Bucks County Bankruptcy Lawyers
Contrary to media spin, bankruptcy is not the domain of business tycoons and actors. Why? Because, for many people, bankruptcy is the optimal path back to restoring financial stability. In fact, millions of Americans file for bankruptcy every year, including thousands of people here in Pennsylvania. Court statistics show that in 2017 alone, over 1,000 bankruptcy cases were filed in Bucks County. Why? Because for many debtors, bankruptcy is the optimal way of relieving debt and restoring financial stability.
If you’ve been struggling to pay off your debts, bankruptcy may be a step in the right direction. However, the filing process is complex, which makes it important to work with a knowledgeable and trusted Bucks County bankruptcy attorney. At Young, Marr & Associates, we have more than 30 years of legal experience handling over 10,000 bankruptcy cases. Whether you are interested in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or even an emergency bankruptcy filing, we are ready to help. For a free consultation, call (215) 701-6519, or contact us online today.
- The Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy
- Reason to File for Bankruptcy
- Types of Bankruptcy in PA
- Requirements to File Bankruptcy
- Do You Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
- Filing for Bankruptcy Yourself vs. Using an Attorney
- Finding Bucks County Bankruptcy Lawyers
The Benefits of Filing Bankruptcy
The primary benefit of filing for bankruptcy is, of course, debt reduction and/or elimination. However, in addition to mitigating financial debt, bankruptcy also offers other, less commonly known advantages as well. Some of the additional benefits of filing for bankruptcy include:
1. Eliminating many different types of debt
Bankruptcy may allow you to wipe out debts from credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, and more.
2. Stopping creditors from harassing or contacting you
Due to a rule called the “automatic stay,” debt collectors are usually prohibited from contacting you or taking further collection actions during your case. As soon as an individual files for bankruptcy, they are protected by the automatic stay. Under the automatic stay, debtors are shielded from any continued creditor contact, are no longer subject to wage garnishment, and will also be granted delays against actions to suspend utility services, or to enact foreclosure or eviction.
3. Emotional Relief
Just because stress and anxiety can’t be quantified on a bill doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. One of the greatest benefits of filing for bankruptcy is arguably the confidence, self-esteem, and peace of mind that result from regaining financial control.
4. Delaying service shut-offs resulting from unpaid utility bills
The automatic stay can also postpone utility shut-offs from nonpayment of past bills.
5. Delaying or even preventing foreclosure and eviction
Depending on what type of bankruptcy you file, you may be able to delay or even stop foreclosure on your home.
6. Giving you more time to catch up
If you’re struggling to keep up with bills and expenses that have spiraled out of control, filing bankruptcy may give you the opportunity to make your payments smaller and more manageable.
7. Getting started on the road to repairing your credit
Good credit and bankruptcy may not seem to be a likely pair. In fact, many people hesitate to file for bankruptcy due to concerns about permanent negative effects on their credit. But because bankruptcy “resets the clock” in terms of debt, after a discharge, petitioners become empowered to make timely payments — and in turn, fully repair their credit.
The Reasons to File for Bankruptcy
The primary benefit of filing for bankruptcy is gaining the opportunity to reduce or eliminate debts you owe. But did you know that, in addition to helping you get your debts under control, bankruptcy can also offer other advantages? Some additional benefits of filing for bankruptcy include:
Delayed debt collections
When you file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, you will immediately be protected by the automatic stay. While the automatic stay is in effect, creditors cannot contact you or continue their efforts to collect debts. As a result, the automatic stay temporarily freezes wage garnishment, foreclosure proceedings, eviction proceedings, and other attempts to collect debts.
Long-term credit repair
Many people hesitate to file for bankruptcy due to concerns about the negative effects on their credit. However, it is a myth that bankruptcy will permanently hurt your credit score, or make it impossible to take out loans in the future. While bankruptcy will initially cause your score to drop, it will be easier to build good credit in the long term with your debts and payments under control. Additionally, the bankruptcy will eventually come off your credit report.
Peace of mind
Dealing with financial hardship can cause intense stress and anxiety about your future. In addition to the financial benefits, filing for bankruptcy can give you better confidence, self-esteem, and peace of mind as you regain control of your financial situation
The Types of Bankruptcy Available in Bucks County
There are two main types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7, also known as liquidation; and Chapter 13, also known as reorganization. The type of bankruptcy which consumers file for is determined by something called the Means Test. The Means Test weighs a petitioner’s income against the amount of debt they have accrued, in order to determine what sort of payment plan will be economically feasible for the petitioner.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies move rapidly, and are typically completed in a matter of months. Chapter 13 bankruptcies take a longer time to complete – anywhere from three to five years. That is because, unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 requires you to make monthly payments to various creditors.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are based on need, and therefore completely eliminate the majority of debts, including utility bills, medical bills, personal and business loans, and credit card debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcies move rapidly, and are typically completed in a matter of months. Chapter 13 bankruptcies take a longer time to unfold — about three to five years — and while many debts are discharged, other debts, like utility bills, are repaid in a gradual, steady manner under a payment plan.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is also known as “liquidation” or “straight bankruptcy.” Chapter 13 is called “reorganization” or a “wage earner’s plan.” A test called the “means test” helps you decide which type of bankruptcy to file for. By comparing your income against the median, the means test determines whether you have the financial “means” to repay your creditors, and to what extent. If you have a higher level of income, you may need to file Chapter 13, while debtors with fewer resources may qualify for Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
While Chapter 7 is faster and simpler, you may be able to keep more of your property in Chapter 13, depending on your specific goals for the bankruptcy. For instance, Chapter 13 may let you protect your home from foreclosure by giving you time to catch up on delinquent mortgage payments. Regardless of which chapter you file, you can also use bankruptcy “exemptions” to protect certain types of property.
Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 can eliminate numerous debts, including but not limited to the following:
- Business debts
- Credit card debts
- Debts from medical bills
- Debts from personal loans
Debts that can be eliminated by bankruptcy, like debts you owe for medical care, are called “dischargeable” debts. While many debts are dischargeable, federal bankruptcy laws make certain types of debt “non-dischargeable,” meaning they must be repaid. Examples of non-dischargeable debts generally include alimony or spousal support, child support, student loans, and most types of tax debts
What are the Requirements to File Bankruptcy in Bucks County, PA?
If you wish to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Bucks County, you’ll need to meet some basic legal requirements. Some of these requirements must be fulfilled before you file, while others arise during the bankruptcy process. Below, our Pennsylvania Bankruptcy attorneys have highlighted a few important bankruptcy requirements to keep in mind if you are thinking of filing:
You must be at least 18 years old to file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania.
You must be a Pennsylvania resident to file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. Additionally, it is important to know that Pennsylvania is divided into three jurisdictions: the Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over counties in the eastern part of the state. Bucks County is under the jurisdiction of the Court’s Philadelphia Division.
Credit counseling requirements
Before you may file for bankruptcy, you must fulfill the federal government’s credit counseling requirement. If you cannot afford the credit counseling fee, you may be able to get a waiver. You may complete the credit counseling requirement online, but must choose a program that has been pre-approved by the U.S. Trustee Program, which operates under the Department of Justice. You will need to supply a certificate showing that you have completed the course.
Debtor education requirements
After you file for bankruptcy, but before your case is complete, you must fulfill a federal debtor education requirement. Like your credit counseling provider, your debtor education provider must be chosen from a pre-approved list that is supplied by the federal government. As is also true of the credit counseling course, you must obtain a certificate proving that you have completed debtor education successfully.
Bankruptcy paperwork requirements
If you decide to file for bankruptcy, you will need to complete and submit various bankruptcy forms. For example, the heart of your case is your voluntary petition for bankruptcy (Form B 101), which outlines basic information like where you live, where you are filing, and which chapter of bankruptcy you intend to file. In addition to the bankruptcy petition, you will also need to complete various statements and schedules listing your properties, income sources, assets, debts, creditors, living expenses, and other key information.
Do You Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Bucks County PA?
While bankruptcy can improve your financial situation, it can be extremely difficult to complete the process successfully without assistance from a skilled attorney. Bankruptcy law is full of technical language and financial regulations, creating daunting obstacles for people who are unfamiliar with federal bankruptcy laws.
Though it is legal to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer – a process known as a pro se bankruptcy – it is extremely risky to take this approach. Without help from an attorney who knows the ins and outs of filing rules and court procedures, you are in serious jeopardy of making an error that could have catastrophic results for your case’s ultimate outcome.
Don’t struggle to interpret complicated rules and regulations on your own – especially not when the stakes are so high. Instead, let the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Young, Marr & Associates lighten the burden and guide you through the process. From managing your legal documentation to explaining the requirements for completing your case, to helping you make informed decisions about when to file your petition – we are here to make the bankruptcy process smoother and simpler for you and your loved ones.
Filing for Bankruptcy Yourself vs. Using an Attorney
While filing for bankruptcy can be a financial life-saver, it can also be extremely difficult to successfully pursue a bankruptcy discharge without the assistance of a skilled bankruptcy Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy law is dense with technical and financial jargon, which often presents a daunting obstacle to people unfamiliar with the language and the regulations of both Pennsylvania and federal legislature.
While it is perfectly legal to file for bankruptcy unassisted — known as a pro se bankruptcy — without the help of an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the complicated filing system and court procedures, petitioners run an extremely high risk of making an error which could have catastrophic results for their bankruptcy’s ultimate outcome.
If you or a loved one is interested in filing for consumer bankruptcy, don’t attempt to wade through the dense administrative work on your own: let the seasoned Bucks County, PA bankruptcy attorneys at Young, Marr & Associates help share some of the burden. We have filed over 5,000 bankruptcy cases in more than 20 years of experience practicing bankruptcy law. Wherever you need to go, Young, Marr & Associates has been there before.
Our Bucks County Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help
Bankruptcy has an unfair, inaccurate reputation for being the end of financial stability. In reality, bankruptcy is often the beginning of financial stability. By filing for bankruptcy, you can reduce or wipe out the debts that are weighing you down, getting a fresh start on your financial future. Working with an experienced attorney can help you make the most of your bankruptcy while protecting your assets and property to the greatest extent possible.
If you’re thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Bucks County, the PA bankruptcy attorneys of Young, Marr & Associates are here to answer your questions. For a free bankruptcy consultation, contact our law offices online, or call Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 701-6519 today.