How to Enjoy the Holidays While Working Through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

During the holidays, many households struggle with the financial expectations of gifts, decorations, and fancy foods. If you are one of the many individuals having a hard time meeting debt payments, it may be time to take action for permanent debt relief.

 

While there are options for debt relief outside of bankruptcy, such as debt settlement or debt consolidation these options are rife with fraud and full of bad actors who are only interested in taking your money, have no legal authority to make your creditors do anything and will not provide permanent debt relief.  At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we can guide you through the process of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN and the surrounding area to receive immediate, effective and permanent debt relief.

 

Those who are already in the process of working through a three to five-year long Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan can still enjoy the Holiday Season as they would any other year outside of the bankruptcy process. While it’s true that some income must be paid to the chapter 13 trustee to meet monthly repayment plan requirements, one can still purchase gifts for friends and relatives, spend money entertaining friends and relatives and plan and take trips to visit friends and relatives as one would normally do outside of the bankruptcy process.

 

Discretionary Income

When you enter into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan, your income will be broken into disposable and discretionary categories. Your disposable income is what’s left after all reasonable and necessary living expenses are paid. Utility bills, food, gas, taxes, and all other household financial needs are considered reasonable and necessary living expenses that you can use any amount of your discretionary income to pay. What’s left of your income after reasonable and necessary living expenses are paid is called disposable income. For the full period of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your disposable income will be used to make your chapter 13 plan payments to the chapter 13 trustee and the chapter 13 trustee will divide those monthly payments among your unsecured creditors.  Christmas presents, decorations, and luxury foods are all things that you can use your discretionary income to purchase during the Holiday Season. Being in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy simply means that you and your attorney and the chapter 13 trustee will draft a monthly budget to help you spend your discretionary income more efficiently to cover your reasonable and necessary living expenses, including recreational expenses and charitable contributions.

 

Budgeting

Even with your disposable income being used to repay unsecured creditors through your chapter 13 plan, you can still enjoy the Holiday Season as you always have enjoyed it. One significant resource you can rely upon is part of your yearly income tax refunds. Although your yearly tax refunds technically constitute disposable income that should be used to repay unsecured creditors, the chapter 13 trustee will only require you to pay over a portion of your yearly tax refunds and permit you to use the rest as you wish. You could also request an adjustment to your repayment plan for the months during the Holiday Season.  Most chapter 13 trustees will allow a temporary change in your plan.

 

If you are facing serious debt problems this year, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com to learn more about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN.

 

The Timeline of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In the United States, the bankruptcy system was put into place to help balance the economy in times of a depression, support individuals and businesses who will never be able to repay their debts, and provide creditors with some form of possible compensation. If you are struggling to meet debt payments each month, you may want to consider bankruptcy as a viable option for permanent debt relief. Behm Law Group Ltd. can provide you with important legal support and guidance through a Chapter 13, Chapter 12 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, and the surrounding area.

 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly filed type of individual bankruptcy case in the United States. The process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy works to liquidate the filer’s non-exempt assets in exchange for the discharge of one’s various debts. Credit card debts and medical bills are often the most common debts involved in an individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but other debts like mortgages and car loans can also be involved in many cases.

 

The process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is relatively straightforward, but each step must be done properly and in a timely manner or your case could be at risk of being dismissed. Generally speaking, the steps of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy include the following:

 

