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  • Learn if you can keep your house and your car
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Are you curious about whether or not Chapter 7 bankruptcy eligibility requirements are something you could meet? Do you want more information about how to get help when it’s time to consider bankruptcy as a serious option? Most people want to try to get a dismissal through Chapter 7 first as it’s considered a total liquidation, but not everyone will be able to get the support provided by that. Bankruptcy filers may need to consider Chapter 13 as their alternative option, and in this case, talking to the right lawyer is crucial for your case.

Filing for bankruptcy is a difficult position, but one that has become easier for affected individuals in recent years because of the reduced stigma surrounding bankruptcy and more lenient laws that allow you to keep more of your property. A recent study completed by the American Bankruptcy Institute found that those people who filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy were much more likely to receive a dismissal than their Chapter 13 counterparts. More than 95% of the 499,000 plus Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases that were filed in 2016 were discharged, meaning that the individual no longer had a legal responsibility to pay that debt. In comparison to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, approximately half of people who filed these petitions had their cases dismissed and the other half were discharged. People often try to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy before turning to Chapter 13. There are various factors, however, that could exclude you from getting Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives you the opportunity to get a court judgment that releases you from the responsibility for paying your debts.

You are allowed to keep particular assets, including exempt property but the nonexempt property is ultimately sold to pay a portion of your debt. Nonexempt property includes stock investments, cash, stamp or coin collections, bank accounts, a second home, and more. These nonexempt items will be liquidated and the proceeds from the sale will be used to pay lenders. More than 63% of individual bankruptcy cases filed in 2015 were done under Chapter 7. Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is often the first thing you should do if you are curious about your bankruptcy rights.

Making the decision to file bankruptcy is never easy. In many cases, bankruptcy is the best option for individuals and families experiencing extreme financial difficulty. Here are the five most common reasons for filing bankruptcy and how to get sound advice when you’re overwhelmed with bills and financial challenges.

1. Job Loss

Unemployment can come when you least expect it and can have a significant impact on your family’s financial status. If you don’t have an emergency savings or can’t find another job, you put your rent or groceries on a credit card.

2. Stopping the Foreclosure of Your House

If you are threatened with foreclosure yet cannot get back on track with payments, consider bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure and keep your home.

3. Stopping the Repossession of a Car

Just like a bankruptcy will stop a home foreclosure, it will also stop the repossession of a car. You can file for bankruptcy and keep your car if you file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Then, any missed payments are added to your bankruptcy plan.

4. Illness or Accident

Often times, people who suddenly become ill or injured in an accident face unexpected medical bills. These bills can spiral into a financial crisis. Whether medical bills burn through a small savings quickly or no savings existed, a serious illness or injury can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases, a family may file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to have the medical bills reduced or even discharged entirely.

5. Stop Creditor Harassment

Creditors are ruthless when collecting on a debt. So, if you owe multiple debts, you’re likely getting accosted every time you turn around. When a bankruptcy is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect and creditors must halt all collection activities. This gives families inundated with bills a reprieve from the constant calls and letters.

Carefully evaluate whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you. At the Law Office of Howard Tagg, we’ll go over your case in detail with you to help you come to a decision about filing bankruptcy and if so, what type would be most beneficial to your situation. If you’re experiencing financial stress, don’t hesitate to call us for a consultation at (903) 730-6366.

Most people consider that one of the best outcomes of bankruptcy is that the creditor harassment stops. In fact, it might have been even those nonstop phone calls across the day that prompted you to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy attorney will tell you during your first meeting about what’s required as far as getting things in order for your future and what protections you receive after you file.

It’s difficult to realize that you need assistance from an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Post-bankruptcy harassment, however, is increasingly common and can leave you confused about your rights. Creditors are not allowed to continue harassing you after you’ve initiated a bankruptcy filing. Talking with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer is strongly recommended so you understand all of your rights and responsibilities as soon as you initiate your petition.

In the majority of cases, when a debtor files for bankruptcy, creditors will discontinue all contact directly with a debtor. Many creditors are familiar with the fact that if they tried to collect against a debtor after a bankruptcy is filed, they could find themselves in critical trouble with the court. Of course, there are some situations in which a debt collector or a creditor just doesn’t get it and continues to try to harass or collect against the debtor. Bankruptcy codes in the United States protect debtors against creditors who are overstepping these bounds. When you file your petition for bankruptcy, there is an injunction known as an automatic stay that is stipulated immediately.

