Bankruptcy help

November 5th, 2014

Bankruptcy Help

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As a bankruptcy lawyer in Western North Carolina, I get quite a few phone calls and inquiries asking for bankruptcy help.   Most often, a person has just lost their job.  Sometimes, the person is getting separated from his/her spouse.  And, there is also the person who has fallen ill or suffered a medical emergency.  Many folks need to talk to a bankruptcy professional just to know what their rights are.  The internet does provide all kinds of bankruptcy help information.  However, the bankruptcy help information on the internet is not always the best for getting answers to all of your questions.

Bankruptcy Help Starts With Your Consultation

Majority of bankruptcy lawyers offer a free initial consultation.  The reason it is free is because the potential clients are in financial distress!  We believe at my Firm that bankruptcy help should be provided to everyone.  As such, we feel it is important to offer a consultation to discuss your unique situation in bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy help you can get on the internet can be really confusing.  Although it is a Federal law, the bankruptcy laws are also unique to each state. And sometimes, even to each district within the state.   That is why getting valuable bankruptcy help begins with your consultation with a lawyer.  In this consultation, you will learn the facts of filing bankruptcy.  You will also learn how bankruptcy can be filed and whether or not your property will be protected.   Whether you choose to file bankruptcy after getting the bankruptcy help in the consultation is up to you.  Once you have met with a lawyer for your consultation though, you are empowered with what bankruptcy can do to help you.  Taking that first step to meet with the lawyer will be very valuable even if you do not file bankruptcy.

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Filing Bankruptcy

October 15th, 2014

Filing bankruptcy is not a glamorous topic.   People do not like to discuss their financial burden or stress.   Most people do not like to even discuss it with spouses.   Financial stress can put a damper on your happiness.   The historical wisdom of “money cannot buy happiness” is true.   But, not having money and desperately trying to  make ends meet can definitely leave a person unhappy.

Bankruptcy filings are down across the country.

This is a good thing and also a bad thing.  It is good because perhaps it is a sign of our economy getting better.  It may also be bad because perhaps people who really need help with their debts are not getting the advice and help that they need.  No one wants to file bankruptcy.   But, sometimes it is the best choice to help you get the fresh financial start that you need.   This fresh start isn’t just for your finances, but is also for your emotional well-being.

The first step to filing bankruptcy is contacting a bankruptcy lawyer.

As a bankruptcy lawyer in North Carolina, I see a lot of folks who really need help.   They are good, honest people who have gotten into debt because of medical, familial, or even business reasons.   Meeting with a good lawyer can help you take a breath and get an objective picture of your finances and what you can and can’t do to improve your financial position.   Take that step, not only for yourself, but for your family.   Even though filing bankruptcy is not an easy choice, it may be the best choice.town-sign-96612_640

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Bankruptcy and co-signing debts

August 27th, 2014

Bankruptcy is often triggered by co-signing your name to debts.  These debts are usually not your personal debts.  The typical situation is the parent co-signing on debts for their children.  We all want to help our children.  The goal is to help them get a car or put a down payment on a house.   Sometimes we want to help our aging parents with a car or a loan to help them with retirement.  Then there is the boyfriend/girlfriend who needs financial help and so we sign our  name to loans to help them get out of debt.worried-30148_640

Bankruptcy and co-signing debts can be a difficult situation.

I had a client come in today who co-signed her son’s car loan.  He stopped paying the loan and she could not afford to make the payments.  The car was repossessed.  Now, she owes over $10,000.00 in deficiency fees for a car that was not her own.

When you agree to be a co-signer on a loan, make sure the primary borrower can make the payments.   Otherwise, try to maintain your credit and not enter into additional debt.  If you do find yourself facing bankruptcy as the only option, go see a bankruptcy lawyer for a consultation to determine your rights.  Fortunately, bankruptcy can discharge debts that you are a co-signer on.

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How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

June 18th, 2014

How much does it cost to file bankruptcy? This is really one of the most important questions people ask when trying to decide whether or not to file bankruptcy. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation, but that meeting is designed to summarize the bankruptcy options available to you. The consultation is a 30-minute introduction to the bankruptcy process. The meeting is meant to help you understand your legal options. The act of filing bankruptcy is much more detailed and will require the payment of legal fees.

