Okemos Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Helping Clients throughout the Lansing Area
Life can change quickly. Sometimes, it means you can no longer pay your bills. If you have reached a point where your expenses are no longer reasonably able to be covered by your income, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows most or all of your debt to be totally discharged so that you are no longer subject to creditors. At White Law PLLC, our Okemos Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can walk you through the process.
- Eliminate Medical debt
- Stop Credit Card Debt & Harassment
- Stop Foreclosure Proceedings
- Stop Garnishment
- Protect Your Home & Car
- Shield Your Wages from Creditors
- Keep Your Furniture
Wiping Away Your Debt Troubles
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most comprehensive debt forgiveness option. Once you are approved to file, all your unsecured debts—credit card balances, auto loans, mortgage payments, etc.—are forgiven and cleared from your name.
Eligibility depends on whether or not you:
- Have the means to pay back your debts
- Filed for bankruptcy within the past eight years
- Lied to creditors about your debts
- Have disposable income
- Make more money than Michigan's median income
Keep in mind, some debts cannot be forgiven. Bankruptcy will not forgive tax debt, student loans, or child support payments. By contacting an Okemos Chapter 7 attorney, you can gain a clearer picture of exactly what to expect following your bankruptcy.
At White Law PLLC, we help clients throughout the entire state of Michigan to tackle your debt concerns and find the financial independence you deserve.
- Your creditors aren't the only ones with legal options—you have them too.
- Bankruptcy not only settles your debts, but it also stops your creditors from constantly trying to collect on those debts.
- The law is on your side—bankruptcy provides a legal way to get a fresh start on your finances.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy can relieve debts from a mortgage, auto loans, medical bills, and even credit card balances.
It's Not Your Fault
Too many of our clients believe they are the ones to blame for not having enough in savings when times got tough. Economic downturns happen for many reasons, like COVID-19, that leave people with unmanageable loads of new debt.
Bad things can happen. It isn't your fault that unexpected emergencies can leave you without any ability to pay for the resulting damage. Our team at White Law PLLC can help you properly file and apply for bankruptcy to get back in control of your finances.
A crisis can result in financial problems such as:
- Unexpected medical costs
- Rent increases
Our firm also serves clients outside Michigan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you file for bankruptcy, your debts will be "stayed," and creditors will no longer be able to contact you or try to garnish your bank account to recover any money they were owed. In some cases of unsecured debt, however, you may have to repay by selling your property; this could include your home and your car.
Do I have to lose my property?
Some of our clients find that Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a better fit. This arrangement schedules a payment plan that will allow you to keep your property so long as you make payments on time. White Law PLLC can help you ensure the payments are fair and that you are not held to unreasonable standards for your debts.
Does the trustee take my assets?
Many clients are worried about losing their property after filing bankruptcy, but there are ways to avoid this. White Law PLLC can help you find out if you qualify and organize your property in order to preserve as much of your property as possible.
What does pro rata mean?
In all bankruptcies, you will have to pay back your creditors as much as you possibly can. Pro rata establishes the amount you will pay back in total, then divides it proportionally among each of your creditors. While you will not be paying back the full amount you owe, each creditor will receive their allotted share of what is returned to them.
What is exempt from bankruptcy?
The simple answer is that it varies. Once you apply for bankruptcy, you will have to pass a "means test" and verify your need for assistance. After that, choose to use either Michigan or federal exemptions, but not both.
Michigan law allows exemptions for:
- $38k of home equity
- $3.5k of equity in one vehicle
- Most household goods below $600 in value per item
- Most pension and retirement accounts
- Wages up to a certain limit
- Insurance benefits
- Government benefits for unemployment and veterans' compensation
You can find more information about exemptions by checking Michigan's treasury website and looking in the Budget Reports section.
Will I be able to keep my house?
Whether or not you will be able to keep your home depends on how much you owe in payments and whether or not you have more than one home. White Law PLLC can help you evaluate your situation and plan effectively.
Will I be able to keep my car?
Like your home, your ability to keep your car depends on how much you owe on your car and how many cars you have. Michigan law allows you to maintain equity in up to $3,525 of one car. A bankruptcy attorney can help you consider whether or not federal exemptions would better suit your needs and situation.
What about property like a wedding ring?
Possession valued under $600 is, in most cases, exempt from forfeiture. This amount caps out at $3,825, so it is important to work with an attorney who can help you protect your property.
Should I sell or gift my property before filing for bankruptcy?
Absolutely not. Attempting to defraud a bankruptcy court is a crime. There are legal ways you can manage your net worth and assets before filing for bankruptcy so as to get the best possible outcome for your case. Our firm can help you lay out your assets and prepare for a successful bankruptcy.
What happens to the child support payments I receive?
In most cases, you will continue receiving child support payments after filing for bankruptcy. However, any money you collected from those payments will be admissible for bankruptcy. If you are behind on child support payments, you will not be able to have those debts discharged. Having an experienced Lansing bankruptcy on your side can help you make these decisions effectively and prevent you from making any costly mistakes.
Will my retirement accounts be affected?
Not likely. While some situations could affect your retirement accounts, such as contributions made within the last 180 days, your investments are generally safe. Speaking with an attorney is important here, as a failure to declare all relevant income could result in your being denied bankruptcy.
What to Expect After Bankruptcy
Once you have successfully filed for bankruptcy, you can breathe easier knowing that interest payments won't be piling up anymore.
Here are some tips to consider after settling your debts:
- Reflect on what put you in this situation: Bankruptcy is usually caused by too many payments that come calling all at once. Consider taking a look at your balance statements to see where you spent most of your money and evaluate if you should be spending money there.
- Start budgeting: Everyone could stand to budget their money a little better. There are many free spreadsheets available that make it easy to track your expenses and examine your spending habits.
- Plan out any necessary payments: Make a schedule for all your recurring payments so you can plan for them. Staying current on all payments—credit card bills, mortgage, insurance, etc.—will help to raise your credit score.
- Keep credit limits high but debt amounts low: Just because you have the money doesn't mean you should spend it. You can raise your credit score by keeping any credit balances far below their limits and paying them off regularly.
- Don't fall for bad credit offers: Not everything that comes in the mail is a worthwhile application. Some credit cards offer low introductory rates that expire shortly thereafter and leave you with exorbitant interest rates. Make sure you read the fine print and get the best offer for your needs.
- Check your credit report often: Many services offer free credit reports each year that won't affect your credit score. Checking your score can help you find errors that harm your opportunities for loans, housing, and employment.
Learn more now by calling (517) 316-1195.
Serving Clients Throughout Michigan & Nationwide
We've Successfully Resolved Thousands of Cases
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Over 60 Years of Combined Legal Experience