Applying for a Home Loan After Bankruptcy

Most of us have been conditioned by movies and television to associate personal bankruptcy with a handful of frightening images—movers hauling away furniture, bank officers laughing at an application for a home loan. But not only are these images inaccurate; they also obscure a very important truth. The truth is that for someone considering filing for personal bankruptcy, the frightening part is already upon them. And the frank truth is that for someone who’s falling behind on credit card payments or medical bills, qualifying for a home loan is unlikely without making some changes.

But there’s good news after bad, and the good news is that, for most people struggling with debt, filing for bankruptcy is the end of the frightening part. Depending on whether a person files under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, their debts will either be discharged or reduced to a short-term payment plan set by their budget. Most creditors will be required to cease and desist attempts to collect, and the former debtor will finally be able to set about building their life without all the chaos and threatening letters. Bankruptcy is, after all, a relief service guaranteed to citizens by federal law, not a punishment.

So how long does it take to buy a house after filing? The short answer is probably around two years. The Federal Housing Administration won’t guarantee a loan until two years after discharge, and most major banks require a minimum of two years after discharge plus proof of extenuating circumstances. A few examples of extenuating circumstances are loss of employment, divorce, and poor health. In fact, most people who file for bankruptcy have suffered these sorts of hardships. These sorts of hardships are a large part of why bankruptcy protections exist. Different banks have their own policies, but for most, applying for a home loan two years after bankruptcy discharge is generally the most practical option.

But before applying for a home loan, a wise consumer should plan. Many creditors, (such as credit card companies) will be happy to extend credit to a former debtor freshly out of bankruptcy. It’s important to take advantage of the reputable offers, as lines of credit, smartly utilized, will help the former debtor to quickly establish an impressive credit score. In fact, a good attorney should advise their client on how best to go about this, so that their client can confidently set the date that they will apply for a home loan with not just a clean slate but also excellent credit.

 

by Reagan Healey

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Bankruptcy & Child Support

Bankruptcy allows most debts to be wiped away and is meant to give the debtor filing a bankruptcy a fresh start. However, some debts do survive bankruptcy.

Child support is not a debt that can be discharged in a bankruptcy. Child support has been placed in a special category of debts that automatically survive a bankruptcy discharge.

When a person, who owes child support, files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that person must still pay the ongoing child support obligation as well as any arrears. The ongoing support will continue through the bankruptcy and after the bankruptcy as if no case was ever filed. Any arrears will pass through the bankruptcy and continue to exist as if the bankruptcy never occurred as well.

When a person, who owes child support, files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that person must continue to pay their ongoing obligation and any arrears will need to be paid through the Chapter 13 repayment plan. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is essentially a repayment plan where a person can pay back certain debts over the course of a three- to five-year period.

A Chapter 13 can provide a method to get back on track with child support arrears as it allows a person to have a repayment schedule where all the person’s disposable income is used to bring the child support obligation current. In some circumstances, entering into a Chapter 13 repayment plan will stop license suspensions or other legal action.

Either bankruptcy can allow a person a chance to focus their efforts on paying back a debt that cannot be eliminated.


Credit card and medical debt

Credit card and medical debts are two of the most common debts that our clients are struggling with when we meet them for the first time. Thankfully both credit card and medical debts can be included in a bankruptcy filing. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy all credit card and medical debt is fully discharged (wiped away). In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a portion of your credit card or medical debt is repaid through a structured payment plan based on what you can afford to pay towards those debts.

While you cannot pick and choose which debts to include or not include, you can choose to voluntarily repay any creditor after the bankruptcy is over. This means that you cannot choose to file bankruptcy for your medical debt only or your credit card debt only. You must list all debts that you have at the time of filing. For example: if you have $15,000 of medical debt that you want to get rid of but a credit card with a $5,000 balance that you want to keep, both debts must be listed, and both will be included in the bankruptcy. In this example, when the bankruptcy is over you would no longer have any legal obligation to pay the $5,000 credit card back, but you could choose to do so voluntarily if you wanted. It is very likely, however, that the credit card company will close the account either way. It is best to start fresh entirely once your bankruptcy is complete.

 

by Megan M.R. McCarthy


Can you Keep your House and Automobile in a Bankruptcy?

Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy Is a big decision that comes with many worries and questions.  Some of those worries include whether you can keep your house or whether you can keep an automobile in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The equity in your home and your automobile is protected by “exempting” it from your chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Every state has different rules on what property the debtor is allowed to protect and what value the debtor is allowed protect or “exempt” for that property.  (this is listed as your state’s exemptions).  Each state also determines whether its residents can use the state exemptions, the federal exemptions or whether you have the ability to choose what works best for your situation.

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, generally you can keep your house as long as:

  1. The equity in your home is fully exempt, which means fully protected by the state laws of bankruptcy, and
  2. As long as you are current on your home.

If you have fallen behind on your house, a chapter 7 will not help you keep your house or get current on your house payments.  A chapter 7 may help you remain in your home a bit longer – but inevitably will result in foreclosure.  At this point, a Chapter 13 could be a viable option to help you keep your house; as long as your income allows for you to provide for a chapter 13 payment and cure the arrears on the home

 

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, generally you can keep your automobile as long as:

  1. The equity in your automobile is fully exempt, which means fully protected by the state laws of bankruptcy, and
  2. As long as you are current on your automobile.

