Encino Bankruptcy Attorney
People all over the Los Angeles area are looking for ways to obtain relief from overwhelming medical bills, credit card balances, mortgage payments and other types of debt, and for those who have too much debt and no feasible way to repay it, bankruptcy could be the answer. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Encino or the surrounding area, contact ibankruptcyattorneys.com today to discuss your bankruptcy options and find out how you can protect your home and assets. Our trusted bankruptcy attorneys have years of experience helping clients in Encino and throughout Southern California seek relief from debt through Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and we can help you, too. Call us today to learn more about the bankruptcy process and how to file for bankruptcy in Encino.
Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys in Encino
The success of your Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case depends on a number of factors, one of the most important being the expertise of the attorney representing you. If you and your family are facing bankruptcy or foreclosure in Los Angeles, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting your case in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Our bankruptcy lawyers have helped thousands of clients reclaim their lives by discharging their overwhelming debts, and when you hire ibankruptcyattorneys.com, our Encino bankruptcy attorneys will carefully review your financial situation, taking into account your income, expenses, assets and debts, and create a customized debt-relief strategy aimed at getting your finances and your life back on track. It is our top priority to help you free yourself from crippling debt and get a fresh financial start while protecting the property and assets that are most important to you, and we will walk you through your bankruptcy alternatives and ways to avoid foreclosure to ensure that you understand your options and the benefits and pitfalls of each. We offer a risk-free consultation, so call our legal team today.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most common types of personal bankruptcy in California, meant for debtors who have limited income and significant debts. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Encino, you will surrender your nonexempt assets to a bankruptcy trustee to be “liquidated” or sold, and the funds from the sale will be distributed to your creditors. Each state has different exemptions, or assets you can keep when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and a skilled attorney can help you get the most out of your California bankruptcy exemptions. In most Chapter 7 cases, debtors are able to exempt all of their assets, which means you could potentially lose nothing in your bankruptcy. At the end of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, your remaining unsecured debts (i.e. credit card debts, medical debts and personal loan debts) will be discharged and you will benefit from a financial fresh start.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a bankruptcy chapter reserved for businesses that want to keep their business operations running while they file for bankruptcy. Chapter 11 is known as a “reorganization” bankruptcy, as it allows businesses to reorganize their debts and repay credits over time according to a court-approved repayment plan. This bankruptcy chapter is generally meant for sole proprietorships, small businesses, partnerships and corporations that have the capacity to continue operations, so long as the business is provided the opportunity to relieve its debt and/or restructure so it can return to a profitable state. In some cases, high net worth individuals may also qualify for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another type of personal bankruptcy, intended for individual debtors who have a regular income and can afford to repay their creditors over time. If you file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13, you will propose a plan to pay back all or a portion of your debts during a period of three to five years. At the end of this repayment period, any remaining unsecured debts will be discharged, meaning you are no longer legally responsible for paying them back. California homeowners may also be able to use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing to stop a foreclosure and catch up on past-due mortgage payments or to remove a junior lien (such as a second or third mortgage) from their property.
The Bankruptcy Process
Filing for bankruptcy is a major decision and the bankruptcy process can be complicated and confusing, which is why we advise debtors who are considering filing for bankruptcy to enlist the help of a qualified Encino bankruptcy lawyer. The following are the basic steps of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process in Los Angeles:
- Hire an attorney. If you plan to hire an attorney, that is the very first step in the bankruptcy process. Your attorney will lay out your bankruptcy options for you, highlighting the pros and cons of each choice, so you can make the best decision based on your specific circumstances.
- Gather the necessary bankruptcy documents. With the help of your attorney, you will gather the financial documents you will need in your bankruptcy case.
- Complete credit counseling. Before you can file for bankruptcy in Los Angeles, you must complete a credit counseling course, which will assess your financial situation and determine whether you can manage your debt problems outside of bankruptcy.
- Complete the bankruptcy forms. Next, your attorney will prepare the necessary bankruptcy paperwork and file it with the court. The bankruptcy petition triggers the automatic stay, a temporary injunction that prevents creditors, government entities and debt collection agencies from pursuing you for debts you owe.
- Attend the creditors’ meeting. Once the bankruptcy trustee assigned by the court has reviewed your case, he or she will schedule a meeting of your creditors, which will cover your financial history, your reasons for declaring bankruptcy and other basic information.
- Make a decision about your secured debts. With your attorney’s help, you will decide what to do about your secured debts, such as your mortgage loan or auto loan. If you are behind on your payments, the creditor can ask the court to lift the automatic stay and pursue foreclosure or repossession. If you are current on your payments, you can either give up the property or reaffirm the debt and continue making payments as usual.
