gs-4386-101413-gs4386Money is vital to your wellbeing. It is important to be financially stable in order to take care of yourself by ways of food, hygiene, health, shelter, and many other elements. Bankruptcy can be a solution for some people, but not for others. A bankruptcy lawyer can analyze your situation to determine if you qualify or if it is the right decision for you.

Nevertheless, there are many things that you can do to ensure financial stability. Some regard the controlling of spending habits. Others relate to future preparation, building investments and savings, and even controlling your expenses. Here are some helpful ideas to protect your future!

Spending Habits

While some people like to impulse buy, spend a lot of money on eating out, or even drink alcoholic beverages in immense quantities; others use a lot of money to travel, purchase the best car, buy the best television, or even purchase the latest and greatest products. For some, having a lot of money means spending without care or acknowledgement. In any case, taking control can better your life.

Some ways to reduce your spending habits includes:

  1. Control usage of your utilities: This can save a lot of money if you take control. There is no sense in running the heater 24 hours a day when you are only home for 6 or 12 hours or leaving lights on in a room that nobody is in.
  2. Make a list of your shopping needs: This allows you to see exactly what you need and gives you something to stick with when you are shopping for food, clothes, electronics, or anything else.
  3. Avoid browsing a store or just stopping by to see what they have: This can help reduce impulse buying and wasting your time too. When you go into a store, look at the aisle labels to find items on your list. If you walk the whole store, their marketing efforts are winning.
  4. Preparation Shop: This relates to conducting store competitive research, product research, product reviews, and even product pricing to get the best value and quality that can save you money in the long run. A cheaper item compared to the slightly more expensive one may cost you more in the long run.   

Set Some Aside

When referring to setting aside money, it is related to savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and even children or family accounts. If you live paycheck by paycheck or worse, it can be a challenge to maintain this process. That is understandable. It may be a time for bankruptcy depending on the situation.

Regardless, setting money aside every pay is important to your future. You need money for emergencies, surprise bills, family situations, and even personal situations. You also need it for retirement, new vehicles, health bills, life’s important expenses like clothing and shoes, plus many other needs.

Open up another checking account and/or savings account to place a percentage of your income in. Many employers that offer direct deposit allow deposits into more than one account. It is surely better than garnishment.

 

If you intend to file for bankruptcy, it is important to take certain steps prior to filingso that your bankruptcy goes smoothly. In some instances, stopping automatic payments, moving your cash to other accounts and ensuring that you are up to date with utility bills will mean that your money is where you need it to be during bankruptcy. Below are the things you should do to prepare for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

1. Obtain Credit Reports

It is very important that you have latest credit report, as well as copies of all other bills when filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This makes it easy for the preparer to accurately prepare your case.

Tips:

  • Credit reports should be no older than 60 days
  • If you realize that there are additional bills you cannot see on your report, bring them in as well
  • If it is possible to get all the three reports, that is even better

2. Gather All Information Pertaining to Your Income

When filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your recent income information will be required. Income information will include tax returns for the last 2 years, bank statements for previous 60 days, as well as check stubs also for the last 2 months (60 days). Such information is crucial to the preparer because it helps them not only to assess your financial position, but also accurately prepare your bankruptcy documents.

3. Trace All of Your Property

It is important to locate and obtain all information pertaining to your property. This will include mortgages, vehicle titles, recorded deeds, 401K information, as well as any other investment statement. Also, things such as real property and payment coupons are necessary. The information is critical in helping the preparer assess and exempt your assets.

4. Put Together Your Identification

Note that you will be required to produce social security card as well as photo identification. There is no way your case can be filed in the absence of such crucial documents.

After putting together all the above information, the next step is to get in touch with a lawyer so as to schedule a consultation, which will get you started on your case.It is important that your find a skilled lawyer, even better if you can find one that is versed in bankruptcy filings. If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area, the law offices of Semons & Semons can assist you with preparing and filing your bankruptcy.

So you have been declared bankrupt. So your life must always go on. Ideally, you need to pick up, recollect from where you slipped, and move. There are so many things you can do to overcome the situation. For instance, you can consider filling the bankruptcy 13 form and obtain the protection of the law. With the bankruptcy 13 form, you can help rebuild your life, but you must be ready to operate with it for up to ten years. With chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can buy time to repay all your debts and keep your property.  

