both parties. Therefore, the two will need to weigh the pros and cons of going it alone with respect to legal counsel.

Simplifying the Process

With divorce, all of the assets and debts of the marriage are taken together and divided up equitably. In most states, this means that the assets and debts are divided equally, unless one party has more ability to pay than the other.

However, if the spouses have more debt than assets and are facing difficult circumstances with the ability to pay these debts back, matters can be complicated. It can be beneficial for parties to proceed with bankruptcy first so that these debts do not need to be divided later.

Most of the marital assets and debts will already be dealt with. Any assets or debts that are not used to pay off non-dis-chargeable debts or are not discharged will be then divided in the divorce decree. Not only will this make the process easier, it will also save on the legal fees divorce attorneys would spend in trying to divide the marital estate.

Chapter 7 of Chapter 13?

Two different bankruptcy types are available from which to choose.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy which takes all dis-chargeable assets and debts and liquidates them. This type of bankruptcy is normally used with discharging unsecured debts, including credit cards and medical debts. The Chapter 7 process normally is completed in a few months and is often preferable to married couples who are wanting to get divorced quickly.

On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a longer process and involves a repayment plan for most of the debts involved. Chapter 13 can take three to five years for the process to be complete and is often the best choice for an individual filing, over a couple.

Advice Regarding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

However, if the married couple wants to proceed towards Chapter 7, they should be made aware of income qualifications for filing under this specific chapter.

An income level is set filing under Chapter 7. Therefore, if spouses want to file jointly, both incomes need to be taken into consideration.

If the two incomes combined are too high, they may not be qualified. Therefore, the spouse may have to divide up their assets and debts according to what would allow each to file for bankruptcy separately and still qualify for income purposes.

A bankruptcy attorney should be able to advice the couple on how to properly divide the debts up in the divorce settlement agreement and have the spouse who would qualify for Chapter 7 assume the debts to discharge through liquidation bankruptcy. In fact, many married couples craft settlement agreements with this idea in mind.

One consideration is whether each spouse will properly handle his or her respectively assigned debts once the divorce is finalized. It may be important to include certain language to protect the other spouse from this possibility.

Contact Us Today

It can be tough to make the decision between divorce and bankruptcy. If you need assistance, Collins & Arnove can help you.

To learn more, call 972-435-9738 for a free consultation or visit us online.

If I Am Facing Bankruptcy, Will I Need To See A Judge?

The term Bankruptcy Court does not always mean what it does in the traditional sense of Court. Like any other legal proceedings, a Judge does oversee the bankruptcy process.

However, the debtor will not need to appear before a Judge. The bankruptcy attorney may need to appear before the judge if certain circumstances arise, but most of the debtor’s interactions will need to appear before the bankruptcy trustee.

If the debtor hires legal counsel and other creditors try to file any notices or requests or make any objections, the bankruptcy attorney may have to appear in front of the Judge.

However, the client does not need to attend. However, this does not mean that the debtor will not need to appear before the court.

Meeting of Creditors

This appearance in court where the debtor needs to appear is otherwise known as the “meeting of creditors.” This meeting is held for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

The meeting is also called a 341 hearing. The purpose of this meeting is to answer questions about the information provided by the debtor in the bankruptcy petition.

Who Runs the Meeting?

The 341 hearing or “meeting of the creditors” is run by the bankruptcy trustee who was appointed to oversee the case. The trustee is normally an attorney trained in bankruptcy law.

This individual is in charge of going through the debtor’s property and distributing proceeds to the creditors.

What Happens at the Meeting?

Normally, the bankruptcy trustee will conduct an interview of the debtor. He or she must verify the information given by the debtor in the paperwork submitted to the court to see what debts exist, as well as what can be sold to satisfy debt that exists.

In most cases, there is no property for the bankruptcy trustee. In those cases the trustee submits a statement to the Court stating that nothing is available.

Before the meeting, the trustee will already have reviewed the petition, schedules and all support documents. These documents will include pay stubs of the debtor, tax returns and other documents showing the debt of the filing party.

However, the trustee needs to make sure that the debtor is telling the truth and needs to go through everything to ensure that no discrepancies or mistakes exist or were made.

What Mistakes or Discrepancies Could Exist?

