A Fresh Financial Start Through Debt Liquidation
At Law Offices Robert M. Stahl LLC, you will find a lawyer with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the bankruptcy process, one who can provide sound legal counsel and representation to help you on the road to financial freedom. We serve clients throughout Baltimore, Maryland, and the surround areas, and help them stop foreclosures, wage garnishments and IRS collections.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often called a liquidation or straight bankruptcy, is the most common type of bankruptcy proceeding. The process is simpler than most people think, and, if handled properly, can be a powerful tool helping debtors find financial freedom and a fresh start.
What Property Can You Keep?
In a Chapter 7 case, a debtor is allowed to exempt (keep) all or a certain portion of his or her property. In most cases, the debtor keeps all property. However, each person and situation is different, and the actual amount that can be retained (the “exempt” amount) by a specific debtor is determined by the market value of the debtor’s property in terms of dollars, the type of the property owned by the debtor (for example, a retirement account) and/or the manner in which the property is owned by the debtor (for example, whether the property is owned individually by the debtor or jointly by the debtor and a spouse).
Property that a debtor is entitled to keep is called “exempt property” and property that the debtor is not entitled to keep is considered “nonexempt property.” A Chapter 7 trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to collect the nonexempt property of the debtor, sell it, and distribute the sale proceeds to creditors. However, the vast majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy are “no-asset” bankruptcy in which the debtor is permitted to keep all of his or her property and nothing is distributed to creditors.
Secured And Unsecured Debt
Although a liquidation case can rarely help with secured debt (the secured creditor still has the right to repossess the collateral if the debtor falls behind in the monthly payments), the debtor will be discharged from the legal obligation to pay unsecured debts such as credit card debts, personal loans, court judgments, garnishments, medical bills and utility arrearages. However, certain types of unsecured debt are allowed special treatment and generally cannot be discharged. These debts include some student loans, alimony, child support, criminal fines and some taxes.
Although it is very possible that a debtor will be able to keep a house, car and remainder of the debtor’s other property in a Chapter 7 case, our firm strongly recommends that debtors consult experienced, knowledgeable legal counsel to determine the exemptions that will be available to them in their particular case.
Discuss Your Case With An Experienced Lawyer
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.