As with a house, if you are behind on your automobile, a chapter 7 will not help you keep your automobile or get current on your automobile payments.

 

by Dawn Ravn

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Filing Bankruptcy: Before or After a Divorce?

Divorce is one of the most common reasons that people consider filing bankruptcy. On top of being a taxing time emotionally for many, it can also be a large financial burden. Along with other issues, the impact on both parties’ financial situations and their debts can be too much for some to handle.  Bankruptcy can be a solution for this, and there are many things to consider when it comes to the timing of such an undertaking.

The first thing for most to consider is whether they should file jointly, or separately. There are many benefits to filing jointly. The filing cost is the same whether the bankruptcy petition is joint, or individual, and filing jointly often has little increase in attorney’s fees, while filing individually can double those fees, or more.  There may be other factors to consider, such as your income and how that can affect your eligibility for certain types of bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 is a very quick version of bankruptcy often referred to as a liquidation. This type of bankruptcy is designed to handle certain kinds of unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills and can be completed in only several months.  However, household income and expenses can affect your ability to qualify, therefore waiting until after a divorce can sometimes be the quicker and easier route for an individual to take.

Chapter 13 is a more comprehensive type of bankruptcy in which certain debts are paid through a 3 – 5 year plan, either in part or in full. This type of bankruptcy can be the better choice for some, in order to protect certain assets or to address certain kinds of debt. Income is again a consideration here as it could affect how much the plan payment is.  Also, some divorces can be contentious, and it may be wise to consider the relationship with the ex-spouse before entering into a 3 – 5 year legal process with them amidst a divorce proceeding.

Bankruptcy can help make a divorce proceeding easier by eliminating the need to decide which spouse will be responsible for which debts through that process, especially through the quicker process of a Chapter 7 liquidation. In such cases filing bankruptcy before a divorce can be especially helpful when combined with the cost saving considerations of a joint bankruptcy discussed earlier.

If you want to discuss when filing bankruptcy may work best for you, speak with an attorney today.  Many attorneys offer free consultations and can help guide you towards the decision that will best help you.

 

by Barry Moore

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Are there disadvantages to filing bankruptcy?

The answer to that question completely depends on your financial situation before filing.  If you have perfect credit, can pay your bills on time and in full each month and could pay off all your medical and/or credit card debt in less than a year, then there could be disadvantages to filing bankruptcy.

However, if you are searching for bankruptcy information, chances are you do not fit into this category.  If you have debt that you cannot service, if your credit score is sink faster than the Titanic or if you are facing constant threat of a lawsuit, then the advantages of filing bankruptcy far outweigh the disadvantages.

The real question to research is – what are the advantages to filing bankruptcy?  The number one advantage to filing bankruptcy as opposed to not filing is your ability to obtain a fresh start.  The United States does not have a debtor’s prison, but the strain from debt piling up can act as a prison to financial freedom.  In most cases, you can discharge your debts (such as credit cards, medical, other loans and some taxes), keep your assets and move forward with life in about three months.

Once you file bankruptcy, your credit report will have to be cleaned of all inaccuracies.  You should know that you are protected by Federal Law when it involves the information contained on your credit report.  Bottom line – your credit report should be accurate.  For example, if after bankruptcy, one of your credit lines is still showing a balance or still in collections, then you have a right to demand that they fix the credit report.  You want to dispute all inaccuracies to make sure that your FICO score is not lowered because one of your credit lines fails to report accurate information to your bureaus.

After you get your inaccuracies all fixed, you should focus your attention to your credit score.  To improve your credit score, you can read many of the books available regarding credit score repair.  Our office provides a service for our bankruptcy clients through www.720creditscore.com.  With the help of 720 Credit Score, you can obtain a credit score of 720 in as few as 12 months.

Disadvantages to filing bankruptcy fade away rather quickly when you ask the right questions: where is your credit score now? Can you get out of debt within 1 year? Do you have lawsuits pending?  If your answers to these questions are yes, then bankruptcy could be the most positive thing you do to improve your financial life.  Do not let fear get in the way of financial freedom.

by Jeff Bursell

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Chapter 13 Can Release the Pressure of Auto Title Loans

Many car owners turn to car title loans to try and get through a financial crunch. Car or truck title loans have become a much more common attempt to prevent a financial crisis: about 2 million Americans took out these types of loans in 2015. The concept sounds very appealing; there is a family crisis and cash is needed immediately to deal with it. The borrower can keep driving the car they need to get to work or school and the emergency is also handled. There are two types of payment terms for title loans; either all the emergency cash is paid back in one payment a short time later, or the balance borrowed can be paid back in installments over a slightly longer period of time. However, this temporary relief comes at a hefty price for many; a recent federal study found that 1 in 5 vehicle owners who took out a title loan ended up losing the car or truck to repossession. Once the car or truck is taken by the title loan company, the borrower is left without transportation and must again find a way to quickly get cash to have the vehicle returned by paying off the entire balance of the title loan. These loans sometimes have different terms than general financial principles would dictate. Usually, when a car or truck is given as collateral for a loan by the owner, the interest rates are low because the value of the car or truck or SUV serves as a kind of insurance that the financer will not lose any money. The terms of the contract say the financer can take the vehicle and sell it to recover the money borrowed if the borrower does not pay on time. Title loans, however, have some of the highest interest rates in the consumer finance world; typical interest rates can be higher than 300%. These higher interest rates make it much more difficult to pay off these loans. Paying back only the amount borrowed without paying all the interest means there is still a balance outstanding and that remaining balance must be paid as well. Consumers who want to get these types of loans are not able to negotiate lower interest rates with the financers and have to accept the interest rate offered in order to get the loan.

