Tag Archives: Bankruptcy Lawyer

BANKRUPTCY & INCOME

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  We specialize in 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 earnings 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 www.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 struggling with debt?  Of course if you are considering bankruptcy it probably means that you are looking at debts with you are unable to pay.  Bankruptcy in most cases may help you get rid of your debts and give you a fresh financial start.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common consumer chapters.  Each chapter has its own rules so you must know which chapter best fits your circumstances.  At our office you will be able to sit down with a knowledgeable attorney and he will be able to advise which chapter is best for you.

CHAPTER 7

Most thinking of bankruptcy would prefer to be able to file Chapter 7.  This is the most common filing for most consumers.  Under Chapter 7 you will be able to discharge all of your unsecured debts under the bankruptcy code.  A discharge is a federal court document releasing you from your debts.  This document automatically releases you from most of your unsecured image7sdebts.  Debts which cannot be discharged include such things as student loans, newly incurred tax debt, spousal or child support and court costs for criminal charges.  As to your secure debts such as your home, vehicle or jewelry you will have to make a decision if you will want to resign on these debts through a reaffirmation agreement or surrender them.  A reaffirmation agreement is a document basically re-entering the terms of the original debt, once you sign the reaffirmation agreement this debt will be excluded from your bankruptcy and will report going forward on your credit.  If you decide to surrender your collateral this debt will be discharged through your case.

Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy because the trustee may take some of your assets, but most bankruptcy attorneys refer to Chapter 7 as a simple or straight bankruptcy, because most assets are covered under state regulated exemptions and are protected.

CHAPTER 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for those who are over the income limit for Chapter 7 or are behind on their home or vehicle and would like to retain these going further, or some who just do not like the idea of not paying their debts, but just cannot make the minimum monthly payments and would like to stop all interest and charged going forward.  Chapter 13 is a re-payment plan, you will pay back between 1% to 100% of your debts depending on your individual circumstances.  An unsecured creditor cannot charge you interest during a Chapter 13.  Once you complete your case you will be receive you discharge and all debts will be discharged.

AFTER DISCHARGE

Once you receive your discharge creditors are not allowed to collect on these debts in any way images5or form.  They cannot send you a bill, they cannot call you, they cannot take you to court, they cannot garnish your wages.  You are free and clear from these debts and you have gotten your fresh financial start!  Congrats!  Now how to stay that way and re-build your credit going forward.  The most important thing is to make any payments for debts that you reaffirmed on on time and try not to let debts get into collection.  Your credit will improve in no time.

MORE INFORMATION

Bankruptcy is serious decision, call today for your free consultation to see if it is the right one for you 513-752-3900.

Check out of website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today!

 

Considering Bankruptcy

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

Are you struggling with debt? The phone is ringing off the hook with creditor calls, the mailbox is bankruptcy-attorneyoverflowing with bills.  Is it all getting too much to handle?  You have tried but the struggle is never ending.  It seems as soon as you start to get ahead something else comes up and gets you behind.  Bankruptcy may be the answer to your financial troubles.

OUR OFFICE

At our office we offer a free consultation.  At this free consultation you will be able to sit down with a qualified experienced bankruptcy attorney and discuss your current situation and ask any questions you may have.  The attorney will at this free consultation advise which chapter will be best for you.

There are several chapters of bankruptcy available under the federal bankruptcy code, however, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common filings among general consumers.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is also referred to as straight bankruptcy or liquidation bankruptcy.  This chapter is available for most consumers.  Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection you will be able to discharge all of your unsecured debts under the bankruptcy code.  A discharge is a document issued by the federal court which deems your debt non-collectable by creditors.  Once you file for Chapter 7 protection all collection practices by creditors must stop.  This includes but is not limited to phone calls, mail harassment, court proceedings and garnishments.

Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy because the Chapter 7 Trustee may take some of your assets and sell them to pay your debts.  However, most people are happy 8923945-debt-free-green-road-sign-with-dramatic-clouds-sun-rays-and-skyto find out that they are able to keep most of their assets as there are exemptions to protect these assets.  There are cases, however, where you may have equity and have to pay back some to the Trustee.  Most people are happy to pay back this small amount compared with the debt that they are discharging through the bankruptcy.  Call our office today for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation.

In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy you will be able to keep your home and vehicle.  You must however, be current on your payments on these assets if you wish to keep them.  The creditor will have a reaffirmation agreement for you to sign and this will deem the debt non-discharged through the bankruptcy.  This document will also guarantee that the creditor will continue to report your payment history to the credit reporting agencies, thus rebuilding your credit after the bankruptcy filing.

As many as 65% of consumer filings in the US are Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filings.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy also referred to as a wage earner plan you will allow you to retain ownership and possession of all assets that you wish to keep.  But you may also surrender assets through Chapter 13, if you wish.  In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you must have income to support the case as you will be making monthly payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee and they will be disbursing your funds to your creditors for you.  It is up to the creditor in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to file a claim in order to be paid.

Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure.  If you are in foreclosure and want to save your home you can file a Chapter 13 and stop the foreclosure.  Your mortgage holder cannot object to your bankruptcy homefiling and must file a claim in your case to be paid.  Chapter 13 generally lasts for a three to five year period.  During this time you will be able to make up all your missed payments and the Trustee will disburse your regular house payment.  This is a good thing because at the end of your case the trustee will file a notice with the Court that all payments are current and deems that your mortgage holder cannot come back on you for additional fees incurred while you were under bankruptcy protection.

