Category Archives: Bankruptcy

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice is Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

Many people assume that if their income is relatively high, they cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Usually this assumption is incorrect.  It is not by any means unusual for a high-income debtor to file under Chapter 7.  In reality, high-income Chapter 7 bankruptcies are filed everyday.

What constitutes as high income is a matter of perspective and depends on many factors, such as where you live, your living expenses, the size of your family, etc.  (A salary of $80,000.00 for a family in rural Ohio goes a lot further than the same earnings in the city center of Columbus or Cincinnati).  With that being said, in the language of bankruptcy attorneys a “high-income debtor” is a debtor with earnings above the state median income for the debtor’s family size.

The Ohio state median income per family size (determined by census figures) as of the date of this post is as follows

Individual Family of 2 Family of 3 Family of 4
43,688 53,850 61,568 77,500

*For each additional family member over four, add $8,100.

WHY IS THE STATE MEDIAN IMPORTANT?

Whether your income is above or below the Ohio state median income determines if you will be able to discharge all or most of your debts in Chapter 7, or will you be required to pay back at least a portion of your debt under Chapter 13.  If your average gross earning for the six months before filing for bankruptcy is at or below the state median for your family size, you may file under Chapter 7 (assuming that you meet the other requirements).  Simple!

On the other hand, if your average gross earnings for the six months before filing is over the median, you will have to takes a “means test” to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7.  This means test considers your income minus certain allowable expenses.  Frequently the results allow a debtor with substantial earnings but high expenses to file under Chapter 7.

ARE YOU REALLY A HIGH-INCOME DEBTOR?

Before jumping to meet the means test, debtors need to determine if they are actually high-income debtors for the purposes of the test.  We often have clients with seemingly high questionearnings who are surprised that they fall below the state median.  Many of these clients have not considered the size of their families.  However, one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you are a high-income debtor is family size.  For example, a family of four making $85,000 would have earnings well above the state median of $77,500 for their family size.  But what if that family making $85,000 includes six members?  Because the median state income medical for a family of six is $93,700, the debtors do not need to take the means test.

Even if the debtor is above the state median, it is often by much less than the debtor presumed.  The closer your overall earnings are to the state median, the easier it is to pass the means test.

WHAT TYPE OF INCOME?

If you appear to be over the median, you may still be able to avoid the means test.  Depending on what type of earnings you have.  Not all sources of money count as income for calculating gross earnings.  For example, under the Bankruptcy Code certain income, primarily social security, is excluded from your gross income for the purposes of the means test.  This exclusion will often bring a debtor’s gross earnings below the state median, thus avoiding the means test.  In addition, because the bankruptcy code focuses on “regular income”, some irregular earnings may not count as “gross income”.

CAN I PASS THE TEST?

Finally, even if you must take the means test, it is still quite possible that you will qualify for Chapter 7.  Very often, high-income debtors have high allowable expenses, including mortgage payments, vehicle payments, etc., that will offset their earnings.  Although the means test is complex and must be handled carefully, it is not at all unusual for high-income debtors to pass the test.  However, failing to list income of any kind can lead to unpleasant consequences.  Attention to detail is the name of the game?

WHAT NOW?

We have spent most of this blog discussing the initial qualification for Chapter 7.  However, it is important to note that even if you pass or avoid the means test, you do not automatically get to file under Chapter 7.  You must meet all other requirements, including a showing that after expenses, you have no significant disposable income to pay your creditors.  In addition, there may be a reason for choosing Chapter 13, such as saving a house from foreclosure or a car from repossession.  In some cases, a non-bankruptcy solution such as debt negotiation may be available.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out our website at http://keegancolpa.com.

FREE CONSULTATION

Contact our Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation to see if you can qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

BANKRUPTCY

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been bankruptcy for over 27 years.

ARE YOU THINKING OF FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY

Are you thinking of filing for bankruptcy.  Looking for an attorney to represent you through the process?  Calling around to get a fee?  Looking for the lowest fee around?  Just remember that you get what you pay for.  Bankruptcy is a very specific process and must be done correctly so that your case will go through and you will receive your discharge through your case.  You do not want any snags and want everything to go through smoothly.  It is stressful enough when everything goes just right let alone when things are messed up.  Some believe that bankruptcy is simple, so simple that they can even take care of it themselves.  This may have been the case in the past but since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005 things are much more difficult and more precise.  It is not recommended that you attack this task on your own.

