Much of what you hear about bankruptcy is wrong. Don’t trust what you’ve heard about bankruptcy until you first seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney. At Meldrum & Benson Law Office, an experienced attorney can clear up any misconceptions you may have and determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the best choice for you.
Filing for bankruptcy should be your decision. Bankruptcy offers you an opportunity to wipe out debt and give you a fresh start. Bankruptcy may allow you to protect your car, home, bank account, and more from creditors. It will put an end to the unwanted phone calls from harassing debt collectors.
During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your situation and see if bankruptcy sounds like a viable solution. If so, and if you choose to hire us, we will work with you to determine if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of bankruptcy is more appropriate.
Not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy, and a number of important factors need to be weighed before filing. You can rely on Meldrum & Benson Law Office for careful, knowledgeable assistance based on 60 years of combined of legal practice.
To be eligible to file bankruptcy, you must receive credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before filing bankruptcy. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. At Meldrum & Benson Law Office, we will provide you with the list of approved agencies and we will walk you through the process. You can do your counseling in the comfort of your own home via the telephone or internet.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors receive discharge of most unsecured debts without having to repay creditors. If a debtor has “non-exempt” property it may have to be sold to repay debt, but much of the property owned by consumers will be exempt from creditors. Iowa’s exemption laws protect property considered essential for someone’s health and well-being. This includes items such as a homestead, vehicles, retirement accounts, household goods, jewelry, whole life insurance, and cash and bank deposits. This list doesn’t include everything, and there may be limitations on exemptions in some cases. At Meldrum & Benson Law Office, we will discuss with you what property is exempt. If the property is exempt, it won’t be affected by the bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is similar to a payment plan, but unlike most payment plans, you don’t have to assume you need to pay back all the debt. You pay back what you can afford to pay over a 3-5 year period. Any debt remaining at the end of that period is discharged, just as it would be in a Chapter 7. If you’re in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you don’t need to worry about whether property is exempt. You’ll be able to pay the value of the property through the plan rather than liquidate it or pay its value quickly as you would in a Chapter 7. Chapter 13 is useful if you’re in default on a mortgage loan. Chapter 13 allows you to cure the default over the 3-5 year period while you’re making regular mortgage payments. There are also ways that Chapter 13 can be used to modify loans security by property. You may also be able to reduce the amount of certain vehicle loans and discharge some debts that weren’t dischargeable in a Chapter 13.