Personal Bankruptcy FAQ
Q: When should I file for bankruptcy?
The decision to file for bankruptcy is often one of the hardest choices that a person has to make in his or her lifetime. Poor planning can often make the process even harder. It goes without saying that filing for bankruptcy should be a last resort, and should only be done when all other methods of satisfying one’s financial obligations have been exhausted. However, if your situation has become so severe that you are in danger of foreclosure, garnished wages or repossessions or are facing debts that you are in no position to pay, putting off the inevitable can have devastating consequences. Procrastination can cost you your car, your wages, and even your home. Filing your case in a timely fashion can spare you these losses.
Q: How will the new bankruptcy laws affect me?
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2005 puts much stricter guidelines on personal bankruptcy filings. Some of these guidelines include mandatory debt counseling, income limitations on who can and cannot file, and requiring some debtors in higher income brackets to pay off a portion of their debt before allowing them to file. Depending on the amount of money you have, your current income and your personal circumstances, you may not be allowed to file for Chapter 7, which absolves most of your debts. Instead, you may be forced to file for Chapter 13, which requires you to enter into a payment plan. Before filing, it is important that you speak with someone experienced with the bankruptcy laws so that you will have a better idea of what to expect when you file.
Q: Will all of my debts be forgiven if I file bankruptcy?
Many people mistakenly believe that filing bankruptcy will “wipe the slate clean” and absolve them of all their financial obligations, but that is not necessarily true all of the time. Even if you file for bankruptcy, you will still need to pay your child support, back taxes, federal student loans or debts incurred as a result of fraud or theft (writing bad checks, for example). If you are not clear on which debts will and will not be discharged, speak with an attorney or reputable credit counselor before filing.
Q: What should I know about the bankruptcy hearing?
Not being prepared for the hearing. Failing to show up or properly prepare for your hearing will not buy you more time. If you are not present at the time of your hearing, your case could be dismissed and you will have to refile at a future date. You only need to bring your original Social Security card or an original document with your Social Security number on it such as a Medicare card or W-2 or 1099. You must also bring a photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or green card. Mr. London will bring all other necessary documents to the meeting, will personally prepare you for the interview and attend the interview with you.
Q: How much money can I have in my bank account when I file bankruptcy?
According to New York bankruptcy law, one is allowed $5,000 in cash or in the bank or a combination of both. There are other exemptions which you are also allowed such as a vehicle, jewelry, and tools of your trade, etc.
Donald H. London Esq. assists clients throughout Westchester County, Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Mount Vernon, the Bronx, Hudson County, Bergen County, Rockland County, Fairfield County, Stamford, Greenwich, Connecticut, and the surrounding areas.