A Reglement-Legal Attorney discusses how filing bankruptcy will create debt relief…
What types of bankruptcy are offered to individuals?
For individuals seeking debt relief, the bankruptcy code provides for several different methods for filing, depending on the individual’s financial situation. The most common types of cases filed are those in chapter 7 (liquidation) and chapter 13 (repayment). Chapter 11 is primarily used for business reorganization or individuals who do not meet Chapter 7 or 13 requirements, and chapter 12 is only available to farmers and fisherman.
What does bankruptcy do?
Generally, individuals seeking debt relief will file for bankruptcy, with the ultimate goal being either to have most debts discharged or to structure a repayment plan to pay back a certain amount of the debt and have the rest discharged at the end of the plan. Chapter 7 debt relief is in the form of liquidating all non-exempt assets and using the proceeds to pay back creditors. In chapter 13, the individual must have a constant source of income in order to set up a repayment plan. Often those repayment plans are for only a certain percentage of the actual amount owed to creditors.
What does a discharge provide?
Part of the debt relief goal in bankruptcy is to have as many possible debts discharged. Discharge means that the debtor is no longer personally liable for the debts and those creditors cannot take any action against the debtor in order to seek repayment. This is important for an individual wanting debt relief because once the debts are discharged, the debtor can move forward and not have to worry about making more payments.
Is it possible to discharge taxes?
Yes, although there are certain qualifications that must be met prior to having taxes discharged in bankruptcy. The general rule in a chapter 7 case is that taxes are only able to be discharged if they are over three years old or if it has been three years since the debtor’s last tax audit or assessment. In chapter 13 cases, however, taxes are considered a priority claim and are repaid first during the repayment plan.
What does bankruptcy do for debt relief?
It is important for individuals to realize that once the bankruptcy proceeding is over and the debtor obtains a discharge, the debtor is no longer liable for those debts. This allows the debtor to move forward in life and begin rebuilding credit and taking active steps to manage finances. The debt relief alleviates stress and other problems associated with pre-bankruptcy worries. Whether the individual files under either chapter 7 or chapter 13, once the discharge is entered there is no longer a need to be concerned about the obligation to repay the debt.