Debt Discharge Possibilities in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN

The benefits of filing for bankruptcy vary between the different chapters. If you choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you benefit from the fresh start it provides after your discharge order is issued by the court in about ninety to one hundred and twenty days. If you choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you benefit from a restructuring of your debts into a manageable repayment plan and you will receive a discharge order discharging your debts after your repayment plan is concluded in three to five years. However, for individual consumers filing for either chapter, there is some overlap of the different benefits each type of bankruptcy provides. If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you find ways to gather benefits that you might get during a Chapter 7 case as well.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to restructure your debts into a new repayment plan that will last from three to five years. A common misconception about this restructuring is that the filer will continue to repay all of one’s debts in full over the payment plan period. This is true in some cases but most debts will only be partially paid.

Debts Discharged

While all of your priority unsecured debts, such as most tax debts and child support debts, must be paid in full in a Chapter 13 case, there are some nonpriority unsecured debts that will only be partially paid and then the balance will be discharged.

  1. Personal Loans: Any personal loans from friends, family, or acquaintances are considered unsecured nonpriority debts. These “loose contract” loans will be only partially paid with Chapter 13 bankruptcy; however, if they are secured by property or other assets, the creditors may take back those assets if you do not pay the loans back.
  2. Credit Card Debt: This is the most common type of unsecured nonpriority debt that filers hold when entering bankruptcy. With Chapter 13, that credit card debt can be wiped out after being partially paid through the chapter 13 repayment plan.
  3. Some Tax Obligations: The majority of your tax debts must be repaid at a decided percentage with your Chapter 13 repayment plan. However, if you have very old tax debts, they can be considered nonpriority unsecured debts and be discharged with Chapter 13.
  4. Medical Bills: Medical bills can be crippling, but when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, those debts will be discharged if they were accumulated when your insurance did not completely cover your medical care.
  5. Other: If there is a judgment against you for negligence or contract breach involving a certain nonpriority unsecured debt, it’s possible such a debt can be discharged in Chapter 13. Debts involving injury to another person caused by drunk driving will not be discharged.

If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, or if you are struggling with these kinds of debts among other financial obligations, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 today for information about how bankruptcy can work for you.

Feasibility Requirement vs. Mathematical Feasibility for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be required to meet a varying roster of requirements throughout the process for your case and repayment plan to continue from stage to stage. If you met the stipulations set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code necessary to move your petition into the next stage, you’ll begin the restructuring of your debts into a suitable repayment plan. Because building a proposal for a repayment plan that your trustee will accept is the most difficult stage of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the help of a bankruptcy attorney is critical at this point. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the legal advice and assistance you need for a successful petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN.

One of the many requirements that your repayment plan proposal must meet for approval is the passing of the Feasibility Requirement. Your trustee will examine your plan proposal to ensure you can meet your outlined payments month to month. While it is essentially a way of determining if your plan is viable given your current and projected future financial situation, the term “feasibility” holds two meanings in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Feasibility for You

Whether or not your plan is feasible is determined in part by your own financial situation. If you can meet payments, your plan is feasible. If your income changes and you can no longer meet payments, your plan becomes infeasible. The Feasibility Requirement may be tested against your situation several times throughout your 3-5 year repayment plan. What the filer understands as the “Feasibility Requirement” most often depends entirely on one’s financial abilities, but in some cases, it can refer to another type of feasibility.

Feasibility for Your Trustee

The Feasibility Requirement in a Chapter 13 case can also depend on Mathematical Feasibility. Mathematical Feasibility (or Disbursement Feasibility) comes into consideration after the filer passes their own requirements for the Feasibility Requirement. If you can feasibly complete your repayment plan, your trustee must also consider the disbursing of payments to creditors. Because some plans are proposed based on inaccurate information, trustees must calculate the sum transactions. The necessary output to the creditors might not always be equal to the input in the filer’s proposed plan. If this is the case there’s a mathematical infeasibility, and the plan cannot be confirmed until the inaccuracies are rectified.

