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Parties Involved When Someone Files for Bankruptcy

The question comes frequently to our office – who is involved when someone files for bankruptcy?  In reality, less parties are usually involved than most people think.   Let’s discuss who is involved when someone files for bankruptcy.

The Debtor

The debtor is the primary person (or persons) involved when filing for bankruptcy. The debtor is the person or company who needs their debts relieved.   Usually the debtor files a bankruptcy petition asking the court for bankruptcy relief.  Debtors range from a single filer, to a married couple, all the way to the largest corporations in America.

The Case Trustee

The Case Trustee (or Interim Trustee) is the person in charge of your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case.  The trustee makes sure that your case is handled correctly, making sure that all bankruptcy rules are followed. The Trustee is also responsible for your property during the bankruptcy case, making sure that all property (or income) that should go to your creditors is properly turned over to repay your debts.

The Bankruptcy Court and Judge

You are always assigned a bankruptcy Judge during your bankruptcy case.  However, most cases never come up in front of the Judge because there are not disputes in most bankruptcy cases.   The Bankruptcy Court is the forum and mechanism in which you file your case.  The bankruptcy court’s clerk office is responsible for receiving your bankruptcy petition request and managing the basic administrative functions of your bankruptcy case.

The United States Trustee

The United States Trustee is the “sheriff in town” during the bankruptcy process. This party makes sure that all bankruptcy rules are being followed and that no bankruptcy fraud is occurring.  This office is also required to randomly “audit” a certain amount of bankruptcy cases each year just to make sure that the system is being properly followed through a “spot checks.”  Their direct involvement is not common on most bankruptcy cases.  The United States Trustee also takes a more active role in larger Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy business cases.

The Creditors

The other major party – perhaps the most important in some ways – are the creditors.  All creditors of the debtor are notified when a bankruptcy is filed. The creditors are allowed to make objections in very limited situations.  All creditors must file a proof of their claim if they want to be paid by any amounts collected during the bankruptcy process.  However, in most Chapter 7 cases, the creditors can do very little during the process.  In the majority of Chapter 7 cases, the creditors do very little except just receive their bankruptcy notice and then write-off or cancel their debt when they receive the Chapter 7 discharge notice.

Photo of judge with gavel, Parties in bankruptcy

Behind on Car Payments: What You Can Do About It

If you are behind on car payments, you are not alone.  America is now reaching record levels of consumers behind on car payments.   What should you do if you find yourself behind on car payments?   This article discusses why consumers are behind on car payments and what you can do about it.

Automobile Lending is Based on Profit, Not People

Automobile lenders as a whole use various forms of statistics to determine how many U.S. car loans should be generated each year.  These statistics are based upon maximum profit projections. These automobile loans do not have the consumer’s best interests at heart.   Instead, the focus is on profit.    Therefore, thousands of automobile loans are generated each year that may spell economic doom for the purchaser.   If the purchaser defaults after thousands of dollars in payments (going mostly to interest payments), it’s of no concern to the lender.  The lender will repossess the automobile, sell it, and then slap a massive deficiency judgment on the purchaser.

Therefore, whenever you seek to purchase an automobile on credit, you need to be fully aware of the dangers.  The automobile sellers and lender are seeking a profit at your expense.  You need to always start at this point of understanding: it’s all about auto-sellers profit at your expense.

Behind on Car Payments: What Are My Options?

Multiple options are available when you are behind on car payments.  First, you usually have 2-3 months before the lender repossesses the vehicle.  During this time, you can usually cure the deficiency without much trouble from the lender.   Some lenders also give “grace” periods or even a limited amount of “deferments” for a monthly payment.   Some buy-here-pay-here lenders are more strict however: they will not give any payment “graces” and sometimes repossess after 30 days of being late or less.

Secondly, you may be able to settle your obligations to your automobile lender, at least eventually.  If your automobile is behind in payments, it will eventually be repossessed and then sold a short time later.  From that point, you will be responsible legally to pay any “deficiency” after the sale. These deficiency amounts vary based on the circumstances, but can sometimes be even in excess frequently of $10,000.   The automobile lender may take much less than your “deficiency” amount in settlement just to get the loan “off their books.”

Third, you can file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy when you are behind on automobile payments.   Chapter 7 mainly only erases your debts.   In Chapter 7, generally you would be forced to make payment arrangements and keep paying on the vehicle if you desire to keep it.