This stay prohibits creditors from taking any actions to assess, collect or recover any claim that such a creditor had against a debtor prior to filing. All creditors will get a notice from the court informing them of the automatic stay. However, if the creditor has personal knowledge of that debtor’s bankruptcy in some way, the creditor is presumed to be aware of the restrictions associated with the automatic stay. An attorney may need to get involved if you find yourself dealing with problems in your claim. The right attorney is exceptionally important.

If you or a family member has recently received a serious diagnosis that will prompt catastrophic treatments, or if you were involved in an accident that led to significant bills, there is no doubt that you’re concerned about your financial future. A recent study about medical bankruptcy found that medical problems contributed to nearly half of all bankruptcies and since then, health costs have been on the rise. Did you know that you may be able to eliminate that debt simply by scheduling a call with a bankruptcy lawyer? Depending on your eligibility, you could discharge some or all of your debts and this might represent an important first step to financial clarity and freedom.

Receiving a diagnosis prompts you to take action quickly, but when the bills start racking up this can add even further stress to a hard situation. Making sure you’re getting the right treatment is important, but this could cost you.

More than 2,300 bankruptcy filers were interviewed in 2007 to identify the impact of medical issues. In 1981, approximately 8% of families filing initiating a bankruptcy petition did so because of a serious medical problem, however, that number increased nearly half by 20 years later.
Medical problems can cause you to worry about your physical health, your emotional health, and your financial stability in the wake of a diagnosis. Of course, treating a family member is a primary concern and this is why many people spring to action quickly to help protect a loved one after a diagnosis has been achieved. In many of these cases, time is of the essence and no one can afford to wait to get the necessary medical treatment. However, going without the assistance of finances or a healthy bank account at the time could lead to major problems including filing for bankruptcy. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney may be the only way to understand how you could potentially be affected by serious financial obligations. You can easily become overwhelmed in this situation but consulting with an attorney can help you to figure out the next steps.

One of the most commonly filed forms of bankruptcy today is Chapter 7. What this form of bankruptcy does is allow you to liquidate assets that are non-exempt, not including your home, car, and other things needed for day-to-day life, to pay your debts. If you still have debt left over that isn’t secured, it is typically written off, or discharged. However, not everyone can file this type of bankruptcy — to do so, you must first pass what is called a means test.

What is the Means Test?

The means test is a simple one and it is designed to ensure that people who have substantial incomes aren’t able to have their debts discharged through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Individuals with higher incomes may benefit more from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where none of the debt is discharged but they are given a 3-5 year time frame in which to repay their debts.

Qualifying for Chapter 7

The initial portion of the means test is simple: if your family makes less than the average income for a family of your size in your area, nothing further is needed. You automatically pass the test and are eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you do make more than the average income for a family of your size in your area, you may still be able to pass the means test if your disposable income doesn’t exceed a certain amount. Expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities, and other necessities will be subtracted from your total income and what is left over will be analyzed. If it’s under a certain amount, you’ll still pass the test. If your income disposable income is considered too high, you will be eligible for other types of bankruptcy, like a Chapter 13, but not a Chapter 7.

In some cases, individuals who do not pass the means test can still file for a Chapter 7. This typically occurs when the individual can show that they have a high debt to income ratio and would not be able to make payments under a Chapter 13 plan.

Contact a Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

When bills start piling up and you don’t seem to have enough money to get them all paid, you need relief. At the Law Office of Howard Tagg, we can help you determine if you’re eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or another kind of debt relief. Contact us today for a consultation (903) 581-9961. We’re available now to help you get started on the road to financial freedom.

Although student loans are typically considered “untouchable” by bankruptcy because they’re a secured debt like tax debt, there are some circumstances that allow borrowers to have their student loans discharged. To be eligible, you must meet certain criteria. More specifically, borrowers must pass the Brunner Test. Here’s how you could get your student loan discharged in a bankruptcy.

What is the Brunner Test?

