Bankruptcy. The word seems daunting and terrifying to most individuals and/or business owners that are at the point of considering seeking bankruptcy protection. However, the laws and process of bankruptcy have been enacted specifically to allow people to stabilize their debt situation and potentially give them a new start.
If you or your business are in over your head, it may be time to sit down and talk about Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a tool to be used in the right circumstances. In the light of the world changes in 2020 – economic collapse, record high unemployment, forced business closures – more and more people have been forced to seek protection from the Bankruptcy Court.
It is helpful to think of bankruptcy as not the end of the line when a financial situation becomes dire, but rather the beginning of rebuilding to a better future. Sometimes, individuals wait too long before filing bankruptcies for their businesses. It is important to sit down with knowledgeable professionals and discuss the benefits of the pursuing bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is not a “Get out of Debt Free” card. While a legally established protection to prevent an individual or business from going to a point of no return and losing everything, bankruptcy is not a legal process to begin lightly. There are ramifications when seeking bankruptcy and it is not a free way to escape from all forms of debt. Certain categories such as federal taxes or student loans, while not impossible to discharge, have extremely stringent requirements for discharge. Additionally, if there are non-exempt assets those assets could be subject to seizure or forced sale to satisfy creditors. Furthermore there are future considerations regarding impacts on credit rating and ability to finance new purchases or obtain lines of credit.
Balanced against the costs are the tangible benefits of bankruptcy. Upon discharge the vast majority of debts will either be cleared, reduced, or reorganized depending on the form of the bankruptcy sought and approved by the Court. Regardless of the approach, the first step to beginning the bankruptcy process is to conduct an accounting of the incomes, assets, debts, and liabilities that the individual or business maintains. Compiling this will provide a large head start on the process and allow for a productive review to set out a roadmap of what Chapter would be applicable. Each Chapter of the bankruptcy code contains requirements that are applicable to certain situations, and also the procedures and timelines for the process. Terms like Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, Trustee, and 341 Hearing can all sound like a foreign language, and in some sense they are, but we can act as a translator and counselor to help navigate the proceedings.
If you are thinking of pursuing bankruptcy, as an individual or business entity, we can help you and assist with the process if you choose to move forward. Take your first step towards a new start today.
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