Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection Attorney Serving The Western Slope, Eagle, Garfield + Mesa Counties
Get Answers to Frequently Asked Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Questions in Colorado
Attorney with over 30 years of experience. Helping discharge debt for bankruptcy clients in Eagle, Vail, Minturn, Edwards, Avon, Glenwood Springs and surrounding areas and counties. We know you have questions, and we can help provide answers and peace of mind.
Chapter 7 is complete liquidation (although you keep all your “exempt assets”) and all dischargeable debts are discharged forever.
Chapter 13 is a structured payment plan made through the Bankruptcy Court. A plan is either 3 or 5 years, depending upon your income. At the end of that time, you will continue to pay on any secured debt you want to keep. All debts are discharged after the 3 or 5-year plan.
Chapter 11 is for large corporations who want to hold off creditors and reorganize.
If you have previously filed for Chapter 7, then you must wait eight years before you can file for another Chapter 7. If you have previously filed for a Chapter 13, then you must wait six years before you can file for a Chapter 7.
If you are trying to file for a Chapter 13, then you must wait four years from a prior Chapter 7 filing, or two years from a previous Chapter 13 filing.
No. Anything transferred prior to filing bankruptcy could be subject to being taken back by the Bankruptcy Court. Transfers can go back as far as 4 years. Any transfers that have happened within that amount of time should be discussed with an attorney to determine if it is acceptable.
In addition, payments amounting to $600 or more to creditors within 90 days before filing will be retrieved by the trustee to be fairly spread among all creditors.
You cannot pay select creditors before filing. The trustee will take back any payments made over $600 paid within 90 days of filing and distribute the funds equally among all creditors.
Legal fees vary depending on the type of chapter you file, the total amount of debt, and the complexity of the case. In addition to the legal fees, there are court fees associated with any bankruptcy filing. The average range is $1,800 - $2,500 in legal fees. The State of Colorado filing fee for Chapter 7 is $335.00. We cover other costs within our fees, such as credit report, research and data fees.
We Are Not a Low Cost Bankruptcy “Preparer”!
Our services include analyzing legal issues, developing strategies and timing to preserve the maximum value of assets and discharge all the debt allowed under the law.
We also search court filings, property records, and background information to try our best to discover potential negative issues and obstacles to a successful case.
We arrange to stop collection activity and stop – or delay, foreclosures and repossessions.
We negotiate buy-backs of non-exempt assets for the least possible cost.
Other, low-cost preparers and attorneys do not do these things and leave you open to devastating consequences because of missed Issues and insufficient data. We encourage you to do your homework and investigate the low cost advertisements. Most of the attorneys are not even located in Colorado – they hire preparers to fill out the pleadings and schedules. They do not check for accuracy. They do not analyze legal issues or defend you or the case. Many fees and costs are not disclosed or are hidden from you until it is too late.
We contend it is not possible to properly prepare and present a complete bankruptcy case, and represent you before the U.S. Trustee and Federal Bankruptcy Court for a low “discount” fee that does not include a full range of service.
- All dischargeable debts can be discharged forever.
- Creditors can never contact you again.
- Your credit will usually improve faster than leaving unresolved debt on your credit report.
- Clients usually report that eliminating the pressure of debt, lawsuits and collections helps to lessen stress and strain in life.
PRE-BANKRUPTCY DOs + DON’Ts
Continue making payments on vehicles or property you intend to keep. Creditors secured by a car or truck can usually repossess the vehicle without notice to you anytime you are in default in your payments. It will ordinarily take longer for other creditors (including those secured by other property) to act on a debt that is in default. If you have a mortgage on your home, keep paying, stay current and you will likely be able to keep your home.
Borrow from or withdraw 401k, IRA, and ERISA qualified savings and retirement plans to pay bills. Early withdrawal of these funds makes you liable for penalties and taxes which may not be discharged in bankruptcy. ERISA and 401K funds are exempt from creditors in bankruptcy, (except deposits made within 6 months before filing) and many other states. If you don’t use these funds, you are very likely to have them to draw on after bankruptcy.
Borrow money on your home to pay unsecured (i.e. credit card, utility or medical) bills. If you take out a second mortgage on your home, you may be converting debt which would have been discharged in bankruptcy into debt which you will still have to pay in order to keep your home. These additional payments could be high enough to cause you to lose your home.
Pay $600 or more back to relatives or business associates who have lent you money. Payment of a total of $600 or more to an “insider” (which includes relatives and business associates) within one year before you file bankruptcy is a “preference.” The trustee may recover preferences from the person that was paid and divide the money between all of your creditors. (Payment of $600 or more to any other creditor within 90 days before the case is filed is also a preference.)
Put property you own into someone else’s name to avoid it being taken by creditors or the trustee. That kind of transfer is a fraud on creditors and can result in your discharge being denied. In addition, the trustee can take the property from the person to whom it was transferred.
POST-BANKRUPTCY DOs + DON’Ts
If we have already filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for you there are some important DOs and DON'Ts which come into play during the pendency of your case.
Continue making payments on vehicles or property you intend to keep. Creditors secured by a car or truck can usually repossess the vehicle without notice to you anytime you are in default in your payments. It will ordinarily take longer for other creditors (including those secured by other property) to act on a debt that is in default.
Sell or Transfer or give away any assets you have without contacting me first. The filing of your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition creates a Bankruptcy Estate which temporarily comes under the control of the Trustee who is assigned to your particular case. The Trustee’s job is to Liquidate (sell and reduce to cash) any property that is not exempt under State or Federal Law. Typically, few Chapter 7s that I file have any assets that are liquidated, and usually if there are likely to be assets in a case, I will have informed you of any potential Trustee liquidation before filing. Nevertheless,
Sell, give away, transfer title, settle any personal injury lawsuits or otherwise dispose of any of your property while your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is pending.
Be concerned if a few creditors still attempt to contact you or send you bills or collection letters after filing. 99% of your creditors will stop harassing phone calls or threatening letters shortly after the filing of your bankruptcy. By operation of law, immediately upon the filing of your bankruptcy petition, the “Automatic Stay” goes into effect. This stay prevents all of your creditors from taking any action to attempt to collect a debt. This includes calling you by phone at home or at work, sending collection letters, starting or continuing lawsuits against you, garnishing wages, repossessing vehicles or other security and foreclosing on your home. Occasionally, a creditor will still call or send a letter after the Notice of Commencement of Bankruptcy case has gone out in the mail. If this happens to you, simply send a copy of this Notice to the creditor who is still contacting you or tell them to call my office to verify the filing of your case.