They can include a number of things. The debtor could have entered in something incorrectly or left out an asset, whether intentionally or by mistake.

The trustee will also make sure that assets that were disclosed were properly valued and that nothing was fraudulently concealed or transferred prior to filing.

Chapter 7 Versus Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The types of questions asked in a bankruptcy proceeding do vary between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee will pay off creditors with proceeds obtained from selling all of the nonexempt assets in the bankruptcy estate. Most Chapter 7 cases are what are called “no asset” cases meaning there is no property available to the trustee.

However, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee will reorganize the debtor’s debts to allow him or her to keep nonexempt property in exchange for paying back debt via a repayment plan.

Therefore, questions will go more into what the debtor’s monthly income is, monthly expenses and more to ensure that enough disposable income exists to allow for a repayment plan that works for all parties involved.

Again, the trustee will also want to make sure that all assets are being reported, as well as income. If any income is concealed or hidden, that will cause major problems down the road for the debtor and can be considered fraud.

Do Not Worry

The key here is to be upfront and honest with the bankruptcy trustee. If everything was disclosed properly and no assets or debts were hidden, the debtor should not be worried.

No formal hearing before a judge will be needed. The meeting of creditors will be simple, to the point and short. If all goes well, the debtor will never have to appear before a judge.

Contact Us Today

Facing a bankruptcy can be an intimidating process. We are here to walk you through it every step of the way. If you need assistance, Collins & Arnove can help.

To learn more, call 972-435-9738 for a free consultation or visit us online.

3 Qualities to Look For in a Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy Attorney McKinney TXYou’ve struggled for a long time to pay your bills, but the debts keep piling up. It’s time to consider filing for bankruptcy and finding a bankruptcy attorney in McKinney, TX. You want an attorney that knows their stuff and has the right credentials. While one may look fantastic on paper, other things might make the working relationship fall short. Here are three qualities to look for when selecting the right bankruptcy attorney to represent your case:

  • They discuss alternate resolutions
  • Have a passion for the process
  • Listen to you and understand you

If you’d like to see if the attorneys at Collins & Arnove fit the needs of your bankruptcy case, call us today at (972)516-4255 to schedule a consultation. Or visit us online at http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/.

Collins & Arnove | Bankruptcy Attorney McKinney TX | 972-516-4255

The Consequences of Bankruptcy and How to Recover Your Finances

Bankruptcy Dallas TXBankruptcy is the determination of the debts one has and whether or not to discharge them. While the result immediately grants legal freedom from paying those accumulated bills, other consequences come with filing for bankruptcy in Dallas, TX. While it may help your situation, it also may hurt it; those who are considering filing for bankruptcy should seek the advice of a professional to determine the outcome of filing. There are four aspects to bankruptcy that those filing should keep in mind:

  1. It affects your credit score. Having a high credit score will show creditors that you can purchase big-ticket items and pay them off. Having a history of bankruptcy will affect your credit score and make it harder to buy things such as a car, home, or even a new stove for your home. While you will not have outstanding bills to pay, you may not be eligible to acquire the new things you want. Having a lawyer understand your situation can help you determine how to live with your lower credit score.
  2. It will follow you for years. Filing for bankruptcy does not stop after the declaration – it stays on your credit report for a minimum of seven years. If you are considering purchasing something large that would require a loan or mortgage, realize that your credit report will not look clean for a long time. If you are considering something like acquiring a new credit card, you may not be able to do this for years as you wait for your credit report to improve unless you have professional help.
  3. Bankruptcy costs money. Though you are working to eliminate the bills you own, it costs money to file for bankruptcy in Dallas. If you hire someone to help you file, you must pay the attorney fees that come with that assistance. Whether or not you have a lawyer, you need to pay filing fees. This fee, though, may be worth it when it comes to the recovery process after filing for bankruptcy.
  4. You may lose property. There are different subcategories of bankruptcy, and knowing which one works best for you will help you in your filing process. Applying for chapter 7 bankruptcy means that you may lose non-exempt property to repay certain debts, which may include a second car, home, or welfare. Filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to keep your home, but this option is only for those whose debt does not exceed a certain monetary amount.