The process of proposing a repayment plan when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, can be somewhat complicated and difficult. Don’t hesitate to contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 for more information about the counsel and support our experienced attorneys can provide.

Changes to Your Proposed Plan in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and United States Trustee have more control and authority over the process.  In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, the journey can be much more complex and requires more time and effort from you. Because you play such a significant part in determining the results of your Chapter 13 case, working with a legal professional can guide your hand in a way that will give you a plan that you can benefit from as much as possible. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can provide you with expert legal counsel with the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in Jackson, MN.

One of the most important parts of your Chapter 13 case that you’ll play a part in deciding is your repayment plan. In the process of reorganizing your debts in a Chapter 13 repayment plan, you are required to propose a payment plan based on your income, your living expenses and the claims or debts/amounts you owe to your creditors.

Claims

Chapter 13 bankruptcy claims are essentially the amount of debt claimed to be owed by the debtor to the creditor. These claims can be made by a debtor and a creditor alike, and they are used to determine the amount to be repaid to each creditor during the repayment plan term. Debtors can file claims based on their own estimates of what they owe their creditors.  Also, debtors can file claims on behalf of creditors if creditors either forget or refuse to do so.  Creditors can also file claims to denote how much they were owed by the debtor when the bankruptcy case was filed.  The Chapter 13 trustee pays creditors according to their claims.  If creditors do not file claims, they don’t get paid anything by the trustee.  When the claims of debtors and creditors differ, formal claim disputes can arise.

Creditor vs. Debtor

Claims of the creditor and the debtor may be in dispute. If a debtor doesn’t know the correct amount one owes to a creditor and then files a claim based upon only the debtor’s personal estimate, the impacted creditor can dispute that claim and change the outcome of a Chapter 13 repayment plan.  A creditor can file its own claim which could be significantly higher than the debtor’s estimate.  In such a case, that creditor would receive a larger payment every month from the Chapter 13 trustee.  Similarly, a debtor can dispute a claim a creditor makes if a debtor has viable proof of inaccuracy. When disputes are settled, a final plan is established. However, the plan may be further altered if the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer the case doesn’t agree with the repayment structure.  For instance, the trustee may think that the chapter 13 plan does not pay a sufficient dividend to one’s unsecured creditors. Further, the trustee may disagree with the amounts of the monthly expenses claimed by a debtor.  The trustee may also believe that a debtor’s income has been understated.  The trustee can petition the bankruptcy court to alter the terms of your chapter 13 plan and the trustee could request that the payment amount be increased.  If a debtor and the trustee disagree about the payments or other terms of a debtor’s chapter 13 plan, the matter is submitted to the bankruptcy court for determination via a contested confirmation hearing.

If you plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, taking advantage of the help of an expert bankruptcy attorney can change the outcome of your repayment plan. For more information about how Chapter 13 works, or for legal advice and assistance with your petition for bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Understanding the Feasibility Requirement in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

Working through a debt reorganization is a complicated process. All aspects of your financial situation, including the details of your income, property, debts, and expenses must be taken into account. Most individuals who choose debt reorganization file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The long process of building a repayment plan with Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, can be difficult, but Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you avoid issues that may lead to the dismissal of your case.

To have your debts reorganized into a Chapter 13 repayment plan that fits your financial situation and remains fair to your creditors, you have to pass a number of requirements. One of these stipulations is that you must pass the feasibility requirement in order for your bankruptcy repayment plan to be confirmed or approved by the bankruptcy court. Your trustee will expect you to be able to continue making payments regularly throughout your plan. The trustee will question your ability to pay and will analyze the feasibility of your chapter 13 repayment plan in the event of the following:

