Due to the threat to your financial future and your family’s well-being, debt might make you feel helpless. When you work with Sari Karson Kurland Esq, you don’t have to deal with your financial issues on your own.
Our bankruptcy and personal injury lawyers have helped clients discover effective solutions to difficult challenges. In a wide range of bankruptcies, we’ve represented individuals, families, and companies with great success. With our help, you’ll be able to find a way out of debt and put it behind you.
Let’s find out if you qualify to file for bankruptcy and how a Kurland Bankruptcy Attorney can fight alongside you to get the financial freedom you deserve.
If you’ve decided to file for bankruptcy, the following ten steps will guide you from the beginning to the end of the process:
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding created to give people a fresh start after financial disasters. If you’ve explored your alternatives and can’t see a way out from under your mountain of debt, bankruptcy may be the right solution for you.
There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 can wipe out most of your debts in a matter of months in exchange for giving up all of your property that the bankruptcy law does not protect. (Protected property is called your “exempt” property.)
Chapter 13 takes three to five years. During that time, you repay some or all of your debts under a payment plan approved by the bankruptcy court. It’s often used by people who are behind on mortgage payments and want to use Chapter 13 to catch up. Most folks who file for bankruptcy prefer to file for Chapter 7 if they qualify because you can get out from under lots of debt in a matter of a few months.
To learn more, see How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works and How Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Works.
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must show that you don’t have enough income to repay your creditors a reasonable amount. You can do this by:
If your income is above the median income for your state and family size and the means test shows you have enough disposable income to make reasonable payments to your creditors, you may still qualify to file under Chapter 13. To qualify for chapter 13, your debt must be under the limit set by the bankruptcy code and you must be current on your tax filings for the last four years.
To take the means test, you can use this free means test calculator.
Sometime during the six months, before you file for bankruptcy, you must complete a mandatory credit counseling session with a government-approved credit counseling agency. (If you are filing with your spouse, you must each complete a class.) You can satisfy this requirement in person, over the phone, or online. It will take about 90 minutes and may cost as little as $0 or as much as $100, depending on your ability to pay. After you take the class, you’ll receive a certificate that you must file with your bankruptcy petition.
Filing for bankruptcy requires you to fill in dozens of pages of forms detailing your current debts, assets, income, and expenses, as well as your intentions regarding loans that are secured by collateral, such as a mortgage or vehicle loans.
To get ready, you’ll want to be sure you have complete information about:
If you’re the diligent, organized type, you can prepare your own bankruptcy forms, but this is one place where you will probably appreciate professional help or at least the guidance of a good step-by-step instruction manual for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
To find the forms for your local court, you may refer to these bankruptcy forms pages for Rockville, MD.
After you’ve gotten your petition and supporting paperwork in order, you must file it in the correct Maryland district court. You can visit our bankruptcy court page for Rockville, Maryland to find your local court and other important information, like local rules and requirements that you might have to meet when you file.
When you file your petition, you must pay the filing fee by cash or money order, unless you apply for a fee waiver or payment in installments.
Several weeks after you file for bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a 341 hearing, which is also called a “creditors meeting.” The bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will lead the meeting and may ask you questions about the information you’ve provided on your bankruptcy forms. Creditors may also show up at the hearing to ask you questions.
The bankruptcy trustee will tell you exactly what to bring to the meeting, but you should be prepared to bring the following:
You may never need to worry about this, but there’s a chance that you will want to file additional paperwork after you submit your bankruptcy petition. For example, you may want to file a request (called a motion) to remove creditors’ claims (liens) against your property. Or, if a creditor says that you owe more than you think you do, you may want to file an objection with the court.
No more than 45 days after your creditors’ meeting, you must complete a debt management course. This is different from the credit counseling class you take before you file. The class costs anywhere from $0 to $75 depending on your ability to pay. If you don’t take the class and submit your certificate of completion on time, the bankruptcy court may dismiss your case.
