People with limited income who have accumulated a huge amount of credit card and personal loan debt have the option of filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Dallas based bankruptcy law firm Recovery Law Group lawyers elaborate that in this liquidation bankruptcy, your non-exempt property is sold off to repay your debts. In case you wish to protect your assets, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a better option. This type of bankruptcy is known as a reorganization plan, where, in a court-approved repayment plan is used to pay off your debts over 3-5 years’ timeframe.
What effect does Chapter 7 bankruptcy have on your life?
Filing for bankruptcy has an adverse effect on your credit score. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7 years in the case of Chapter 13 and 10 years in the case of Chapter 7. However, over time, this negative effect decreases, and your credit score improves. The various concerns people have while filing for bankruptcy include:
- Can you lose home and your possessions on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
The federal and state exemptions allow you to keep your property up to a fixed dollar limit. In case you have property exceeding your exemptions, the non-exempt property is sold off to pay your debts.
- What property can be kept during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing?
Exempted property limit is capped. Bankruptcy filer can choose between state and federal exemptions (if it is allowed in their state). The various federal property exemptions include –
- Homestead: $23,675 of equity can be retained in-home, burial plots or mobile homes. You can use this entire amount to protect your home or use up to $11,850 for any other property.
- If your home equity is less than $23,675, your home might not be sold off, though a lender may foreclose if you are behind mortgage payments. If your equity is more than $23,675; the house is sold, you receive the exempted amount and the remaining amount is used to pay off debts.
- Motor vehicle: up to $3,775.
- Personal property: $600 per item (books, pets, musical instruments, appliances, ) with total exemption up to $12,625.
- Health aids: completely exempted.
- Retirement accounts: entire savings of 401(k) or 403(b) and IRA savings up to $1,283,025.
- Jewelry: up to $1,600.
Married couples can double the exempted amount by filing bankruptcy together.
- Who can qualify for Chapter 7?
A person can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if their income is less than the state median for household of a similar number of members. If your income is more than the state median, you need to pass the means test. In this case, your disposable income is calculated, deducting all necessary expenses (food, household needs etc.) from your income. If this amount after multiplying by 60 is less than $7,700 then you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If this amount is between $7,700 and $12,850, then your ability to pay at least 25% of your unsecured debts is assessed. If you have enough disposable income to pay for 1/4thof your unsecured debts, you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- What happens if you fail the means test?
People whose income is more than the state median are required to take the means test. If their disposable is above $12,850, they are not eligible for this chapter of bankruptcy and need to file for Chapter 13.
- Is Chapter 7 better than Chapter 13?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ideal for those who have limited income add want to get rid of debts. In the case of chapter 7, equity in the non-exempt property is sold off to repay your creditors. On the other hand, people who have huge amounts of debts and wish to protect their property should file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Which debts are eliminated on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Secured debts such as those protected by assets like a car or home cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Additionally, certain debts like a student loan, alimony, child support, tax debts, etc. are also not eliminated after bankruptcy. However, unsecured debts like credit card bills, personal loan, medical debt are discharged, within 4 to 6 months in the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you are facing financial issues and struggling to make ends meet, it is important to consult professionals. You can contact experienced bankruptcy lawyers at 888-297-6023 to discuss your case and eventually file for bankruptcy. They will guide you through the procedure of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, provide you qualify for it. Filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 costs $335 which can be paid in 4 monthly installments (after seeking permission) or the fee waived off depending on circumstances.