While bankruptcy may be your best – or only – option, it is by no means a small decision. When filing for bankruptcy in Dallas, TX, let the professionals at Collins & Arnove help you determine your next best move for your financial future. For more information, call 972-516-4255 or visit their website at http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/.

Collings and Arnove | Bankruptcy Dallas TX | 972-516-4255

Repayment Options for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Explained

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Allen TXWhen facing the possibility of filing bankruptcy, one must choose between the chapter 7 and chapter 13 options, depending on their situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the “reorganization” chapter in which the debtor maintains control over their assets while gradually repaying their debts through a three to five-year payment plan. Contrarily, Chapter 7 bankruptcy traditionally calls for the liquidation of all assets in exchange for the forgiveness of the filer’s entire debt. However, certain circumstances allow for a repayment plan within chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The Chapter 7 Repayment Plan

A debtor who wants to keep their assets and repay their debt in less than three years may choose to consider repayment through a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. If a filer is interested in this method, they must meet income requirements and pass the Means Test for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

When you file for chapter 7, your assets are compiled to create a bankruptcy “estate.” At that point, a bankruptcy trustee becomes the owner of those assets. Usually, the trustee will arrange an auction of the assets and distribute the profit among your creditors. If you wish to reclaim your assets, you have two options: you may “settle” with the trustee for cash or make an offer to buy back your assets from the estate. In most cases, you can negotiate these “buybacks” into monthly payment plans with your bankruptcy trustee.

The Role of the Trustee

While a settlement or repayment plan may be the best option for you, it is important to consider that this solution may not be in your trustee’s best interest. A bankruptcy trustee is appointed to represent a creditor; therefore, they will always make decisions that are the most beneficial for your creditors. In some cases, they may not believe that a structured payment plan is the most efficient option. Instead, they might be willing to consider a lump sum payment from you or even a shorter repayment plan than you initially offered. If you intend to propose a settlement, be sure to consider the fact that the trustee may only agree to large lump sum settlements.

Despite the general guidelines regarding bankruptcy, varying situations may call for unusual or unprecedented courses of action. If you or a loved one is considering filing for bankruptcy, do not make your final decision based simply on the facts that outline each chapter or repayment option. The best course of action for getting rid of your debt is always to consult with a personal bankruptcy lawyer. The attorneys at Collins & Arnove understand the complexity of bankruptcy and the individual factors that can affect filing. Our office offers free consultations, so give us a call today 972-516-4255 or visit us online here:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Allen TX | Collins & Arnove | http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/

The Truth About Bankruptcy: Five Common Myths You’ve Probably Heard

Bankruptcy Dallas TXWhile filing for bankruptcy in Dallas, TX, is not a completely ideal situation, there are several myths out there that can make you feel like all is lost when this is your only viable option. Differentiating the truth from the myths can be difficult if you don’t seek the advice of a trusted bankruptcy attorney. Here are five myths out there about bankruptcy:

  • Everyone will know that you’ve filed
  • You’ll lose everything
  • You’ll never get credit again
  • Both spouses have to file if married
  • Only deadbeats file

Get the truth about bankruptcy with the help of the attorneys from Collins & Arnove. Call us today to schedule a consultation at (972) 516-4255 or visit us online at http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/.

Collins & Arnove | Bankruptcy Dallas TX | 972-516-4255

Repayment Options to Pay off Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy McKinney TXFiling for bankruptcy may seem like you’ve hit the end of your rope, but it does not need to be scary. When you have the right help, filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy in McKinney, TX is an attainable goal instead of an overwhelming situation. There are five things to know about your repayment plan when you file for chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  1. Some things must be paid off in full. You must pay back certain fees and claims 100%. Knowing what you need to pay off will help you prioritize your payment plan. You need to pay bills such as administrative claims, filing fees, and attorney fees in their entirety. You must also pay in full all child support, wages to employees, and most tax debts.
  2. Repayment of unsecured debts varies. Depending on your situation, unsecured debts may not need to be paid off. Payment requirements depend on many factors, including the value of your property, the amount of disposable income you have, and the length of your payment plan. Having a personal bankruptcy advisor in McKinney can help you to distinguish what debts to pay in full.
  3. Use all disposable income. You must use all of your disposable income to maximize your payments, pay all your debts and dig yourself out of bankruptcy. Debts your leftover income may go to include credit card bills, debit card bills or medical bills. Disposable income, though, should be noted as the money left over after paying off expenses such as car loans or mortgages.
  4. The length of repayment may vary. Each case and situation are different. Repayment plans will vary in length depending on your income level. If your median income is greater than the average monthly income for your house, the repayment plan for you must last five years. Otherwise, having an income less than the median average will require a plan lasting three years.
  5. You may keep your property. Unlike filing for a chapter 7 that surrenders your home, filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy in McKinney means that you can keep your property. Repayment happens solely from your leftover income instead of your property value. However, you must pay creditors at least the value of said property to complete the repayment option.