However, whether you are considering going for chapter 13-bankruptcy provision or not, you need to rebuild your life, mend your tainted finances, and above all build your emotional stability. You need to come out of the situation much stronger and start over again. Expectedly, you are confused and overwhelmed by all that is happening in your life. What you must know is that life is a marathon not a relay; you will soon come out of the financial quagmire and enjoy the good life you once lived. As a result, face the situation with hope and faith in a brighter future.

Lastly, you need to come up with a sizeable budget that you can manage without straining anything. Obviously, you will not get credits from some financial institutions; therefore, you need to plan. In your life after bankruptcy, you need a good budget, something that will help you manage your finance in an accountable way. A good budget will help you avoid unnecessary spending and avoid falling into unplanned spending. Ensure that you spare some money for emergencies, as it will help you avoid borrowing. Most importantly, you must live within your means, don’t budget above your budget line, doing so will do you more harm than it will help you financially.

You can’t have peace of mind when the bills pile up. This can be even more frustrating if you have been making all your payment on time in the past. You may find yourself in this situation due to a job loss or a sudden expense that you did not anticipate. Whatever the reason that has made your bills pile up, it is important to do everything in your power to bring things back to normal. Here is what you can do when bills pile up:

1. Create a priority list

If you can’t pay everything at once, you should prioritize your bulls. The essential bills should be at the top of your list. Don’t pay for entertainment before you have paid your electricity bill. To create a priority list that does not leave anything out, you have to start by listing all the expenses you have. When you finally have everything in a list, create another list that ranks them in terms of importance. Don’t use another person’s priority list because your needs vary from the needs of others. Clear these bills one by one before you decide to spend a dime anywhere else.

2. Don’t run away from your creditors

When you have too many bills your first instinct may be running away from the creditors. However, this is something that you should not do. Ignoring the calls from the creditors will not make them go away. You should call your creditors and explain to them the situation you are in. This may help to make them give you more time to pay your debts.

3. Reduce your expenses

There is no way you are going to pay up all the bills that have piled up if you continue increasing your expenses. There are some expenses that you cannot avoid, but there are definitely some that you can control. Avoid spending on things that are not crucial in your day to day life.

If you are not careful, bills piling up can turn into a more serious situation, such as bankruptcy. If you do find yourself in a position to need to file bankruptcy, the law office of Semons & Semons in Columbus, Ohio can assist you in discussing your options and filing if that is what you decide.

Rebuilding your emotions, finance and credit rating after bankruptcy may seem like an overwhelming task. However, if you filed for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy protection, then you should know that there is life after bankruptcy. You don’t have to live a life of credit exile where you are treated like a financial outsider and banished for many years. 

On the contrary, your life after bankruptcy can be very rewarding, but only if you strategize well and commit yourself to not wasting your second chance which bankruptcy can offer. How well you rebound from bankruptcy filing depends on the steps you take to safeguard yourself from any future financial calamities. Here are four steps which can speed up your recovery process and help you get credit after bankruptcy.

 

Let the guilt and shame go

If you have gone through bankruptcy or expecting it, know that you are not alone. Personal bankruptcy rose by 9% to 1.530 million filings in U.S. A survey conducted by Findlaw.com in May 2011 showed that one in eight adults in the U.S, 13% of the population, admits to have considered bankruptcy. The above statistics shows that many Americans are battling the effects of the great recession. 

People who file for bankruptcy protection are often affected by guilt and shame. But this feeling of guilt and shame will never make your situation better so that you can get another credit after bankruptcy. In fact, it prevents you from moving forward in the right direction.

Reflect and regroup

How can you get to a healthier place, financially and emotionally, if you cannot let go of your disappointing past? After the dust has settled, do some soul searching by asking yourself some key questions, such as “how did I get there? What could I have done different? What have I learned from all this?” your answers will assist you in creating a better financial life after bankruptcy and get that credit you want.

Create a reachable budget and pay your bills on time

After bankruptcy, you must be careful with your finances. Stick to your budget even if you have never done it before. Your budget acts like your spending plan, helping you in managing your cash flow and thus preventing you from having unnecessary debt. Include a line of saving in your budget so that you can pay yourself before others. 

The next thing is to pay all your bills in a timely manner. Set up automatic bill payment systems and remember to pay your rent on time as it is being tracked by credit bureau Experian thus affecting your credit score.

Pick a credit card which will assist you to rebuild your credit

Go for a secured credit card as it will go a long way in helping you to improve your credit rating after your bankruptcy. You can rebuild your credit gradually by charging a small amount of money each month and then repaying it as agreed when you deposit a given amount of money in your bank account which acts like your credit limit.  

