Chapter 7 is a powerful tool for eliminating debt and getting a fresh start financially. It can stop the debt collectors’ letters and calls and improve the short-term quality of your life. As much as it is a complicated process, it can help you get your financial house back in order.
However, it was designed to cater to the specific needs of a particular group of people. This means that it might not solve everyone’s financial problems in Massachusetts. Plymouth bankruptcy attorneys can guide you in finding out if Chapter 7 protection is what you need.
How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
Like many other legal processes, this one also begins with filing. Applicants have to fill out details such as:
- Recent pay stubs if you are employed
- Recent tax returns
- What you owe
- What you earn
- What you own
- What you spend
And after reviewing the documents you provided, a bankruptcy trustee will review the information and invite you for a 341 meeting of creditors. You should expect questions regarding your financial difficulties, which might determine how fit you are for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
After How Long Can One Expect Feedback on their Chapter 7 Application?
While an automatic stay is granted immediately after you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it might take a while to get feedback on whether the court has accepted it or not. But a couple of months from the day of the 341 meeting of creditors, the court is likely to send an email with the feedback. The court is highly likely to grant you a bankruptcy discharge if you:
- Are honest
- Fully fill out the bankruptcy forms
- Complete the necessary steps to get the petition accepted
Massachusetts Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers have been offering guidance to help people burdened by debts boost their chances of positive outcomes. If your petition is accepted, your eligible debts will be erased, and you can begin afresh.
Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Erase All My Debts?
Chapter 7 can erase most of your debts. Applicants should expect to be freed from common obligations such as:
- Utility bills
- Judgments from debt collection and credit cards agencies
- Payday loans and personal loans
- Car loan deficiencies
- Medical bills
- Credit card debt
However, specific categories of debts are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 in Massachusetts. This chapter of bankruptcy might not be for you if you are looking to erase debts such as:
- Student loans
- Recent debts owed to the government, such as fines and tax debts
- Alimony and child support
Make sure that you first discuss your financial needs with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Massachusetts to ensure that you do not apply for a debt relief program that isn’t beneficial to you. And if chapter 7 isn’t suitable for you, you can explore other options, such as Chapter 13.
Can a Means Test Help Me Know if I Qualify for Chapter 7?
The means test in Massachusetts is meant to make sure that only the right people apply for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Applicants can pass this test if they fulfill the following conditions:
- Your income is below the median household income
- Your income exceeds or is below the median, but you have very little disposable income\
Before filing, you need to prove that your household’s annual income does not exceed the maximum limit. The guidelines as of May 2020 are as follows:
- Family of 5: $143,418
- Home of 4: $134,418
- Household of 3: $108,130
- Household of 2: $84,125
- Household of 1: $67,119
Some households can have more than five members. In such instances, the courts might allow you an additional $9,000 to $134,418 for each additional family member above four people. Talk to Massachusetts Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers to know where you stand regarding the means test.
Who Should Wait Before Filing Chapter 7?
Some recent activities can make it necessary to wait longer to file for Chapter 7. Failure to file at the right time can complicate a bankruptcy process and fail to yield the expected results.
Consider waiting a bit longer if:
- You expect your debt situation to get worse; wait to file at your worst
- You owe the landlord money and don’t plan to move out; wait to catch up on some missed payments
- You are planning to sue someone; wait until you get an outcome
- You are expecting a personal injury settlement
- You transferred or paid back property to a friend or family member in the last year
- You have made large purchases during the previous six months
- You are relying on your credit card to make ends meet
Simply because you qualify for Chapter 7 doesn’t mean that you should file right away. It is advisable to first consult with a knowledgeable attorney to find out the implications of filing at the time.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Make the Right Decision?
When considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Massachusetts, you need a knowledgeable Massachusetts Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in your corner. Someone that can protect your rights during the process and use their knowledge of the law to your benefit is critical in your financial recovery journey. They can help you with:
- Meeting with creditors
- Organizing finances
- Organizing assets
- Filling out forms
- Petitioning the court
It is worth noting that Chapter 7 involves seizing and liquidating assets. But with the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you will be able to determine the assets that will be liquidated and the ones you will maintain.
Attorneys Helping Clients Get their Finances Back on Track
Everyone makes poor financial decisions, but debt can ruin the quality of your life if it gets overwhelming. Massachusetts has several debt relief avenues, including Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, it is critical first to find out if it will positively impact your debt situation.
Bankruptcy laws are usually complicated and can confuse a layperson. A skilled legal expert in Massachusetts can explain everything and help you determine whether a specific type of bankruptcy is ideal for your circumstances. Talk to a knowledgeable lawyer today to discuss your situation.