Lower Merion Bankruptcy Lawyer
Filing for bankruptcy can seem like a complicated process. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, you can trust that our knowledgeable attorneys will guide you through every step. Our bankruptcy attorneys have decades of experience dealing with every type of bankruptcy issue and complication. Whether you need to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, our Lower Merion bankruptcy attorneys may be able to assist you in relieving your financial stress.
Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates have helped hundreds of people in the area eliminate or reorganize their debt. Call (215) 701-6519 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Your initial case consultation is completely confidential and free, and you can use the opportunity to learn more about your potential bankruptcy case and how your path to financial freedom will progress.
Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lower Merion
When you first meet with our experienced Lower Merion bankruptcy attorneys, we will carefully review your financial situation, going over your household income, the amounts and types of debts you owe, your assets, and what goals you wish to accomplish by filing for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a powerful tool for eliminating debt and protecting assets such as your home and car. There are two types, or “chapters,” of bankruptcy that most individuals file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. By understanding your circumstances and financial goals, Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates will assist you in filing the type of bankruptcy that is most beneficial for your situation.
Some individuals we work with are overwhelmed with credit card debt and pay enormous amounts every month just to pay-down interest, or they fall behind on payments altogether because they cannot afford minimum payments. Chapter 7 may be the perfect solution to eliminate credit card debt, allowing you to work towards financial freedom. Chapter 7 is known as “liquidation bankruptcy,” meaning that a court-appointed trustee would be appointed to potentially sell some of your property to pay your creditors. However, in most cases you will be able to protect all of your important property while still discharging your debt.
Our attorneys will thoroughly examine all of your assets before filing for Chapter 7. If there is a potential of losing any of your property, alternatives such as Chapter 13 will be considered.
Your circumstances or your income may require a different solution, such as Chapter 13. Chapter 13 is a “reorganization bankruptcy,” allowing you to pay a portion of your debt or eliminate it altogether. If your income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7, you might still qualify to pay only a portion of your debt under Chapter 13. Alternatively, Chapter 13 can be used to stop a sheriff sale of your house, putting you in a position to keep your home and pay back the money you are behind over the next three to five years.
The Process of Filing for Bankruptcy in Lower Merion, PA
Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, certain steps will occur before and after filing. Our attorneys will guide you through the entire process, thoroughly explaining each step along the way.
Credit Counseling Course
Before filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must take a credit counseling course from an approved Pennsylvania agency. Only under specific circumstances can this requirement be waived, and your case will usually be dismissed if you fail to submit a certificate of completion.
The majority of documents submitted to the court are the same in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Known as “schedules,” these documents reflect your financial situation as of the date of filing. You will need to answer several questions about your economic condition and provide several financial records, including bank statements, federal tax returns, pay stubs, and a list of creditors.
An additional document necessary in Chapter 13 is your “bankruptcy plan.” A bankruptcy plan will detail the amount of debt and the creditors to be paid through the bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court must approve this plan.
Meeting of Creditors
A court-appointed trustee administers each bankruptcy case, though their specific duties differ depending on the chapter your case was filed under. One function the trustee performs is ensuring that the documents you filed adhere to all rules and provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, the trustee will conduct a “341 meeting,” also known as a “meeting of creditors.”
Your attorney will represent you at your 341 meeting. In most bankruptcies, this is the one court appearance you will be required to make. While it is an official proceeding, it does not take place in front of a judge and, even though it is called a “meeting of creditors,” creditors rarely, if ever, appear. You will meet with the trustee, who will review your documents and question you regarding the documents filed in your bankruptcy case. Along with some updated materials, you will need to bring your Social Security card and your driver’s license or another government-issued identification. We will review several potential basic questions as well as any that may be particular to your situation.
If you filed Chapter 7, your part in the case is just about over. Once you have completed the 341 meeting, your creditors will have a limited time to object to your bankruptcy. In nearly every case, creditors lack a legal basis to object to a discharge. You will now have to complete a second bankruptcy course, a debtor’s education course. Once a certificate of completion is filed, and the appropriate time has passed, the court will issue an order discharging your debts.
Chapter 13 Payments
If you filed Chapter 13, you still have some work to do. When your Chapter 13 case was filed, a proposed bankruptcy plan was submitted. Your first payment under the terms of the plan is due 30 days from the date of filing. You must make this payment over the next 36 to 60 months, depending on the terms of your plan. Your creditors will file proofs of claims, documents detailing the debt you owe. We will carefully monitor these claims, filing objections if necessary. It is important to note that your plan payment will likely have to be adjusted based on the claims filed.
Once your bankruptcy plan addresses all required claims, the court will confirm the plan. This means that the plan is now an order instructing the trustee to distribute the money you paid to your creditors according to the terms of the plan.
Once you have made all of the payments according to the terms of the plan, you will be required to complete a debtor’s education course. Then, following some bookkeeping and administrative motions filed by the trustee, the court will enter a discharge order and your case will be over.
Call Our Lower Merion Bankruptcy Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Do not let the fear of bankruptcy stop you from easing your financial situation. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, you can depend on our experienced bankruptcy attorneys to confidently guide you through every step of the process from your initial consultation to your final discharge. We will work with you to ensure that you file the right type of bankruptcy case for your needs. Call (215) 701-6519 to speak with one of our Lower Merion bankruptcy attorneys today. Your initial consultation is completely free.