There is a false assertion that it is next to impossible to get a credit card after bankruptcy for at least seven years. It is untrue because most bankruptcy filers get a lot of credit card offers from banks immediately after their bankruptcy is discharged. In fact, about 96% of consumers are offered new credit after they declare bankruptcy within a year.

There are two common types, known as ‘chapters’ of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The decision to choose one over the other is based on the particular circumstances of the debtor, like whether the debtor will be able to pay some debts or none at all. Bankruptcy implies that the debtor cannot pay, and will not pay, most unsecured debt, such as credit cards or medical bills. On the other hand, debts such as home mortgages or car loans must be paid if the debtor wants to keep the car or house. Other secured debts, like student loans or taxes, must be paid in full no matter which bankruptcy chapter a debtor files. The main difference between Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcies is the fact that Chapter 13 allows the debtor to repay what he or she owes through monthly payments, while the Chapter 7 involves a single repayment using the debtor's assets.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Generally, a debtor can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if his or her monthly income is not enough to pay any debts, after accounting for necessary living expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, food, clothing, transportation (gasoline, car insurance, and maintenance) and other basics. In Chapter 7, the Trustee (a person in charge of representing the interests of the creditors) can take assets away from the debtor, but only if those belongings have a certain value. In some states the value of the assets that the debtor is allowed to keep is quite high, and the overwhelming majority of Chapter 7 debtors do not loss any asset to the Trustee during the bankruptcy process.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves monthly payments for a period of three to five years. The monthly payment amount depends on how much is left of the debtor's monthly income after discounting living expenses. In most Chapter 13 cases, the debtor doesn't have to pay unsecured debts in full, only a portion of them. However, in Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the Trustee has no authority to remove any asset from the debtor.

Filing bankruptcy can be a very stressful process, so it is best to find out as much as you can, and hire a great team to help you through the process. If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area, the law office of Semons & Semons can assist you in deciding what is right for you.

If you are filing for bankruptcy, you can expect to wait anywhere between a few months to five years before your debt is discharged. The exact time depends on which chapter you are filing under. Chapter 7 resolves bankruptcy in four to six months, while Chapter 13 takes three to five years. Here is a rough breakdown of debt clearance timelines for both the chapters:

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Duration

This chapter discharges your debt in three to five years. The applicant has to pay restructured monthly payments to creditors to clear his/her debt.

  • 180 Days before Filing: Complete a credit counseling session or debtor cannot file
  • 90 Days before Filing: Must be a resident of the state where you are filing in during this time
  • Day of Filing: Stay Order sent by Court to all your creditors which notifies them of the filing. A court appointed federal employee will review your eligibility and then schedule a meeting with your creditors.
  • 15 Days after Filing: You will have to present any required documents for your repayment plan during this time.
  • 30 Days after Filing: Your first restructured payment is due. The court keeps reviewing your regularity in filing payments after this first payment is made.
  • 36 to 60 months after Filing: Your debt is cleared and you can start fresh. You will receive a Final Discharge Notice, but you must take a financial management course before you can get it.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline

Meant for individuals with lower incomes and assets, this discharges debt in four to six months.

  • 180 Days before Filing: Complete a credit counseling session or debtor cannot file
  • 90 Days before Filing: Must be a resident of the state where you are filing in during this time
  • Day of Filing: Stay Order sent by Court to all your creditors which notifies them of the filing. A court appointed federal employee will review your eligibility and then schedule a meeting with your creditors.
  • 30 Days after Filing: Debtor files a Statement of Intention telling the court whether you want to keep your collateral or surrender it to the creditors.
  • 45 Days after Filing: You have to act on your Statement of Intention, keeping or surrendering the property.
  • 3 to 6 Weeks after Filing: Court calls a meeting of your creditors. You must present the most recent copy of your tax return before this.
  • 4 to 6 Months after Filing: If all creditors provide proofs of payment (including government agencies like IRS), your debt is discharged.

Choosing the best bankruptcy option for you depends not just on their durations, but also on their pre-requisites. While Chapter 7 will provide relief in up to 6 weeks, you will have to prove that you are not eligible to file under Chapter 13.If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area, the law office of Semons & Semons can assist you in deciding what is right for you.

This of course is one of the most frequently asked question, and it pretty obvious many people want to know what is it. This is one of the most unique bankruptcy chapters that was actually added into the 2005 bankruptcy code following the coming into effect of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. What this set of law normally does is quite complicated. It actually allows any kind of proceeding of any foreign debtor or any other related party to be conducted in the US bankruptcy courts. In short, it is the US adoption of the UN commission on the global trade.

