Category Archives: Bankruptcy Basics – Chapter 13

Why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Chicago bankruptcy attorney Joseph Wrobel is often asked why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy. His frequent answer is, “It depends.” After the initial meeting with your bankruptcy attorney you should be advised whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney asks for certain documents and your financial statements, so they can analyze your financial status using the bankruptcy means test. The means test is a rather complicated mathematical process your bankruptcy attorney uses to determine whether your income and finances allow you to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and 13?

When most people think about bankruptcy they are thinking about Chapter 7, the full discharge and wipeout of all the bills and debts allowed to be discharged in bankruptcy. You must qualify for Chapter 7 as set forth in the means test your attorney will calculate. If you make too much money, you might not qualify for Chapter 7 discharge and you can use the option of Chapter 13 instead. While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a relatively quick discharge of the qualified debts you can eliminate, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more like a repayment bankruptcy, where you pay back a portion of your debts by making a fixed payment to the bankruptcy trustee once a month for up to five years.

If you have too much equity in your home, have assets of special value like an inherited collector automobile, or simply make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Getting immediate relief from creditors and bill collectors

As soon as either a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition is filed, you are protected under the Automatic Stay provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Automatic Stay is the law that prohibits any of your creditors or collection agencies from making any efforts to contact you during your bankruptcy. If you have a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your creditors cannot call you for the entire term of the bankruptcy, even if it is the entire five-year period while you make monthly payments to the trustee who pays the creditors.

Garnishments are also stopped by the Automatic Stay when you file a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. The threat of garnishment alone is enough for many people to decide to file for bankruptcy.

For more about “Automatic Stay,” read our article, “Examples of the automatic stay and how it operates in bankruptcy law.”

Taking up to five years to repay your debts under a Chapter 13 plan

When people desire time to get caught up on their bills, a five-year Chapter 13 repayment plan can mean financial freedom and peace and quiet when the collectors stop calling. Depending on your finances and the results of your means test, your bankruptcy attorney may be able to get you on a plan where you only repay a portion of your debts.

Keep your home and your car with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Do you have a great interest rate or mortgage deal you don’t want to lose? Chapter 13 allows you to keep your home and your equity while you repay the debts and bills you were otherwise unable to pay. This also applies to your car. If you have car payments, they can be included in the monthly payments to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee over your five-year plan. Of course, if you want a shorter plan, that may be an option for you.

When people find out about the benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, they often wish they had known so long ago. To find out more about Chapter 13, call Joseph Wrobel, Limited.  

Why people chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Chicago Bankruptcy Q&A Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: November 2017

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.

Chicago bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show: Use this link to listen anytime.

  • What happens when a corporation I sued filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • Do I have to include my paid for automobile in my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • What happens when my car loan co-signor files for bankruptcy?
  • What happens if a bankruptcy lawyer does not file my bankruptcy petition?
  • I missed my date to file a bankruptcy claim, what happens to my rights?
  • In bankruptcy can I pay for the value of my car instead of what I actually owe?
  • How will my ex-husband’s bankruptcy affect my home if he’s on the mortgage?
  • Can a family member loan me money for a down payment if I am in Chapter 13?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Filing bankruptcy: Eliminating medical bills

 

There are several options for filing bankruptcy and eliminating medical bills. When bad things happen to good people the financial consequences can be suffocating. Especially when it is not your fault, you should not have to be stuck with unpayable debt and non-stop collector harassment. Medical debt collectors may sue you and garnish your wages, creating additional anxiety and burden to anyone already struggling with money.

eliminating medical bills
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

You can make the phone calls and lawsuits stop when you file a petition for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After your bankruptcy, there are great options to boost your credit and put yourself in the best place to make and keep more money and enjoy financial freedom.

How medical debt collectors seek money judgements and wage garnishments

Mary, a single mother of three was severely injured in a car crash that was not her fault. The other driver did not have insurance and had no assets. Mary was stuck paying for hospital and medical bills for her emergency care, surgery and rehabilitative care that over many months. Mary could have paid cash for a new home for money she owed in medical bills. The medical bill collectors hired a lawsuit and served Mary with a lawsuit and she was facing a potential wage garnishment. Luckily Mary’s employer kept her job for her when she was able to get back to work but Mary wanted to keep her pride and avoid the embarrassment of having her wages garnished and losing that much more out of her paycheck.