The Brunner Test is a simple one. However, many people do not meet the three criteria required to discharge a student loan:

  • You made every effort to repay your student loans. You must show the court that you maintained good standing with your lender by attempting to pay back your loans. Or, if you could not pay the loan, prove you requested a forbearance or deferment in a timely manner. Individuals who allow their loan to default and never communicated with the lender may not be considered to have made the honest effort to repay.
  • Your financial situation makes you unable to repay your student loans without experiencing undue hardship. You must be able to show that making payments on your student loans means you can’t maintain a basic standard of living. Basic standard of living means paying for housing, groceries, utilities, and other necessities.
  • It is not possible for you to resolve your financial situation during the repayment period of the loan. You must show that whatever situation you’re in is expected to continue for most of the repayment period.

Very few circumstances actually meet all three of the above criteria, however, some do. For example, if you are injured on the job and become disabled, you may live on a fixed income for the remainder of your life. If this income only allows you to pay for basic necessities, you may be able to pass the Brunner Test.

Contact the Law Office of Howard Tagg Today

At the Law Office of Howard Tagg, we can help you determine if your financial situation meets the Brunner Test criteria. If it does, we also may be able to help you get your student loan discharged. If you do not pass the test, you may still be able to file for bankruptcy and have other debts eliminated so you will have more funds to pay your loans with. Either way, we can help. Call now for a consultation at (903) 581-9961.

One of the most common misconceptions about buying a house after bankruptcy is that it can’t be done. Or, that it has to be done after the bankruptcy is no longer on your credit report. This usually takes 7-10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy you filed for. Fortunately, you can buy a home after filing for bankruptcy. But, there’s just a few things you need to keep in mind first.

Understand Your Waiting Period

While you don’t have to wait a decade to get a home loan after bankruptcy, depending on which type of loan you get, you’ll have to wait at least a couple years. Generous loan programs like FHA and VA only require a two-year waiting period. On the other hand, Fannie Mae and other types of mortgages require a four-year wait or longer. If you know you want to buy a home after a bankruptcy, find out how long you need to wait before you start house shopping.

Understand What Your Home Budget Is

One of the most detrimental things to do when buying a home after bankruptcy is getting one that is out of your price range. Even if you qualify for a higher priced home, you need to be very certain that the mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance is something you can pay every month. Falling behind on your mortgage after a bankruptcy will cause your credit to take a huge hit. Coming back from a foreclosure is often even more difficult than coming back after a bankruptcy.

Get Your Credit in Shape

After declaring bankruptcy, it’s important to regularly monitor your credit while you’re rebuilding it. Getting a secured credit card and ensuring that you’re paying your bills on time is crucial, but you also want to be watching and making sure there are no other issues that pop up on your credit report that will affect your score negatively.

Contact a Tyler Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you’re struggling with debt and are considering bankruptcy, get the facts about how a bankruptcy will affect your credit, your day-to-day life, and your ability to purchase a home in the future before you file. Contact the Law Office of Howard Tagg today to set up an appointment for a consultation to discuss your case. Call now at (903) 581-9961 — we are available now to help you move forward.

If you feel like you’re drowning in bills and have more debt than you can handle, bankruptcy seems like a viable option. However, most people in this situation don’t have a lot of money to spare, so paying a bankruptcy attorney may seem counter-intuitive.

Today’s “do-it-yourself” bankruptcy paperwork can be purchased at office supply stores or downloaded online. These forms allegedly walk you through the bankruptcy process so you can file without paying a lawyer. However, DIY bankruptcy is not all it’s cracked up to be.

You Run a Significant Risk of Having Your Bankruptcy Dismissed

Filing bankruptcy isn’t as simple as submitting paperwork to your local courthouse and then getting your debts discharged. The court will examine your bankruptcy petition and your finances in detail. They may decide to dismiss your case if the paperwork isn’t filled out properly. Also, the court could decide that you have enough money and assets to pay off your debts.

The chances that your case will be dismissed if you file on your own without an attorney are high. An attorney will help you ensure that all paperwork is filled out properly. The attorney will guide you through the filing process so you can be confident your case has the best chance of acceptance.