If you are behind on your vehicle, Chapter 13 can also stop repossession and give you time to make up the missed payments over the three to five year period.

Contact Us

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

Every situation is unique so contact your Eastgate, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney today for your free consultation.

BANKRUPTCY AND YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our primary practice is focused on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

Are you struggling with debt, looking for a way out of debt.  The feeling can be overwhelming.

Worry to check the mail box or answer the phone.  Looking for a way out of debt!  You are not13593348-wereldwijde-financi--le-crisis-zakenman-valt-business-concept-ge-----soleerd-op-wit

SHOULD I CASH IN MY RETIREMENT TO PAY MY DEBT?

The straight up answer here is NO!  This is a bad idea!  You have worked hard and saved up your retirement for your whole life.  Your retirement is just for that, your retirement.  Funds you will need as you grow older and will no longer be  able to run the race everyday like you do now.  Most likely you are currently employed which provides funds for your needs just as your retirement funds will provide for your needs in the future.  If you are already retired then you needs these funds now, these are your funds to provide for your needs, you need these funds, do not cash them in to pay debts.

Bankruptcy may be available for you.   Under the federal code your retirement funds are protected.  You can file for bankruptcy protection and keep your retirement accounts for when they will be needed..when you retire.

WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?

A federal code set up which will allow a debtor to discharge all of their unsecured debts.  Once a discharge is issued creditors can no longer collect on debts included in the bankruptcy.  You do not have to pay any of these debts and you do not need to report the filing to the IRS as income.  There are two main chapters filed by most consumers which are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

CHAPTER 7 

Chapter 7 is the most common bankruptcy filing.  It goes by many names, Chapter 7, straight image7sbankruptcy, simple bankruptcy, liquidation bankruptcy and so forth.  In a Chapter 7 you will be able to discharge all of your unsecured debts.  If you have secured items you would like to keep such as a home or vehicle you will be able to reaffirm on these debts through your case.  Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy because the trustee in a case may liquidate some of your assets, however, most assets are protected under the state exemption levels.

CHAPTER 13

Chapter 13 is designed for those who are over income for Chapter 7 or who are behind on their homes or vehicles.  Chapter 13 is a repayment plan.  Under Chapter 13 you will have three to five years to make up payments you are behind on your home or vehicle.  The trustee will make these payments for your.  You will pay back a percentage of your debts to your unsecured creditors.  You will receive a discharge at the end of your case.

MORE INFORMATION

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

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney to see is bankruptcy is the right decision for your.

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY BASICS

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings for over 28 years.

In this blog, however, we will be focusing on Chapter 13.

WHAT IS CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 13 is designed for people who are behind on their mortgage payments who would like to save their home or their income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7.  Chapter 13 involves paying your disposable income to creditors over a three to five year period.  During this time you will be able to make up any missed mortgage or vehicle payments.  Your unsecured creditors will be paid a percentage of what you owe them, once you complete your case and receive your discharge the remaining balance will be deemed discharged through the case.  This means that creditors will not be able to collect on these debts in any way or form.  They will not be allowed to contact you by phone, mail or any other means.

WHAT IS DISPOSABLE INCOME?

To determine your disposable income we will need to know your income for the last six months.  If you have had a pay cut or loss of overtime hours we can reduce your current income for images (2)these situations, same if you are making more money at the time we would have to increase your current income.  We would then need to subtract your expenses from your income.  This includes all of your expenses required to take care of your family such as food, rent or mortgage,vehicle payments, utilities and other such needs.  Then we consider things that you know you will be spending such as car repairs, home maintenance or medical expenses.  Then we need to look at things you may not be spending money on but it would be in your best interest to do so such as health insurance, life insurance or maybe a retirement savings account.  If you have expenses not mentioned that doesn’t mean we can’t count it as long as it is reasonable and necessary.  Once all of these expenses are counted they get deducted from your income and the remainder is an idea of your disposable income.

WE WILL BE THERE FOR YOU

It is not a good idea to try to file a Chapter 13 on your own at your court hearing the trustee will evaluate the reasonableness of your expenses and will try to cut them down so that there is extra money to pay your creditors.  Our job as your attorney is to protect the money that is necessary for you to take care of yourself and your family.  This is why we sit down with you and go over your unique situation and expenses with you thoroughly before the case is filed.

HOW MUCH WILL MY CHAPTER 13 PAYMENT BE?

Your Chapter 13 payments must be enough to cover certain required payments.  Your plan payment must be enough to pay for your mortgage arrears over the next five years, your current mortgage payment (as the 13 office would make your regular mortgage payment through the case), if you have a vehicle payment this will be included and a small amount for your unsecured creditors.

FREE CONSULATION

Every situation is unique.  We offer a free consultation where you will be able to sit down with 25604196-a-person-drawing-and-pointing-at-a-bankruptcy-consulting-chalk-illustrationone of our attorney and discuss your situation.  The attorney will be able to give you an approximate amount of what your Chapter 13 payment would be at this free consultation.  They would also quote you a fee.  If you decided to move forward a small retainer would get things started and then we would take payments, once paid your case will be filed.

For more information see our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation.