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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Finding yourself drowning in debt is never the place that anyone expects to see themselves a few years down the road. Unfortunately, life can serve you with unforeseen circumstances—an ongoing illness that requires regular treatment or the loss of a job and regular income—and you can quickly see your debts piling up. Filing for bankruptcy is often people’s last resort; however, you may come to the realization that you actually do not qualify for bankruptcy. Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not be able to take this route when trying to get your finances under control. While it is always best to consult a bankruptcy attorney to know for sure, you may conduct your own financial analysis first to determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy is an option for you.

Passing the Means Test

There are two common ways to file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of your assets, then using these liquidated funds to pay off your debts. Not all assets are eligible, allowing you to keep a number of your assets in the process. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides you with a financial fresh start once the legal process is complete. Sounds like a great option, right? While this type of bankruptcy is helpful for many families, not everyone qualifies to use its benefits. In 2005, a means test was created in order to make it more difficult for wealthy consumers to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test uses Florida’s median family income for your household size as an indicator of your eligibility. In 2018, this income threshold totaled to $53,267 per household. In other words, if your household makes less than this amount, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If, however, your household has a combined income that is higher than this amount, you will need to follow additional steps to determine your eligibility. 

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is often the last thing that a person wants to do, which is why many people only consider bankruptcy if they feel they have no other options. Many people may falsely believe that filing for bankruptcy means handing over everything they have. Luckily, there are two types of bankruptcy which allow individuals to choose which one works best for them and avoid losing all of their assets to pay off their debts. Since filing for bankruptcy is often a last resort, you may not be educated on the topic. If you find yourself facing financial difficulty, it is important to understand which type of bankruptcy fits your unique situation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is the more well-known of the two options. Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows individuals to discharge or eliminate their outstanding debts after their bankruptcy trustee sells their property or assets to pay off as much of their debts as possible. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically only used by those who have little to no disposable income. In other words, if you do not have enough income left over after paying ongoing expenses to repay some or all of your debts, you should consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The court will use a Chapter 7 means test to see if you are eligible to file for this form of bankruptcy, and if you qualify, you can report the income you earn and the assets you own. Non-exempt assets will be turned over to the bankruptcy trustee to be liquidated, but there are a variety of exemptions that will allow you to keep certain property, and once the bankruptcy process is complete, you will no longer be required to pay your debts. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be done with the help of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who can ensure that you report all income and assets properly and that your debts are fully discharged.

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