You must take the class from a court-approved provider. You can find a list of providers here.
Whew. After completing the steps to this point and meeting all the requirements of your bankruptcy filing—if you’ve filed under Chapter 13, this means making all the payments under your agreed-upon plan—it’s finally time for the court to erase your dischargeable debts.
If you filed for Chapter 7 and your case has been dismissed, you may be allowed at this stage to convert to another form of bankruptcy, like Chapter 13.
You’ll undoubtedly be eager to get your life back on track after your bankruptcy filing; we hope you can breathe easier and start to rebuild when your bankruptcy is done. Occasionally, things do pop up after the end of a bankruptcy case that you’ll need to deal with, from discovering new non-exempt property to dealing with a creditor that tries to collect a debt discharged in your bankruptcy. (Quick tip: Don’t agree to make payments on a discharged debt! The debt collector may be breaking the law. Get advice before you agree to anything.) If questions come up after your case is over, know that you can get answers.
If you’ve been working with a lawyer during your bankruptcy case, you can ask for additional guidance. You can also find information about dealing with post-bankruptcy issues in How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13: Keep Your Property and Repay Your Debts Over Time.
The Kurland Law Group focuses its practice on helping individuals, families, and businesses recover from the overwhelming burden of debt. The firm’s attorneys are committed to providing the highest levels of service and communication. You won’t find the firm to be “just another” bankruptcy law firm. You will get personalized client service, attention to detail, and an honest commitment to helping you transform your financial future.
From offices in Rockville, Maryland, Kurland Law Group represents clients throughout southwestern Maryland. Is it time to talk to a professional about your financial worries? Start here. Call (301) 804-0625 or contact the firm by email to arrange a free confidential initial phone consultation.
During your initial consultation, you will speak with an attorney and discuss your current debt problems such as student loan debt, tax arrears, and other IRS problems, medical bills, credit card debt, and other debt issues. You will also learn about some solutions to stop home foreclosure, stop wage garnishment or repossession, and put an end to creditor harassment. Some of the debt relief solutions include:
The experienced Rockville bankruptcy attorneys of Kurland Law Group understand the hesitation many people have when considering filing for bankruptcy. They will thoroughly address alternatives to bankruptcy and explain why a for-profit debt workout company probably won’t work to solve your debt problems. You will learn about the benefits of bankruptcy, come to understand the process and begin to understand what to expect after bankruptcy. When you are informed, you are capable of making smart decisions about your financial future.
By law, when you hire an attorney to handle your foreclosure, address your student loan debt, or resolve other debt problems, collection agencies and creditors must immediately cease and desist from contacting you. The harassing phone calls at home and work will stop right away. The threatening collection letters will come to your attorney, not your mailbox. In about 90 days, you can have the fresh start your family needs. A bankruptcy attorney can also advise you about unfair debt collection practices and make sure your creditors adhere to them.
Many clients are facing the worst situation they can possibly imagine. Yet, bankruptcy may not be the best option for them. Their financial problems can be fixed with a loan modification of their mortgage or short sale of their home, vacation residence, or investment property. Programs exist where property values are reduced and payments are lowered. An attorney from Kurland Law Group can help you determine which debt relief strategy is appropriate for your situation.
Bankruptcy is not exclusive to lower-income residents. Higher-income individuals come to Kurland Law Group seeking a fresh financial start. With more than two decades of experience, the attorneys at the firm have the knowledge and skill to effectively handle complex bankruptcy filings, which often include qualifying clients via the means test for a Chapter 7 discharge.
For clients from all incomes and backgrounds, the firm provides personalized attention, unlike many bankruptcy mills where clients are numbers, not names.
Discuss your concerns and get answers to your questions about bankruptcy. Talk to an experienced and dedicated bankruptcy lawyer. Contact the firm to arrange a free confidential initial phone consultation today. Call (301) 804-0625.
Kurland Law Group is a debt relief agency. The firm helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
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