DIY Bankruptcy Won’t Help You Understand Statutes Specific to Your Case

A thorough review of your financial situation must be conducted by a bankruptcy lawyer. The attorney can determine if there are statutes that apply to your case that may help prevent you from liquidating certain assets. Other statutes could help protect your interests in other ways. Simple do-it-yourself paperwork will give you no background information on bankruptcy laws in Texas. Nor will they tell you what applies to your specific case and what doesn’t. It will simply provide you forms to fill out, without any guidance at all as to how you should go about doing it.

Don’t Take the Risk – Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney

Debt relief isn’t far away when you contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you through the filing process. At the Law Office of Howard Tagg, we can help you better understand bankruptcy laws and statutes, what they mean for you and your family, and can guide you step by step through each stage of the process, from obtaining mandatory credit counseling to getting back on track once your bankruptcy has been finalized. Call today for a consultation at (903) 730-6366.

If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you may have heard some things that may make filing for bankruptcy easier or may better prepare your finances for the process of filing. However, not all of these things are in your best interest. Here are three things you absolutely want to avoid doing if you think bankruptcy may be in your near future.

1. Transferring Assets

One of the biggest mistakes a person considering bankruptcy can make is transferring their assets before filing. Many people mistakenly believe that doing so protects their home and savings or checking account assets. But in reality, unless the transfer was made a while ago, the court will still consider you to be the owner of those assets. This is true even if they are technically in someone else’s name. Additionally, it’s possible the court may look at these transactions as being fraudulent.

2. Making Large Payments to Creditors to Settle Debts

Often, people think that paying off a few creditors to go into bankruptcy with less debt is a good thing. However, it can actually turn out to be quite the opposite. Avoid paying off debts that would likely to be discharged in a bankruptcy anyways, like credit card or medical bills. Doing so could be a waste of money and could cause the court to believe you may have unlisted sources of income if you were able to make large, out-of-the-ordinary payments right before bankruptcy.

3. Continuing to Use Your Credit Cards

If you’re going to be getting your credit card debt discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy anyways, why not max out your card so you can get the most out of your bankruptcy? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. Many people advocate this, but it honestly could not make your case look worse. Chances are, the bank will find that credit card charges within a certain time frame are not dischargeable, meaning you will still owe the money anyways. And in some cases, continuing to use your credit cards may cause you to become ineligible to file for bankruptcy altogether.

Contact a Tyler Bankruptcy Lawyer Today for More Information

The only things you should be doing prior to filing for bankruptcy is what an experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney has instructed you to do. Contact the Law Office of Howard Tagg today to learn more about your options and how moving forward with a bankruptcy may be in your best interests. Call now for a consultation at (903) 730-6366.

If you filed for bankruptcy before, you know it can be challenging and rewarding. Getting out from underneath crushing debt can help you in many ways, but what happens if you find yourself in debt again? Is it possible to file bankruptcy a second time? It is, but there are some things to understand before the paperwork is underway.

Filing a Second Chapter 7

Because a Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge some or all of your debts, you cannot receive another discharge until a minimum of eight years after the original date of filing for your first Chapter 7.

Filing a Second Chapter 13

A second Chapter 13 is a bit more forgiving than a second Chapter 7. You only have to wait two years from the date of your original filing instead of eight before you can file again.

Filing a Chapter 13 After a Chapter 7

While you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after a Chapter 7, this is a bit more difficult to do than the other types of second bankruptcies. You must wait a minimum of four years before filing for bankruptcy again. However, there’s a unique issue to be aware of if this is your case — if the court has not confirmed your Chapter 13 plan, you may be able to convert it to a Chapter 7. If you do this, you’ll have to follow the same guidelines for filing for a second Chapter 7.

Filing a Chapter 7 After a Chapter 13

If you filed a Chapter 13 first and wish to file a Chapter 7, you must wait six years before you can file. However, you may be able to file before this time frame is up if you paid 70% of your secured debts and all of your unsecured debts and can show that you made your best effort to complete your payment plan under your Chapter 13.

Contact a Tyler Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

Don’t wait to contact a Tyler bankruptcy lawyer if you begin falling into debt again after you’ve already filed for bankruptcy. It’s important that you take action now before things get out of hand and get help getting back on track financially. Attorney Howard Tagg is committed to your success and will provide you with sound, unbiased legal advice. Call now for a free consultation to discuss your financial needs and the possibility of filing for bankruptcy again at (903) 730-6366.