WHAT IS THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS?

Filing bankruptcy is an important decision. Bankruptcy is designed to give you a fresh start by eliminating overwhelming, harmful debt so you can begin anew financially.

All in all, the process usually takes around three months from beginning to end. Your first step is to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. If you can, bring along your financial information and bills for our attorney to review. Eventually, in order to file your case, we will need a complete list of your assets and debts.

During your consultation, your attorney will discuss exemptions that will allow you to keep equity in your home, cars, retirement accounts and other items.

Then, once we have all your documentation, your case is signed, and your costs and fees are paid, we file your case. A meeting with the United States Trustee is scheduled about 30 days after filing. These meetings are currently being held in our Eastgate office by telephone. You and your attorney will to meet together with the trustee.  The meeting typically takes 10 -15 minutes.

Although a good majority do, not every one qualifies for a Chapter 7. Whether you qualify is based on your income, family size, debts and other financial information. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 case you may file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which is a repayment plan that protects wages and assets from attachment and interest from accruing while completing the plan. A Chapter 13 may be necessary to save a house or car from repossession.  A Chapter 13 case can be converted to a Chapter 7 in many circumstances. We are with you throughout the process to modify your case as necessary over the months or years as your circumstances change.

In a Chapter 13 case, clients pay a percentage of unsecured debts. Depending upon your situation,  the amount repaid can be as low as 1%. We will need your income for the last six months to formally evaluate whether you should do a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case.

Our office does not charge for the initial consultation. Your attorney will quote you a flat rate after evaluating your case. The more detailed income and debt information you provide at the initial consultation, the better we can properly advise you of your legal rights. Call 513-752-3900 to schedule an appointment at either our Eastgate or Middletown locations.

 

COVID 19 AND MY BANKRUPTCY

The recent Covid pandemic has hit many families financially. As businesses adjust to the rise and fall of new cases of infection, there is still uncertainty. Federal and state governments have implemented measures to protect the health and financial lives of families and businesses have responded with varying options to delay the payment of mortgages, car loans and credit card payments.

Federally, the U.S. Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Among other relief, this act has deferred the payment of some government backed student loans, delayed the foreclosure of many government backed mortgages, provided added unemployment compensation, and expanded current bankruptcy relief.  Special temporary provisions have been made that allow forgiveness of taxes and or penalties on the liquidation of IRA, 401(k), and other retirement funds. CAUTION should be taken before cashing in your retirement plan, as other relief is available that allows you to eliminate debt, while preserving your nest-egg for your future. Do NOT liquidate a retirement plan without first speaking with us first!

Many have benefited from mortgage and auto loan forbearances or deferrals. These forbearance programs contain different requirements when no longer in forbearance. Our office has experience addressing these issues in bankruptcy, is familiar with the lenders, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and  U.S. Trustee as it relates to forbearance loan repayment.

We understand the concerns of individuals and families facing struggles caused directly or indirectly by Covid-19. The most common questions we receive revolve around the ability to keep a home, keep or buy a car, keep or lose tax refunds and bonuses, and continue to save for retirement. Each situation is unique. No two cases are the same. Often, bankruptcy is not necessary, or is better held off until circumstances have changed. From the CARES Act, to the HAVEN Act, to state law changes and uncertain upcoming Acts, it is good to consult with a firm that is focused on debt relief law. At Keegan and Co., Attorneys, we understand recognizing and responding to constant change is the key to crafting an individualized approach to debt relief.

Can I Rebuild My Credit after Bankruptcy? Yes You Can!

Can I Rebuild My Credit after Bankruptcy? The Answer is Yes!

Bad credit records such as delinquencies, too much outstanding credit, slow pays, etc are all negative marks that will remain on your credit record for up to 10 years. In most cases, although the creditor may not be actively pursuing your debt, the debt remains valid and open to collection through wage garnishment or bank account seizure. Bankruptcy solves this problem because it eliminates your debt. After bankruptcy, your financial situation will be far better as you will no longer be shuffling funds in an attempt to cover all the bills. After bankruptcy, our clients are excited to create a new budget… that includes savings!

Usually within a year of filing bankruptcy, your credit record will improve substantially. You will become a better credit risk than you were prior to the bankruptcy. For many, bankruptcy is the first step toward better credit, financial freedom and saving for the future.

Once you complete your case and your debts are discharged your old debt is eliminated. You will have a Fresh Start! Most creditors will see this fresh start and lack of other debt as a positive. One Caveat—creditors now want evidence that you can handle credit going forward. For this reason, after you file bankruptcy it will be extremely important that you control your use of credit.

Initially, bankruptcy will be a hit on your credit score but in the long run, the notation “discharged in bankruptcy” is much better than having your accounts reported as delinquent and open. We recommend that soon after your bankruptcy discharge you get a copy of your credit report. Review this report carefully, check to make sure that the debts you included in your bankruptcy are reported to be DISCHARGED with a ZERO balance. Dispute any accounts that have not been updated.

Depending on when you file Chapter 7 or 13, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit for 7-10 years. Despite this, you will soon have the opportunity to rebuild your credit. Some companies cater to those who have filed bankruptcy by offering secured credit cards with low credit lines and high interest rates. If you use this credit wisely and make all your payments on time you will prove that you have become a good credit risk.

What Factors Will Affect My Ability to get Credit?

Factors that are considered: Income,  Job History,  Credit Score,  Debt-to-Income Ratio.

After Bankruptcy We Encourage our Clients To:

Periodically monitor your credit record and dispute errors.

Make “on time” payments.

Maintain a stable job history.

Deliberately and thoughtfully apply for new credit. 

Use no more than 10-30% of your available credit.

Are You Ready for a New Start? We Want to Help!

The lawyers of Keegan & Co. Attorneys have over 55 years combined experience helping people just like you resolve debt issues. Our attorneys have handled several thousand bankruptcy cases from the simple to the most complex. In all likelihood, we’ve seen your situation or type of problem dozens of times before. We can almost always help, even if it’s just advice on how to avoid bankruptcy.

Many are surprised to learn just how quick and painless the bankruptcy process is. You will need to provide us with certain documents and it is required that you take two short online credit counseling classes. Our attorneys will handle the rest. You and your attorney are required to appear for just one hearing. These hearings are held at our office.

Consultations are free and at Keegan & Co Attorneys and will always be with an experienced attorney, never with a paralegal or secretary. Call 513-752-3900 to schedule your personal consultation. We look forward to meeting you!