Nearly everyone will experience some type of financial hardship at some point in their lives. But of course, some people will struggle more than others. If you are drowning in debt and unable to pay your bills, it’s important to know that help is available.
There are a number of debt relief options available to people who are experiencing financial difficulties. One option is bankruptcy, which is typically viewed as a last resort. Most individuals file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you need to know about the differences between these two types of bankruptcy. The skilled bankruptcy attorneys at Benner & Weinkauf can help you understand the pros and cons of each type so you can make the right decision for your future.
WHAT IS CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as the liquidation bankruptcy. This is because if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your non-exempt assets will be liquidated in order to repay a portion of your debts.
There are state and federal laws that protect certain assets from liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some of the assets that are exempt in Massachusetts include:
- Necessary clothing and bedding
- Up to $7,500 in vehicle equity
- 85% of your gross earnings or the amount that is equal to 50 times the state’s minimum wage
- Your primary residence
Assets that are not exempt will be liquidated. But in most cases, this will not generate enough money to cover all of your debts. However, this won’t matter. Once this process is complete, the court will discharge most of your remaining debts, including:
- Credit card debt
- Medical debt
- Utility bills
- Unpaid rent
- Personal loans
Some debts are not dischargeable through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including:
- Child support
- Mortgages and other secured loans
Because most debts are discharged, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you get a fresh financial start.
WHAT IS CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often referred to as the wage earner’s bankruptcy. This is because it is only a good option for people who earn a steady income. Why? If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will require you to develop a repayment plan that explains how you will make monthly payments to your creditors. The repayment plan must be approved by your creditors and the court before it takes effect. Once it is approved, you will need to comply with its terms. This plan will typically last for three to five years, which means you will need to make monthly payments for up to five years.
In most cases, these monthly payments are not large enough to repay all of your debts within three to five years. But again, that won’t matter. If you comply with the terms of your repayment agreement, the court will discharge most of your remaining debts after you have completed the plan.
Certain debts, which are called “priority debts,” are not dischargeable during Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Examples of these debts include child support, alimony, and taxes. Unsecured debts, such as medical debt, utility bills, and credit card debt, must be incorporated into your repayment plan. But whatever remains on these debts at the end of your repayment plan will be discharged.
ARE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?
At Benner & Weinkauf, we understand that no two financial situations are the same. That’s why we always encourage clients to discuss the details of their financial situation with us so we can determine whether or not they are a good candidate for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you are a good candidate for bankruptcy, our attorneys will assist you with every step of the process. We will stand in your corner and work tirelessly to help you get through this challenging time so you can move forward in your life.
SEEK LEGAL REPRESENTATION FROM OUR BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS NOW
Don’t file for bankruptcy without a skilled attorney by your side. The lawyers at Benner & Weinkauf have decades of experience representing clients in Massachusetts who are struggling financially. We have helped these clients wipe their financial slates clean and get the fresh financial start they deserve. Now, let us use our resources, skills, and experience to help you as well.
Learn more about your legal options–and find out if you are a good candidate for bankruptcy–by scheduling a free consultation with us today. Call 774-404-8321 or fill out the form on this website to contact our team.