The option to file for personal bankruptcy can be a tough decision to make, especially, as it will impact your life for years to come. Know exactly what you’re getting into and what it means to file bankruptcy! Use the tips from this article to help you to understand the hows and whys of filing personal bankruptcy.
Millions of Americans file for bankruptcy each year because they can not pay their bills. If you find yourself going through this, you should know all about the laws that are in your state. Bankruptcy laws vary from state to state. For example, whether or not you can keep your home, as well as what you need to do to keep it, is different for every state. Be sure you educate yourself on local laws prior to filing.
Remember you still have to pay taxes on your debts. A lot of people don’t realize that even if their debts are discharged in the bankruptcy, they are still responsible to the IRS. The IRS usually does not allow complete forgiveness, although payment plans are common. Make sure to find out what is covered and what is not.
Prescreen any bankruptcy lawyer before hiring one. Because bankruptcy is an every-growing area of law that attracts new lawyers all the time, you are likely to encounter many new lawyers who do not have much experience. You can check any bankruptcy lawyer’s credentials online and see if they have any disciplinary actions on their record for improper filings or practices. You are also likely to find client ratings. In the matter of choosing a lawyer, one with experience and a positive record is always best.
Before you file for bankruptcy, make sure that you sort out your taxes. When you file, the bankruptcy trustee will need to see your tax return from last year and possibly even your tax return from two years ago. If you have these documents ready, your bankruptcy attorney will be able to ensure that the whole bankruptcy process is carried out as quickly as possible.
Know the difference between Chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcies. Chapter 7 will wipe your debts clean, meaning you will not owe what you file against. Chapter 13 requires you to agree to repay your debts. These debts need to be repaid within three to five years of the filing date.
Bankruptcy laws vary from state to state. Play it safe and hire an attorney that works in your own state to be sure that the correct laws are followed. Some lawyers are better than others, so be sure to select one that is qualified to handle your case. It could make a big difference in how smoothly things go and the end result.
Do some research. There are two main types of personal bankruptcy – Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 will eliminate the majority of your debt while Chapter 13 restructures it to give you time to pay it off. Each one has different rules on what assets you are allowed to keep. So, ask a lot of questions before you decide which one is the best fit for your situation.
If you are sure that you are going to file for bankruptcy, you should stop making any payments towards debts, that will be discharged during the bankruptcy process. Since you will not be liable for these debts in the near future, it is of little benefit to you to keep making payments towards them. It would be more beneficial for you to save any spare cash, that you have for future needs.
As you are working to make the decision to file for personal bankruptcy, remember that it will affect your life for at least the next ten years. Bankruptcy should be used as a last resort and the decision to file not taken lightly. Carefully weigh your options before you make any decisions.
As you have read in the article above, there are quite a few steps involved in filing for personal bankruptcy, but also carries a lot of responsibility. This option should be used as a last resort and you should understand the consequences of making such a tough decision. Don’t be too hasty to file and keep the tips in mind from this article, when you do!