Chapter 13, however, has much more powerful options in dealing with a behind-on-car-payments situation.   Chapter 13 can “reorganize your debt” and you can pay the automobile through the Chapter 13 plan at low interest.  Sometimes the automobile payments can also be much lowered in Chapter 13.   Chapter 13 also can even force your automobile lender to return a repossessed automobile if it was only recently repossessed and has not yet been sold.

The “Best” Thing You Can Do About Being Behind on Automobile Payments

By far, the best thing you can do to prevent being behind on automobile payments is simple: never buy financed cars.   Completely avoid the auto-lending market by saving to purchase paid-in-full automobiles.  Take advantage of various learning opportunities to learn how to purchase and maintain an automobile more affordably.   Buy multiple affordable vehicles: then you’ll never be forced to make a poor “quick” purchase.  If you are always “under the gun” to purchase an automobile, you will always come away with a horrible deal.   Make the wise purchasing of automobiles one of your top financial goals.

Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster explains your options if you are behind on car payments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discount Bankruptcy in Indiana

 More Bankruptcy Attorneys and Less Bankruptcy Cases

Image of Discount Bankruptcy

There has been a marked recent decline in total bankruptcy filings across the United States. Because there are less bankruptcy filings there has been more competition to file the cases among attorneys. This has resulted in discounted, reduced rates for bankruptcy services. Discount bankruptcy is very common now: for some reason there are more bankruptcy attorneys even though there are less total cases.

Why Are There Less Cases Resulting in Discount Bankruptcy?

After the 2008 financial crisis, there was an increased amount of bankruptcy filings that quickly came onto the scene. Before 2008, high credit card balances were extremely common. In addition, 2008 brought with it a massive amount of homeowners who could no longer support their mortgage payments and were left with negative equity situations. Bankruptcy quickly was on the rise, reaching over 20,000 cases that were filed in the Indiana Southern District alone. This increase in filings culminated in 2011 and then markedly declined thereafter.

Why the Decline in Total Cases?

Contrary to popular belief, the number of bankruptcy filings does not exactly equate to troublesome economic times. The increase of bankruptcy filings can only be stimulated for a short period of time by economic failures that result in job loss and other factors that lead to bankruptcy. What really drives bankruptcy is a healthy economy where consumer lending is very free, easy, and prevalent. Ironically, It can be argued that only a healthy modern economy will result in high or consistent U.S. bankruptcy filings.

If There are Less Bankruptcy Cases, Why Are There More Attorneys Now Offering Bankruptcy Services?

The reason why there are more attorneys out there offering discount bankruptcy services is due to the fact that there is a surplus of attorneys and there is limited legal work opportunities due to the progressively failing United States economy. Therefore, attorneys are picking up additional practice areas that may include discount or affordable bankruptcy services. Some attorneys are only offering bankruptcy services but others are just adding it to their list of practice areas.

Discount Bankruptcy Can Sometimes Not Be The Way To Go

Usually, the best way to go is to find an attorney that has only done bankruptcy as their majority practice area for a considerable period of time. A newer office or an office that has added bankruptcy as a discount service can sometimes be a bad choice. This office may not be sufficiently familiar with the bankruptcy system and its laws. Make sure to find an experienced attorney with affordable rates: this will result in a better experience While still saving you money.

Conclusion:  Discount Bankruptcy Can Save You Money but Be Careful

The search for affordable, cheap, and discounted bankruptcy services can sometimes lead a potential bankruptcy filer into a very bad direction. When you are searching for discount bankruptcy services, remember that “you get what you pay for.” Always use an attorney when filing for bankruptcy and make sure that attorney’s office is experienced with an obvious history of getting many people out of debt.

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster on Discount Bankruptcy in Indiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY TIME LINE

10 STEPS TO A FRESH START

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY TIME LINE – We many times are asked for a breakdown of how a Chapter 7 bankruptcy works in simple steps.  Below are the 10 steps that you will be required to take in order to receive your fresh start.  Remember, we make it easy!   For the visually oriented, we have built a “10 Steps To  A Fresh Financial Start” guide below.

STEP 1 : FREE Consultation with Lawyer:

Step One Allows You to talk and make plans with the Bankruptcy Lawyer John Forest Bymaster.  You will feel much better after leaving the office that day!

STEP 2: Gather Required Fees & Documents

You will be required to assemble some information and can pay for your bankruptcy case in payments over time.

STEP 3: You Complete Credit Counseling Course

You must complete your credit counseling class.  This class takes one hour, can be accomplished over the phone or the internet, and usually costs $10 or less.