  1. Consultation: An initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney is the first step in any case. Behm attorneys help you determine if Chapter 7 is right for your financial situation and where to go from there.
  2. Scheduling payments: After the initial consultation, we work with you to plan a payment schedule of our attorney costs and the court fees.
  3. Petition: Once we’ve determined a payment schedule that fits your income, we guide you in completing the necessary paperwork involved in your petition. This information includes comprehensive debt and income details, your tax returns, bank statements, and any other relevant financial documentation.
  4. Credit counseling: Part of qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is taking a court-approved credit counseling course. This course can be completed online and takes about 60 to 90 minutes to complete.  It is available at minimal cost.
  5. Case preparation: Once you submit your financial information to our attorneys, we review your paperwork and forms to ensure everything is correct. We also spend time pinpointing potential issues that might arise with creditors or the trustee, and we work to eliminate or mitigate any potential problems.
  6. The 341 hearing: The 341 hearing (or Meeting of the Creditors) is another requirement that must be completed before you receive your discharge and before your case can be closed. This typically involves a short meeting with the trustee to answer relevant questions to verify, under oath, the information in your bankruptcy petition. Creditors can attend, but they frequently don’t find it necessary to do so.
  7. Financial Management/Debtor Education:  Before you are eligible to receive a bankruptcy discharge, you must complete a second course called “Financial Management” or “Debtor Education”.  This course provides various tips and techniques to help one budget one’s finances more efficiently and manage one’s debts more effectively going forward.  Like the credit counseling course, this course can also be completed online and it takes about 2 hours to complete.  It also is available at minimal cost.
  8. Debt discharge: Once your petition is submitted to the court and your 341 hearing has been conducted and you’ve fulfilled all of the other bankruptcy code requirements, your debts are discharged and all of your creditors receive a copy of the discharge order issued by the bankruptcy court.  The discharge order permanently prevents your creditors from pursuing you for any debts that you owed them.  It also operates as a warning to your creditors that they could be sued and severely sanctioned by the bankruptcy court if they continue collection activities against you.
  9. Trustee administration: Finally, the trustee goes through the process of selling any non-exempt assets and distributing the sale proceeds to creditors. This is the last step in your case before it’s closed.  However, in most cases all one loses are one’s debts.  The bankruptcy code exemptions, which are used to protect property, are quite generous and they are normally sufficient to protect all of one’s property.

 

To learn more about the details of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. by calling (507) 387-7200 or emailing stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Averages and Other Bankruptcy Statistics from the Past Ten Years

After the housing crisis in 2009, bankruptcy rates increased dramatically but they eventually stabilized around 2015. Since then, an average of 760,013 cases were filed throughout the following four years. Now that we’re ending a pandemic year, those numbers might fluctuate again, with shutdowns, layoffs, illness, and the lack of federally funded unemployment benefits all adding to the financial difficulties of many Americans.

 

If you’re struggling to meet debt payments during this unsure time, you’re not alone. Despite a global pandemic, many individuals and businesses are still finding permanent debt relief and long-term financial stability by filing for bankruptcy. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we can provide legal services and support from start to finish if you choose to file for bankruptcy relief in Fairmont, MN and the surrounding area.

 

Bankruptcy statistics in the coming years will likely bear out some unusual numbers compared to the last five years, largely due to the effects of the coronavirus and the economic changes that come with every election. The first half of 2020 actually saw a decrease in bankruptcy cases by about 92,200 compared to the first half of 2019. This decrease was likely due to federal stimulus checks and federally backed unemployment benefits giving everyone a little financial boost. In addition to stimulus help, many loan providers and landlords were more lenient with late fees and monthly payments.

 

For the past ten years, filing statistics have been relatively the same when it comes to age, education, income, and the marital status of filers, along with stats regarding repeat filers. Generally speaking, the median age of bankruptcy filers is between 38 and 45 years old.  However, people 55 and older make up about 20% of U.S. bankruptcy cases. Filers under 25 years old make up only 2% of cases.

 

About 20% of bankruptcy filers have a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher education level. 36% have a high school education, and 29% have some at least college education. In the coming years, the burden of increasing student loan debt may cause an increase in the bankruptcy filing rate for people with undergraduate and graduate degrees. About 60% of filers have incomes under $30,000 a year, while cases for those with incomes of $60,000 or more have recently increased by a few percentage points.

 

Most filers, about 64%, are married individuals, with the remaining 17% single, 15% divorced, and 3% widowed. Contrary to some popular beliefs about those living with debt, repeat filers only make up 8% of all bankruptcy cases. This is largely due to the BAPCPA changes to the bankruptcy code which passed in 2005.

 

As we finish the first year in a new decade with an election and a pandemic, we’ll have to wait and see how these conditions affect our economy and individuals’ finances. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy relief in Fairmont, MN or the surrounding region, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com for more information today.