How bankruptcy stops medical debt collectors in their tracks with the Automatic Stay provision

One day, Mary accepted the reality that the accident and medical bills were not her fault. The freedom from harassment by collectors sounded like music to her ears. Having the lawsuit go away meant Mary would be able to sleep at night. When she filed for bankruptcy, Mary had the protection of the automatic stay provision in bankruptcy, which orders that all collection activity must stop during the bankruptcy.

Read our article for more: Examples of the Automatic Stay and how it operates in bankruptcy law.

Qualifying for Chapter 7 discharge or Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization

Mary had no idea there were options and more than one type of bankruptcy. She learned that Chapter 7 was the traditional bankruptcy she was looking for. Because she did not have too many assets or too high an income, she was able to qualify for the full discharge of all her debts allowed by the bankruptcy code. She also learned how she could have entered a Chapter 13 repayment plan and pay back a smaller portion of her medical bills over several years, which could have also helped her get back on track and stop the harassment and collection efforts.

Read our article for more: How is Chapter 7 different from Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

Podcast: October 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answers with Joseph Wrobel

Joseph Wrobel is a Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney
Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.

Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • How soon after filing bankruptcy can my divorce be finalized?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy to get rid of medical bills I cannot afford?
  • On Social Security Disability, can I have my bankruptcy fees and costs waived?
  • I am on the deed of my mother’s house and she is going to file bankruptcy, if she were to die, what would happen to the house?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

August 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • When can a bankruptcy be removed from my credit report?
  • Will I lose my US citizenship or be deported if I file for bankruptcy?
  • If you file for bankruptcy, is every credit card you have included?
  • Can another party collect from me in small claims court if I am in bankruptcy?
  • If I file for bankruptcy, can I keep my home and my car if I was never late on those?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

7 bankruptcy repercussions are myths not to worry about

While some people take advantage of bankruptcy laws to improve their lives and finances, others have a long list of excuses why they refuse to file for bankruptcy protection. While some of the concerns people have are reasonable, they are often blown way out of proportion by the people who do not want you to get a bankruptcy. Who are these naysayers? Largely the people who work in the business of debt consolidation will try to scare you with misconceptions about bankruptcy.

Here is a list of bankruptcy repercussions you were told about but will probably never experience:

  1. The bankruptcy trustee will take everything you own. Not true: There are state exemptions allowing you to keep your personal belongings, vehicle and equity in your home up to a certain dollar amount.
  1. Everyone in town will know about your bankruptcy. Not unless you tell them: Where in the past years bankruptcies were more difficult or less common they may have appeared in the newspaper. Nowadays and especially in a big city like Chicago, nobody will ever know unless you tell them.
  1. Your wife will leave you and take the kids. While it’s possible, it’s unlikely: The negative stigma that used to follow a bankruptcy many years ago is no longer an issue for so many people who likely know people who got a bankruptcy and are doing well and are financially successful after their bankruptcy.
  1. You won’t be able to keep your home or car. You have options: You may keep your car if its value falls within exemption limits or you can sign a reaffirmation agreement to keep the car and make payments on it despite the bankruptcy. Keeping your home may be equally feasible through a Chapter 7 discharge or Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy case.
  1. The boss will surely fire you when they find out. Your boss has no reason to know: Unless you tell your boss that you need a day off work to attend your initial bankruptcy hearing, they have no reason to know about it. In fact, many people file for bankruptcy to prevent their boss from knowing about a wage garnishment, something they can avoid if they file bankruptcy.
  1. You won’t be able to rent an apartment. Not true: Even people with the most concerning financial track records are able to rent an apartment, and the only difference may be an extra month’s worth of a security deposit required by the landlord.
  1. You will never be able to get credit again. Biggest misconception: The moment your former debts are wiped away in bankruptcy, you have more spending power and a better ability to pay your bills. Not long after a bankruptcy you can get a secured credit card and start rebuilding your credit, focusing on your current and future credit while forgetting about the past.

If you want to learn the real expectations you should have when considering a bankruptcy filing, contact Joseph Wrobel, Limited to learn bankruptcy is like in the present day.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

May 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Can the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee take my IRS refund?
  • Will a prior credit counseling certificate work for my new bankruptcy?
  • How long can a creditor in Illinois file a lawsuit against you?
  • Am I responsible for my wife’s credit card debt?
  • Is it possible to vacate a dismissed bankruptcy?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Using credit cards and boosting your credit score after bankruptcy

 

After a bankruptcy discharge of those pesky debts you don’t miss, your available cash flow is increased and you should have more spending power. Your credit score is a function of several variables, not a mean person sitting in judgment of you. As you have more cash flow and spending ability, the decision to extend credit to you is easier because you are more likely to pay the bills when you can afford to. Once you get new credit cards there are a few things you should do to maximize your opportunity to boost your credit score.

