Allentown, PA Bankruptcy Attorney
Anyone can suffer economic hardships when life’s difficulties arise. CNBC reported on a study showing that 66.5 percent of bankruptcies are related to medical issues — either due to high health care costs or time spent out of work due to an illness. Other reasons for filing for bankruptcy include unaffordable mortgages, foreclosure, student loan increases, divorce, or separation. Regardless of the reason why your finances are suffering, Allentown residents have top legal assistance at their disposal.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Allentown, you should not begin this challenging and sometimes confusing process without the guidance of a qualified attorney. At the law offices of Young Marr & Associates, our seasoned lawyers have over 20 years of experience handling all types of consumer bankruptcy cases, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Our bankruptcy law firm has represented over 5,000 clients across Pennsylvania, including across Lehigh County.
Why Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney?
For most of us, this wouldn’t be the time to hire anyone as you cut all expenses. However, having an attorney representing you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your bankruptcy.
To begin with, bankruptcy law is exceptionally technical and convoluted in that the U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides formulas intended to strike a balance of fairness between the creditors’ rights and the amounts you can discharge. Debtors must interpret and strictly adhere to not only the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, but also the applicable Pennsylvania bankruptcy legal standards, rules, and regulations.
In many cases, there are variations between Pennsylvania and federal bankruptcy rules, and certain options are more favorable than others. For example, a debtor may be unsure as to whether they should file in accordance with the exemptions allowed by Pennsylvania, or the exemptions allowed by the federal government. This is a complicated decision, and your attorney can help you choose wisely.
Additionally, if a debtor makes an error at any point during the bankruptcy process — which in some cases, can last for as long as five years — their entire case could be hurt, converted to a different chapter unexpectedly, or even dismissed.
Common examples of mistakes made by debtors who file without an attorney (known as filing pro se) include forgetting to list a creditor, incorrectly filling out bankruptcy documentation and missing deadlines. Moreover, there is a lot at stake for you and creditors can bring in lawyers who can propose to the judge actions that can be detrimental to your interests. Qualified bankruptcy attorneys understand the legal concepts and can defend your rights aggressively.
In addition, there are regulations governing the bankruptcy legal costs that we can explain at greater length when you meet with us. At Young Marr & Associates, we are sensitive to our bankruptcy clients’ financial concerns. We offer affordable representation with flexible options for payment. You don’t want to find yourself paying higher bankruptcy litigation costs due to an avoidable mistake.
Which Type of Bankruptcy Should I File For?
Bankruptcy is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, there are different types of bankruptcy that will fit your unique situation depending on your assets and types of debt. The categories of bankruptcy are called “chapters,” as specified in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In consumer bankruptcy, there are two main chapter categories:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy, known for following a payment plan
The type of bankruptcy you choose isn’t a matter of personal preference. The type you should file for is largely determined by something called the “means test.” The means test is essentially a calculator that measures financial variables like median household income to determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is a better fit for a given debtor. However, there are some cases in which an individual who qualifies for Chapter 7 may want and be able to file under Chapter 13. An experienced Allentown, PA, bankruptcy lawyer can advise you about the pros and cons of each.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fast-moving process which is often completed in four to six months. Chapter 7 is also called liquidation, because some debtor assets may be sold off to creditors as a way to help cover their debts. However, many debts can be erased in Chapter 7, including medical bills, credit card bills, and utility bills. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is based on financial need. If you have a home, you can keep it depending on legal tests your attorney can analyze prior to your filing.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a much more gradual process, typically taking three to five years for completion. Chapter 13 is also called reorganization because it features a reorganization or repayment plan with creditors. Making these repayments helps debtors hold on to their assets and possessions. Like Chapter 7, Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharges many major categories of debt.
What Happens to Retirement Savings During a Bankruptcy Filing
All of your qualified retirement accounts are protected. For example, 401k and other retirement accounts that are qualified under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and will not be part of your bankruptcy estate. Qualified plans generally have withdrawal restrictions based on age. Also, funds in non-ERISA plans are protected for up to $1,362,800 per person under federal law.
Call an Experienced Allentown Bankruptcy Lawyer
Don’t let high-interest rates and fees further increase your debt or let collection actions jeopardize your rights. If you would like to speak with an Allentown bankruptcy attorney about what bankruptcy can do for you, call the law offices of Young Marr & Associates today at (215) 701-6519 to schedule a free legal consultation.
☑ Been paying credit card balances that seem to never go down?
☑ Lost your job and are now having trouble keeping up?
☑ Attempted to work out a payment arrangement to no avail?
☑ Been notified of a mortgage foreclosure action?
☑ Been denied for a mortgage or other line of credit?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then bankruptcy may be an option that you should consider.