Discover the Truth About Bankruptcy
For many people struggling with debt, bankruptcy can seem like a ray of hope in an otherwise difficult situation. It promises relief from the burden of debt and a fresh start for financial stability. However, before taking the plunge, it’s crucial to understand what bankruptcy can and cannot do MO.
Bankruptcy can eliminate many types of unsecured debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills, but it cannot discharge certain debts, such as taxes, student loans, and child support payments. Bankruptcy also cannot save all assets from liquidation, and it may not solve all financial problems. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and understand the specifics of Missouri’s bankruptcy laws before deciding whether bankruptcy is the right option for you.
If you are looking for legal guidance on bankruptcy in Missouri, Jeppson Law Office can help. With years of experience and a deep understanding of Missouri’s bankruptcy laws, their skilled attorneys can guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions about your financial future. Whether you’re considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Jeppson Law Office can provide the resources and guidance you need to achieve a fresh financial start. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides individuals and businesses who are struggling with overwhelming debt with a way to eliminate or repay their debts and obtain a fresh financial start. It is a legal declaration that an individual or business is unable to pay their debts and seeks the help of the court to resolve the financial distress.
The process is governed by federal law and is designed to protect both the debtor and the creditors. Bankruptcy typically involves liquidating assets to pay off debts or creating a repayment plan to pay off debts over time. The type of bankruptcy filed depends on the individual or business’s financial situation and goals.
What are the types of bankruptcy?
Several types of bankruptcy are available to individuals and businesses in the United States. Here are the most common types:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Also known as “liquidation” bankruptcy, Chapter 7 involves selling off non-exempt assets to repay creditors and discharge most unsecured debts.
- Chapter 11 bankruptcy: Typically used by businesses, Chapter 11 involves reorganizing debts and creating a plan to repay creditors while remaining in operation.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Designed for individuals with regular income, Chapter 13 involves creating a repayment plan to pay back all or a portion of debts over a period of three to five years.
- Chapter 12 bankruptcy: Similar to Chapter 13, Chapter 12 is designed specifically for family farmers and fishermen and allows for the reorganization of debts and the development of a repayment plan.
- Chapter 15 bankruptcy: Used in cases involving international bankruptcy, Chapter 15 allows for coordinating bankruptcy proceedings between the U.S. and other countries.
What Can Bankruptcy Do?
The benefits of bankruptcy depend on the individual or business’s unique financial situation and goals. Generally, bankruptcy can provide several benefits to individuals and businesses struggling with overwhelming debt. Some of the key things bankruptcy can do include:
Eliminate or Reduce Debts
Bankruptcy can help individuals and businesses eliminate or reduce debts they are unable to repay. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, unsecured debts such as credit card debts, medical bills, and personal loans can typically be discharged. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, individuals can restructure their debts into a manageable payment plan, which may reduce the total amount paid.
Stop Creditor Harassment
One of the most significant benefits of filing for bankruptcy is the automatic stay. The automatic stay goes into effect once bankruptcy is filed and stops creditors from contacting the debtor or attempting to collect debts. The automatic stay can be particularly helpful for individuals who are facing constant phone calls, letters, or even wage garnishments from creditors.
Save Your Home From Foreclosure
Bankruptcy can also help individuals save their homes from foreclosure. The automatic stay also stops foreclosure proceedings, giving individuals time to negotiate new payment terms or catch up on missed payments. In some cases, individuals may be able to work with their mortgage lender to modify their mortgage terms, making it more manageable to make payments.
Bankruptcy exemptions allow individuals to protect certain assets from being liquidated to pay off debts. These exemptions vary by state, but typically include a primary residence, retirement accounts, and personal property. In some cases, individuals may be able to keep their assets even if they do not qualify for exemptions. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also help individuals protect their assets. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, individuals can keep their assets and create a repayment plan to pay off their debts over time. This can be particularly helpful for individuals with significant assets they do not want to liquidate.
Provide a Fresh Start
One of the most significant benefits of bankruptcy is the fresh start it provides. Once debts are discharged, individuals are no longer legally obligated to repay them, providing a clean financial slate. While bankruptcy does negatively affect credit scores, it can also improve credit by eliminating overwhelming debt and providing a fresh start. Additionally, many bankruptcy courses include financial education to help individuals make informed decisions and avoid future financial difficulties. This education can be particularly helpful for individuals who want to improve their financial literacy and avoid future financial problems.
What Bankruptcy Cannot Do?
While bankruptcy can be a powerful tool for individuals and businesses struggling with overwhelming debt, it’s important to understand that it does have limitations. Here are some things that bankruptcy cannot do:
Discharge All Debts
Bankruptcy can discharge many types of unsecured debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills, but it cannot discharge all debts. For example, debts incurred through fraud, such as intentionally running up credit card debt with no intention of repaying it, cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Similarly, certain types of taxes, student loans, and court-ordered fines or restitution cannot be discharged.
Protect All Assets
Bankruptcy exemptions do not apply to all assets. For example, luxury items such as expensive jewelry or vehicles may not be exempt and could be sold to pay off debts. Additionally, if an individual has significant equity in their home, they may be at risk of losing it in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help individuals keep their assets, it requires them to make regular payments towards their debts over several years.
Improve Credit Immediately
While bankruptcy can ultimately help improve credit by eliminating overwhelming debt, it does not immediately boost credit scores. Bankruptcy can remain on a credit report for up to 10 years, and it can be difficult to obtain new credit immediately after filing. However, by making responsible financial decisions and working to rebuild credit over time, individuals can improve their credit scores after bankruptcy.
Solve All Financial Problems
While bankruptcy can help individuals overcome overwhelming debt and provide a fresh start, it is not a cure-all for all financial problems. It does not address underlying financial issues like overspending or lack of income. To avoid future financial difficulties, individuals should work to develop responsible financial habits, such as budgeting, saving, and avoiding unnecessary debt.
Work With a Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney Today!
While bankruptcy can provide significant relief for individuals struggling with overwhelming debt, it’s important to understand its limitations. Bankruptcy cannot discharge all debts, protect all assets, provide an immediate credit boost, or solve all financial problems.
However, by working with a trusted Missouri bankruptcy attorney and developing responsible financial habits, individuals can make the most of the fresh start that bankruptcy provides. Reach out to our attorneys at Jeppson Law Office to discuss your situation today.