Request My Free Bankruptcy E-Book arrow

Recent Blog Posts

What Bankruptcy Cannot Accomplish

 Posted on February 27, 2020 in Bankruptcy

Many people benefit from a well-structured, rightly timed bankruptcy filing. While bankruptcy can give individuals some closure on many different debts and provide a fairly blank slate from which you may build a better financial foundation, there are limits to what bankruptcy can do for you. Knowing these limits is useful in giving people accurate expectations before they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What Types of Debts Are Not Dischargeable?

In the context of discussing what bankruptcy is not able to do, the most important consideration is the debts that will stay with you even after you have received a discharge in bankruptcy. Here are some common examples of these debts:

  • Student loans. Unfortunately, student loan debt is not eligible for discharge under any bankruptcy except in very rare circumstances - what is often described as an 'undue hardship.'

  • Unpaid tax liabilities. Usually, outstanding tax liabilities may not be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy unless it is fairly old.

    Continue Reading ››

A Brief Overview of the Bankruptcy Trustee's Role

 Posted on November 20, 2019 in Bankruptcy

When you decide to file bankruptcy, you will have a trustee assigned to your case. The trustee takes on a number of important tasks and administers your case. Their goal is to assess your circumstances, ensure that you are not hiding property, manage the property in the bankruptcy case, and manage payments.

Who Is the Trustee?

Trustees are appointed by the courts. Trustees are typically accountants or lawyers.

Trustees in Chapter 7 Bankruptcies

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the ultimate goal is a discharge of all qualifying debts. The trustee is expected to be impartial throughout the process. They receive a small fee for their services, as well as a percentage of any property sold. This serves as extra motivation to find property that people who file bankruptcy may try to hide.

After you file your bankruptcy petition, your trustee will review and verify everything. They also have the chance to ask you questions at the meeting of creditors. In many cases, the trustee simply asks basic questions regarding the accuracy of your bankruptcy petition and the information included in it. If anything doesn't line up, they may dig deeper to understand any discrepancies. If they believe you are concealing assets or hiding property, they may even object to your discharge.

Continue Reading ››

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Bankruptcy Filing Process

 Posted on October 20, 2019 in Bankruptcy

Maybe you've decided that bankruptcy is the right choice for your family. What's your next step? This step-by-step guide outlines what to expect throughout the bankruptcy process and what your responsibilities are along the way.

Step 1. Discuss Bankruptcy Options with An Attorney

Though you can represent yourself, bankruptcy cases can be incredibly complicated. For that reason, I always recommend that you hire an attorney. Depending on your income level and the amount of debt you have and your assets, you may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which allows for a full discharge of debt without any repayment.

Step 2. Get Your Documentation to Your Attorney

Your attorney will let you know what is needed to proceed with bankruptcy. You will be expected to provide information on your household income, credit card debt, secured debt, assets, and investments. Most attorneys will also need you to complete a questionnaire.

Continue Reading ››

A New Beginning: 5 Tips for Life After Bankruptcy

 Posted on September 20, 2019 in Bankruptcy

Your bankruptcy case is complete and you've received a full discharge-what now? Declaring bankruptcy gives you a clean slate, but you have to approach this time with the right mindset and goals. Here are a few tips to set yourself up for success.

1. Check Your Credit Report

Through each of the three credit bureaus, you have the right to a free credit report once per year. Around 90 days after you've received your discharge, pull your credit report from each bureau. Verify that your discharge is marked on your credit report and that none of the discharged debts are still listed on your report.

2. Write Out Your Financial Plans

It's crucial to think about your long-term financial goals and how you plan on achieving them. Being mindful of your finances helps you avoid slipping into the habits that led to bankruptcy. Think about your savings goals, how you plan on rebuilding your credit, and what long-term purchases you want to make. Consider reflecting on previous financial mistakes and coming up with ways to avoid them.

Continue Reading ››

5 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score Following Bankruptcy

 Posted on August 20, 2019 in Bankruptcy

You've filed bankruptcy and eradicated the debt that's been hanging over you for months or years. Now it's time to start planning for the future. While bankruptcy does offer the chance for a fresh start, it also causes an immediate hit to your credit score. With time and careful management of your resources, you can help your credit bounce back.

