North Carolina Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy lawyers in North Carolina have the expertise and knowledge needed in order to fully understand the complexities of their clients' particular financial circumstances. Upon analysis of your individual financial situation, a bankruptcy lawyer will formulate a course of action to proceed with the bankruptcy case.

In North Carolina, there are certain bankruptcy exemptions the kinds and values of property that creditors or bankruptcy trustees are legally unable to reach. The debtor is allowed to keep any property that is considered exempt. The homestead, or real or personal property that is used as a residence, is exempt up to $18,500, and up to $5,000 of unused homestead portions can be applied to any property. A motor vehicle is exempt up to $3,500, and health aids, clothing, furnishing, household goods, appliances, books, musical instruments, crops, and animals are exempt up to $5,000, plus $1,000 for each dependent, up to $4,000 total. All of the property has to have been purchased at least 90 days before filing for bankruptcy. College savings accounts can also be exempt up to $25,000. Tax exempt retirement accounts and wages earned but unpaid 60 days before filing for bankruptcy are exempt. Public benefits, tools of the trade, and insurance are also exempt.

If you file a bankruptcy proceeding under Chapter 7, which is also called the 'liquidation plan,' any remaining assets you have that are not exempted by law will be turned over to a trustee, who will then sell them. The proceeds will be turned over to your creditors, and any additional debts that are not paid during this process are then forgiven.

Since the legislative overhaul of the Bankruptcy Code in 2005, it's become more difficult than ever to qualify for Chapter 7, however. You will be required to take a means test in order to determine your eligibility. If your income is lower than the median income as determined by the Census Bureau, or if your income is higher than the median but you meet certain other requirements, you will qualify. Otherwise, you must file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 is also known as the 'wage earner's plan,' and is intended for debtors who have a steady income and some assets which they would like to protect. Under this plan, the courts will restructure the debt, enabling the person who declares bankruptcy to make payments over a three- to five-year time period. Some debts may be discharged under this plan, but the debtor must make a commitment to pay back some of them.

However, it is important to remember that there are subtle differences in the bankruptcy laws enforced in each state, North Carolina included. While the majority of bankruptcy laws regulated in North Carolina are the same as those followed by the other states, each state has unique precedents in place that they follow.

You will not be allowed to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy again for six years after the initial filing, but a subsequent Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can be made at any time after the initial filing is discharged.

A North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer attorney is a qualified, caring professional who can help you decide whether bankruptcy may be the best debt management route for you to undertake, or whether they may be another option for you to pursue. You may be required as part of your bankruptcy settlement to learn about additional debt relief methods, and you will be required to complete financial skills courses and/or credit counseling before your bankruptcy can proceed. An attorney with experience in bankruptcy law in the state of North Carolina can explain your options, your rights, and your obligations to you. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact an attorney by consulting the lawyer locator at the American Bar Association website today.


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