Trying to file for yourself will most likely cause you more headaches than you would like to endure.  So the decision to seek an attorney to help you through the process is the best one.  You will want to find an experienced attorney who specialized in bankruptcy.

OUR LAW OFFICE

At the Keegan & Co. Attorneys, LLC our main focus of practice is bankruptcy, this is our main focus of practice.  Our office has specialized in bankruptcy for over 27 years.  We can provide you with the expertise that will make your bankruptcy seem simple and before you know you will be on with your debt free life.

FREE CONSULTATION

At our office we will offer you a free consultation where you will be able to sit down and discuss your individual situation.  They will be able to advise you as to the best road for you to take on your financial journey.  Sometimes bankruptcy is the answer, sometimes it may not be the best decision.  The attorney will advise what is best for you.

At this free consultation the attorney will quote you a fee.  If you decide you want to move forward a small retainer will retain this office.  Once you have retained our office you will quit paying on bills you do not want to keep and refer your creditors to our office until your case is filed.  We will accept monthly payments until your case is filed.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out or website at www.keegancolpa.com call 513-752-3900 for your free consultation today!

At our Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy office we will be able to help you get out of debt and get a fresh financial start!

BANKRUPTCY

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  We specialize in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filings.

Many people get over their heads in debt.  This can happen for many reasons, job loss, health
fuelissues, divorce as just a few of the most common reasons people get into debt.   Many will do many things to try to keep their heads above water during this time, but there are some things that you should not do if you are struggling with debt before you consider filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start.

Do not take out a second mortgage on your home to pay your debts.  If you cannot pay your unsecured debts why would you transfer them to a secure debt attached to your home, once you do that if you cannot make these payments the creditor would be entitled to take your home through foreclosure.

Do not pay your debts out of a retirement savings account.  You will need these funds in the future when you are able to retire.  Retirement accounts will also be protected through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not max out your credit cards to stay afloat.  Recently incurred charges may not be able to be discharged through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not transfer your home to another person to avoid having a lien placed on your property.  If you do this you will not be able to file for at least 4 years and this could be considered fraud in the eyes of the court.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, just because you have fallen into a bad financial situation does not mean that you are a bad person.  There are hundreds of thousands of bankruptcy filings in the United States each and every year.

Here are some thoughts of things to do when filing for bankruptcy.

Do consider this decision very carefully.  Are you really in so far over your head that bankruptcy is the only way out.  Under Chapter 7 you will only be able to receive a discharge every 8 years.  There are other options if you have filed within the last 8 years and are struggling, contact us for a free consultation to discuss these options, 513-752-3900.

Do follow the advise of your attorney.  At our office we have over 30 years of combined experience and will be able to guide you to make sure your bankruptcy is as painless as possible.

Do be honest in all of your answers on the petition.  Be sure to list all assets and not leave anything out.

Do be sure to list all of your creditors on your petition.

Do close any bank accounts you have any credit lines or credit cards associated with.  This will prevent the account from being seized by the creditor.

41708903-funny-cartoon-guy-in-various-posesBankruptcy is a serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.  Contact our office for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation to see if bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

For more information check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com.com.

Call today for your free bankruptcy consultation in our Eastgate, Ohio.

Thinking of Bankruptcy

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filings for over 30 years,

Many people get over their heads in debt.  This can happen for many reasons, job loss, health
fuelissues, divorce as just a few of the most common reasons people get into debt.   Many will do many things to try to keep their heads above water during this time, but there are some things that you should not do if you are struggling with debt before you consider filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start.

Do not take out a second mortgage on your home to pay your debts.  If you cannot pay your unsecured debts why would you transfer them to a secure debt attached to your home, once you do that if you cannot make these payments the creditor would be entitled to take your home through foreclosure.