- Receive a discharge. Once your non-exempt property has been sold to repay your creditors, your remaining unsecured debts will be discharged. You no longer owe these debts and creditors cannot try to collect them from you in the future.
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a federal program that gives financially distressed individuals and businesses the opportunity to obtain real relief from financial hardship. By declaring bankruptcy, debtors can eliminate the unsecured debts that are overwhelming them, while maintaining ownership of certain exempt property and assets, and start fresh with a blank slate. One of the biggest benefits of filing for bankruptcy is the automatic stay, which puts an immediate stop to harassing creditor calls, debt collection lawsuits, wage garnishment, repossession and foreclosure proceedings, giving you the breathing room you need to get your affairs in order and create a plan to deal with your debt problems once and for all. Generally speaking, anyone can file for bankruptcy in California, but not everyone qualifies for a particular kind of bankruptcy filing. As you can see above, there are certain criteria that debtors must meet in order to be eligible for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Common Encino Bankruptcy Questions
What assets are exempt?
In bankruptcy, assets that are “exempt” are not included in the bankruptcy estate, which means you can protect them in bankruptcy. Depending on your situation, this could include your home, your car, your personal belongings, or other property. Non-exempt assets are assets that are not protected in bankruptcy, and these assets can be sold to repay your creditors. A competent Encino bankruptcy attorney can ensure that you understand which California bankruptcy exemptions can be used to protect your assets while proceeding with your bankruptcy case.
What debts are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy?
A bankruptcy discharge releases you from liability for certain types of debts, which means you are no longer legally required to pay the debts that are discharged. However, there are certain types of debts that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, including debts for spousal or child support, certain tax debts, federal student loan debt, and debts for personal injury caused by drinking and driving, among others. You will want to discuss your non-dischargeable debts with an attorney before filing for bankruptcy so you have a clear picture of which debts you can expect to be wiped out in your bankruptcy case.
How will bankruptcy affect my credit?
Filing for bankruptcy can have a negative affect on your credit score, but if you have defaulted on your mortgage or you are behind on your other bills, your credit has likely already taken a hit, in which case, bankruptcy may not make that much of a difference. The good news is, after you have completed your bankruptcy and discharged your debt, you can begin to rebuild your credit. A bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for seven years (Chapter 13) or 10 years (Chapter 7 and Chapter 11), but the impact of the bankruptcy on your credit will be less and less substantial as time passes.
What happens after bankruptcy?
Most people feel a sense of relief after completing their bankruptcy and eliminating some or all of their overwhelming debt. After bankruptcy, it is a good idea to get more serious about putting money into your savings, creating a budget and making smart financial decisions, so you can avoid putting yourself back in debt. Once your dischargeable debts have been wiped out, you can move forward with a clean slate and get yourself on better financial footing.
Reasons to Hire an Encino Bankruptcy Attorney
There are many reasons why people make the decision to declare bankruptcy. Whether your current financial crisis was caused by an unexpected illness, job loss, divorce, overspending, or a financial hardship, watching your debts pile up and your bank account dwindle can be stressful and overwhelming. Fortunately, these types of challenges can often be overcome if you have the right tools and resources in hand, which is where we come in. Our Encino bankruptcy attorneys at ibankruptcyattorneys.com specialize in Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies in the Los Angeles area, and we can help you get through this difficult time. We have helped debtors across Southern California eliminate a significant portion of their debts, and we will guide you through the bankruptcy process from beginning to end, to ensure that you get the most out of your discharge. Filing for bankruptcy on your own can be challenging, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal system, which is why we recommend seeking guidance from an expert in California bankruptcy law. Our attorneys have earned a reputation for compassionate and professional representation in bankruptcy proceedings, and we can protect your rights and best interests, helping you find the debt-relief solution that works best for you, given your unique needs and priorities.
Contact Us Today for a Free Bankruptcy Consultation
Whether your current financial difficulties are simply a bump in the road or are indicative of a more significant debt problem, our Encino bankruptcy attorneys can help. We know how difficult it can be to admit that you are struggling with debts you can’t afford to pay and actually take proactive steps towards resolving those debts, which is why we strive to make the bankruptcy process as simple and straightforward as possible. With the help of our reputable bankruptcy attorneys, you can relieve yourself of debts you can’t afford to pay and put yourself in a better financial position. And if filing for bankruptcy is not the best debt-relief solution for you, we will discuss with you some alternatives to bankruptcy, such as debt settlement or loan modification. Contact our legal team at ibankruptcyattorneys.com as soon as possible to get yourself on the path to financial freedom.