Bankruptcy Law Firm in Las Vegas
At PandA Law Firm, we understand that debts can be overwhelming and Las Vegas bankruptcy is an option many valley residents turn to. Our lawyers handle both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in Nevada, and can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is your best option.
Do I need Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
What is the difference between Debt Settlement and Bankruptcy?
WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?
Many people struggle to make ends meet. You may be living month to month, or from paycheck to paycheck, without ever feeling financially secure. Maybe you’re already behind on your bills and debt collectors are harassing you day and night. Whether your debts grew gradually over time, or an unexpected event like job-loss or illness brought on debts that are out of control, the nation’s bankruptcy laws exist to give people a chance at a fresh start. They can give you the breathing room you need to get a handle on your finances.
As soon as you file bankruptcy, your creditors are barred from contacting you or taking action against you or your assets.This means that the bill collector calls STOP, and any FORECLOSURE or REPOSSESSION is halted immediately. Not only does filing bankruptcy get rid of your debt, it can give you time to decide what to do with your home and vehicle. If that’s something you’re interested in, your attorney at PandA Law Firm can help with a loan modification, too.
THE PANDA DIFFERENCE
There are several law firms in town that can handle your bankruptcy, so why should you choose PandA Law Firm? Customer Service. At PandA, our firm’s partners meet with you to discuss your options. They won’t pass you off to a paralegal, or rush out the door after spending five minutes telling you why you should file. Rather, they’ll work with you until you understand your options.
More importantly, our attorneys prepare all required documents and represent you at any hearings that take place. You get to know your attorney, and they get to know you. Our attorney-handled bankruptcies are different than most “discount bankruptcy” firms that process you through using paralegals or send someone you’ve never met to represent you at your hearings. To schedule your free* consultation with a REAL attorney call PandA now at 702-818-3888.
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WHAT CAN BANKRUPTCY DO FOR ME?
Bankruptcy offers a fresh start for consumers dealing with a wide variety of financial issues, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Credit Card Debt – Most credit cards are unsecured, and as unsecured debts, they are dischargeable by the Bankruptcy Court.
- Medical Debt – Doctor bills, hospital bills, and other medical bills are also examples of unsecured debt, and as such may be discharged by the Bankruptcy Court.
- Tax Debt – Federal income tax is eligible for a discharge in bankruptcy, so long as it meets certain criteria. For instance, it must be related to a tax return that was filed at least two years ago and that had a filing deadline more than three years ago, including extensions. If the government secures a tax lien on your property before you file for bankruptcy, you may not be able to receive a discharge.
- Home Foreclosures – As a secured debt, a mortgage is not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy unless you also surrender the home. However, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy allows you to catch up on delinquent payments, stop a foreclosure and maybe remove a second/junior lien.
- Judgments – If a creditor has gone to court on an unpaid debt and obtained a judgment against you, that judgment may be dischargeable by the Bankruptcy Court, particularly if the underlying debt was unsecured. Judgments based on civil torts, such as intentional torts or drunk driving, are generally not dischargeable. Obtaining a discharge is easier if the judgment creditor has not attached a lien to your property to satisfy the judgment.
- Wage Garnishments – If a creditor has instituted a wage garnishment to collect on a debt, the automatic stay invoked by a bankruptcy filing will stop the garnishment immediately. If the underlying debt is unsecured, it may be discharged by the court.
WHAT IS MY ROLE IN THE BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING?
Almost all consumer bankruptcies are voluntary, meaning that they are initiated by the debtor who files a petition with the Bankruptcy Court, usually under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
If you are filing under Chapter 7, you will also need to file several supporting documents, including a schedule of your assets and liabilities, a schedule of your current income and expenditures, a statement of your financial affairs, and other similar records, as well as a certificate showing that you have received credit counseling and similar documentation. We will prepare and submit the necessary filings, but will need your help in making sure all the facts are correct as they pertain to your situation.
If you are filing under Chapter 13, you will need to attend a creditors’ meeting, sign off on a payment plan to the bankruptcy court and make the required payments to the trustee.
MORE BANKRUPTCY FAQS
Q. Can I get a credit card after bankruptcy?
A. Yes. By following PandA’s credit rebuild guidance: within only a few months you can obtain a major credit card; within six months you can obtain a car loan; and, within 1-5 years you can obtain a home loan. Also, by following our guide, within 18-24 months after the bankruptcy discharge, your FICO should be 700+!
Q. Can I buy a home with a bankruptcy on my record?
A. Yes. A bankruptcy on your record will not prohibit you from buying a home, but it may affect the interest rate you can get from a lender willing to finance your mortgage. With PandA’s credit rebuild plan, you could qualify for a new home loan within 1-5 years after the bankruptcy!
Q. Can I keep my car?
A. In most cases, yes. In fact, you may have several options available. You may be able to protect a certain amount of equity in your car as a Chapter 7 exempt asset. You may also either affirm the debt and keep it out of bankruptcy, or you may redeem the car by buying it from the lender at its fair market value. In some cases, it makes better sense not to keep the car. Go over your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to decide what is best in your particular situation.