Do not pay your debts out of a retirement savings account.  You will need these funds in the future when you are able to retire.  Retirement accounts will also be protected through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not max out your credit cards to stay afloat.  Recently incurred charges may not be able to be discharged through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not transfer your home to another person to avoid having a lien placed on your property.  If you do this you will not be able to file for at least 4 years and this could be considered fraud in the eyes of the court.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, just because you have fallen into a bad financial situation does not mean that you are a bad person.  There are hundreds of thousands of bankruptcy filings in the United States each and every year.

Here are some thoughts of things to do when filing for bankruptcy.

Do consider this decision very carefully.  Are you really in so far over your head that bankruptcy is the only way out.  Under Chapter 7 you will only be able to receive a discharge every 8 years.  There are other options if you have filed within the last 8 years and are struggling, contact us for a free consultation to discuss these options, 513-752-3900.

Do follow the advise of your attorney.  At our office we have over 30 years of combined experience and will be able to guide you to make sure your bankruptcy is as painless as possible.

Do be honest in all of your answers on the petition.  Be sure to list all assets and not leave anything out.

Do be sure to list all of your creditors on your petition.

Do close any bank accounts you have any credit lines or credit cards associated with.  This will prevent the account from being seized by the creditor.

41708903-funny-cartoon-guy-in-various-posesBankruptcy is a serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.  Contact our office for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation to see if bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

For more information check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Call today for your free bankruptcy consultation in our Eastgate, Ohio.

BANKRUPTCY CH 7 VS. CH 13

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  We specialize in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

For most once they decide to file bankruptcy the decision comes down to which Chapter they will be filing.  Both chapters are beneficial in their own way.  Many factors play into which chapter you will file.  Your income and assets are the main considerations.  Many prefer to qualify for Chapter 7 but may not qualify.

BANKRUPTCY TIMELINE

In Ohio a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy lasts about six months from the day you file until you receive your discharge.  Your actual court date which is call a 341 Meeting of Creditors will be four to six weeks out from your filing date.  For Chapter 13 you will also have a 341 Meeting of Creditors about four to six weeks after your filing date.  Once you file for Chapter 13 expect to be in the case for a period of three to five years as this time period is mandated by federal law.  Once your complete your Chapter 13 you will receive your discharge.

PAY BACK OF DEBTS

In bankruptcy different debts are classified in basically two groups.  Your unsecured debts (credit cards, medical debts, loans) and your secured debts (houses, cars, anything secured by collateral). There is also a sub-category of unsecured loans which are called priority debts, student loans and tax debts fall into this category.  If you file for Chapter 7 you will be able to discharge all of your unsecured debts and not have to pay anything back.  Most unsecured debts can be discharged, student loans and most taxes will survive the case.  Any secure debts that you would want to keep (such as your home or vehicle) you would continue to make your payments on and sign a reaffirmation agreement within the case. Chapter 13 is a re-payment plan.  Under this re-payment plan you will pay all of your debts with a single payment to the Chapter 13 Trustee once a month.  Out of this payment the trustee may make your regular house payment.  If you have any back payments on your home they would also make this payment for you.  If there is a vehicle payment involved this will also be made by the trustee. You will pay back a percentage of your unsecured debts.  This percentage is based on several factors and can range from 1 percent to 100 percent.  The debts will be paid in order of priority.  So basically in a Chapter 13 you have one payment a month to the Chapter 13 office and your utilities to pay during the duration of the case.

ASSETS

One big benefit of Chapter 13 is you will not have to worry about losing any of your assets in the case.  You keep all of your assets that you wish to keep.  In a Chapter 7 which is also referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy as the trustee may take some of your assets and liquidate them to gain funds to pay your creditors.  Most people do not have to worry about this though because in Ohio the exemptions are very high and most assets can be protected.

As to your home if you want to qualify for a Chapter 7 you must be current on your mortgage payment to keep your home.  If you file Chapter 7 and are not current on your home the lien holder will require that you get current or they may file for Relief from Stay which once granted they can begin the process of foreclosure.  However, if you are current on your home Chapter 7 is no problem, just continue to make your payments and you may reaffirm the debt in the case is you wish.

Chapter 13 is designed to help you save your home if you are behind on your payments.  Under Chapter 13 you will have the three to five year period to make up your missed payments through the case.  The trustee will also make your regular house payment and at the end of the case the trustee will certify that all payments are current.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Call today for your free consultation to find out which bankruptcy chapter is best for you.