What will the total cost be to file bankruptcy?money-256312_150

Filing bankruptcy gives you the ultimate protection from creditors and in some cases, discharges all of your unsecured debt. When your case is filed, the automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay prevents creditors from contacting you and makes it illegal for them to do so. Bankruptcy is a highly technical field of law. It is best to have an attorney help you file your case. A lawyer provides the knowledge and experience in this complex field to make sure your assets are properly protected. A lawyer will also make sure that all of your debts are properly included in your case. Throughout the process, the lawyer is there to make it a smooth experience for you and to help you get your ultimate benefit, your legal discharge from your debts.

Keep in mind that even borrowing the legal fees to file bankruptcy can be worth getting out from under the debt load. Unless you qualify for legal aid assistance, you must pay the lawyer fees and the filing fees with the court. The typical cost for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $1875.00 including all fees and costs. The typical cost for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is about $4200.00, but this amount is paid usually over the course of five years as part of your monthly payment plan.

These costs may seem daunting at first, but remember that this bankruptcy filing is erasing all other unsecured debts in most cases. It is the end of creditor harassment.  It means the stress of financial burden will be lifted.  You can get the financial fresh start you need by making the effort to meet with a lawyer and pay the costs associated with filing bankruptcy.

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Bankruptcy and creditor collection methods

May 28th, 2014

Bankruptcy and creditor collection methods are commonly grouped together when talking to financially distressed individuals.  As a bankruptcy lawyer, I see lots of people who cannot take the creditor harassment anymore.  Creditors can call you day or night.  Creditors can call you at your house, work, your parents’ house, etc.  Creditors say a lot of mean things, most of which are not completely true.  They also will send you nasty letters.  Eventually, the creditors may even sue you in state court to get the money owed to them.

What relief is available in bankruptcy from creditor collection methods?

First, know your creditor and what legal remedies are available to them.  A car lender, for example, has different ways to collect on a car loan then a credit card company can.  Bankruptcy strives to protect the debtor from creditor harassment and help the debtor get the fresh financial start they deserve.

Second, know what bankruptcy can and cannot do for you as far as creditor collection methods go.  Creditors cannot contact you after you file bankruptcy, but some creditors can request permission to collect on debts through the bankruptcy court after you have filed.

Third, know what happens if you settle on a debt, secured or unsecured.  Creditors now issue Form 1099 for any debts for which the creditor accepts less than the total amount owed.  Please see an interesting article entitled “Bankruptcy and Form 1099″, which I wrote on the subject here:

http://www.lawfirms.com/resources/bankruptcy/the-bankruptcy-forms/bankruptcy-form-1099

For bankruptcy and creditor collection methods, this article can really help you understand what happens with Form 1099.  If a creditor issues this Form to you, you will be responsible for a tax debt.  Once a tax debt is created, it is difficult to discharge it in bankruptcy.  Contact us today for more information and a free bankruptcy consultation to learn more about bankruptcy and creditor collection methods and your legal rights.

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Bankruptcy and Marriage Separation: Can bankruptcy help your marriage?

May 14th, 2014

Bankruptcy and Marriage Separation are very common occurrences that seem to happen together.  Fighting about money and having financial issues is one of the top 10 reasons people separate and get divorced.  The stress from losing a job or being sick and falling behind on house or car or card payments is overwhelming.  Add in a spouse and perhaps a few kids, and the stress can go beyond overwhelming.  As much as we love or once loved our spouse, this type of real life financial strain can be too much for us to handle.  More often than not, the spouses will take it out on each other:  fighting, accusing, blaming, and ultimately, having to go through a marital separation. figures-313196_150 Sometimes, separation can be a good thing.  It can give each party the new perspective they need to see past the financial strain.  Sometimes, separation can lead to divorce.  In either case, this article attempts to help you guide your way through the financial strain and the possibility of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy and marriage separation: Can bankruptcy help your marriage? Bankruptcy helps you discharge your debts or reorganize your debts which can help your marriage.

In most cases, a married couple’s debts are joint in that both spouses are responsible co-debtors on the debts.  This can be in the form of a mortgage, car loan, credit cards, and even medical bills.  The best thing to do when you find yourself in this situation is to contact a bankruptcy lawyer and go learn about your rights and any potential conflicts.  As a bankruptcy attorney, the biggest conflict with a separated couple is:  can the couple work together to complete the bankruptcy and find relief from the financial strain?

