Before you file for bankruptcy protection it is critical that you know how filing will benefit you and understand what bankruptcy can and cannot do for you. As you explore the ways bankruptcy can help you, we encourage you to read the 5 bankruptcy questions to ask before filing, and sit down with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your specific situation.
Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. Take advantage of having all of your questions answered at no cost to you. We offer free consultations to anyone in Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas who want to explore their options to get out of debt. Contact us here or call (912) 351-9000 today.
When you sit down with a bankruptcy attorney, ask all of the questions you have and make sure you cover these 5 Bankruptcy Questions to Ask Before Filing.
- Do I qualify for Bankruptcy?
The answer to this questions is complex and requires an analysis of your income and expenses. Even high-income earners can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is the quickest and simplest form of bankruptcy.
For people who do not qualify for Chapter 7, or who would otherwise benefit from additional protections, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a three to five year repayment plan but offers additional benefits that Chapter 7 does not, such as the opportunity to lien strip an underwater second mortgage, pay mortgage arrears, and makeup missed car payments.
When you work with us, we will explain the different chapters of bankruptcy and how filing will affect you and your family. When we meet for a free consultation we will go over the pros and cons of the various chapters and help you determine which chapter is best for you. In the meantime, for a better understanding of Chapters 7 versus 13, read our article The Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
- Do I have any meaningful alternatives to filing for bankruptcy?
Simply because you are exploring how bankruptcy can help you does not mean that you actually need to file for bankruptcy. It is advisable for you to understand your meaningful options on getting a handle on your debt.
When it comes to debt relief, your situation is unique and you’re empowered to choose the path that is right for you. A few options for getting out of debt include creating a feasible plan to pay back your debts, settling your debts, debt consolidation, and erasing debts through bankruptcy. Read more about the pros and cons of each option in our article How to Get out of Debt.
If the above options will take you many years to get out of debt, we encourage you to consider the benefits and drawbacks of bankruptcy. Further, a meaningful alternative to bankruptcy will handle your entire debt problem, not just one or two debts. Bankruptcy is not the solution that’s right for everybody, but it is a powerful legal tool to end your financial struggles.
- Do I have any non-exempt assets?
This questions essentially means: can I keep my assets and belongings in I file for bankruptcy?
In general, most people are able to keep most or all of their assets and belongings through bankruptcy. Assets that are protected in bankruptcy and cannot be seized and sold by the Bankruptcy Trustee are “exempt” assets. Georgia bankruptcy law protects a number of exempt assets, including a certain amount of equity in a home, vehicle, household goods, and many other assets. View the entire list of Georgia exemptions here.
If you have non-exempt assets, those will be subject to seizure and sale by the Bankruptcy Trustee to pay back a pro-rata share to your qualifying creditors. You will know before filing if you have any non-exempt assets that cannot be protected if you file for bankruptcy.
- Are any of the transfers I’ve made in the past two years possible “fraudulent transfers”?
Federal bankruptcy law regulates sales or transfers of real property and other assets made during the two-years prior to filing for bankruptcy.
In your Bankruptcy Petition, you must disclose all sales or transfers of real property made within two years of the date your case is filed. Any sale or transfer of property made within the two year look-back period will be examined by the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to your case. The Trustee will be looking for assets that could be seized and sold to pay back the debts you owe and instances of bankruptcy fraud.
You may still file for bankruptcy if you have sold or transferred property during the look-back period, though it is important to discuss the transaction with your bankruptcy attorney to explore whether it will affect your case. Even innocent and honest transfers can cause problems.
- Will filing for bankruptcy erase all of my debts?
Bankruptcy law treats different types of debts differently. Bankruptcy erases your dischargeable debts, including credit card debts, medical bills, personal loans, past due rent, utility bills, certain older tax liabilities, most civil judgments (not based on fraud), and some other unsecured debts. However, bankruptcy does not erase nondischargeable debts, including student loans, back spousal or child support payments, newer tax liabilities, and certain other types of debts listed as exceptions to discharge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. 18 U.S.C. § 523.
Also, depending on when or how a debt was incurred, you may have other nondischargeable debts. Review your debts with your bankruptcy attorney prior to filing so you know which, if any, of your debts, must be paid back even after filing for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a Powerful Tool to Help You Get Out of Debt
Filing for bankruptcy protection is your legal right and offers powerful tools to help you get out of debt and get the fresh financial start you deserve.
Find out more about Bankruptcy in our guide: All About Bankruptcy
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.