Reading, PA Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy is a word few people like to hear. No one wants to believe that they need to file for bankruptcy. However, if your home is in foreclosure or if a creditor is suing you for an amount you cannot afford, then bankruptcy might be the first step towards the fresh financial start you need.
Bankruptcy is a complex legal proceeding. While you are permitted to file without a lawyer, it is not advisable. A debtor is required to comply with many federal, state, and local rules even if they are filing on their own. Without the assistance of our Reading bankruptcy attorneys, you could make an error that results in a dismissed case or worse.
At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our attorneys and staff are dedicated to helping potential filers understand the bankruptcy process, its benefits, and its challenges. Filing for bankruptcy is not easy, but with proper guidance and representation, it does not have to be difficult or frustrating. Call our law offices at (215) 701-6519 and allow our committed attorneys to review your situation.
Understanding Bankruptcy in Reading, PA
Filing for bankruptcy often feels overwhelming. While our Reading bankruptcy attorneys will handle your case, a good deal of responsibility falls on the filer. You will have to gather your financial records, statements, pay stubs, taxes, and other documents that our office will use to complete your bankruptcy schedules. Whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there is a substantial amount of paperwork and evaluation before your case is filed. The success of many bankruptcy cases depends on the work that comes before the actual case is filed with the court.
Chapter 7 in Reading, PA
The most popular type of bankruptcy for individuals and couples is also the most common. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a filer usually is able to quickly eliminate the majority of their debts, including medical bills, credit cards, unpaid utilities, and personal loans. However, certain debts will survive Chapter 7, such as recent taxes, child support, alimony, criminal restitution, and most student loans.
Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as liquidation bankruptcy because it is possible that a debtor will be required to sell some of their property to pay their creditors. A Chapter 7 trustee could take possession of your assets, sell them, and disburse the proceeds to your creditors. However, under the Bankruptcy Code and Pennsylvania law, there are provisions available to protect your property. Known as exemptions, a Reading bankruptcy debtor will have to choose between the federal and state exemptions before they file.
Our office will examine your assets so you can make an informed decision. Fortunately, most cases do not require surrendering any property. In cases where the nonexempt property exists, you have the option of filing Chapter 13 or weighing the benefits of Chapter 7 against the property that you would lose.
You must qualify for Chapter 7. In addition to determining the value of your assets, our office will also have to conduct a means tests calculation. This test looks at your income and expense and compares them to the median income for families of the same size in Reading.
Chapter 13 in Reading, PA
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is much longer and more complicated than Chapter 7. However, as a reorganization plan, it offers debtors much more flexibility and options. In some cases, an individual or couple will have too much income to qualify for Chapter 7 or will have nonexempt assets they wish to keep. Other people file a Chapter 13 because of the type of debt – perhaps their home is threatened by a mortgage foreclosure or real estate tax sale.
The significant difference between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 is that the debtor will file a bankruptcy plan that proposes a three to a five-year payment plan. The length of the plan will depend on your disposable income and the amount of debt you must payback. For instance, a filer might qualify for a three-year plan. However, if they file a five-year plan, their monthly payments would be lower.
Your bankruptcy plan must be feasible, which means you must be able to afford the payment. The plan must also address your creditors’ claims. If a plan ignores or fails to pay a required creditor’s claim, the court will not approve it. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our goal is to draft a feasible plan that ensures you pay the minimum amount allowable under the law.
When Should You File for Bankruptcy in Reading, PA?
The decision to file for bankruptcy should be taken seriously. You are not negotiating with a creditor or two when you file for bankruptcy. It is a complicated legal proceeding. If you are slightly behind in a credit card or are struggling with a budget, bankruptcy might not be the best option. However, if your income is less than your monthly bills, you are being sued by a creditor, or your home is in foreclosure, then filing for bankruptcy could be the right move. While not as extreme, if you are only capable of paying the minimum interest payment on a number of credit cards that you do not use, you should speak with our experienced Reading bankruptcy lawyers.
Our Reading Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Help
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your monthly bills or are facing a financial crisis, filing for bankruptcy could be a good idea. Speaking with one of our experienced Reading bankruptcy attorneys is the first step in determining whether it is the right option. To schedule a confidential and free appointment, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 701-6519.