What are the roles of chapter 15 bankruptcy laws?

a. It actually boosts the relation that exist between the US courts and other parties’
b. It promotes one of the fairest administration of any cross border issues thus protecting creditors, as well, as the debtors’
c. offer one of the most effective protection when it comes to maximization of any debtor assets

How proceedings are normally conducted

Technically, chapter 15 bankruptcy is not only the key bankruptcy proceeding by any foreigner or others entities. It is basically secondary. The main proceedings, in any case, will take place in the home soil of the foreigner. However, when it comes to the filing of case, it must be filed in the US court by any foreign representative. He or she will actually request for the foreign proceeding to be recognized. However, the petition must at all times prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the proceedings truly exist.

Immediately after the case has been filed, the court will then classify the processing into any one of the two; foreign non-main proceeding or foreign main proceeding. The only difference between the two is that when it comes to non-man the debtor basically does not have any kind of interest in that particular country. After the proceedings have been recognized, they go into full effect in the US and start protecting the existing assets of the debtor that are within the US. Basically, there are a lot that goes into this law; the above are just but a few of them. Chapter 15 basically addresses the issues of international bankruptcy.

If you are a small business owner and you are struggling in debt, you may consider exploring some options before declaring bankruptcy. There are different types of bankruptcy which can be appropriate for your small business.  

The way you organize your business will make a big different when it comes to the working of bankruptcy. If it is organized as a partnership or a sole proprietorship, then, it will be considered as one and the same entity you and your partner. This means that your business bankruptcy could end up having an impact on your personal credit standing and assets. 

Available options

Chapter 11

This is an option for large businesses or businesses with huge amount of debt and assets. It’s quite rare for a small business to take advantage of this chapter as it only makes sense to businesses which are considered separate from their owners.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is the best option when you are filing bankruptcy for a small business. You and your small business will be included in this kind of consumer bankruptcy filing. You assets cannot be sold in this chapter of bankruptcy, but you need to show that you have enough income which can allow you to repay a portion of the debts. 

For self employed persons and sole proprietors, you are required to track your income for past 6 months leading to the bankruptcy and have other documentations including your tax return which shows your earning capacity. 

Chapter 7

If you have no income to repay your debts, this is the best option for you. You will be required prove that you are not able to pay for your debts due to insufficient income and assets. A lot of your assets are required to be sold in this chapter so as to generate enough money for repaying creditors. It can be hard for your business to continue due to this huge sale of assets.

Remember, to a hire an attorney if you think you may file or you are filing bankruptcy for a small business.

Many people are unable to repay their debts and file for bankruptcy due a number of reasons, often beyond their control, such as loss of job, medical emergencies caused by illness or accident, business losses or change in government policies which can adversely affect a small business.

If a person is unlikely to earn money to repay the debt in future, filing for bankruptcy is the best way to get rid of debtors who may be making the life of the borrower difficult. The borrower can also take advantage of the provisions of the law regarding bankruptcy and taxes, where the ability of the individual to repay the taxes is considered and the taxes may be waived off if the person filing for bankruptcy meets certain conditions.

A person who is indebted and unable to repay his debtors may file for bankruptcy under chapter 7 or chapter 13. There is a provision for waiving the taxes for both the cases of bankruptcy. While a person filing under chapter 7 can have all his debt waived, a person filing under chapter 13 will have to repay some of his debt in installments.

For a person filing for bankruptcy, the tax debt of an individual can be waived off under the following conditions:

  • The due date for the tax returns pertains to a period which is more than three years before the bankruptcy filing date.
  • The tax returns were filed more than two years ago.
  • The tax assessment is more than 240 days old.
  • The tax returns were not fraudulent.
  • The person filing for bankruptcy is not guilty of intentionally trying to tax evasion.

This takes into account the fact that the person who is filing for bankruptcy no longer has the funds to pay the taxes which were due many years ago, and there is no point wasting time, money and effort to force the person to pay taxes when he does not have the money or is unlikely to have sufficient funds in future also.

The law requires individual filing for bankruptcy to provide some documents. Most of these documents are intended to provide an insight into the financial status of the individual for the past couple of months or years. They also try to identify the existing sources of income.

These documents are:

  1. Tax Returns

Trustees insist that tax returns must be provided when filing for bankruptcy. Those who have no tax returns must explain why they did not file their tax returns. If their reasons are not valid they are forced to make the returns before proceeding with the process.