Q. Can I keep my home?
A. If filing Chapter 7, you can protect a certain amount of equity in your home from the liquidation process, which may prevent its sale. You can also keep your home if you file Chapter 13, which does not require any selling off of assets. Chapter 13 can also be used to prevent foreclosure on your home.
Q. What is the Means Test?
A. If your household income is above the state median in your area, you may be ineligible to file for Chapter 7. A means test will calculate your current monthly income and expenses to determine if you qualify. If you are ineligible to file Chapter 7, you may still obtain relief with Chapter 13 and the means text can clarify what the plan payment will likely be in the Chapter 13.
Q. What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
A. In Chapter 7, you receive a discharge of debts without having to repay them, while Chapter 13 involves a three or five-year payment plan. In most cases, you repay back pennies on the dollar. There are pros and cons to each approach. Contact our office to discuss which option is right for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 13 debt reorganization involves restructuring a consumer’s debt into a manageable three, but most time five, year payment plan. The plan is developed in such a way that it is feasible for you to make the payments within your current means. Debts are adjusted as necessary to make this possible. At the end of the plan, you can receive a discharge of any remaining debt.
You may wonder why you would want to create a three or five-year payment plan under Chapter 13, when you can get a discharge of debt without making payments under Chapter 7. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 does not require that you sell any of your assets. Also, the type of debt you have may not be dischargeable under Chapter 7. Finally, Chapter 13 does not have the income threshold and means test requirement that Chapter 7 does, so it is easier to qualify for a Chapter 13.
One of the most attractive features of Chapter 13 is its ability to prevent a foreclosure on your home or repossession of your car. If you are in default on your mortgage because you have missed one or more payments, the bank may be initiating foreclosure proceedings to kick you out of your home and sell the property, and, if selling the home doesn’t pay off the mortgage, you could still be liable for any deficiency. Chapter 13 allows you to catch up with those payments you missed by rolling them into the three or five-year payment plan. As long as you stay current on your payments going forward, the bank can no longer foreclose. The same kind of results and issues are applicable to car loans.
When is Chapter 13 Right for Me?
A Chapter 13 payment plan is commonly known as a “wage earner’s plan.” Chapter 13 is most appropriate if you have a steady job or other regular source of income and can devote a portion of your disposable income to a monthly payment plan. Chapter 13 is also appropriate if you have large amounts of debt which are secured by collateral, such as home loans, car loans, or appliances and furnishings that you bought on credit. Chapter 13 allows you to keep your assets while also becoming debt-free over time. In addition to your own financial responsibility, you may want to consider whether any of these loans were co-signed by friends or family members. Chapter 13 can protect them from having their property attacked to satisfy your debt.
Every situation is unique. Whether you should file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 or consider another option such as debt settlement depends upon your goals and your own particular combination of assets, liabilities, income and expenses. The first step is to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss these matters. If you are in the Las Vegas or Henderson area and need to find an effective solution to unmanageable personal or small business debt, contact PandA Law Firm, LLP for a free* consultation.
In Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, the attorneys at PandA Law Firm help consumers and small business owners free themselves from the burden of overwhelming debt and start over with a clean slate through the help and protection afforded by a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy, the debtor’s non-exempt assets are sold to pay off creditors in a certain priority order. Once those assets have been sold and the proceeds disbursed, any remaining debts are discharged by the bankruptcy court. The debtor emerges from the bankruptcy virtually debt-free, ready to make a fresh start.
A common misconception is that people have to sell off everything they own before they can receive a discharge of debt. This is not so. The law provides numerous exemptions (protections) for many of your assets, including certain amounts for your home, car, jewelry, clothing, tools of the trade, household furnishings and other necessities. Many so-called Chapter 7 “liquidations” are actually no-asset bankruptcies, where all of the debtor’s eligible property is exempt, and nothing is sold at all. Your lawyer can help you determine which assets, if any, will need to be sold in bankruptcy. But, by having attorneys, as opposed to paralegals, file your bankruptcy, over 99% of all PandA Chapter 7 clients keep all their assets!
Keep in mind, however, that not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. For instance, student loans and certain tax debt are not generally dischargeable, and domestic relations orders such as child support obligations cannot be discharged. Again, a qualified bankruptcy attorney can analyze your existing debt and let you know what a Chapter 7 can and can’t do for you.
When is Chapter 7 Right For Me?
Chapter 7 is most attractive to consumers with a large amount of unsecured debt, such as credit card debt or medical bills. A Chapter 7 filer will also need to have a monthly household income below the state median and satisfy a means test that shows your disposable income is low enough that you qualify for Chapter 7. If you are not eligible to file for Chapter 7, or if your debt is mostly secured by property that you wish to keep, such as your home, you may want to consider filing Chapter 13 or debt settlement options instead.
Our attorneys will meet with you personally and take the time to understand your unique situation and advise you on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, or even a non-bankruptcy solution such as debt settlement, is best for you. In the Las Vegas and Henderson area, contact PandA Law Firm for a free* consultation.
Get Your FREE* Consultation with our Bankruptcy Attorneys
For professional, effective assistance with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada, contact PandA Law Firm for a free* consultation.