Category Archives: Bankruptcy Basics – Chapter 7

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!

 

How is Chapter 7 different from Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

When consumer confidence is high and the financial markets are doing well it may be time to drop some of your financial dead weight to clear space for new jobs, more money and less debt. Many people have added it all up and said, “If I only had this amount of extra money, I could clear everything up and actually start getting ahead.” What do you do about those bad decisions or unfortunate situations that were not your fault, but still have a hefty price tag? When you are saddled with debt you cannot pay, you may start thinking about bankruptcy options. Do not be dissuaded by the anti-bankruptcy ads on television, paid for by debt repayment and restructuring companies. Most of them do not get people the fresh start they need to really be successful. If you want to get out of debt and do it right, there are two consumer bankruptcy options for you, Chapter 7 discharge and Chapter 13 restructuring.

What are the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy. When you qualify for a Chapter 7 liquidation (or think of complete discharge) you can literally wipe the slate clean. Note that only certain debts may be discharged, such as court judgments against you, credit card debts and loans you cannot pay. You cannot however get rid of child support obligations, student loans or certain tax or municipal fines.

Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge, you may be able to file a Chapter 13 petition for bankruptcy. You will be able to repay a portion of your debts, every month, over time. In a Chapter 13 you get to keep all your property, including non-exempt assets. When you have the income to pay debts, but need some time to spread it out and get caught up, a Chapter 13 can be your best path to financial freedom.

Note that when you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Automatic Stay provision kicks in which prevents bill collectors from doing anything to collect a debt while you are in bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you pay the Bankruptcy Trustee every month and they make the negotiated payments on your debts. For people who want to keep their house and other valuable assets and still get bankruptcy relief, Chapter 13 is a great thing.

How do I know whether I qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

To qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and get a full discharge of qualified debts, you must show financial need and hardship through a means test calculation. Your bankruptcy attorney can do the math and let you know whether you qualify. In the event, you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you can always file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. Let’s say you make just a little bit too much money or have a little more equity in your home you want to preserve, the Chapter 13 will still help you and you will repay only a portion of your debts over time.

How long will a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy take to be completed?

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be filed and discharged within several months. Your bankruptcy attorney collects all the necessary information, files the petition, appears with you at the Notice to Creditors Meeting, after which time you wait to see if any of your creditors file any objections to your bankruptcy. In a few months, you have a full discharge. In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you can get caught up on missed payments and non-dischargeable debts over a three to five-year period.

What steps can I take to make sure I have good credit after my bankruptcy case?

When preparing for credit worthiness after bankruptcy, remember that the only thing that matters is what you do with your finances after the bankruptcy. Your credit score determines how risky it may be to lend you money or credit. To reduce that risk, many companies offer secured credit cards. Anyone can get a secured credit card by paying a deposit of $200. If you never pay the bill, you forfeit your deposit. Without a bunch of missed monthly payments, there is nothing to negatively affect your credit score. Keep up with the secured card and you will start receiving regular credit card offers in no time. Buy a new car or a new home in a handful of years after a bankruptcy. There are many people who tell success stories about the new opportunities they seized after getting out from behind the eight ball.

If you have a question about any of the bankruptcy details mentioned in this article, it costs you nothing to call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. and find out what bankruptcy law may mean to your financial future.

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!

 

January 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:

  • What happens when my cosigner files for bankruptcy and I am still making loan payments?
  • Is filing bankruptcy the best option when there is a significant lawsuit filed against you?
  • Do I still have to pay when a credit card company writes off a debt as a charge off?
  • Can my tollway fines, and other tickets be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • Can I file bankruptcy to reduce or remove past child support obligations?

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.