Your credit score is determined by a variety of financial factors:

  • Credit card utilization
  • Payment history
  • Derogatory marks
  • Age of credit history
  • Total accounts
  • Hard inquiries

When you use credit cards and are working on boosting your credit score to qualify for a new home, many credit advisors will tell you to use your credit cards but not more than 30 or 40 percent of the available credit rating. It’s a good idea to pay your fixed expenses such as phone or internet with the credit card. Since you know you must pay that bill anyways, why not build your credit?

The next step with the credit cards is setting up automatic minimum monthly payments to be made by your debit card or checking account so you never have to worry about a late payment. When you pay your bill, which is easy to do now on apps on your phone, do not pay the entire balance. It is better to leave a few dollars on your balance so that it appears you are actively using the card – once a month the credit cards send a report to the credit bureaus and if your balance is zero it may look like you are not using the card and that can damage your credit score.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

March 2017 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • How can I keep my car when I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • How can my bankruptcy come off my credit reports but still shows up in public record searches?
  • What happens to my house if I file bankruptcy and my name is on the deed but not the loan?
  • I surrendered my car in my bankruptcy but the finance company hasn’t picked it up, now what?
  • What does it mean if a creditor has written off debt that’s included in my Chapter 13 plan?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Are short sales worth the risks and is bankruptcy a better option?

 

When bad things happen to good people homes may fall into foreclosure. In too many cases, houses are not worth what the owner owes on the mortgage. This is common with people who bought their homes before the recession when prices were high. If the lender forecloses on the house it will be sold to the highest auction bidder. If the house sells for less than is owed, there may be an opportunity for the lender to sue and collect the deficiency judgment, or balance due after foreclosure. If the market is flooded with foreclosure homes, they could be sold off for significantly less than they would be worth in a healthier economy and real estate market. As foreclosure sales created more financial damage to many, the alternative method of short sales became more popular, giving homeowners an easier way out of their mortgages.

While short sales allow is a sale of your home to a new homebuyer for less money than you owe on your mortgage. If the lender bank agrees to a short sale deal, you may sell the house and be released from the mortgage lien and may go on your way to rent or purchase a more affordable home. While this sounds like a dream come true, there may be a few catches.

Here is a short list of considerations when you have the option to short sell your home:

  1. The lender bank and decision maker on your mortgage has no duty to accept a short sale deal. When you owe the money, you owe the money, plain and simple. The bank may be motivated to do a short sale if the market is flooded with upside down deals and the home is likely to sell under value at auction. Instead of fighting to then also collect the deficiency judgment against you, a lender may be more likely to work with you on a short sale deal, to get the house sold for fair market value.
  2. Even if the bank allows the short sale deal, they may not operate at the speed of business and it may be easier to lose buyers who cannot wait for a slow-moving lender bank. If the lender has a large volume of short sale deals, it may be even more difficult to get things done in a timely manner. Losing buyers and increased aggravation are possible in many short sale deals.
  3. Deficiencies are also possible with short sale deals. Even if you get more money for your house in a short sale, the amount you owe may still leave you short. It is a good idea to have a financial advisor assist you with your options to see what makes the most sense. If the short sale is still going to leave you high and dry, it may be better to proceed with a simpler foreclosure.

Short sales are long and complicated. There are more people involved in the transaction, more tax implications, more chances for something to go wrong. The more complicated the process, the easier it is for people to get frustrated and walk away from a deal.

Why would bankruptcy be a better option?

Depending on a review of your financial situation, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you keep your home and avoid foreclosure. If you know you are badly upside down on your home and want to get out of your mortgage regardless, a bankruptcy can help you wipe out the amount of the deficiency judgment and give you a fresh start.

Depending on what you owe, how much you own and your income, a Chapter 7 full discharge will stop your bill collectors and wipe out all your dischargeable debts. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy will allow you to pay back a fraction of your debts over a three to five-year period, which may help you stay in your home and avoid making the foreclosure versus short sale decision.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!