The tax returns requested for vary depending on the trustees. Some demand for the latest while others may ask for older tax returns.

  1. Income Documentation

Pay slips must be provided if the applicant is employed. Self-employed people must provide profit and loss statements for the past six months and their bank statement for the same period. The bank statement is meant to support the information provided in the profit and loss statement. Any other sources of income should also be mentioned and proof of the source provided.

  1. Real Estate Documentation

Individuals who own real estate must provide valuation of their property. This valuation may be online, broker's price opinion, or a valuation from other trusted sources. Proof of any mortgage attached to that property must be provided and also statements showing loan balance, home insurance and deeds trust.

  1. Vehicle Documentation

Documents related to any vehicle owned by the applicant must be provided. These documents include vehicle registration documents, proof of insurance and vehicle valuation. If a car loan exist documents showing the amount owed to the financial institution must be provided. The monthly installments of that loan must be provided.

  1. Miscellaneous

Any other financial commitment such as alimony or child support must be mentioned and documents provided to prove the existence of such payments. Any other unusual expense must also be mentioned and proof must be provided.

  1. Identification

A valid photo such as driver license photo and social security's number must be provided during hearing to validate the identity of the applicant.

All these bankruptcy documents must be provided where applicable for the bankruptcy filing process to go through.

The decision to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not something that should be made in haste.  For many people, this is considered the last resort, something that must come to pass when all else has failed.  To help you understand when this type of bankruptcy is important, consider the following reasons to meet with an attorney and file the proper paperwork.

Your Credit is Getting Worse

Being head over heels in debt wreaks havoc on your credit.  It doesn’t matter if the bulk of that debt was due to too-liberal use of your credit cards or a lot of medical bills piling up over the last several months.  The bottom line is that the ratio of income to debt has shifted, and not in your favor.  Filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one way of getting back on your feet and beginning the process of repairing your damaged credit.

Nothing Else Works

In the past, you’ve tried all sorts of financial strategies to reverse the situation and regain control of your finances.  You met with a debt counselor, looked into the idea of a consolidation loan, and even thought about going through a service that would set up repayment plans with your creditors.  For one reason or another, all those efforts led to nowhere.  

At this point, you don’t really see any way to avoid filing for the bankruptcy protection.  Unless something is done soon, you will be facing garnishments and other legal actions that will destroy what little credit you have left.

You Are Tired of the Pressure

There is no doubt that owing a great deal of money can create significant stress.  Between the constant collection calls, the threatening letters you receive in the mail, and the general feeling of being in an inescapable situation, you are physically and mentally exhausted.  At this point, it is no longer just about the state of your finances.  It is also about your health.

If something doesn’t change, you are at risk of developing all sorts of illnesses, both physical and emotional.  The only way to prevent this from happening is to contact an attorney and determine if you are eligible for bankruptcy protection.  Assuming that you meet the criteria established by the state, starting the action as soon as possible will lift the weight from your shoulders and make it possible to start thinking about the future again.

If climbing debt is ruining your life, a bankruptcy lawyer can help.

In today's world, it seems that we all carry a lot of debt, it is even expected.  However, when you fall so far into debt that you just cannot find a way, it can really damage your life, from your job to your relationships to health. 

Actually, debt and money problems are listed amongst the most stressful things we go through in life, but a bankruptcy lawyer can help.  He or she will know what to do to get you out of that stressful situation, and back on your feet again.

Debt can climb gradually, and sneak up on you. If you miss even one credit card payment, those late charges and accruals can add up, and you can find yourself drowning in debt.  Have an injury or illness that you need to be hospitalized for?  If your insurance does not cover it, those charges will add up, too; or, if you are faced with a layoff at work, the debt can become insurmountable.

If you feel that you just have nowhere to turn, seek the help of a professional. Stop living through these stressful situations when it is possible that a consumer bankruptcy or a proposal can help. 

Getting rid of this debt can really give you a fresh start, and a new outlook on life.  Financial counseling is also available.  Make your future bright again, talk to a professional and see what help is out there for you.

Make financial troubles a thing of the past, and stop allowing that climbing debt to ruin your life.  Only when you get all of your bad debt exorcised will you feel you can breathe again, and start saving for your future. 

Most people, who have gone through these situations, learn how to turn their lives around, and avoid money problems in the future.

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  • There are two common types, known as ‘chapters’ of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The decision to choose one…
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