  • Meeting the First Payments: Because your plan will be put into effect within 30 days of your filing as a sort of “test” before it’s confirmed, you may be required to make 3-6 payments to your trustee before your plan is actually set in stone. It’s likely you can make these payments if you have worked through the plan with a bankruptcy lawyer, but in some cases, plans are dismissed even before confirmation—often because a filer’s financial circumstances have changed.
  • Balloon Payments: During your repayment plan period, it’s possible your trustee will request a future “balloon payment.” Balloon payments occur at the end of a chapter 13 plan term.  Balloon payments are necessitated where you may have missed a few monthly payments or you may have made only partial payments during some months.  At the end of the chapter 13 plan period, a large balloon payment of the remaining balance of your accumulated payments must be met for your plan to remain feasible.
  • Income Change: Because Chapter 13 plans span 3-5 year periods, it’s possible for the filer’s income to change during that period. If your income increases, you may be required to increase payment amounts each month. If your income decreases, your plan feasibility will come into question, and your trustee will investigate your ability to keep meeting payments.  Your plan payments could also be lowered.
  • Asset Sales: In the event you choose to sell an asset and use the proceeds gained to meet payments in your plan, your trustee may investigate the market values and have input in the selling of asset, especially if the market is poor. If you cannot make a payment without making the asset sale, the feasibility your chapter 13 plan may come into question.

There are several other reasons you may not pass the feasibility requirement for your repayment plan when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, but with the support and counsel of Behm Law Group, Ltd., you can avoid many difficulties of the process. For more information, contact us at (507) 387-7200 today.

Standing Trustees and Their Role in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

If you choose to file for bankruptcy, you will have a trustee appointed by the Executive Office of the United States Trustee to administer and supervise your case. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your case will be concluded quickly, usually within ninety to one hundred and twenty days, but in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your 3-5 year repayment plan will require a longer period of involvement by the chapter 13 trustee. Because a Chapter 13 case is significantly longer than a Chapter 7 case, the help of a bankruptcy attorney can improve your circumstances. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides the legal assistance you need when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

The length of Chapter 13 cases often requires specialized skills with those administering the case and overseeing repayment plan. To meet this demand most trustees handling Chapter 13 plans are considered standing trustees.

What are Standing Trustees?  

 Standing trustees often work strictly on Chapter 13 cases. While it’s possible for a trustee to work with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, the courts prefer standing trustees to administer bankruptcy cases involving debt reorganization. This is because it requires a long-term commitment on the trustee’s part, and often requires legal knowledge specific to the Chapter 13 process.

What do they do?

 Like any other bankruptcy trustee, a standing trustee will examine the information you provide in the bankruptcy forms and schedules and approve the legitimacy and accuracy of that information. The Chapter 13 trustee will also verify your attendance at the meeting of creditors. Any abuse the trustee detects will be reported to the bankruptcy court and to the United States Trustee. In some situations, a standing trustee can recover any assets that you may have transferred before filing for bankruptcy and the trustee can object to certain exemptions you attempt to claim.

When it comes to your repayment plan, a standing trustee will review your income and expenses to determine an appropriate payment for your repayment plan. When a repayment plan is established, the standing trustee confirms that you will dedicate all of your disposable income to continue making payments until the plan is complete. The trustee will also ensure that the plan will repay the creditors at least as much as they would receive in a hypothetical Chapter 7 case.

Once your Chapter 13 repayment plan is confirmed or approved by the bankruptcy court, the standing trustee will continue to collect your payments and distribute the correct amounts to your various creditors. A standing trustee will monitor your ability to make payments and will request an increase in the plan payment amounts corresponding to any increase in your disposable income. The trustee will also keep an eye out for fraudulent conduct.

A standing trustee works to make sure everything is done by the book and that a Chapter 13 case remains fair for creditors and debtors alike. Behm Law Group, Ltd.

can provide you with expert legal counsel and work with your standing trustee if you choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN. For more information, call us at (507) 387-7200 today.

Bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, Since 2005

As with all departments of US legislation, bankruptcy is an ever-changing legal process. Because the status of finances and the economy are rapidly transforming with the development of new technology, new energy, and new ways to spend, save, and make money, the laws that govern how debt is handled must change accordingly. Since 2005 the laws, standards, and procedures of bankruptcy have changed significantly. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, it’s important to understand how bankruptcy law works today. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides the legal advice and assistance necessary to successfully navigate bankruptcy.

