The Chapter 7 is available to individuals whose income is low enough based on an income evaluation called a “means test. In a Chapter 7, you can exempt certain property based on State and Federal laws. Exempted property cannot be liquidated to pay creditors! These exemptions are based on the monetary value of assets or the type of asset. Particularly important is that retirement funds like a 401K or IRA are exempt. It is common that a debtor can come out of a Chapter 7 with all assets and be discharged from all debts. And they can usually keep a financed car or home if they continue to make payments.
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Whatever the reason- a lost job, or injury or illness – suddenly, despite the best intentions and effort, people find they cannot pay their bills. Debt can be incredibly stressful. Creditors and collection agencies will constantly call and demand payment. Paychecks can be garnished, or assets seized, making things worse.
Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start. However, the process of filing bankruptcy and getting your debts discharged is complicated. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
For more than 40 years, the Baltimore bankruptcy lawyers at William G. Kolodner P.A. have been dedicated to helping members of our community get back on their feet and take a new hold on life. Contact our Baltimore offices today at 410-837-2144 to discuss your financial situation and how we can help you through the bankruptcy process.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer If I Want to File Bankruptcy in Baltimore?
There are many more important details that cannot be explained in this brief introduction. We urge everyone who finds themselves at the point where they can reasonably anticipate a difficult time making ends meet to talk to us. Many people contact us well past the point where we can be most effective. They have spent hours on the phone with creditors in a fruitless attempt to work out a payment plan. They have hired companies to try to consolidate debts only to find that they still cannot afford to make these payments, or one crucial creditor won’t agree to participate. They have thrown money at bills they can never hope to pay and depleted assets that they could have protected from creditors, such as, most importantly, their retirement assets.
The moment you file, collection efforts, including court actions must stop. Under certain circumstances, we can help you get refunds of assets, including garnished funds. Depending on which type of bankruptcy case is filed, you might be able to reduce your car payments or avoid liens on your property.
Many famous and successful Americans have made use of Bankruptcy to gain a fresh start, including Walt Disney, Johnny Unitas, and Henry Ford and the companies of the President of the United States. While it is a serious step, our clients are almost always pleased that they filed, and experience tremendous relief.
The process of filing for bankruptcy is complicated. It requires time, patience, and attention to detail. It requires a comprehensive understanding of state and federal bankruptcy law and procedure. Knowing when to file is also vital. Filing at the wrong time can have serious consequences.
That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Baltimore bankruptcy attorney. The earlier we talk, the better. The initial consultation is free.
Below, you will see a section titled Bankruptcy Basics which provides a general outline of the process. It is hardly exhaustive. A free consultation with attorneys in our office is absolutely necessary to gain a thorough view of the ways bankruptcy could help you.
Your Firm handled our case over thirteen years ago and Jill acted as if it had happened yesterday. When I called her, she listened patiently. I faxed her the information that I had gathered in regard to my issue. She reviewed the paperwork and took care of the issue in less than a day. Her patience, compassion and kindness is outstanding.Thank you Jill, you are awesome! Jill is the BEST!
When I was first injured I was considering trying to handle it all by myself. However as my injuries progressed a very good friend recommended Kolodner law firm. The moment I entered the office everyone seemed genuinely concerned about my health and pointed me in the right direction to receive the medical treatment needed to get better. The amount of my settlement, while a major and most welcome surprise, was the perfect bonus and addition to the top notch care and medical treatment received.
I started recommending Bill to friends, relatives and listeners. Every person who’s gone to see Bill for legal advice has thanked me. The comments I’ve gotten have ranged from a friend who told me Bill and his attorneys helped him put his life back together after he had to declare bankruptcy to the woman who said that Bill was always there for her no matter what when she was in an automobile accident and badly hurt.
As stated earlier, there are generally two types of bankruptcies that are available to individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Here is a simplified overview of these two. Each case is different. Our lawyers will work with you, and thoroughly evaluate your circumstances to determine the best path for you, including not filing.
As part of this process, we will:
- Explore which bankruptcy option is best for you, given your income and assets and the amount and type of debts. (Not all types of debts are dischargeable)
- Help you understand the bankruptcy process, step by step
- Carefully evaluate your assets, liabilities, and income
- Determine all available exemptions to protect your assets
- Complete and submit a bankruptcy petition on your behalf
- Handle all communication with the bankruptcy court and creditors, and
- Represent you at Trustee meetings and court hearings
Chapter 13 /Reorganization
Some filers are required to file a Chapter 13 rather than a Chapter 7 because they have higher incomes. Also, you may file a Chapter 13 in order to catch up on past-due secured loans like a mortgage or car loan. In a Chapter 13, you propose a plan to pay back creditors with monthly payments, the amount based on your income, debts and expenses. It may require payments to unsecured creditors from a small percentage to up to 100%. Secured Creditors, such as mortgages or car loans, are paid 100% of arrears existing at the time of filing.
The Plan must be approved by the Bankruptcy Judge. At the end of the Plan, you are discharged from the debts owed to creditors. Generally, payments on these arrears will take place over 60 monthly payments paid to a Trustee. The Trustee will then disperse payments to the Creditors. Unsecured creditors, such as credit card companies may also receive some payments depending on an evaluation of the filer’s income, assets, and expenses.
Give us a call to find out how we can help you through the bankruptcy process.