When you file for bankruptcy, information about all your debts, income, and properties must be disclosed in your bankruptcy paperwork. Documentation about your financial history as far back as six months to two years must be reviewed for any bankruptcy chapter. Any material inaccuracies or omissions of debts, income, and properties can be considered fraudulent and result in a dismissal of your case. Because of the strict and thorough documentation requirements for any bankruptcy petition, filing without the help of a professional can be difficult and risky. The guidance and protection Behm Law Group, Ltd. attorneys provide will help you file a successful petition and receive long-term debt relief through Chapter 12, Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most filed for individual consumers and businesses alike. Chapter 7 works to liquidate non-exempt assets in exchange for a discharge of debts. The value of your non-exempt liquidated property is distributed among your creditors. Because a key part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is the liquidation of your non-exempt assets, it’s important to know how you can protect property from that process.
Protecting properties from liquidation is accomplished by asserting exemptions provided either under state law or under the bankruptcy code, but it can also be done through a reaffirmation agreement or through redemption.
- Exemptions: Allotted exemptions vary by state. In most states, you are allowed to claim the federal exemptions provided under the bankruptcy code instead of the exemptions provided by a particular state if the federal exemptions serve your situation better. Typical exemptions claimed protect the home, car, and household appliances, clothing, life insurance policies, jewelry and many other items from liquidation. Exemptions also change over time as incomes and costs of living are adjusted. A recent list of common Minnesota exemptions can be found here.
- Reaffirmation agreement: In Chapter 7, if you are current on payments for a certain debt, such as your car loan, you can file a reaffirmation agreement to have that debt preserved or exempted out of the bankruptcy process. This basically leaves a debt as-is, meaning you can keep your property secured by the subject loan, but you still have to make payments on the debt as usual. More on reaffirmation agreements can be found here.
- Redemption: Finally, you can protect a property from the liquidation process through redemption. You indicate that you wish to redeem a certain property item when you file your initial bankruptcy petition paperwork. You notify the court and the creditor that has a lien that you wish to keep a certain item of property. Through redemption you must pay a secured creditor the present value for the property that serves as the creditor’s collateral. Typically, that value is paid in one lump-sum payment to the secured creditor. However, sometimes the issue of what constitutes present or current value for that asset will be disputed. If you and the affected secured creditor disagree on that value, the issue is presented to the court at a redemption hearing and the court determines what constitutes the present or current value for the asset.
These ways of protecting a property from the liquidation process can become complex depending on the circumstances of each loan, property type, creditor, and much more. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you work through this and many other parts of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn more.