Cash-strapped consumers can get out of the financial corner these loans can create by meeting with an experiences attorney and using a powerful concept in a Chapter 13 reorganization called cramdown. Car and truck owners can restructure the loan secured by the vehicle as part of the overall reorganization and keep their necessary transportation. Terms that are otherwise not flexible can be made more manageable by reducing the interest rate to a court-ordered level and giving families enough time to pay the balance at the new interest rate over more time than typically allowed under the initial contract. Chapter 13 cramdown of car and truck loans are just part of the relief available to consumers who have debts secured by their vehicles and a consultation with an attorney who is familiar with the relief available to people in a chapter 13 case can mean the difference between having the financial pressure created by pursuing creditors trying to repossess someone’s only means of transportation and having a financial plan in place that works and allows for financial peace of mind.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Debts and Divorce

If you have been involved in a divorce, you may be wondering what happens to the debt that was divided in your divorce agreement. You may also wonder what happens if your ex files for bankruptcy. These answer depend on a few factors surrounding you and your ex.

If the debts you split in your divorce agreement were joint, you are still on the hook for paying the full amount even if your ex is awarded the full debt amount in the divorce. However, you can be reimbursed by your ex if you back the debt. To do this may require to go through the court system if your ex does not voluntarily pay you back. Going through the courts to collect may cost you more than filing for bankruptcy.

On the flip side, if you were awarded a joint debt in the divorce agreement, filing for bankruptcy does not get you off the hook to reimburse your ex if they pay the debt. Filing for bankruptcy only prevents the creditor or collection agencies from collection efforts. The divorce agreement can still force you to pay damages to your ex for violating the divorce decree.

If you are considering a divorce, it may be wise for you and your spouse to file bankruptcy together before filing for divorce. Doing so can cut down on the headaches described above. It can also cut down on the costs of your bankruptcy and your divorce. Contact us today for a free consultation to review your options.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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A Default Judgment Has Been Entered Against Me, How Can I Protect Myself?

If you missed the deadline to fight a lawsuit against you and you do not have a viable defense, a default judgment will be entered against you. Once the judgment is entered against you, the creditor will be able to initiate a garnishment action by which they can attach to money in your bank account or wages.

The creditor will issue a garnishment summons on a third party such as your employer or bank, by which the third party will be required to withhold the funds from your wages or set aside funds out of your financial account.

A creditor cannot generally garnish more than 25% of your wage earnings or any at all if you make less than $290/week. If you have a levy on your bank account, you will need to fill out a form claiming 75% of the amount taken is exempt called a “Debtors Exemption Form” and providing documentation that the income in your account came from wages. If the garnishment is through your employer, they will generally calculate the 25% and set it aside for your creditor.

Additionally, if you received any of the following sources of government assistance in the past 6 months, you are considered to be 100% exempt from garnishment:

  • Minnesota Family Investment Program
  • Work First Program
  • Medical Assistance
  • General Assistance
  • General Assistance Medical Care
  • Emergency General Assistance
  • Minnesota Supplemental Aid
  • MSA Emergency Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Energy Assistance and
  • Emergency Assistance.

If you believe you are exempt from garnishment, you need to fill out the same “Debtors Exemption Form” indicating all your funds are protected, along with proof of the assistance received and the previous 60 days of bank statements. You cannot simply call the creditor’s attorney; you must respond to the garnishment summons in writing by claiming the exemption.

Garnishments are very serious and can cause serious financial hardship for anyone trying to deal with the involuntary repayment of your debt. Bankruptcy is another way to stop the garnishment and is often times an opportunity to recover some of the funds that were taken from you. If you wish to avoid further garnishments or levies, please set up your free consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

Written by Ann Hagerty

I have a passion for working directly with clients and helping them navigate difficult financial decisions. I love practicing in bankruptcy because it is one of the rare opportunities in life where someone can start fresh and free themselves of financial stress.

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Duration of Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcies have a minimum commitment period of three years and a maximum of five years. This means that the repayment plan in a Chapter 13 will last somewhere between three and five years. A number of considerations determine this.

The first consideration is whether a debtor is below or above the median income. The median income is the median income for the household size of the debtor in the state the debtor lives in. If the debtor is below the median income, the debtor can elect a three-year plan. If the debtor is above the median income, then the debtor must have a five-year plan.

If the debtor is below the median income, the debtor may choose to enter a repayment plan that lasts longer than three years. For example, if the debtor is filing a Chapter 13 in order to pay mortgage arrears and stop a foreclosure, then debtor may elect to file a five-year plan. The debtor may choose this to keep the payment in the Chapter 13 more affordable. All mortgage arrears must be paid back in full over the course of the plan. Stretching the plan over 5 years would allow for a lower payment in some circumstances. The debtor could also elect to have the plan duration be any number of months between 36 (three years) or 60 (five years).