1. Secured Credit Cards

Some people have difficulty finding lending opportunities after bankruptcy. Creditors may be unwilling to take a chance on someone with a recent bankruptcy on their record. A secured credit card could be the solution. When you get approved for a secured credit card, you make a cash deposit to the lender. The deposit is typically the same amount as your credit limit. You get your deposit returned after making on-time payments for a set amount of time. Secured cards often have high-interest rates, so use them as a credit-building tool and keep a low balance.

2. Make All Payments on Time

Continue Reading ››

7 Illegal Debt Collection Practices to Watch For

 Posted on July 20, 2019 in Debt Collection

There's a reason that debt collectors have such a bad reputation-they are aggressive and often blatantly disregard the law in their attempts to get a payment from a debtor. Even worse, most consumers do not know their rights or are too ashamed of their financial situation to advocate for themselves. Even if you are behind on payments, you do not deserve to have your rights ignored. If a debt collector tries these practices, they could be in violation of state or federal law. Companies that break debt collection laws may have to pay the victim a fine for each and every violation.

1. Calling After Being Asked to Stop

If you do not wish to receive calls anymore, you can request that all communication regarding your debt be done in writing. You should make this request in writing and send it via certified mail. If the collector continues to call after receiving this letter, they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Continue Reading ››

Bankruptcy and Your Credit Score

 Posted on April 20, 2019 in Bankruptcy

Many people worry about their ability to secure loans, find housing, or apply for jobs in certain industries if they have a bankruptcy affecting their credit score. Knowing what to expect can help you make an informed decision.

A Sudden Decrease in Your Credit Score

Don't be surprised or panicked if you notice a sudden drop in your credit score at one or multiple bureaus. Bankruptcy is a derogatory mark on your credit report, and it can significantly decrease your creditworthiness in the eyes of lenders. This is especially true if your accounts are current or only slightly delinquent, as your credit score may not have been seriously impacted by your growing amount of debt. While it is hard to accept a decrease in your credit score, don't worry. There are many ways you can strengthen your score over time.

When Bankruptcy Can Help Your Credit Score

In some cases, bankruptcy may only have a brief minimal negative effect on your credit score, followed by a rather speedy recovery. If you waited until bankruptcy was unavoidable, you may have many delinquent accounts, accounts in collections, and defaulted accounts. If that is the case, keep in mind that a credit score can only go so low - 300 in the case of a FICO score. But when your debt is discharged in bankruptcy, all of these negative marks are quickly removed from your credit report, and your debts are reported as being discharged. Therefore, even with the impact of a bankruptcy on your credit report, your credit score can improve rather quickly.

Continue Reading ››

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process Explained

 Posted on March 20, 2019 in Bankruptcy

When you have more debt than you can handle, it can take over your whole life and rob you of your peace of mind. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way to discharge eligible debts, give yourself a fresh start, and work toward a more secure financial future. There is no 'payment plan' in Chapter 7. Instead, your debts are simply 'wiped out' upon receiving a discharge. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process in North Carolina is relatively straightforward for individuals with modest income and assets, and we explain it in this blog.

Are You Eligible?

The court system uses a means test to determine whether or not an individual qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The means test analyzes your income and compares it to the state median income. If your income is above the median, you may still file Chapter 7 if you are unable to pay at least $6,000 over the next five years to your creditors. If you can afford more than $6,000 but less than $10,000, you may qualify if you are unable to pay at least 25% of your unsecured debt. A bankruptcy attorney can help you sort this out.

Continue Reading ››

What You Need to Know About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

 Posted on February 20, 2019 in Debt Collection

We've all heard horror stories about debt collectors going to extremes. Many agencies call debtors multiple times a day, pretend to be family members to get the person to answer their phone at work, and leave obscene and harassing voice messages. Some collectors even tell their victims that failure to pay a debt is a criminal offense when in reality the collection agency is the one breaking the law.

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that was passed on September 20, 1977, after aggressive debt collector actions were connected to a steady rise in consumer bankruptcies. It imposes guidelines on how third-party debt collectors may communicate with consumers and prohibits the use of deceptive and abusive business practices.

What is a Third-Party Debt Collector?

A third-party debt collector is not an original creditor, such as a bank, hospital, or car dealership. Instead, it collects debts on behalf of others. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that the FDCPA also applies to debt buyers who purchase portfolios of old or non-performing accounts and attempt to collect them.

Continue Reading ››

Back to Top