What I Do

Chapter 7

* No repayment plan – most debts are eliminated. There are a few exceptions or things you still have to pay, for example, child support, recent income taxes, student loans and court fines are the primary exceptions. But as far as credit cards, personal loans, payday loans (booh…hard to get out of), check cashing (terrible), medical debt – gone for good!!

* Most people are able to keep all of their property - however, if you own a major asset, for example a home with $50,000 of equity in it, or a paid for vehicle valued at $15,000, then you have assets that are vulnerable and at risk of being liquidated (sold) by the Chapter 7 Trustee. Most people filing bankruptcy do not have significant assets. If you happen to be one of the fortunate few that do have assets, you will probably be more interested in a Chapter 13 case where you get to keep all of your property.

* A quick process – your case if filed, a month later you and I appear at a hearing where the Trustee reviews your file, and two months later, the Court issues your discharge order. So, within three months, you are debt free and on the road to a fresh start, pretty quick!

* You must qualify – meaning, you and your family must earn less than the median income for your household size. Depending on your household size, this median income can range from approximately $40,000 to $65,000.

Chapter 13

* Is a reorganization or repayment plan – it allows people to keep their property and repay their debt, or a portion of their debt, over a three to five year period. Most Chapter 13 filers have a regular income, they are just needing to consolidate their debts into one simple repayment plan.

* Saves your home – if you are behind on your mortgage payments, Chapter 13 stops foreclosures and will allow you to repay the missed mortgage payments over time at 0% interest. Your ongoing monthly payment is also paid through the plan.

* Protects your vehicle – if you are behind on your car payments, Chapter 13 prevents repossessions. It also allows for repayment of the car loan at 5.5% interest which is often a lot lower than the contract interest. Ultimately, this can save you thousands of dollars (for example, close to $6,000 saved on a car loan balance of $15,000). Who does not want to reduce interest payments?

* Incredible way to handle unsecured debt – credit cards, payday loans, check cashing, medical debt and judgments. A Chapter 13 can potentially allow you to pay back unsecured debt for as low as 0% of the total debt. That’s right, 0%, meaning you pay nothing towards the debt.

* A great way to deal with the IRS – if your taxes were filed and assessed more than three years ago, it’s treated as unsecured debt. If filed and assessed within the past three year, you are able to pay it back at 0% interest, without accruing late fees and penalties – a great way to repay your tax debt!

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"I file bankruptcy cases and that’s all I do. I have specialized in bankruptcy law since graduating from law school some twenty years ago. I file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and get people out of debt."

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Hope Law is a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy under the bankruptcy code.