To discharge personal debt, an individual must file a Chapter seven bankruptcy. Many personal obligations are discharged in a bankruptcy petition. This provides the debtor with a fresh start; the chance to start over without any debt. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy option is used when individuals do not own any personal or real property. The debtor should not have excessive income when filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To understand bankruptcy, it is important to know the difference between secured and unsecured debt.
Debt that is not backed by collateral is unsecured debt. The best examples of unsecured debt are;
- Credit cards
- Personal loans
- Medical bills and
- Repossession deficiencies.
Unsecured debts are discharged when filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some unsecured debts are provided special protection and are not discharged.
Congress provides extra protection for the following unsecured debts:
- Student loans and
- Domestic support.
A secured debt is backed by collateral. Home mortgages and car loans are common examples of secured debt. If the debtor wants to keep the collateral, they must reaffirm the debt. When it’s preferred to discharge the secured debt, the collateral must be surrendered. When the property is surrendered and the debt is discharged, the debtor is not accountable for the deficiency balance. The deficiency balance is the difference between the proceeds from the sale of the collateral, and the balanced owed on the debt.
What is Needed for Filing a Chapter 7?
Several different types of information are verified to determine the possibility of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debtor’s income is verified for a period of ninety days, prior to the bankruptcy filing. All income must be accounted for, including W-2 income and passive income. Cash income is disclosed when filing the bankruptcy. Whether the income is taxable or nontaxable, it must be disclosed during the bankruptcy. The previous two years of tax returns are required for the bankruptcy petition.
All obligations must be disclosed to the bankruptcy attorney.
It is important to disclose all collection accounts, judgments and garnishments. The attorney may ask for estimates on monthly expenses such as; rent, utilities, insurance and groceries. Insolvency can only be determined with accurate information on all obligations.
A copy of the county property tax appraisal is required to determine the value of the real estate. A private appraisal may be used in place of the county records. All investments such as a 401-K and IRA must be provided to the bankruptcy attorney. Accurate and complete discourse of all required information is required during the bankruptcy process. The information is required to determine if the debtor is eligible for the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing an accurate bankruptcy petition is the only way to protect the debtor’s remaining assets.
The bankruptcy court determines the filing fee for the bankruptcy petition. The average filing fee is three hundred thirty five dollars. The attorney’s fees vary depending upon the complexity of the case. The attorney fees must be disclosed to the bankruptcy court. The manner in which the fees are paid, must also be disclosed to the court. The bankruptcy judge has the ability to order a refund of any excessive attorney fees. The judge reviews the bankruptcy petition. It may take the bankruptcy judge several days to determine if the Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be granted or dismissed.
If you are in need of a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer, call us today to set up a free consultation.