San Mateo Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy filed. Nearly 70% of individuals and businesses seeking legal debt relief file under Chapter 7. Also known as a liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 can provide a debt-free, fresh financial start.
If you are considering declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Law Offices of Gary Brenner can help! Filing any type of bankruptcy is a complicated process involving strict guidelines, timetables, and documentation. Our experienced San Mateo bankruptcy attorney can provide you with the insightful and strategic legal counsel you need to navigate your Chapter 7 procedures.
Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: The Means Test
Chapter 7 bankruptcies can be the most efficient means to relieve your financial burden. A relatively quick process, Chapter 7 can cancel most or even all of your debt. However, not everyone will qualify. Federal bankruptcy code mandates that individuals or businesses seeking Chapter 7 debt meet certain criteria under the "means test." This formula analyzes your monthly income for the past 6 months and the median income for your local area, then compares it with the amount of debt applied to your financial circumstances. If you "fail" the means test, declaring Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your ideal option.
Declaring bankruptcy is complex and strictly governed by both state and federal statutes. Have our skilled bankruptcy attorney by your side to ensure that your rights are protected and to assist you in complying with the numerous laws, regulations, and requirements. Our team at the Law Offices of Gary Brenner has been assisting individuals seeking debt relief since 1983.
Our experienced San Mateo bankruptcy lawyer can provide insightful counsel and assertive representation through all aspects of a Chapter 7 petition, including:
Analyzing your debt: In a bankruptcy proceeding, your debt will be divided into one of two categories: secured and unsecured.
Secured debt has property pledged as collateral for a loan. An example of this type of debt is your home mortgage or car loan.
Unsecured debt involves monies owed that do not have the backup of collateral, such as credit card balances and medical bills.
Completion of bankruptcy petition forms: Filing for bankruptcy involves a lengthy amount of forms and disclosure statements. Our insightful bankruptcy attorney can provide the counsel and the guidance you need to complete the required forms accurately and in a timely manner.
Automatic stay enforcement: From the moment your petition is filed, creditors are legally obligated to stop all forms of collection, including phone calls and letters. If any type of collection harassment continues after this date, we can provide the aggressive representation you need to halt their illegal actions.
Creditor's meeting: The bankruptcy trustee runs the meeting designed to ascertain the nature of your debts, current financial situation, and your ability to meet any of your financial obligations. Any of your creditors, such as your home or auto lender, may also be present to garner and / or offer information. Our San Mateo bankruptcy attorney can provide the assertive representation you require to ensure your rights are protected during the creditor's meeting.
Any nonexempt property can be seized or sold to pay off creditors. Federal and California Bankruptcy Codes offer bankruptcy protection for certain types of assets, known as exempt property. These assets can include:
- Retirement benefits, including Social Security and Veteran's benefits
- Death & disability benefits
- Your home
- Pension plans
- Public assistance or federal aid
- Tools of a debtor's trade or profession
If you are behind on your payments on a secured debt, such as your mortgage, the trustee may dismiss the automatic stay, allowing your property to be foreclosed or repossessed. However, if you are current on your payments, you may be permitted to continue making payments and retain ownership of the property.
The perceptive bankruptcy team at the Law Offices of Gary Brenner can assist you in deciphering the complexities of exempt vs. nonexempt property . We are committed to thoroughly preparing all our clients for a successful creditor's meeting so they can feel confident about their financial future.
Discharge of Debt
If there are no objections to the findings of the bankruptcy trustee, most of the debts acquired before the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition will be discharged or erased. The creditors associated with these debts are legally prevented from further attempts to collect any amounts personally owed by you.
Certain debts, however, are considered nondischargeable, and will remain a financial liability. These debts can include:
- Child support and alimony
- Student loans
- Tax debt
- Debts accrued through fraudulent means
Skilled Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Representation
The possibility of erasing all your debt is a tempting proposition. However, careful consideration should be given to the advantages and disadvantages of filing bankruptcy before deciding whether or not to continue with a Chapter 7 petition.
For more than 35 years, the Law Offices of Gary Brenner has been providing the valuable solutions our clients need for effective debt relief. For a free case evaluation to learn if declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy would work for you, contact our office to arrange an appointment!