 

 

What the Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act Means for Filers

As the only law firm practicing exclusively in bankruptcy in southern Minnesota, we’ve worked with many clients over the years at Behm Law Group, Ltd. Each of these clients had different financial circumstances, but they were all after the same goal of permanent debt relief and financial stability for themselves and their families. There are several types of debt that can be readily discharged in bankruptcy. However, the discharge of student loan debt is difficult. While student loan debt is largely excepted from discharge in the process, unless one can sue the student loan lender and show “undue hardship”, a new bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives may be a sign of changes in how student loan debts are treated in bankruptcy. If this new bill were to pass in the United States Senate and be signed into law by the President, filing for bankruptcy relief in Waseca, MN, and the surrounding communities may be a beneficial option to households with student loan debt.

In May 2019, the Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act (SBBRA) was introduced in the United States House of Representatives. The SBBRA is “a bill to provide relief for student borrowers.” Essentially, this bill would remove restrictions from the bankruptcy code that have made it much more difficult to discharge student loans.

The current bankruptcy code requires filers to prove “undue hardship” in order to qualify for the discharge of student loans. Since the passage of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) amendments to the bankruptcy code, the discharge of student loan debt became even more difficult because the exception to discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8) was expanded to include both federally guaranteed student loans and student loans made by private parties. In order to prove undue hardship, one must actually sue a student loan lender in bankruptcy court. Commencing a lawsuit against a student loan lender is an expensive and protracted process. The costs associated with such a process can be $20,000 or more.

If the SBBRA bill is passed into law, the requirement of having to prove undue hardship in order to have student loan debt discharged will be removed. This bill is a result of growing momentum around student loan debt forgiveness in the past five years. Although many don’t expect this bill to be approved by the United States Senate if it is passed in the United States House of Representatives, it’s still a possibility at this point. If the bill passes, thousands of individuals with hundreds of thousands of student loan debts and accrued interest would have bankruptcy as an option to be permanently rid of such debts.

If the bill doesn’t pass, many believe it is still a sign of changes in how student loans are handled in the United States. Other signs, like the recent McDaniel v. Navient case where $200,000 in student loan debt was discharged, point to growing concerns that individuals will not be able to repay student debts. The 2020 election will most likely be the tipping point that determines whether beneficial changes to the bankruptcy code allowing the discharge of student loan debts will become reality.

Even though it is presently very difficult and very expensive to try and discharge student loan debts in bankruptcy, there are still many other debts that can be effectively eliminated in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy relief in Waseca, MN, with the assistance of Behm Law Group Ltd. attorneys, contact us at (507) 387-7200 or email us at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

McDaniels v. Navient Case Might Change How Student Loans Are Treated by the Bankruptcy Code

At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we work with clients to guide them through Chapter 7, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and the bankruptcy code as a whole. We primarily work with individual consumers but also provide legal representation to small businesses.

If you’re struggling to make debt payments each month, it may be time for you to consider filing for bankruptcy to find permanent debt relief. However, in order to determine if filing bankruptcy would benefit your situation you must consider the types of debt you have. While debts like credit card debt, medical bills, mortgages, and car loans are readily discharged in bankruptcy, some other common debts, such as student loans, are largely excepted from discharge in the bankruptcy process. With the help of Behm attorneys, you can find out how helpful the current bankruptcy code in Mankato, MN and nearby regions will be for discharging your debts.

For those with high student loan debt, it’s currently difficult to have that type of debt discharged in bankruptcy. Under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8), student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy only if a person is able to commence a lawsuit against a student loan lender and establish facts showing that retaining the debt would create an “undue hardship”. After the recent McDaniels v. Navient case, though, there may soon be ways to have student loan debt discharged more easily. In the McDaniels v. Navient case, Laura Paige McDaniel was able to have $200,000 discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Details of the Case

Laura McDaniels originally borrowed $120,000 in student loans to cover her tuition to undergraduate and graduate school. When it became difficult for her to keep making high payments on this debt, her loan provider, Navient, did not offer any options for a repayment plan because only federal loan providers are required to work with borrowers to establish lenient payment plans. Unable to pay student loans and other debts, McDaniels went into bankruptcy. While her bankruptcy was ongoing, Navient continued to add thousands onto her student loans in interest.