 

By Kris Whelchel


I Received a Complaint Saying My Creditors Are Suing Me, What Do I Do Now?

If you received a lawsuit document indicating the creditor is attempting to sue you, it can be a worrisome situation. When you receive the initial complaint, it indicates a law firm is representing the creditor to further pursue their claim against you.

The first step in the process is for the creditor to serve you with a “Summons and Complaint” document indicating the nature of the lawsuit. In the paperwork, it will set forth the factual allegations and legal complaints against you. They can “serve” the lawsuit on you in one of two ways:

  • by delivering it to you personally or leaving it at your home with a person of suitable age and discretion; or
  • by mail, if you agreed in writing to accept service of the Summons and Complaint by mail and signs a form that indicates your acceptance.

 

If you wish to contest the lawsuit, you need to serve the creditor’s attorney with a form called an “Answer.” If you do not provide the Answer in the time period of 20 days, the creditor may enter a default judgment against you which allows them to take further action.

There are several defenses against the lawsuit; however, not being able to afford to pay the debt is not a defense. Some of the available defenses are: improper service, statute of limitations, FDCPA violations, lack of standing, proof of payment, fraud, mistaken identity and lastly bankruptcy.

Filing bankruptcy is a protection against a lawsuit served upon you and can be used as a defense to stop any further action. When you receive any lawsuit document, it is important to consult with an attorney who can give you advice about your specific situation. One of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can sit down with you and review the lawsuit to give you the best advice towards your next steps.

 

By Ann Hagerty

Written by Ann Hagerty

I have a passion for working directly with clients and helping them navigate difficult financial decisions. I love practicing in bankruptcy because it is one of the rare opportunities in life where someone can start fresh and free themselves of financial stress.

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My Credit Score After Filing Bankruptcy:

Your credit score will take a hit after filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your score was low before you filed, the drop will not be as significant as if your score is high. The fact that you filed bankruptcy will show up on your credit score for about 10 years, but that alone is not going to keep you from getting that new car, apartment, house, etc. Needless to say, the fact that you filed and a drop in your credit score is not the end of the financial world. The key is what you choose to do after the bankruptcy. Rebuild.

Filing your chapter 7 bankruptcy will the stop the bleeding in the injuries caused by your debt. As soon as your case is filed the creditors stop calling, wage garnishments and bank levies come to an end, foreclosure or repossession actions come to a halt, and minimal payments are no longer required.  Once the stress of creditor harassment comes to an end, it is time to rebuild your credit. This is an endeavor we do not want you to undertake alone. Our office works with the 720 Credit Score program to help our clients rebuild towards their financial goals after filing. 720 Credit Score is a seven step program that guarantees your credit score will be 720 or higher within 12-24 months after receiving your chapter 7 discharge. Call us today to set up an appointment and learn more about this program.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Social Security Income and the Means Test

When filing a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, a debtor must show that he passes the means test. The means test is basically a series of calculations that are supposed to show, in theory, whether or not the debtor has enough income to be able to pay back his creditors. To perform the means test, one must determine what the debtor’s income is. Almost all sources of income are to be taken account of on the means test. The amount of the income is determined by taking the six month average of the debtor’s various sources of income.

Social Security Income gets special treatment on the means test. It can be completely excluded. That means that Social Security Income does not have a negative impact when the means test is used to determine if someone may qualify for a Chapter 7.

The means test is not the only determining factor on what type of bankruptcy a person is allowed to file. The actual budget of a person is taken into consideration as well. This budget is represented on Schedules I and J. If Schedule J, shows a substantially positive amount, chances are that the debtor will not be able to qualify for a Chapter 7.

Social Security Income can also be excluded from a debtor’s budget. Therefore, it will not have an impact on a person’s qualification for a Chapter 7 here either.

If an individual wishes to file a Chapter 13, he may elect to include their Social Security income on his budget, so that he can show he does have enough income to afford a repayment plan.

 

By Kristen Whelchel


What is a Bankruptcy Trustee and what does it have to do with my Bankruptcy Case?

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not only will you be working with an attorney, you will also work with bankruptcy trustee. While you will be working closely with your attorney throughout the whole filing process, you will not meet the trustee until the meeting of the creditors (also known as your 341 hearing).

The trustee is a third party, appointed by the United States Trustee, she herself is not a government employee. She does not represent you and she does not represent your creditors. The trustee represents the bankruptcy estate, and has several duties in doing so.

The trustee’s duties include:

  1. Conducting the meeting of creditors;
  2. Investigating your assets and claimed exemptions;
  3. Checking for fraud or inaccuracies and making objections when appropriate;
  4. Reviewing your right to a discharge;
  5. Sending any required notices related to domestic support obligations;
  6. Determining whether there any non-exempt assets to liquidate and distribute amongst your creditors;
  7. Gathering, protecting and preserving any non-exempt assets of the estate, or
  8. Ensuring statement of intention provisions are followed;
  9. If applicable, filing a report stating that no assets have been found

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Will a Bankruptcy Affect my Credit?

People often wonder how filing for bankruptcy will affect their long term credit. Some have the misconception that a bankruptcy will ruin their chances of ever having a good credit score. While it is true that a bankruptcy will stay on a credit report for ten years it is not the end for a person’s chances at having good credit.