Some advantages of filing bankruptcy together even if you are separated are 1)  only one attorney fee and filing fee, 2)  each party is discharging or reorganizing their debts at the same time, and 3)  saving the marital home from foreclosure.  Some disadvantages of filing bankruptcy with a separated spouse are 1) agreeing on who is responsible for the debts, 2) working together while estranged from one another, and 3) having difficulty keeping emotions out of the way.

If you can work together to complete a bankruptcy filing, especially when financial strain was a big part of your separation, it could even save your marriage to be free from debt.  However, only you know what will work best for you in your situation.  Take the time to learn your legal rights with a bankruptcy attorney so that you can best move forward in your decisions regarding bankruptcy and marital separation.

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Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

April 23rd, 2014

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13:  Which bankruptcy chapter is right for you?  chess-316657_150

This is a common question that I address in the free consultation we offer at Peltz Law Firm, PLLC to determine whether a client can file bankruptcy.  “Chapters” do not mean parts of a novel!

Choosing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in bankruptcy law relates back to which section of the United States Bankruptcy Code an individual or business will file bankruptcy under to receive a discharge from debts.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered a straight liquidation of unsecured debt.  In simpler terms, this means that all unsecured debt is discharged.  What does that mean?  A discharge means the debts are extinguished, erased, no longer your responsibility and, most importantly, you are no longer required to pay the debts back.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a payment plan over 3-5 years.  In Chapter 13, you pay back a % of your debt over time.  The % paid back varies per state, but in North Carolina, it is currently a minimum of 10% of your unsecured debt.

Which chapter is the right one for me?  Well, this depends on your finances, possessions, personal and real property, and other factors that make up your financial self.  As a bankruptcy lawyer, my goal is to protect all assets that you do have in either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  When advising clients which Chapter to file, that is my first priority.

The other day, I had an interesting discussion with a client where I was explaining what property might be lost should he file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  As much as I fight to ensure the safety of my client’s assets, this client had a different view.  As an older client, he said he just didn’t really care anymore about possessions and assets.  He would rather be done with the debt and enjoy whatever income he did have instead of worrying about saving assets.  It is an interesting perspective because these are the types of things to think about when you and your bankruptcy lawyer are trying to decide what chapter of bankruptcy you should file.

Deciding whether to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in bankruptcy is a decision that should be made under the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.   You should be well-informed of what property you can keep and what property may be in jeopardy if you file.  Should you live in the Western North Carolina area, please feel free to contact me to discuss these issues.

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Bankruptcy provides a fresh financial start

March 18th, 2014

I am a bankruptcy lawyer in Asheville, North Carolina.  I primarily serve the Western North Carolina counties as a consumer and business bankruptcy lawyer.  Bankruptcy can provide one of the best opportunities for a fresh financial start.  Many people are scared to file bankruptcy, let alone meet with a bankruptcy attorney.  We provide a free initial consultation to help you learn your legal rights.

How can bankruptcy provide a fresh start?tulips-52125_150   The first step in understanding financial distress is realizing that you are in financial trouble and need help.  Contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area for a free initial consultation.    First, bankruptcy can stop creditor harassment.  Many creditors will call you all day, every day, any time of day.  Bankruptcy provides a fresh financial start by making it illegal for creditors to contact you.    This can be your first sigh of relief.  Even once you have retained a bankruptcy attorney, you can tell creditors who contact you that you are in the process of filing bankruptcy, and they should direct the calls to your attorney’s office.

Bankruptcy makes it illegal for creditors to contact you, thereby giving you some room to create a fresh financial start.

When a bankruptcy is filed, a legal protection is created called the automatic stay.  The automatic stay makes it illegal for any creditor to contact you in any form:  calls, mail, lawsuits, collections, judgements, even foreclosures.  If any creditor does contact you after you have filed bankruptcy, the creditor is subject to sanctions by the Court.

Bankruptcy creates a fresh financial start following the bankruptcy process.

