Indiana Bankruptcy Lawyer
Following the recession, millions of Americans filed for bankruptcy. This resulted in a spike in bankruptcy filings, at one point totaling one bankruptcy filing for every 55 households in the country. Our Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyer at Eskew Law LLC recognizes bankruptcies are rarely caused by out-of-control spending or poor financial habits. They are largely the result of one’s inability to pay all of their bills due to an unexpected circumstance such as job loss or a medical emergency. If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you may feel scared and alone. Will you lose your home? How will you provide for your family? Will the debt collectors ever stop calling? Will you ever be able to get your life back on track?
Bankruptcy is incredibly common in the state of Indiana, and the vast majority of families will undergo financial difficulty at some point. Eskew Law LLC has assisted numerous individuals with reorganizing their debt, protecting their assets, and starting over. Our knowledgeable Indianapolis bankruptcy attorney will sit down with you to discuss your end goals. Do you want to keep your car or your house? Do you have any means of paying back creditors over time? We will review your financial situation, explain the bankruptcy filing process, and help you determine which path works best for you. Eskew Law LLC will be there for you every step of the way. The lawyers at our Indianapolis law firm pride themselves on the close relationships they build with their clients. To schedule an appointment to discuss your financials, call Eskew Law LLC now at (317) 974-0177.
Sometimes, bankruptcy is not the only option. There may be a way to salvage your relationship with your creditors and your credit history without breaking the bank. If you cannot afford full payment, you can try to settle with creditors. The total amount you owe a credit card company may seem overwhelming when you factor in principal, interest, late fees, and other charges. However, creditors are often willing to negotiate for pennies on the dollar, saving you money in the long run while still satisfying your debts.
If you do not have a large sum of cash available to pay in full or settle, you can set up a payment plan with creditors. Many are willing to work with your financial situation by waiving late fees, reducing interest, or deferring payments.
In addition, you could try working with a credit counselor or Indianapolis credit repair attorney to negotiate a Debt Management Plan (DMP). The attorney will negotiate with creditors and will devise a plan for you to pay one lump sum monthly for a certain period of time. At the end of that period, your debts will have been paid. These accounts will be closed, but your credit report will show you are making regular payments.
The Lifecycle of a Past-Due Bill
What happens when you don’t pay your bills? Creditors begin by e-mailing or mailing past-due notices. If you do not pay within a few days after the due date, they may begin calling you to remind you. Many individuals are nervous and ignore these calls. At this time, the creditor is willing to work with you by forgiving a late fee or pushing back a due date. However, if you don’t have any money and avoid the creditor, the creditor will begin assessing late fees.
Usually, after 120-180 days of missed payments, the creditor will send you an acceleration notice. The creditor will demand your entire outstanding balance, paid in full. Most people are unable to pay this amount. If so, the creditor sends your account to a debt collection agency. This agency acts on behalf of the creditor and hounds you day and night for a payment, sending you letters and leaving threatening voicemails.
If you continue to ignore the past due amount, the creditor may sell your debt to a new creditor and then write off the amount in what is known as a charge-off. A charge-off will severely tank your credit score. Then, a new entry on your credit report will appear for the new creditor, and the new creditor may begin contacting you for money.
What Is Bankruptcy?
To avoid much of the aforementioned hassle, you could file a petition for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not for everyone, and it is best to discuss your financial situation with a highly skilled Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyer first. Bankruptcy is a way for consumers to start over with a clean slate. It allows them to either dissolve their debts or reorganize them in a manner that allows them to pay them off and start anew.
When you decide to file for bankruptcy, you must first enroll in credit counseling 180 days prior to filing. You can then submit your certificate of completion with your petition. Bankruptcy is a federal process governed by the federal Bankruptcy Code. However, the state of Indiana passes rules and laws regarding exemptions.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most common forms of bankruptcy for individuals. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is named after its location in the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 involves complete liquidation of assets and debts, allowing an individual to complete the process debt-free.
Chapter 7 is reserved for individuals who are particularly indigent. The Indiana Means Test determines whether your income is low enough to file for Chapter 7. If your income is below the state median, you do not need to do the means test. The means test looks at all sources of income, including employment, dividends, rental property income, and more. It also looks at your expenses, such as child support and cost of living expenses. If your income minus expenses for the next 60 months is under $7,475, you may file for Chapter 7. If your income minus expenses is between $7,475 and $12,475, you may be eligible pending further calculations. Otherwise, you must file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is reserved for individuals with higher incomes. Chapter 13 does not dissolve all debts and liquidate assets like Chapter 7. Rather, Chapter 13 assumes the petitioner has enough money to pay back some of the debts. Therefore, the court institutes a reorganization plan. Over a five-year period, you will pay each creditor a set negotiated amount out of your discretionary income. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be configured to allow you to keep your home or vehicle loan so that you do not fall victim to foreclosure or repossession.
The court will examine all of your income and assets, as well as the value of those assets. The court will also calculate each outstanding debt and notify creditors that you are filing for bankruptcy. The creditors have a right to approve or contest the proposed plan. However, when a majority of creditors vote to approve the plan, the plan will be finalized.
Talented Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys Available for Your Consultation
Don’t let the stress of unpaid bills and endless debt collector calls prevent you from seeking a fresh start. Eskew Law LLC’s experienced Indianapolis Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you and which chapter matches your situation. We can then assist you every step of the way. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. Call us at (317) 974-0177 to schedule a case evaluation.