In the short term a person’s credit might take a drastic hit after filing for bankruptcy. This depends on the credit score at the time of filing. The higher the score before filing the further it will fall. For example a person with a score of 680 before filing could see it fall to 550 while a person with a score of 780 could fall to 560. If a score is in the 500s or lower at the time of filing there may not be much change.

After the bankruptcy a person can begin to rebuild. Having a bankruptcy on your record will be a negative mark for some potential creditors. It may take some time after filing before a person is able to get a new loan. However, many people are surprised to find they are able to get car loans and new credit cards relatively quickly. The interest rates may be high and the credit limits low, but it is a start. By being careful and paying back any new debt on time a credit score can start to rebuild. While the bankruptcy may show up on a credit report for ten years a score can be repaired within a few years. The bankruptcy is a fresh start for people looking to build a secure financial future.

Sources:

Bankruptcy timeline: Rebuilding credit

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/bankruptcy-timeline-rebuilding-credit-1.aspx

How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy—Fast

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/curtis-arnold/how-to-rebuild-your-credi_b_5790860.html

Credit Report Q&A

http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/credit_problem_comparison.aspx

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can my Garnished Funds be Recovered After Filing a Bankruptcy?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, but it depends on the situation. If a creditor has garnished a debtor’s funds there are ways for the debtor to recover some of the money after filing bankruptcy.

Any funds taken by garnishment or levy within the 90-days prior to the bankruptcy filing can potentially be recovered. If the total amount is $600 or more a debtor can make a claim for the return of the funds. However, in a bankruptcy a debtor can only protect a certain dollar amount of their assets. If the debtor has already exceeded the amount which could be protected the garnished funds cannot be recovered. In that situation the bankruptcy court may attempt to recover the funds and then distribute them evenly to all the debtor’s creditors.

If the creditor refuses to return the garnished funds a debtor does have the option of filing a claim with the bankruptcy court. The court may compel the creditor to return the funds. However, it does cost money to file the claim so a debtor will need to weigh the cost of the claim against the amount that could potentially be recovered.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Keep my Yearly Bonus in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Some employers give their employees yearly bonuses and holiday bonuses. If you are thinking of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few things you should know if you have just received a bonus, or if you are expecting a bonus within the next year.

As a general rule, if you have received a bonus within the last six full months, the bonus may be included in calculating your income to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the United States Trustee will average your last six full months of income to decide whether you qualify for a Chapter 7. For example, if you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July, the trustee will look at your average income from January to June. If you have received a bonus within these six months, the Trustee will include the bonus in your average income. If the bonus is a large bonus, it may affect whether you qualify.

One possible solution is to wait until your bonus falls off of the six month average before filing for bankruptcy. Suppose that you received a bonus on January 1. If you file for bankruptcy in July, this bonus will likely be included in your six-month average to determine whether you qualify (January to June). But if you wait to file until August, your January income will no longer be included to determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy, so you may have an easier time qualifying.

You should keep in mind that the Trustee can also look at any bonuses are you entitled to receive within the next year after you file for bankruptcy. Future bonuses do not factor into whether you qualify for bankruptcy, but a future bonus may be considered an asset in your case. The reason for this is that even if you have not yet received a bonus, if you are entitled to the bonus at the time you file your case, it is considered an asset in your bankruptcy. Depending upon the other assets that you own, you may be able to keep your bonus, or you may have to give up the bonus to the trustee when you do receive it. Whether you can keep your future bonus when you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on the facts of your case. You should consult your attorney if you are expecting to receive a bonus within the next year, to determine whether you can keep your bonus.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Bankruptcy Effects Credit Score

No ifs, ands or buts, your credit score will drop.

How low?

It depends. What does your credit score look like now? If your credit is fairly unblemished prior to filing, you can expect a large drop in your score. However, if your credit is already tarnished and full of negative items, your score may see only a slight drop. A 2010 FICO report showed that an individual starting with a credit score of 780 could drop to 540 and an individual with a 680 score could fall to 530. While these are only examples, they demonstrate that an individual with a higher score to begin with has a farther way to fall, but both individuals land in close proximity (530-540). Until you file, it is impossible to state where you will land. Your credit score may be affected more or less.

How long will the bankruptcy negatively affect your credit score?

A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. BUT, as time passes and positive information supplements your report, the impact becomes less and less debilitating. Further, if you are motivated to rehabilitate your credit, it can be done. Your credit score can be rebuilt in 1 – 3 years.

So how do I move on and rebuild my credit after I file for bankruptcy?

Start by verifying that your credit report is free from errors. The major credit reporting bodies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Check that your report from each of these institutions is accurate and lists your pre-bankruptcy debts as “included in BK.” From there, be sure to check back on your credit score regularly (every 4 months). Eventually, you will be able to request that the pre-bankruptcy debts be removed from your report altogether.

Next, make an honest assessment of your finances and what led you to file bankruptcy in the first place. If you fail to recognize what went wrong the first time, you will likely fall into the same pattern and end up in the same trouble as before. Once you have recognized these financial faults, weed them out and start taking action to establish positive credit.