After your case has been filed and you have appeared in Court, you will receive an Order of Discharge in a Chapter 7 within two months of your hearing date.  In a Chapter 13, it will be at the conclusion of your Plan.  From the day you meet with a bankruptcy attorney, you should begin to take a look at your finances and how you can make sure that you stay on the fresh financial feet bankruptcy has provided to you.  Use small, achievable goals to see your progress with saving and spending money.  Perhaps take on another job to save more money for a rainy day.  Let bankruptcy help you achieve your fresh financial start and get you back on the path towards financial freedom.

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Emotions with filing Bankruptcy

March 10th, 2014

lonely-273629_150The Emotion of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is one of the oldest remedies to extinguish financial debt.  The first federal bankruptcy law in the United States was passed in the year 1800.  Since then, the laws have changed and been modified, culminating into the United States Bankruptcy Code that we use today.  At its core, filing bankruptcy either discharges all of your unsecured debt or you enter into a payment plan for a period of time to pay back a portion of your debt with the help and protection of the Bankruptcy Code.  At the end of either type of bankruptcy, you are granted an Order of Discharge.  This is the basic procedural process to file bankruptcy.  What many people do not discuss is how does this bankruptcy process feel from beginning to end for those who must utilize it?

There is a misconception in society that bankruptcy is a negative act.  First, there is the event that causes financial distress.  This could be job loss, divorce, even illness.  The list of “events” that lead to financial difficulty is endless.  Second, there is the anxiety and fear about not being able to pay your debts back.  All of us want to pay back money loaned, borrowed, used on credit for our purchases, etc.  Third, there is usually a sense of failure, a feeling unfortunately, created by this stigma that bankruptcy is a negative act.   A person may think, Will bankruptcy even help me?  Do I have too much debt to file?  What will my family think?  How will I be able to ever get credit again?

Bankruptcy is not a negative act.  Empowering yourself with the legal remedies available to you is actually a very positive step towards your financial freedom and emotional well-being.  The first step is to contact a bankruptcy attorney to learn your legal rights.  Knowledge is power!  As a practicing bankruptcy attorney here in Western North Carolina, I see many clients who are fearful to meet with me.  They are anxious just having to come see me about this dreaded thing called bankruptcy.  I can actually see these people breathe a sigh of relief once they know what the laws are and that these bankruptcy laws are designed to help people just like them get out of financial distress.   If your circumstances make it such that bankruptcy will get you back on your financial feet, then filing bankruptcy actually will reduce your stress.   What family or friends might think about your decision is secondary to what is best for you.  Ultimately, getting out of debt and creating a new financial beginning for your life will benefit you and your family.

Just like getting dental work or being diagnosed with a medical condition, bankruptcy can be uncomfortable.  It is a stressful subject simply because you are in distress and have been trying to make ends meet for months.  However, the more you can learn about the legal process and how it is designed to protect and help you, the sooner you can get back to a place of financial comfort.

It is important for those considering bankruptcy to understand that bankruptcy is only the beginning of your financial recovery.  Taking that first step and realizing you may need bankruptcy starts the process.   However, even if you file bankruptcy and receive your discharge of debts, the next steps are just as crucial.  The Bankruptcy laws require that you take credit counseling courses before and after you file bankruptcy.  Make the most of this requirement to learn what you can do differently after bankruptcy to maintain financial wellness.  One step may be to set up automated savings each month.  Try to create small, achievable goals so that you can see your progress.  Bankruptcy is, in fact, a very positive legal remedy that can help you grow and empower you to reach the financial wellness you deserve.

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Business Bankruptcy in Western North Carolina

February 26th, 2014

view-214502_150Here in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina, many businesses thrive and prosper with the huge tourist population.  People love to visit Asheville, North Carolina.  Many people come from all over the world to enjoy the mountains and natural beauty surrounding this little town.  Quite a few businesses in Asheville are owned by families.  And, sometimes, businesses get into financial distress.  Business Bankruptcies can be stressful.  In most situations, the business owners have personally guaranteed some, if not all, of the business debt.   Should your business be deep in debt, bankruptcy can be an option.   In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your personal liability on business debts can be extinguished.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can catch up on your mortgage or loan on your business space and also your home if both are behind on payments.   Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy can also help you restructure and reorganize the business debt.  As a small business owner in Asheville, North Carolina, we are always happy to help other businesses in the area during difficult financial times.

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