After some time of being unable to pay the huge outstanding debt, McDaniels petitioned the bankruptcy court to reopen her case and include her private student loan debt for discharge. Though Navient appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the lower bankruptcy court ruling that her student loan interest was not “an obligation to repay funds received as an educational benefit” because they “were not made solely for the ‘cost of attendance’” was affirmed. McDaniels, therefore, received a discharge of $200,000 in student loan debt.

What This Changes

While this will most likely not affect changes to the bankruptcy code immediately, it’s a sign that changes that would help those who have student loan debt are coming. With the additional changes the proposed Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act may make to the bankruptcy code, it’s highly possible that the treatment of student loans in bankruptcy might be very different in the near future.

Let the Professionals Help You Navigate the Bankruptcy Code

To learn more about filing and the bankruptcy code in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Increases in Farm Debt Leads to More Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Filings

As we continue to move through recovery from the peak of coronavirus outbreaks, farmers are still facing the same financial troubles they have had since the establishment of the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019. For family farmers and fishers, this act expanded the eligibility and debt limits for Chapter 12 bankruptcy cases, a chapter specifically designed to resolve debts of farmers or fishers who support their family with at least 50% of their yearly income derived from their farming/fishing businesses. If you are a family farmer or fisher struggling to meet debt payments, you’re not alone. Of the current two million farms operating on U.S. soil since 2019, thousands have debts they can’t repay. For those considering filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, or the surrounding area, Behm Law Group Ltd. can provide the legal support and advice to help you build a strong case with an effective and manageable debt repayment plan.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy works to reorganize farming/fishing debts and personal debts together into a manageable repayment plan. This repayment plan lasts three to five years depending on the filer’s disposable income. The process overall works very similarly to Chapter 13 individual bankruptcy, but has some aspects that make it more suited to resolve farmer and fisher debts specifically.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is typically better suited for the financial conditions of a family farmer or fisher because it moves much more quickly and is much less expensive than a Chapter 11 case. It’s also more effective than Chapter 13 bankruptcy given the much larger debt load that will be addressed.

The newest law regarding Chapter 12 bankruptcy was the 2019 Family Farmer Relief Act, which increased the allowed debt limits from $3,237,000 to $10 million, reflecting the increased land values and costs of farming equipment. Due to the current discrepancy between farm products and the operating costs of small to midsize farms and fishing operations, family farms and fishers are facing severe financial imbalances. With more and more seasonal loans taken out to cover these discrepancies and to keep their operations running, farmers and fishers need Chapter 12 reorganization bankruptcy now more than ever. Moving forward, the larger debt allowances for a Chapter 12 bankruptcy case will greatly improve the chances for financial rehabilitative success of family-owned farms. Projections over the next three to five years indicate that many more people will need to protect their family farms by filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy relief.

To learn more about the Family Farmer Relief Act and filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, and the surrounding region, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Different Types of Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN

Because the current time is full of uncertainties, any growing financial worries can add a tremendous amount of stress on a household. Whether you’re an individual, a family breadwinner, or a business owner, you can rest assured that when worst comes to worst, you will always have the option to file for bankruptcy if your financial circumstances call for it. Bankruptcy often gets a negative image cast over it, but the truth is that it’s a system designed to protect debtors, creditors, and the economic system overall with fair and just treatment to every party involved. If you are finding it impossible, or even just difficult, to meet debt payments each month, you can join thousands of other U.S. citizens who filed for bankruptcy and received permanent debt relief. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can build a strong case for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 or Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, and start down your own road to a debt-free life.

