I’VE NEVER FILED BANKRUPTCY. WHERE DO I BEGIN?

I’VE NEVER FILED BANKRUPTCY. WHERE DO I BEGIN?

If you have substantial debts, or are faced with a repossession or foreclosure, or creditors are suing you, you may be a candidate for bankruptcy. If you own a business and are unable to maintain your financial obligations, one of the chapters under the Bankruptcy Code may help with a reorganization or termination of the business. The first step is to assess what debts you have, and how much, and to get an idea of your monthly income and expenses. Next, schedule an appointment with our office for a free consultation so that Attorney Spyra can review your financial information.

I WORK DURING BUSINESS HOURS. WHEN AND WHERE CAN I MEET WITH AN ATTORNEY?

Why travel into town? Our firm has four (4) office locations including downtown Pittsburgh, Beaver, Elizabeth and White Oak Pennsylvania. Standard office hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, with appointments available in the evenings and on weekends in our four offices.

I CAN’T PAY MY BILLS. HOW CAN I AFFORD TO FILE BANKRUPTCY?

Our fees for bankruptcy will vary depending on the complexity of your case in addition to other factors concerning the amount of debt incurred and your current income situation. Should you need to file, Attorney Spyra will quote you a fee appropriate for your situation and discuss payment arrangements. In many cases, an installment payment plan can be arranged for payment of legal fees.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT CHAPTERS OF BANKRUPTCY?

If Bankruptcy action is required, Our office handles Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy matters. These chapters are used for different purposes

In general, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is used primarily to discharge unsecured debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, utilities, and personal loans.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used primarily for businesses, and sometimes individuals, who need to reorganize their business or have too much debt to qualify for bankruptcy under Chapter 13.

Under Chapter 13, any arranges owed on secured debts, such as mortgages or auto loans, are paid off under a payment plan for a period of three to five years.

HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE FROM BEGINNING TO END?

A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy will take approximately four to six months. Within four to six weeks of the filing of your documents a court hearing will be held, which you are required to attend. Your discharge from bankruptcy will arrive 90 to 120 days following your court hearing. You should note that creditors can no longer contact you or seek collection on your debts once your bankruptcy documents are filed with the Bankruptcy Court.

WILL I LOSE MY PROPERTY IF I FILE BANKRUPTCY?

No. The Bankruptcy Code allows debtors to protect certain amounts of equity in both their real and personal property. These exemptions should allow you to protect all of your property. Unless you have a large amount of equity in a home or vehicle(s), or large sums of money in a bank account(s), you don’t need to worry about losing your property in the bankruptcy. Should you have more equity than the exemptions allow, our office will advise you of your options. Please note that all retirement benefits and funds are completely protected under the discharge.

HOW DO I FILE BANKRUPTCY?

The first step in assessing your financial status is to determine whether your income is sufficient to meet your financial obligations. Individuals and businesses have different criteria regarding their solvency but the same standard applies.

The most common factors that contribute to an individual’s financial demise can be attributed to the following:
loss of income, divorce, health issues, law suits, tax problems and poor financial management.

The most common factors that contribute to a business’s financial demise can be attributed to the following:
lack of cash flow, reduced sales, law suits, tax problems and poor financial management.

Businesses that are faced with financial or tax issue can reorganize their business and preserve the going concern value and pay debts off over an extended period of time. In many cases, the reorganization process provides business owners with a second chance to keep their operations going.

Individuals may also file a reorganization plan to pay creditors and tax obligations under a plan. This process is generally used to reinstate mortgage arranges and stop foreclosure proceedings and where the individual operates a business that is unincorporated. The reorganization process for individuals under the Bankruptcy Code is very effective and enables individuals to keep their assets and maintain business operations. Creditors and tax entities are required to accept repayment plans that are in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code and approved by the Bankruptcy Court.

DISCHARGE TAXES UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY CODE

A Debtor’s tax liability, generally, is for income tax or where a business is concerned, payroll, sales tax, employment and social security tax obligations. Under the Bankruptcy Code, tax claims face a careful scrutiny that may provide for a complete discharge of the tax obligation or a reduced liability depending on the circumstances. Unlike tax collection procedures outside of the bankruptcy process, Debtors have substantial rights and opportunities to reduce their tax obligations under the supervision of the Bankruptcy Court. A pre-bankruptcy review of any tax obligation is imperative to ascertain the scope of dischargeability under the facts and circumstances of each case.