Figuring a repayment plan after filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy can be feasible with the right mindset and the right help. If you need assistance financially, let Collins & Arnove help you get your life back. To learn more, call 972-516-4255 or visit http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/.

Collins & Arnoe | Chapter 13 Bankruptcy McKinney, TX | 972-516-4255

Attorney Explains Differences in Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Allen TXWhen faced with the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, it is important to fully understand and survey all of your options. A trustworthy attorney is vital in helping you choose what type of bankruptcy filing works best for your individual situation. The team at Collins & Arnove can advise you in filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy by explaining the differences in each type of case. The chapter of bankruptcy for which you choose to file will depend on your income, assets, debts and financial goals. If you’re considering filing or just beginning your bankruptcy research, refer to this helpful guide outlining the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The following list will break down each chapter of bankruptcy by the areas in which they differ.

  • Type of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered liquidation, while Chapter 13 focuses on the reorganization of finances and assets.
  • Type of filer. Both individuals and business entities can file for Chapter 7, but Chapter 13 bankruptcy is restricted to single filers only.
  • Eligibility determinations. Those applying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must have a disposable income low enough to pass the Means Test. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires that filers have no more than $394,725 of unsecured debt or $1,184,200 of secured debt.
  • Discharge process lengths. Chapter 7 bankruptcy quickly discharges in three to five months, while Chapter 13 will usually take three to five years. This time estimate is contingent upon the completion of all plan payments.
  • Property disbursement. Chapter 7 filings allow a trustee to sell all nonexempt property to pay creditors. However, in Chapter 13 cases, debtors can keep all property, but they must pay creditors an amount equal to the value of their nonexempt assets.
  • Lien stripping. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not warrant removal of unsecured junior liens from real property through lien stripping. Contrarily, Chapter 13 does if all requirements are satisfied.
  • Principal loan balance reduction. Once again, Chapter 7 bankruptcy denies the use of a loan cramdown to reduce the principal loan balance, while Chapter 13 allows it if all requirements are met.
  • Benefits. Chapter 7 allows debtors to discharge quickly and get a fresh start. On the other hand, Chapter 13 allows debtors to retain their property and catch up on nondischargeable priority debt payments (mortgage, car, etc.).
  • Drawbacks. The main drawback of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it does not provide a way for debtors to catch up on their missed payments to avoid things like repossession or foreclosure. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be challenging because it requires debtors to pay a trustee monthly for three to five years, as well as requiring them to pay back a portion of their general unsecured debts.

Just as with every legal case, all bankruptcy filings are different. The outline above is not meant to serve as legal advice. Instead, it serves as a starting point and general explanation to help potential filers understand how these two types of bankruptcy differ. If you or someone you know is considering filing for bankruptcy, consult with the professional team at Collins & Arnove today. Visit us online here http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/ or call for a free consultation 972-516-4255.

Collins & Arnove | Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Allen TX | 972-516-4255

4 Ways to Rebuild Your Credit After Filing For Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Allen TXFiling for bankruptcy in Allen, TX gives you that clean financial slate, but there is also that fear that your credit will now be in shambles for forever. The impact that bankruptcy will have on your credit will fade as the years pass, and there are things you can do to help. Here are four ways to rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy:

  • Secured loans
  • Secured credit cards
  • Co-signed credit card or loan
  • Authorized user status

All is not lost with a bankruptcy filing, and the attorneys at Collins & Arnove can help get you the best possible outcome. Call us today to schedule a consultation at (972)516-4255 or visit us online at http://www.northtexasbankruptcy.com/.

Collins & Arnove | Bankruptcy Allen TX | 972-516-4255

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