The Bankruptcy Alphabet: “F” is for “Free Consultation”

May 16, 2012

I offer a free consultation for consumers who want to learn whether or not bankruptcy may be the right choice for them. Why do I do this? It is simple. Bankruptcy isn’t the right option for everyone. Most people who are filing for bankruptcy have very little money and are reluctant to spend it on something they aren’t sure about.

My job is not to “sell” you a bankruptcy, but to make sure that bankruptcy will resolve your debt problems. During the free consultation I evaluate all aspects of a person’s finances. Those include:

• assets
• debts
• income
• expenses
• lawsuits
• foreclosure/repossession issues
• tax issues

It is also important for me to understand a person’s financial goals, so that I can assess whether I can tailor a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to meet those goals. Something I find very helpful is when potential clients bring a list of questions to the appointment. We go through those questions one-by-one. That way I know I have addressed all of their questions and concerns, so that they can make an informed decision.

The Bankruptcy Alphabet: “E” is for “Exemptions”

May 11, 2012

A question I am often asked is, “will they sell everything I own if I file for bankruptcy?”  The answer to this question is “No”.  Under both State and Federal law there are allowances for property you can keep.  Those allowances are called “Exemptions”. 

For the vast majority of my clients, those exemptions are more than sufficient to protect everything a client owns.  The whole concept behind filing for bankruptcy is to give someone a fresh start.  If they took everything you have, you wouldn’t have anything left to help you get a fresh start. 

There are even strategies to help clients keep items that are worth more than the exemptions allow.  Those strategies are best chosen before the case is filed.  This is why it is very important to have an accurate inventory of your property before the case is filed.  Once the case is filed, there are fewer strategies available to address excess assets.