Debt can quickly become overwhelming. It tends to have a snowball effect, and it doesn’t take long for a person to lose control of debt and feel powerless to rebuild his or her credit. There are many options for taking control of your financial future. Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can legally erase debt to give you a fresh start. The experienced Gonzales bankruptcy attorneys at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, can answer your bankruptcy questions and help you determine the best option for relieving your debt.
What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process by which a person can have his or her debts forgiven. Legally, this is known as a “discharge” of debts. There are different types of bankruptcy that are set forth in different parts of the bankruptcy code. Many types of bankruptcy – such as Chapter 13 – require a debtor to enter into a repayment plan for at least part of the debt that will be discharged. The debt will only be discharged if payments are made successfully for the specified length of time. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy that requires no repayment plan. Because of this, it is a popular choice with debtors who qualify for it.
How do I know if I qualify to have my debts discharged?
Every state sets its own income limit for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In addition to falling below the income requirements, you must also pass a “means test” that examines income, expenses, and debt (both secured and unsecured). By working with an attorney before filing your petition, you can determine your eligibility in advance and reduce the risk of having a bankruptcy petition denied.
You must also account for your assets in a bankruptcy petition. Home equity, vehicles, jewelry, furs, paintings, housewares, and all other personal property are considered assets that could be used to pay your debts. Luckily, there are many exemptions that can protect your assets from the bankruptcy court. You may deduct home and vehicle equity up to the limit specified by state law. Tools or equipment used for work can also be exempt (up to the amount of $8,725).
There are also exemptions for household goods and furnishings, jewelry, life insurance, personal injury settlements, public benefits, Social Security, and inmate trust accounts. The California Code of Civil Procedure sets specific amounts in each category. And if no other exemption applies, there is a “wildcard exemption” that can be applied to any personal property. Here, too, it is important to work with an attorney before filing a bankruptcy petition. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will know exactly what exemptions to apply to all your assets to ensure they are not liquidated by the bankruptcy court.
Experienced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney near Gonzales, CA for all California debt cases
Debt can follow a person for years to come. By discharging the debt in bankruptcy, you can give yourself a fresh start. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a Gonzales bankruptcy lawyer. The sooner you pursue your legal options, the more control you will have over your financial future.