The most recent changes made to bankruptcy law came in 2005 when Congress amended the bankruptcy code for purposes of determining how consumer households file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how Chapter 13 repayment plans are structured. These changes included the following.

Means Test and Income Measurement

 Before the 2005 overhaul, individual filers could choose the type of bankruptcy that worked best with their situation (in their or their lawyer’s opinion). This allowed filers with high incomes to benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a way that was perceived to be unfair to creditors.  Namely, Congress believed that people with higher incomes could enter into a Chapter 13 repayment plan and pay at least something to their unsecured creditors. Today, all filers are required to take the Means Test to analyze their income for the 6 month period prior to the month in which their bankruptcy petition is filed. The bankruptcy code requires an attorney to add up all of a filer’s gross income for the pre-bankruptcy filing 6 month period and then determine an average.  Then, the bankruptcy code requires an attorney to multiply the average by 12 to determine what a filer’s yearly projected income is and analyze it against the state average income for a household of the filer’s size.  If the filer’s income is in excess of the state average income for a household of the filer’s size, then the person would probably have to file a Chapter 13 instead of a Chapter 7.  For instance, presume a single person needs to file for bankruptcy relief and that he or she earned gross monthly income of $5,000.00.  Presume further that the state average income for a household of 1 in Minnesota is $52,785.00.  The bankruptcy code would require the attorney to add up the $5,000.00 for the preceding 6 months which would be $30,000.00.  Then, the bankruptcy code would require the attorney to determine the monthly average which would be $5,000.00 ($30,000.00 divided by 6).

Next, the bankruptcy code would require the attorney to multiply that average by 12 which would be $60,000.00 to determine the filer’s yearly projected income.  Since the $60,000.00 would exceed the state average income for a household of 1 in Minnesota of $52,785.00, the filer would probably be required to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because he or she would not have passed the Means Test.  The monthly income average is measured against some expenses and payments of some debts, so it’s still possible for filers with a high income to qualify for Chapter 7. If a filer doesn’t qualify for Chapter 7 and must instead file for Chapter 13, the expenses of a household are still subtracted in the total of disposable income that must be used to repay creditors through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

Credit Counseling

Another notable change made with the 2005 bankruptcy overhaul was the requirement of all filers to undergo credit counseling before a petition is filed. The United States Trustee office must also approve the counselors who offer this service. This is necessary requirement irrespective of whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A counselor may offer an advisable repayment plan in cases of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but filers are not obligated to follow those plans.

These changes made in 2005 were also accompanied by several other minor details but overall, they were designed to create a situation of fairness for all parties involved in a bankruptcy case. For more information about the changes made or for help with filing for bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

How Your Trustee Benefits When You File for Bankruptcy in Luverne, MN

Understanding government and legal positions is a complicated business. The role of an employee and how they are compensated varies widely from position to position and department to department. Bankruptcy trustees are not employed by the United States Department of Justice.  However, they are private attorney’s appointed by the United States Department of Justice and assigned to bankruptcy cases through the United States Trustee Program.  Working with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to a particular bankruptcy case can often be nuanced. Behm Law Group, Ltd. works with both our clients and the bankruptcy trustees to successfully handle bankruptcy cases in Luverne, MN.

The help of a bankruptcy firm and attorneys such as those here at Behm Law Group, Ltd. is often key to meeting the optimal outcome in a bankruptcy case. Your bankruptcy trustee is responsible for administering your bankruptcy estate.  The bankruptcy estate is a legal entity separate and distinct from the person filing for bankruptcy relief.  It consists of any property that you are not able to keep or exempt in your bankruptcy case.  In chapter 7 cases, trustees sell or liquidate any non-exempt assets and use the proceeds to pay something to your various creditors.  Not only do they work to distribute any liquidated assets in a Chapter 7 case to your creditors, they also work with you and your creditors in a Chapter 13 case.  In a Chapter 13 case, you make one monthly payment (a payment that you can afford that is determined with the supervision of the trustee) to the chapter 13 trustee, pursuant to a restructured debt payment plan, every month for 36 to 60 months.   The chapter 13 trustee then splits that payment up among your various creditors each month for 36 to 60 months.