At Behm Law Group, we work with individuals or joint-filing spouses going through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies. We also work with Minnesota family farmers and fishers to help them file for Chapter 12 relief. The different chapters/types of bankruptcy outlined in the code include:

  • Chapter 7: This process is for individuals or businesses of any size. It works to liquidate non-exempt assets in exchange for the discharge of debts. With most individual cases, the exemptions provided by the bankruptcy code protect one’s property from liquidation and all one loses are one’s debts.
  • Chapter 13: This bankruptcy is primarily for individuals, but sole proprietorship businesses can file by combining personal and business debts into one case. This process works to reorganize debts into a manageable repayment plan lasting three to five years that is tailored to one’s monthly income and reasonable and necessary monthly living expenses.
  • Chapter 12: This works like Chapter 13, but it is exclusively designed for family farmers and fishers who derive 50% of their yearly income from their farming/fishing operations.
  • Chapter 11: This is another reorganization bankruptcy, but it’s typically available to very large businesses that aren’t sole proprietorships or partnerships and to individuals who have a lot of property and have more than $419,275 of unsecured debts and more than $1,257,850 of secured debts. Chapter 11 typically costs more, takes longer, and involves more debts than the other reorganization bankruptcies.
  • Chapter 9: This bankruptcy process is for cities, towns, and other municipalities. The process protects the filing municipality from its creditors while a debt reorganization plan is drafted.
  • Chapter 15: This chapter applies to bankruptcies that cause cross-border insolvencies and is used when a filer has debts in the United States and in another country.

This is a brief explanation of the general chapters in the U.S. bankruptcy code. To learn more about bankruptcy law or to file for bankruptcy relief in Redwood Falls, MN, today, call Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Overview of the SBRA and Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for Small Businesses in Jackson, MN

The Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) was signed into law on August 23rd, 2019, and went into effect on February 19, 2020. For small businesses struggling with debts, this act could help them file for bankruptcy relief without the loss of their business in liquidation and without having to incur the extreme costs of a typical Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy case. The rules of the SBRA make it much less expensive for small businesses to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If you’re considering filing a case as an individual or small business, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you file for Chapter 13, Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in Jackson, MN and the surrounding area.

The SBRA provides subchapter rules to Chapter 11 that essentially lower the total cost of filing for businesses with debt loads equal to or less than $2,725,625.00 (excepting debts to affiliated parties or business insiders). Before this act, Chapter 11 business debt reorganization bankruptcy was considered so costly that most small businesses weren’t able to afford it.

Since the enactment of the SBRA, many small businesses now have the ability to file Chapter 11 and keep their company operations running rather than filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and having their businesses liquidated.

The first and foremost way the SBRA reduces costs of Chapter 11 for small businesses is by eliminating all fees except the initial filing fee. Other ways that costs are reduced include the following:

  • The court assigns a trustee to the small business case. This trustee acts similarly to a trustee in a Chapter 13 (reorganization bankruptcy for individuals) and helps keep the business on track for repayment throughout the case.
  • There is no appointed committee of creditors, and this eliminates costs of creditors’ legal professionals that the filer could be partially responsible for.
  • The repayment plan confirmation process is streamlined because the court will not require a disclosure statement that provides repayment details to creditors. This prevents possible contested hearings and extensions of the case that could add additional costs.
  • Finally, the SRBA reduces strict confirmation requirements for repayment plans. Plans will be approved as long as they don’t discriminate against specific creditors and the repayment amounts are reasonable with respect to projected monthly business income and projected monthly business expenses and the current debts of the business. This quick confirmation process prevents drawn out, costly back-and-forth interactions between creditors and the business filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.

This brief overview of the changes made to Chapter 11 bankruptcy through the Small Business Reorganization Act is just a general look into the new law. To learn more on how the SBRA may affect your ability to file, you can view all the details on congress.gov.

For more information about filing for Chapter 13, Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN as an individual or as a business, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Why Small Businesses Aren’t Filing for Bankruptcy Now

Since the end of March and the height of the coronavirus shutdowns, small businesses and beyond have struggled to stay afloat. The benefits of stimulus packages and federal loans have helped many individuals and businesses keep their heads above water and even make a profit during months of decreased income. Unfortunately, most of the effects of the stimulus bills came to an end, and small businesses now need to decide what steps to take to protect themselves given current economic conditions. If you own a sole proprietorship or partnership business, you can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to resolve debts without losing your business. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can work through that type of reorganization bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, and the surrounding areas to file a successful case that will resolve your debts without liquidating your business operations.