Right after filing it will be difficult to borrow money. Why? Because you are considered a greater risk to the lender, often referred to as a subprime borrower. As a result, you will likely be offered higher interest rates and greater penalties for defaulting. On the other hand, some credit card companies may find you to be a better risk and will start sending you offers immediately after you file bankruptcy. This belief that an individual who has just filed is a good risk for credit card companies is rooted in the fact that bankruptcy law forbids individuals to receive a second discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy within eight years of the first filing. Meaning: a debtor cannot rid himself of the responsibility of newly acquired credit card debt for another eight years.

Remember this: THERE IS HOPE. YOUR CREDIT IS NOT LOST FOREVER! It may take some self-assessment and discipline, but it is absolutely possible. It will be more difficult at first, but as was alluded earlier, as time passes the positive elements to your credit will increase and the “bad” will begin to dwindle.

 

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Will my Employer React to my Decision to File for Bankruptcy?

While it is difficult to say whether or not an employer, current or future, will react poorly to your bankruptcy, a few things are certain: You will not be fired. You will not be demoted. You will not be punished…at least you shouldn’t be.

The United States Bankruptcy Code forbids both public and private employers from discriminating and terminating employment based solely on the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. Note however, that if you have given your employer other reasons to dismiss you, such as excessive absences or poor performance, your bankruptcy will not protect you from getting the axe.

Further, if you are searching for a new job, do not be discouraged that a bankruptcy on your record will blow your chances at getting the position you want. Not only does the Bankruptcy Code shield you from termination and discrimination in an existing job, it may protect you when seeking out future employment.

If the position you are hoping to land is with a federal, state or local government agency the law states that the employer cannot turn you away just because of your history of bankruptcy. While private employers may refuse to hire you under such circumstances, do not despair. Depending on the responsibilities of the position for which you are applying, an employer may look favorably on your decision to file.

It is true that an employer managing a position in finance, accounting or the handling of cash will take a bankruptcy seriously. Nonetheless, a bankruptcy discharge may help with positions of high security clearances or those involving valuable merchandise. Employers may be concerned with the possibility of their employees accepting bribes or stealing company goods or stealing secrets to pay off the employee’s own personal debts. That being said, a decision to file bankruptcy is often seen as a responsible and proactive decision to solve a potentially damaging situation.

All things considered, it is possible that your bankruptcy goes unnoticed by your current employer. Generally, employers only learn of an employee’s bankruptcy if his wages are being garnished, if the employer is listed as a creditor or if the employee has a Chapter 13 plan deducting payments directly from his or her paystubs.

Before coming to the conclusion that filing bankruptcy will greatly damage your career, meet with one of our attorneys to discuss why bankruptcy could potentially help your career. In fact, here are individuals whose careers were not ruined by bankruptcy:

  1. Walt Disney
  2. Burt Reynolds
  3. Abraham Lincoln
  4. Michael Vick
  5. Larry King

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I get Money Garnished From me Back When I File for Bankruptcy?

For people living on a tight budget, a garnishment can be the difference between making ends meet and falling further into debt. If you are being garnished and you are considering bankruptcy, you should know that you may be able to recover money taken from you by your creditors, but the garnishment must meet certain requirements for you to get your money back.

First, the timing of the garnishment determines whether you can recover any of the money taken from you. If money was garnished from you before you file for bankruptcy, that money can only be recovered if it was taken within the immediate 90 day period before filing your case. For example, if you filed your bankruptcy case on November 1, 2014, you could recover money garnished up to 90 days before that date (August 3 to November 1). However, you could not recover any money taken earlier than that 90-day period (in our example, before August 3). Additionally, if your creditors continue to garnish any of your money after you file for bankruptcy, that money can be also recovered for you.

Second, the amount of the garnishment within the past 90 days can determine whether you can recover money taken from you by your creditors. The amount of money taken from you within the past 90 days must be $600 or more for you to be able to recover that money. If the amount taken from you is less than $600 total in the past 90 days, you will unfortunately not be able to recover that money in bankruptcy. (But, note that if your creditors continue to garnish money from you after you file for bankruptcy, any amount that they take after you file can be recovered for you).

Third, it is only worth recovering money garnished from you if you are able to protect that amount of money as an asset in your case. Whether you can protect the money you recover depends upon the value of other property that you own and that you want to protect in bankruptcy. It can be a complex question, but your bankruptcy attorney will be able to walk you through what property can be protected when you file for bankruptcy.

Finally, garnishments are only worth recovering if the garnishment is from a type of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy. Certain debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy (you will still owe these debts after your bankruptcy). Debts such as student loans, alimony, child support, and recent tax debt, will remain after bankruptcy. There will not be any point in recovering a garnishment for one of these types of debt, as you will still owe that debt after bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Utility Services and Bankruptcy

Many people who file bankruptcy are behind on their utility bills. Some are being threatened with a utility shut off in the near future. If this is the situation you are in, the good news is that filing a bankruptcy case can stop a person’s utilities from being shut off. In addition, public utilities cannot refuse to provide or cancel service because you have filed a bankruptcy case.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, most types of unsecured debt will be discharged, or wiped out, through the bankruptcy. Utility bills are considered an unsecured debt, and as a result, will be discharged along with a person’s other debts.