Additional responsibilities of a trustee are numerous, but in short, they work to oversee your case, detect fraudulent behavior with all parties involved, and ensure accuracy.

A trustee’s compensation can depend on several situations within a bankruptcy case.

Chapter 7: In a Chapter 7 case, your bankruptcy trustee takes a $60.00 fee from the $335.00 filing fee you pay to the court. If you have no assets, that’s all your trustee will receive from your case. If you do have assets, your trustee receives percentage from the collected amount after non-exempt assets are liquidated and before anything is paid to your creditors. The amount taken is determined by a sliding scale, under 11 U.S.C. §326. For the first $5,000.00 collected by a trustee, the trustee will take 25%. For the next $45,000 the trustee will take 10%, and for the following $950,000 the trustee will take 5%. For anything collected by the trustee that exceeds $1 million dollars, the trustee would take 3%. Trustees can also recover costs from the bankruptcy estate with court approval.

Chapter 13: In a Chapter 13 case, your repayment plan decides the amount of your trustee’s compensation. In all cases, your trustee cannot take more than 10% of all total payments in your plan. For instance, if your chapter 13 plan payment is $500.00, the trustee would receive $50.00 of every payment you make.  Most trustees handling Chapter 13 cases are also paid a yearly salary through the federal government.

It’s important to understand the function and duties of a trustee.  Having an attorney on your side can help you understand this. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Luverne, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

The Difference Between Disposable Income and Discretionary Income During Your Repayment Plan With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Windom, MN

A common misconception about bankruptcy is that it’s a financial endgame, halting aspects of your economic and personal life.  With Chapter 7, however, your finances are given a fresh start, free from most debts you faced before filing. With Chapter 13 your options are even broader to keep your life as unaffected as possible throughout the case. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, especially with the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd., you can easily integrate your bankruptcy case and repayment plan into your everyday finances.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to offer you a fresh way to handle your debts while keeping the situation fair to you and your creditors alike. With the system of reorganizing your debts that Chapter 13 provides, you can keep your financial situation manageable and still provide your creditors with the debts they are owed. During the structuring of a Chapter 13 repayment plan, your income is broken down into two basic types: discretionary and disposable.

Disposable Income

With any household, certain amounts of the total income from wages are taken automatically from paychecks and salaries as income taxes. After income tax requirements are met, remaining net income values are considered disposable income. This income can be used for any household necessities and payment obligations such as loan installments and rent.

Discretionary Income

After all household necessities and financial obligations outside of income taxes are met, the remaining income amount is considered discretionary income. This amount can be used to save, spend, or invest based on the household choices.

For example, if you make a salary of $85,000 and you file “Married Joint” on your tax forms, you will have an income tax percentage of 7.85% in the state of Minnesota. That means you will have a disposable income amount of $78,327.50. If you take 75% of that to pay bills, purchase food, fill your gas tank, and meet any other debts and tax requirements, you will have a remaining discretionary income of $19,581.87. You can choose to save, spend, or invest that amount as you wish.

Discretionary vs. Disposable in a Repayment Plan

These described options for disposable incomes and discretionary incomes are viable in a household that is not currently filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. How these incomes are treated in a household working through a Chapter 13 repayment plan period are very different. After income taxes and basic household necessities are met, your discretionary income is considered your only disposable income. In a Chapter 13 repayment plan, you must dedicate all your remaining disposable income to paying back your unsecured creditors.

