San Bernardino Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are experiencing financial hardship and having to deal with constant phone calls at home and work from relentless creditors, then you need to discuss bankruptcy as an option for you with one of our attorneys at the San Bernardino Bankruptcy Group.
Deciding whether to file for bankruptcy is not an easy decision. Most people are not aware of what exactly bankruptcy does or means other than wiping out debts but it can be more complicated. You do have to qualify for a Chapter 7, or consumer bankruptcy, though most people will find that they are eligible. There is also Chapter 13, which is a repayment process and which you should consider if you are facing foreclosure on your home. If you have a business, then a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 11 may enable you to continue operating. In any case, a bankruptcy can essentially allow you to have most of your debt wiped out while retaining most if not all of your assets.
There are self-help guides for filing bankruptcy, but they do not cover all situations nor adequately explain certain ramifications involved in filing. You will need smart and capable advice from a lawyer with the San Bernardino Bankruptcy Attorney Group to ensure you fully understand the process and the legal consequences of certain actions.
Our attorneys handle all 3 of the most common bankruptcy filings:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is also called consumer bankruptcy but business entities such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and corporations use this proceeding when they wish to wind up or liquidate their operations. For debtors wishing to file for Chapter 7 relief, they must pass a means test to be eligible. This requires
that their income be below a certain amount based on household size. There is a backup test wherein your disposable income cannot be beyond a certain sum. One of our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers can determine your eligibility even if your income exceeds the state median.
Before you file a Chapter 7, you will have to attend a short debt counseling class and complete a financial management class before discharge. Most of the time, you can complete these courses at the offices of your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer.
Once you file any type of bankruptcy, all legal proceedings including collection activity must cease pursuant to an automatic stay. This includes creditor phone calls, seizures of bank accounts or any other related activity including lawsuits against you. It does not apply to criminal proceedings.
After filing, you will meet with the trustee who oversees your case with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer.. Your completed schedules that lists all your debts, assets and claimed exemptions will be reviewed at that time. Our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer will have advised you regarding which of your assets are exempt and even if certain non-exempt assets can be converted to exempt so that they may be retained. In the majority of personal bankruptcy filings, debtors are able to retain all of their assets.
There are occasions when the trustee has questions about certain transactions, the existence of assets or if exemptions would apply. One of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers can advise you on how to handle such matters so that you are protected if there are any allegations of misconduct that could affect the discharge of your case.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 7 is not for every debtor. Some debtors are unable to pass the means test or have assets that would be lost or jeopardized in a Chapter 7. An alternative is Chapter 13, which is also called a wage earner plan though small businesses can avail themselves of this type of filing. If you are a small business or debtor who has certain assets that may not be protected in a Chapter 7, a consultation with a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney is essential.
A Chapter 13 requires you to repay your creditors over a 3 or 5-year period, which means that you must have a reliable source of income. Similar to a Chapter 7 regarding the listing of debts and assets and other required information, you also have to attend a debt counseling class before filing. You also have to complete a financial management class before discharge. Both classes can be completed the same day and may even be done in the offices of one of our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Chapter 13 is advantageous for homeowners facing foreclosure though you should immediately disclose this to your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney. Any foreclosure action is stayed once you file and your repayment plan approved. You can make up the arrearages over 36 or 60-months while maintaining your monthly mortgage. If you are a small business owner, you can use Chapter 13 to keep your business running while you repay your debts over the life of the repayment plan. If you find that you are experiencing difficulties keeping up with the payments, immediately contact our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney who can work with you to possibly revise the plan.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 is primarily used by corporations who wish to stay in business but it can be used by any other type of business as well as by individual debtors who are ineligible for a Chapter 7 or who have too much debt to qualify for a Chapter 13. Before filing for Chapter 11 relief, meet with a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney to discuss the process and ramifications.
Businesses that file for Chapter 11 protection may continue operating as the debtor-in-possession but may be overseen by a trustee or other officer. Debtors are able to renegotiate labor agreements, leases and other contracts for more favorable terms as well as to seek other sources of investment or loans. Your Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney will assist you in drafting a reorganization plan that generally must be approved by a creditors’ committee. There can be more than one plan submitted by a number of committees depending on the size of the business.
Before a discharge may be granted, the plan payments must be completed. This type of bankruptcy relief is complicated and much more expensive than the other filings and requires the expertise and advice of one of our Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Bankruptcy can be a means to get yourself back on your feet or to keep your business operating. Discuss your finances, plans and goals with an attorney from the San Bernardino Bankruptcy Group who can advise you on what options are best for you.