However, this doesn’t mean that you will not have to pay utility services after you file your bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy will not discharge current or future utility bills. In addition, a utility company can require you to pay a deposit for future service. If your utilities had been disconnected, the service provider can also charge you a reconnect fee. If you fail to make utility bill payments after your bankruptcy case is filed, your utilities will eventually be shut off.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What Happens to Secured Debts after Bankruptcy?

A “secured debt” is any type of debt that you obtain by agreeing to give the lender an interest in some type of property in exchange for the loan (also commonly referred to as collateral). The most common types of secured debts include car loans and mortgages.

Many people wonder if they will still owe secured debts after filing bankruptcy. The answer to this is yes and no. Filing bankruptcy gets rid of your legal obligation to repay the debt, meaning that the creditor can’t sue you to get paid. However, the creditor can still take bank their collateral if you don’t pay the debt. This means that if you don’t pay for your mortgage or car loan, the lender can’t sue you, but they can repossess your car or foreclose on your home.

For this reason, if you want to keep property that you pledged as security for a debt, it is important that you continue to make payments for it during and after your bankruptcy case. Some lenders may also require you to sign paperwork agreeing to be legally responsible for the debt after the bankruptcy (called a “reaffirmation agreement”). If you have any questions about how your secured debts will be treated after filing bankruptcy, speak to your bankruptcy attorney about it.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How will Filing Bankruptcy Affect my Credit?

Many people wonder how filing bankruptcy will affect their credit. The truth is that there is not a clear answer to this question. Most people who file bankruptcy are already behind on their bills and often have bad credit as a result. In these circumstances, it is hard to say if filing bankruptcy will make things worse.

The fact that a person has filed bankruptcy can appear on his or her credit report for a period of 10 years after the date the case was filed. However, this doesn’t mean that a person who files for bankruptcy will be unable to obtain credit for 10 years! Because bankruptcy wipes out all of a person’s old debts, he or she may actually be in a better position to pay new lenders after the bankruptcy. As a result, some lenders are willing to extend credit to a person who has filed a bankruptcy soon after the case is discharged. However, the interest rates and fees may be high, so a person who has filed bankruptcy should be careful not to take on debt he or she can’t pay.

After filing bankruptcy, debts discharged in the bankruptcy should be listed as having a zero balance on the filer’s credit report. Debts that are incorrectly reported as having a balance will negatively affect a person’s credit so it is important to check your credit report after filing bankruptcy. Any errors should be reported to the credit reporting agency.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Medical Debts and Bankruptcy

Overwhelmed with medical debt? If you have incurred medical debt due to illness or having medical procedures without insurance, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you get rid of your debt. Many people are mistaken in thinking they are only able to file bankruptcy on consumer debts such as credit cards or unsecured loans, but medical debts are also included in bankruptcy.

Medical debts can be tantamount to credit card debt for a lot of people and many hospitals and clinics pursue these debts vigorously.In Minnesota, hospitals and clinics are able to collect medical debt from both spouses even if the debt is only incurred by one spouse, which can create issues if your family members have medical issues. Bankruptcy can help you avoid harassment, lawsuits and garnishments and bank levies on behalf of hospitals and clinics.

Many times, people suffering from illnesses or medical debts will be out of work and unable to keep up with their hospital bills and regular living expenses. Hoglund law can help! Please schedule a free consultation with one of our experience bankruptcy attorneys to discuss how we can help you through a medical bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Stopping Lawsuits, Garnishments and Bank Levies

When a person doesn’t earn enough money to cover his or her expenses, life can be stressful enough. Unfortunately, this financial stress can become overwhelming when one or more of an individual’s creditors threaten to take legal action to collect money from a debtor.

For example, credit card companies and medical providers often bring civil lawsuits against debtors who do not pay their bills. Once a creditor obtains a judgment against a debtor, the creditor can begin garnishing the debtor’s wages or seizing money the debtor has in his or her bank accounts. This can have serious negative consequences for some debtors, who may not be able to afford to put food on the table or pay their monthly rent if all of the money in their bank account is suddenly seized.

Fortunately, bankruptcy can offer relief for people who are being threatened with lawsuits, garnishments or bank levies by creditors. Once a person files a bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from taking any further action to collect debts from the petitioner for the duration of the bankruptcy proceeding. As a result, creditors must immediately stop from garnishing a person’s wages or seizing his or her bank accounts.

In addition to stopping wage garnishments and bank levies, the automatic stay can benefit debtors in many other ways, such as by delaying evictions or utility shut-offs, stopping repossessions and can even be used to prevent a home foreclosure in certain circumstances. If you have questions about whether the automatic stay could help you, contact a local bankruptcy attorney.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Bankruptcy and Household Size and Income

When filing a bankruptcy, your household size is important. The number of individuals living in your household can have an impact on what type of bankruptcy for which you qualify. One of the determining factors for whether an individual will qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is your household income. If your household income is over a certain amount for your household size, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7.

The median income for your state is determined by household size. For example in Minnesota the median income for a household size of one is $48,876, but for two people it is $64,454. Making sure everyone in your household is accounted for is essential in your bankruptcy case. It is very important to let your attorney know about all individuals who are residing in your home. For example, you will want to let your attorney know if an elderly parent lives with you. Also you should inform your attorney about any children who are college students who live with you for at least the summer months. Making sure your attorney has the right information can have a great impact on how your case proceeds.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Why Will There be a Vocational Expert at my Hearing?