Although sole proprietorship and partnership businesses can file for bankruptcy by rolling business debt into the owner’s personal debts, many other small businesses are not able to file because they would be restricted to Chapter 11 reorganization as they may have large amounts of debt and assets with significant values.

Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 function similarly to reorganize debts into a repayment plan. Filers will slowly repay debts included in the plan over several years. Many debts will be paid in full but under different terms as denoted in the plan. Other debts will receive payment for a finite period of time and only be partially paid. The remaining balances of those debts at the conclusion of the bankruptcy case would be discharged. While those businesses that qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are more likely to file during this time, if it’s the correct choice given their current finances, businesses that only qualify for Chapter 11 bankruptcy still might not be able to file.

The situation for small businesses right now is complicated. Big business bankruptcy cases have increased by almost 120% in the past 8 months, largely due to the effects of COVID-19, but many smaller businesses have been left unable to file for bankruptcy simply because the costs of filing can be significant. These smaller businesses are operating on shoestring budgets, and once stimulus aid comes to a full stop, they will likely be left with little to no resources.

Because small businesses will be (or already have been) operating on such low incomes, they will literally not be able to afford to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The cost of an attorney and the filing fees involved in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case are often upward of $10,000 for many small to medium businesses. Most struggling to meet debt payments will just keep operations running until a third party intervenes rather than put time and money into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plans.

With PPP (payroll protection) loans and stimulus support still helping some small businesses and other businesses with incomes too low to cover bankruptcy fees and costs, small business bankruptcies are down by about 14% from last year.

If you are able to fund a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, or the local area, Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you build a repayment plan for long-term debt relief. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy with a Business Partner in Worthington, MN

For individuals in the position to file for bankruptcy, there are two common options available: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 works to liquidate your non-exempt assets in exchange for the discharge of your debts. This process is most common for filers without a steady income and the loss of non-exempt property does not occur in most Chapter 7 cases. However, for those with income who want to keep properties that could otherwise be liquidated in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 is a better option. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to restructure your debts into a manageable three-to-five-year repayment plan that is based upon your monthly “net” income and your monthly reasonable and necessary living expenses.

While Chapter 7 is a bankruptcy process available to individuals and businesses in Worthington, MN, alike, Chapter 13 is mostly filed by individuals. If you own a sole proprietorship or partnership business, you may be able to combine business and personal debts and use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to resolve all debts at once.

If you’re in the position to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Worthington, MN and the surrounding area, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you build a strong case and get your reasonable repayment plan put into place.

For Chapter 13 filers with a sole proprietorship, combining business and personal debts is relatively simple because there’s only one party filing for bankruptcy. For partnership businesses, however, that process can get a little more complicated. These complications often create situations where filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is less than ideal for a partnership.

What to consider:

  • Your business contract: Many partnership businesses build clauses into their contracts that will dissolve the business as soon as one partner files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is largely because of the potential negative results in a bankruptcy case that could befall a non-bankruptcy filing partner.
  • Potential case results: If the non-filing partner is able to repay the debts with their personal income, a creditor could request to have the case switched to a Chapter 7 on those grounds. The creditor could possibly receive more money in this case by targeting your partner’s assets, and your business would be forced to close down operations.
  • Who has to pay: If your partner files for bankruptcy, they’ll wipe out their responsibility for that business debt. This may leave you fully responsible for the debt. Additionally, if either of you guaranteed the debt, a bankruptcy case may trigger a clause that will require an immediate full payment of a loan.
  • Who will own the business: When your partner files for bankruptcy, they give up their share in the business to the bankruptcy trustee. Their ownership interest in the business becomes property of their bankruptcy estate. Technically, this will make a bankruptcy trustee your new business partner. If a trustee chooses to liquidate that asset, you could lose half of your business (or however much your partner owned). However, if the business has no “net” value in excess of the debts it owes, the trustee will likely conclude that it has no value to the bankruptcy estate. In that case, the partner filing for bankruptcy relief would likely be allowed to continue operating the business with the non-bankruptcy filing partner, as was the case before the bankruptcy was filed.

Don’t Try to Navigate Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Alone

If you or your partner plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Worthington, MN or the surrounding area, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you decide whether or not it’s a good idea. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.