Bankruptcy is a word which can conjure up a lot of different images for people. For some, this word may bring to mind thoughts of news stories of corporate giants who have fallen into debt. For others, bankruptcy can be synonymous with the story of an everyday person seeking a way out from under their mounting bills. For many people in severe debt, bankruptcy can offer a light at the end of the tunnel and the possibility of a financial new beginning. However, for those considering declaring bankruptcy, deciding whether or not to file, will depend on and several factors.
The first step in determining if personal bankruptcy is appropriate for you is to take a detailed assessment of your financial circumstances. This means taking into considering all of your assets including retirement accounts, business holdings, stocks, savings accounts, vehicles, college savings accounts, and property, and comparing it with your debt. If you find that what you owe exceeds all of your assets and you are having difficulty making the payments on your bills, bankruptcy may be an option which should be further investigated.
Next, you will need to determine if you qualify for bankruptcy. There are three main types of bankruptcy which are commonly mentioned; Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Which type you choose will depend on your goals and situation. However, Chapters 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy have eligibility requirements which must be met in order to proceed. For instance, Chapter 7 requires that the filer’s income level be below a certain threshold in order to qualify. Chapter 13 on the other hand, places limitations on the amount of the debts themselves. Further, depending on your situation, you may be eligible for Chapter 11 or 13 even though you cannot qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.
Next, you will need to find out if your debt is considered “priority debt.” What this means is that certain kinds of debt generally do not qualify to be discharged in bankruptcy. These debts are called priority debts. Some examples of priority debts would be child support obligations, student loans, most tax debts, and money which was owed to employees of a business within 180 days of the bankruptcy filing. If the primary debt you are seeking to relieve yourself of is priority debt, bankruptcy may not be the best solution to your situation.
Deciding to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision which involves taking an honest look at your situation and coming to the conclusion that you need help. If you find that your debt has reached a point where it is no longer manageable, it may be time to consider the relief which filing for bankruptcy can bring. However, this is not a choice which should be entered into without knowing all of the facts about bankruptcy and how it will look when applied to your circumstances.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is critical that you understand your options and obtain advice from an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. We the have experience and knowledge you need and can provide you with information which will help you make informed choices about your financial future. Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.