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Can a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Help Me Keep My Assets?

Key Takeaways:

  • Bankruptcy filers can keep most of their assets in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • The court system recommends seeking the advice of a qualified attorney when filing for bankruptcy.
  • How much you pay for an attorney will depend on where you are filing and the complexity of your case.

If you fail to make credit card or mortgage payments on time, you risk having your property repossessed by creditors. Defaulting on loans can risk being hassled by bill collectors demanding payment.

Peoples’ most significant concern about bankruptcy is often whether they can keep their assets, like your home, car, retirement accounts, and personal property. The benefit of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that your personal assets are generally protected from liquidation. And with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney’s help, an automatic stay can stop bill collectors, foreclosures, repossession, and other collection actions.

At the end of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can get a fresh start and not put any of your personal property up for sale. If you have questions about the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney for legal advice.

What Assets Can I Keep in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Generally, you can keep all your assets in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but there is a difference between secured debts and unsecured debts. Secured creditors have a security interest in the property. For example, your mortgage lender has a property interest in the real estate you bought. You will still have to make payments to secured creditors if you want to keep the property that has payments due.

Will the Bankruptcy Court Liquidate My Property in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Generally, no. Chapter 13 is a “wage earner’s bankruptcy.” With Chapter 13, you get to keep your property. You will make a repayment plan to pay off secured debts and a portion of unsecured debts. Any remaining unsecured debts, like credit card debts, medical bills, and personal loans, will be erased at the end of the repayment plan. Unsecured creditors can no longer come after you for any discharged debts.

Do I Need an Attorney to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

An attorney is not required to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, you are strongly encouraged to retain a qualified bankruptcy lawyer to help you through the process. Even the U.S. Courts recommend seeking the advice of a qualified attorney “because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences.”

A lawyer will be there to help answer questions about the bankruptcy code, such as whether you qualify for a Chapter 13 filing. Your attorney can explain the different types of bankruptcy and the pros and cons. Your lawyer can also explain your ongoing financial obligations after your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case concludes.

How Much Does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Cost?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney’s costs depend on your location and the complexity of your case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy legal fees include the work your attorney will do representing you for the three to five years of the repayment plan. Many bankruptcy lawyers offer set fees or payment plans. The expenses can also be part of the bankruptcy repayment plan.

Will My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Be Stronger if I Use a Lawyer?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy laws are complex. One wrong move could mean the difference between a successful case and having your case dismissed. Chapter 13 cases involve repayment plans, income sources for repayment plan calculations, and three to five years of repayment plan management. People not experienced with filing bankruptcy can benefit from an experienced professional.

How Will a Lawyer Help With My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

A skilled Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer will be able to help you:

  • Determine whether a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for your specific financial situation
  • Understand the pros and cons of filing a Chapter 13 case
  • Organize your Chapter 13 repayment plan
  • Determine regular income sources, living expenses, and liabilities
  • Successfully file and achieve your goals under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Before filing your bankruptcy petition, ensure you understand what to expect. Talk to a qualified bankruptcy attorney as soon as you start thinking about seeking bankruptcy protection.

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