Alaska Bankruptcy Lawyer
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Car payments, mortgages, credit card interest—we all have bills. However, for many, debts become insurmountable, and living life debt-free seems impossible, but it\'s not. Bankruptcy is a viable option for those who can not manage paying back their debt.
Individuals and organizations unable to pay their creditors have the option to use bankruptcy to settle their debts. Creditors may also file a bankruptcy petition against a debtor in an effort to recoup a portion of what they are owed.
The primary purpose of bankruptcy is to relieve a debtor of most debts, and repay creditors in an orderly manner to the extent that the debtor has the means to do so. Bankruptcy allows debtors to be discharged from the legal obligation to pay most debts. Most of all, it provides debtors with the chance for financial freedom. Bankruptcy is not a simple process, however.
A bankruptcy case is initiated by the filing of a petition, detailing the debtor\'s financial information. Bankruptcy cases are always filed in United States Bankruptcy Court, an adjunct to the U.S. District Courts. However, these cases are often highly dependent upon state law, particularly with respect to the validity of claims and exemptions.
The recently updated bankruptcy law makes it more difficult for consumers to easily discharge debt. If you declare bankruptcy, you will have to attend credit counseling and pay higher fees. A bankruptcy attorney will probably be necessary, unless you have an extremely simple case. Your attorney can review your circumstances and help you decide which type of bankruptcy is for you. They can deal with your creditors, end wage garnishment, file all necessary paperwork and represent you in court.
The most common types of personal bankruptcy for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In Chapter 7, a debtor surrenders his or her non-exempt property to a bankruptcy trustee, who then liquidates the property and distributes the proceeds to the debtor\'s unsecured creditors. In exchange, the debtor is generally entitled to a discharge of debt, except when there is evidence of concealment or fraud. In Chapter 13, the debtor retains ownership and possession of all of his or her assets, but must devote some portion of his or her future income to repaying creditors, generally over a period of three to five years. The debtor is protected from most lawsuits, wage garnishments, or attempts to compel payment during the bankruptcy proceeding.
Federal bankruptcy laws were amended in 2005 to require a means test calculation to determine if a person can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If household income exceeds the state median income for a family of four—$76,560 for Alaska—a person can still file Chapter 7. Alaska allows a homestead exemption of $67,500, and exemption limits on tools of a trade ($3,500), a motor vehicle (not exceeding $3,750 if its full value does not exceed $25,000), and household goods ($3,750).
When you declare bankruptcy, you can be denied if it is proven that you have hidden assets or destroyed records with the intent of defrauding your creditors. Your attorney will make you aware of all that is expected of you. It is important that all the requirements are met in a timely manner so your bankruptcy can go forward without needless delays or problems. If you decide to declare bankruptcy, remember to consult with a qualified Alaska bankruptcy attorney lawyer to ensure that all your rights are protected, and you can get the best deal possible under the circumstances.
There are some common misconceptions about bankruptcy that you should be clear on before deciding whether or not bankruptcy is the most viable option for you. The notion that you will lose everything you have is a common reason for people not filing for bankruptcy. While the bankruptcy laws differ from state to state, every state does allow for certain exemptions that would protect your home, car, qualified retirement plans, as well as some household items and clothing.
The idea of never getting much-needed credit again is another reason why people refrain from filing bankruptcy; however, several companies will still provide you with credit even after bankruptcy, although the interest rates will be higher for the first few years.
Bankruptcy is a complicated legal matter, and the use of an attorney is highly recommended. There are an estimated 27 bankruptcy attorneys in Alaska, and they can be found through the Alaska Bar Association at http://www.alaskabar.org.
Legal•Info State Bankruptcy Information
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