STEP 4: Meet with Paralegal to Review Fees & Document

You call our office for a single meeting to bring in the rest of your fees, your documents, and the certificate showing that you have already taken the credit counseling class.

STEP 5: Your Lawyer Drafts the Bankruptcy Petition

Your bankruptcy petition is drafted by our office and any additional information is requested.

STEP 6: You Review & Sign Your Bankruptcy Petition

You will come to our office to review and sign your bankruptcy petition.   If you live far away, we may be able to mail it to you and review the document through phone and correspondence.

STEP 7: Petition is Filed and Your Case is Started

This is the moment that your bankruptcy case begins: all of your creditors will be “stayed” from any future collection activity.

STEP 8: You Complete Financial Education Course

You must now complete your financial management class.  This class takes two hours, can be accomplished over the phone or the internet, and usually costs $8 or less at our office.

STEP 9: You & Your Lawyer Attend the Bankruptcy Meeting

You will meet us at the Federal Court House in Downtown Indianapolis or at one of the other Indiana meeting locations such as Terre Haute, Muncie, or Lafayette.    You will answer a series of simple financial questions that usually take about 10 minutes.  Bring your driver’s license, social security card, your two most recent paycheck stubs, and your bank statements with you.

STEP 10: Final Discharge is Entered

The final discharge of your Indiana Chapter 7 case will be granted automatically usually 60-90 days after your bankruptcy meeting.   It is very important for you to comply with any request of the bankruptcy trustee because your discharge can be revoked if you do not comply with the Trustee’s requests.

Congratulations on your Fresh Start!  If you are willing to go through the 10 above easy steps, you will receive the forgiveness of your debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy!

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY TIME LINE

10 Steps to a Financial Fresh Start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s View on Finances

IS GOD’S VIEW OF FINANCES  MUCH DIFFERENT THAN OURS?

God's View on Finances

What is God’s view on finances?  None of us are perfect.  We live in a very imperfect world.  Each of us has different financial difficulties we face.  We all have learned faulty and imperfect perceptions and habits about money.  Let’s take a quick view at some of God’s views about finances in the Bible (an insightful look for those who believe or do not believe the Bible alike):

For Israel, debts were to be short term, limited, and automatically released every seven years WITH the retention of inherited, ancestral property.  This is MUCH different than our current system:

Deuteronomy 15:1-2

At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he hath lent unto his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother; because Jehovah’s release hath been proclaimed.

It is Very Unwise to Take out Any Debts based on your Home and Personal Belongings – Do not get loans/mortgages if at all possible- they are arguably anti-biblical (if long term) and are NOT God’s system for doing things:

Proverbs 17:18

A man void of understanding striketh hands, And becometh surety in the presence of his neighbor.Proverbs 22:26-27

Be thou not one of them that strike hands, Or of them that are sureties for debts. If thou hast not wherewith to pay, Why should he take away thy bed from under thee?

*NOTE:  Before the 1950’s, mortgages and car loans were EXTREMELY uncommon practices.  Now the vast majority of people believe mortgages and car loans are okay or even beneficial for society.  Has it been beneficial?

DO NOT LEND OR BORROW PRINCIPLES- ESPECIALLY DO NOT BORROW:

Proverbs 22:7

The rich ruleth over the poor; And the borrower is servant to the lender.

Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

NOTE: Romans 13:8 is frequently quoted to convince people to have “no debt”.  This is most likely an over application.   However, if you make a lifestyle of debt with no financial understanding,  it will take away your ability to love other people and live the life God intends for you.  God wants us to live a “simple” life.

GET RID OF THE RICH IS BAD, POOR IS GOOD MENTALITY: IT’S ALMOST ALWAYS MISAPPLIED AND TO MANY’S SHAME

In the book of Proverbs and throughout the Bible, it says continuously that the rich are wise and the poor are not wise.    We have to take out of our mind the glorification of being poor.  The lack of study and understanding prevents earthly riches and blessing that you can use to help others.  A poor person can be VERY limited in what they can do for the Lord on this earth (both in time and money).

GOD DESIRES US ALL TO BE GOOD STEWARDS

If the Holy Spirit leads you in a ministry that makes you very poor, then that is WONDERFUL because it is for God’s Kingdom.  Otherwise, you are to be the ABSOLUTELY BEST STEWARD OF ALL – which will usually result in much better use of your time and money.   Money and time management can be the beginning of putting your life in order and becoming a biblical “good steward.”  Greater spiritual blessings may follow quickly after you allow God to put physical things- such as your finances –  in order.

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John F. Bymaster