If you’re struggling to meet debt payments on a regular basis and have been for some time, you may find yourself in over your head financially. Fortunately, U.S. law offers a way back to the surface and an opportunity for a fresh start through the process of bankruptcy. Navigating this nuanced system alone is a large feat, but with the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd., you’ll have the guidance and support you need to file a strong, successful case for bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.
When you choose to file for bankruptcy, the long-term benefits are numerous, and you receive certain immediate advantages as soon as you file (automatic stay, for example). However, the benefits that bankruptcy provides come with the rest of the process, including the examination of your debts and the categorizing of your properties and accounts into a bankruptcy estate.
No matter which type of bankruptcy you file for, the bankruptcy estate plays an essential part in your case. In a Chapter 7 case, the estate determines what your trustee can liquidate in exchange for your debt being discharged. In a Chapter 13 case, the bankruptcy estate can determine the structure of your debt repayment plan and the amount you will have to repay to your creditors. While most of your properties and accounts are included in the bankruptcy estate, there are some exceptions.
What’s not in the bankruptcy estate?
- Any property or accounts you acquired after the date you file your bankruptcy petition. Keep in mind, however, that you must notify your bankruptcy attorney of any property that you acquire within 180 days of the date that you filed for bankruptcy relief. Your bankruptcy attorney will speak with the bankruptcy trustee administering your bankruptcy case to determine whether how much, if any, of such property may be subject to seizure.
- Child support arrears owed to you from another party.
- Joint bank accounts that your name is on along with the name of some other party (if the proceeds in such an account don’t actually belong to you).
- Withheld wages for employee benefits and health insurance programs.
- Education funds that are tax deferred.
- Funding from tuition programs qualified under the 2005 bankruptcy act and Coverdell account—if those funds are deposited at least one year prior to filing for bankruptcy or are for the benefit of your child, stepchild, step-grandchild, or foster child. Any funds deposited two years prior to bankruptcy are exempt from your estate, and you can exempt up to $5,850 from your estate if it was deposited between the one and two-year period.
- Last but not least, the majority of retirement funds are exempt from the bankruptcy estate.
The process of bankruptcy is designed to give debtors recovery and relief and not to punish or leave them without anything to their name while repaying something to their creditors as best as possible. While many of your properties are included in the bankruptcy estate, you’ll still have ample opportunity to exempt and protect most of your assets.
To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.