To determine what your disposable income amount may be and to find out more information about the structure of repayment plans with Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Benefits of Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Marshall, MN, Over Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for Small Businesses

At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we work with individuals and small businesses filing for bankruptcy. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys specialize in providing legal advice and assistance for Chapter 13, Chapter 7, and Chapter 12 bankruptcy. For small businesses struggling with debts and difficult financial obligations, bankruptcy might be a beneficial option. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help local small businesses eligible to file for debt reorganization with Chapter 13 in Marshall, MN.

For any small business wrestling with financial problems, bankruptcy offers four options:

  • Chapter 12, which works as a system of debt reorganization but is only applicable to family farmers and fishermen
  • Chapter 7, which works as a system of debt discharge and asset liquidation
  • Chapter 11, which works as a system of debt reorganization and for which most businesses are eligible
  • Chapter 13, which works as a system of debt reorganization as well, but for which most businesses do not qualify

For most small businesses looking to restructure their debts, Chapter 11 is a common and viable option. However, if your small business qualifies for Chapter 13, it may be more effective to file for that form of debt reorganization instead of Chapter 11 for several reasons.

Why Chapter 13?

Chapter 13 works as a bankruptcy plan for individuals with regular income that own and operate their business with sole ownership. If your situation matches the requirements for Chapter 13 business bankruptcy, you can file a petition for yourself. This is beneficial because Chapter 13 acts more quickly than Chapter 11. For small businesses struggling with meeting current debt payments, using Chapter 13 allows them to immediately restructure those debt payments in a new repayment plan. The commitment period for repaying those debts cannot be longer than five years with a Chapter 13 plan. Debts must be restructured to fit in that time period, meaning the amount to be repaid will often be less than the amount in a Chapter 11 plan. There’s also a greater range in types of debts that can be discharged in a Chapter 13 plan than in a Chapter 11 plan.

 If you’re struggling with accumulated debts and financial obligations for your small business, filing for reorganization bankruptcy is often a helpful option. To find out more information about how to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Marshall, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Doubling Exemptions With Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Windom, MN

Many of the Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 cases we work with are either individuals or households filing for bankruptcy. For those struggling financially with debts accumulated over the years, bankruptcy is often a beneficial option. When it comes to a family in need of bankruptcy help, it can actually be a good thing for married couples to own joint property. Owning property with your spouse plays a big role in a household’s ability to double exemptions. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides expert legal advice and assistance to help a household work with exemptions and petitioning for bankruptcy in Windom, MN.

Exemptions

Exemptions are allotted amounts that depend on variables like federal or state regulations and the total of a debt. You may apply exemptions to certain properties during the bankruptcy process to prevent some or all of the value of those properties to be used for debt repayment.

Using your exemptions during a Chapter 7 case can significantly increase the amount of your property you may keep. In Chapter 13, more exemptions equal less paid back to unsecured creditors during your repayment plan.

 Doubling

If you’re married, you might have the option of filing for joint bankruptcy with your spouse. A joint case, however, is only applicable if you have debts that are in both of your names, meaning you jointly owe a debt such as jointly obligated on a house mortgage. If you and your spouse both have your names on the assets that would be subject to the bankruptcy process, you can then double your exemptions on those joint assets.

Doubling your exemptions in a joint case means you and your spouse are each able to claim the amount you would claim as an individual filer. In Minnesota, filers are able to choose between federal exemptions and state exemptions, depending on their debt amounts and abilities to double an exemption.

For example: The Minnesota Motor Vehicle Exemption allows up to $4,600 of an for people who own motor vehicles. If you and your spouse are both listed on the title of a vehicle worth $9,200, you both have an ownership interest in and to that vehicle.  In order to protect and keep it in a bankruptcy proceeding each of you could assert your independent $4,600 exemptions and stack them together ($4,600 x 2 = $9,200) and protect the entire $9,200 value of the vehicle.

If you and your spouse are considering filing for bankruptcy in Windom, MN, keep in mind that you can jointly file and, if you both own the subject property/assets, double or stack your bankruptcy exemptions. For more information about your options with joint bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200.