Several types of bankruptcy are available to individuals and businesses. For individual consumers, Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 are both potential options. Chapter 13 works to reorganize debts into a three-to-five-year repayment plan suited to your income and reasonable and necessary monthly living expenses. Chapter 7, on the other hand, is a liquidation bankruptcy where non-exempt assets are sold/liquidated in exchange for the discharge of debts. This latter chapter is the most common form of bankruptcy for individual and small business bankruptcy filers.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy through either chapter, you need to be aware of the level of detail that will be required in your petition. The bankruptcy court will require your bankruptcy attorney to review documentation concerning your income, assets, debts, and other particulars of your financial situation. Because of the strict documentation requirements that are necessary to adequately and completely draft a bankruptcy petition, we recommend getting help from a professional. Behm Law Group Ltd. attorneys provide legal guidance, protection, and support throughout reorganization and liquidation bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, and the surrounding areas.
When you file for any kind of bankruptcy, your debts will be classified and treated differently depending on their status as secured, unsecured, or priority. For liquidation Chapter 7 bankruptcy, these different debts are handled in the following ways:
- Secured debts are secured to a property, such as a home or car. Debts that are secured to an asset can be discharged in liquidation bankruptcy. The secured creditor can take and sell its collateral and apply the sale proceeds against the debt you owe. If the sale proceeds are insufficient to pay off all the debt, the unpaid balance is discharged and you are not responsible for paying it. Alternatively, many people want to retain their house or their car and they want to retain the debts that are secured by those assets. In many cases, people will reaffirm the debts with the secured creditors by entering into a reaffirmation agreement. A reaffirmation agreement is a document that memorializes the terms and conditions of the original mortgage or vehicle loan. By signing it, a filer agrees to continue being liable on those debts after a bankruptcy case has concluded. Essentially, a filer can preferentially treat those secured debts and exempt them out of the bankruptcy process. Any equity or value that a filer has above the debt against a house or a car is protected from one’s creditors by asserting one of the many exemptions that are provided under state or federal law. Exemptions are allowed in varying amounts. The exemptions also change over time as market values fluctuate (some current important exemptions for Minnesota).
- Unsecured debts are not tied to or secured by a property. Some of the most common unsecured debts include credit cards, medical bills, overdue utility bills bounced checks, and personal loans. In chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, these debts are completely discharged. However, there are unsecured debts that are considered priority, and these are treated differently than general unsecured debts.
- Priority debts are usually excepted from a chapter 7 discharge. General Common priority debts include alimony, child support, tax debt, criminal fines and penalties and debts for personal injury caused through intoxication and wrongful death claims. Like all debts, they must be disclosed or listed in a bankruptcy. There are some nuanced exceptions to the general rule that priority debts are not discharged. One exception for instance is 1040-type tax debt that is dated/ old. For instance, presume that you owe $5,000.00 for the 2010 tax year because your employer did not withhold enough out of your paychecks. Presume further that you duly filed your 2010 state and federal tax returns by April 15, 2011. Presume still further that you filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief on August 21, 2021. This sort of dated/old tax debt would very possibly be discharged in your chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
In every bankruptcy case, all debts are handled in complex ways that vary depending on the situation. However, overall, the secured, unsecured, and priority debts will likely be addressed as previously described. To learn more about filing for chapter 13 reorganization or chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, and the local region for long-term debt relief, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. by calling (507) 387-7200 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.