Do I Have To Go To Court For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?


A Chapter 7 bankruptcy Houston is the most common bankruptcy filed. Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most debts such as credit cards, medical bills, judgments, mortgage deficiencies, collection accounts, and many other debts.

Many people don’t realize just how easy it is to file for Chapter 7 or how quickly your financial outlook can recover from same.

The elimination of debt through bankruptcy is called a “discharge,” which means you are no longer obligated to pay the debt. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates all debts except student loans, child support, overdue taxes from the past three years, and court-ordered restitution. The biggest benefit of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it only takes 90 days to finish. It’s one of the quickest debt relief options available.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as a “liquidation bankruptcy” because the Chapter 7 bankruptcy court appoints a “trustee” who can sell or “liquidate” your unprotected assets and use the sale proceeds to pay your creditors.

The nice thing about Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that you know which assets are protected and which are not before you file. In most states, you can often keep your car, home, clothing, jewelry, household items, and 100% of retirement accounts. The property you get to keep after filing for bankruptcy depends on your state’s “exemptions”. Each state has an exemption law that delineates the type and amount of property a debtor can keep away from his creditors. All states allow you to keep 100% of your retirement accounts.

Your rights to receive certain benefits, such as social security, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits, public assistance, and pensions are completely exempt regardless of the amount received. No one can take away those future benefits if you file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy protects cars and homes depending on the amount of equity held in the property.

What happens if you are above the exemption amounts or you have unprotected assets? In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee has the right to sell the property and disburse the proceeds to your creditors. Some trustees allow the debtors to buy back the items from the trustee. Another option is to sell unprotected assets before you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many Internet postings advise against selling any property before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as it may be seen as keeping an asset out of the hands of a trustee. However, anyone can sell property before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy so long as the asset is sold at fair market value.

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If you do sell an asset prior to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and assuming it was at fair market value, the next question you have to answer is, “what did you do with the money?” This is where people get into trouble. Some people will sell the car at fair market value and then give the money to their father to repay a loan from him. That is a preference payment the trustee can recover. Your father would have to return the money to the trustee. Instead, invest the proceeds in a retirement account, pay your taxes, or spend it on personal needs.

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Some people fear Chapter 7 because they worry the trustee will sell their home and other assets even though it rarely happens. The latest statistic from the U.S. Trustee Program with the Department of Justice, which is the federal agency that oversees bankruptcy cases and trustees, is that only 5% of Chapter 7 cases have any assets that can be sold. This means 95% of the people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not lose anything.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful way to get out of debt, and with all powerful tools, there are some restrictions. In October 2005, the bankruptcy reform laws were revised with a new requirement: a “means test.” This test evaluates your income to determine if you are eligible to have your debts dismissed completely under Chapter 7 or whether you need to enter into a debt restructuring plan under Chapter 13.

You may qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your income falls below the median income in your resident state based on your family size. For example, in Colorado, if you are a single person who makes less than ,000 per year, then you can file for Chapter 7. If you earn more than the median income, you may still qualify for Chapter 7 provided you are unable to set aside at least 25% of your income to repay your creditors. If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, it doesn’t mean you cannot file bankruptcy as there are two other bankruptcies available.

For more information about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, visit www.HeupelLaw.com or call Heupel Law at (303) 955-7570. Heupel Law is located at 2440 Stout Street, Denver, CO, 80205. To watch this video again, click https://youtu.be/HBnehNrXzeI.