A Vocational Expert is a neutral party that will be providing testimony regarding employment. Specifically, they will be providing information regarding the past full-time jobs that a claimant has held in the past fifteen years. The Vocational Expert will refer to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, and clarify the skill and exertional level of each full-time job that a claimant has held. Additionally, the Administrative Law Judge will be asking certain hypothetical questions to the Vocational Expert to inquire whether jobs would be available based on certain restrictions and limitations. The Vocational Expert typically will not have any direct questions for the claimant, unless they need further clarification about job duties performed.

By hiring an experienced attorney, a claimant can be assured that any and all vocational issues are being addressed during the vocational testimony. An attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the expert and provide additional hypothetical questions to address medical impairments and restrictions. If you are currently unable to work due to medical impairments, please contact the firm of Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC. We will be happy to go through an intake questionnaire over the phone to determine if we are able to help with your claim for disability.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Debt Through Bankruptcy?

You may be wondering whether or not you can discharge your medical debt through bankruptcy. The short answer is, yes. Many individuals have circumstances that lead to high medical bills that they’re unable to pay, a burden that can be completely cleared with a discharge of a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Medical debts are considered unsecured non-priority debts, meaning they’re entirely dischargeable in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Once these debts are discharged, you are no longer responsible and creditors may no longer come after you. In order to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to pass an income means test. This means you (and your spouse if applicable) need to satisfy certain income requirements in order to be eligible for chapter 7 relief. This is something your attorney at Hoglund Law will be happy to analyze with you at your free bankruptcy consultation meeting.

It is important to keep in mind that your chapter 7 bankruptcy will only discharge debts that are outstanding at the time of filing. If you know that you are soon to be incurring significantly more medical debt, it may be worth waiting to file until after that happens. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may only be granted relief under a chapter 7 bankruptcy once every 8 years.  This means, if your medical care or the medical care of your family is ongoing, or you know a large expense is coming soon, you may want to wait until treatment is complete before filing for bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Filing a Statement of Intention

When filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, protection of certain assets requires more than just listing them under the applicable exemptions. For example, a homestead may be subject to a mortgage or a vehicle may serve as collateral for the repayment of a loan. In these situations, the debtor must file a Statement of Intention within 30 days after filing the Petition, or before the First Meeting of the Creditors, whichever is first. If the debtor is represented by an attorney, the attorney will typically file this form along with the Petition. On the Statement of Intention, the debtor must choose one of four options with regard to the asset. Surrender, redeem, reaffirm, or ride-through.

If the debtor is unable to make on-going payments toward repayment of the loan, he or she might have to surrender the asset. This means that the creditor may decide to repossess the asset. The good news, however, is that the repossession will wipe out the claim up to the value of the property, and the bankruptcy discharge will wipe out any outstanding balance.

If the debtor is able to come up with enough cash to “buy” the asset, he or she may pay the creditor the value of the asset, which will wipe out that amount of the claim (the secured amount). Any remaining balance on the claim will be unsecured and will be discharged. However, this is often difficult to accomplish because the redemption must be made in a one-time payment, rather than by installments.

If the debtor has equity in the asset, or will soon gain equity, it might be wise to reaffirm. This involves a written agreement with the creditor that also must be filed with the court. Under the agreement, the debtor becomes re-obligated to the debt, which removes the debt from the bankruptcy case. The upside is that the creditor must then report timely payments to the debtor’s credit report, which re-builds the debtor’s credit score. The downside is that if the debtor later defaults and the creditor repossesses the property, the debtor will still be obligated on the remaining balance.

Finally, the debtor may choose to ride-through. Here the debtor will continue to make regular payments as with reaffirmation, but there is no written agreement re-obligating the debtor to the debt. This means two things: First, the creditor is not required to report to the credit report. Second, if the debtor later loses the property, the remaining debt falls back into the bankruptcy case and is discharged. It also should be noted that some lenders do not allow ride-through.

The assets that are subject to the Statement of Intention requirement are often highly important to the debtor, if not necessary to his or her post-bankruptcy financial growth. Deciding which option to choose takes thorough planning and prioritizing, as well as knowledge of the law.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Student Loans and Bankruptcy Law

In today’s tough job market, people with higher education degrees are finding it difficult to obtain work. Many of these people also have significant student loan debt. Student loan payments can be extremely difficult to make, especially if a person is not receiving any income. There are many options available to help people with government backed, and even some private, student loans. The main options are deferment, income-based & income-contingent repayment plans, and extended repayment periods. These options can go a long way towards helping a person who doesn’t have a job or someone who had to take a lower-paying job than they expected. However, the deferment periods are of a limited duration and income-sensitive plans can really draw out the length of time a person spends in repayment. Individuals who remain in financial difficulty even after utilizing these options may consider filing bankruptcy.

For those individuals, it is important to know that Congress has determined that student loans are not eligible for discharge in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies unless a person is able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the bankruptcy court that the loans create an undue hardship on the person and the person’s dependents. Student loans can be included in a Chapter 13 payment plan, which can reduce the size of the payments and stop the collection activity, but any amount that remains at the end of either the 3 or 5 year plan is not discharged unless the undue hardship standard is met. As a result of this Congressional stance on student loan repayment, individuals seeking relief from overwhelming student loan debt should consult an attorney before filing bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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