Gauss Law Firm- Denver Bankruptcy Lawyers
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What Is The Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy?

 

The “automatic stay” comes into effect when the debtor files the case with the Court. The bankruptcy court will mail a notice to the creditors who are then prevented from any further collection activity against the debtor outside of bankruptcy court. The automatic stay stops lawsuits and garnishments in state courts. The automatic stay requires the creditors to appear in bankruptcy court if they feel they are entitled to be paid monies, and this greatly assists the debtor because he or she can therefore deal with all of the creditors in an orderly fashion under the Bankruptcy Code. The automatic stay even temporarily stops collection on most non-dischargeable debts, like taxes. This “breathing space” can be very useful to debtors in many different situations.

 

Can I Keep My Home?

 

Can I Keep My Home in a Bankruptcy Case?

In Colorado, a person or couple can exempt $75,000.00 of equity from the bankruptcy estate in a Chapter 7 case. (for persons older than 60, the exemption is $105,000) What this means is that, in general, you can keep the house you live in when the case is filed, so long as you do not have more than $75,000.00 of equity in that home.

Secured creditors such as your mortgage holder(s) do have a right to regular payments in a chapter 7 case. If you are seriously behind on your mortgage payments, it may still be possible to save your home by filing a chapter 13 case. In a chapter 13 case mortgage arrears can be paid through the plan.

It is always best to seek legal advice well before the forclosure process has started. The earlier you take control of your finances by contacting a bankruptcy attorney, the easier it will be for an attorney to help repair the situation. In many cases, the forclosure on your home can be stopped by a timely bankruptcy filing.

Preparation is the key to success in any type of legal matter. We have the bankruptcy experience necessary to prepare your case quickly and get it done right.


Can I Keep My Vehicles?

 

An individual can keep up to $7,500 worth of equity in up to two cars. A couple filing jointly can keep $15,000 worth of equity ($7,000 X 2- in up to 4 cars). Elderly persons, which happily is defined as 60 years or older can keep $12,500 each of equity in a car. So unless you own very valuable cars where there are no loans, you can probably keep your car away from your bankruptcy trustee. When you have a car loan, you will have to continue to pay the loan to keep the car and your lawyer and you will have to discuss reaffirmation agreements. I have provided blog entries on the main page discussing reaffirmation agreements, please see those to read about them.


What Is Exempt Property?

 

The Bankruptcy laws allow the debtor to keep a certain amount of property so that the debtor can begin his or her financial life again with the basics needed to get started. For example, in Colorado, debtors are allowed to keep $3,000 worth of household items such as furniture, appliances, etc. The exemption is $6,000 for a married couple who file jointly for Bankruptcy. Even though bankruptcy is a Federal Law, the exemptions are set by state law here in Colorado. If you have not been living in Colorado for the two years prior to your case filing date, then another state’s law( where you were living, usually) or the Federal exemptions must be used.


Who Is The Trustee, And What Are His or Her Duties?

 

The bankruptcy trustee is appointed by the Court to administer the case on behalf of the creditors of the debtor. If there are non-exempt assets the trustee will collect them and reduce them to cash in order to pay the creditors to the extent possible. The trustee also represents the creditors at the “meeting of the creditors,” where the debtor is put under oath and questioned about his or her property. The trustee is normally very polite, and the meeting of the creditors is attended by the debtor(s) and their attorney, so honest debtors should not feel intimidated by the bankruptcy trustee, or their Court hearing. Everything is done very politely and professionally.


What Is The Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy?

The “automatic stay” comes into effect when the debtor files the case with the Court. The bankruptcy court will mail a notice to the creditors who are then prevented from any further collection activity against the debtor outside of bankruptcy court. The automatic stay stops lawsuits and garnishments in state courts. The automatic stay requires the creditors to appear in bankruptcy court if they feel they are entitled to be paid monies, and this greatly assists the debtor because he or she can therefore deal with all of the creditors in an orderly fashion under the Bankruptcy Code. The automatic stay even temporarily stops collection on most non-dischargeable debts, like taxes. This “breathing space” can be very useful to debtors in many different situations.

 

Can I Keep My Home?

Can I Keep My Home in a Bankruptcy Case?

In Colorado, a person or couple can exempt $75,000.00 of equity from the bankruptcy estate in a Chapter 7 case. (for persons older than 60, the exemption is $105,000) What this means is that, in general, you can keep the house you live in when the case is filed, so long as you do not have more than the stated limit of  equity in that home.

Secured creditors such as your mortgage holder(s) do have a right to regular payments in a chapter 7 case. If you are seriously behind on your mortgage payments, it may still be possible to save your home by filing a chapter 13 case. In a chapter 13 case mortgage arrears can be paid through the plan.

It is always best to seek legal advice well before the forclosure process has started. The earlier you take control of your finances by contacting a bankruptcy attorney, the easier it will be for an attorney to help repair the situation. In many cases, the forclosure on your home can be stopped by a timely bankruptcy filing.

Preparation is the key to success in any type of legal matter. We have the bankruptcy experience necessary to prepare your case quickly and get it done right.


Can I Keep My Vehicles?

An individual can keep up to $7,500 worth of equity in up to 2 (two) cars. A couple filing jointly can keep $15,000 worth of car equity ($7,500 X 2 in four cars). Elderly persons, which happily is defined as 60 years or older can keep $10,000 each of equity in a car. So unless you own very valuable cars where there are no loans, you can probably keep your car away from your bankruptcy trustee. When you have a car loan, you will have to continue to pay the loan to keep the car and your lawyer and you will have to discuss reaffirmation agreements. I have provided blog entries on the main page discussing reaffirmation agreements, please see those to read about them.


What Is Exempt Property?

The Bankruptcy laws allow the debtor to keep a certain amount of property so that the debtor can begin his or her financial life again with the basics needed to get started. For example, in Colorado, debtors are allowed to keep $3,000 worth of household items such as furniture, appliances, etc. The exemption is $6,000 for a married couple who file jointly for Bankruptcy. Even though bankruptcy is a Federal Law, the exemptions are set by state law here in Colorado. If you have not been living in Colorado for the two years prior to your case filing date, then another state’s law( where you were living, usually) or the Federal exemptions must be used.


Who Is The Trustee, And What Are His or Her Duties?

The bankruptcy trustee is appointed by the Court to administer the case on behalf of the creditors of the debtor. If there are non-exempt assets the trustee will collect them and reduce them to cash in order to pay the creditors to the extent possible. The trustee also represents the creditors at the “meeting of the creditors,” where the debtor is put under oath and questioned about his or her property. The trustee is normally very polite, and the meeting of the creditors is attended by the debtor(s) and their attorney, so honest debtors should not feel intimidated by the bankruptcy trustee, or their Court hearing. Everything is done very politely and professionally.


How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost?

In Colorado, the filing fee is currently $335.00 for chapter 7 cases, legal fees are in 
addition to this filing fee. The fee charged for a bankruptcy depends on the complexity of the case, if you would like to know what our firm would charge for your case, please call (303) 670-4242, for a free and confidential initial consultation. * A word of caution, there are many “low-ball” legal fee advertisements out there lately. Usually these lawyers are running bankruptcy mills, where you rarely work directly with the lawyer. Often times the lowball fee which is quoted is simply a trick to get you into an office where the fees are then adjusted upwards (the old bait and switch). The fees at this firm are not cheap, but they are fair and worth every penny. Be very careful when hiring a lawyer, and ask lots of questions. We offer a free consultation, so there is no need to be uninformed about our level of experience and exactly what we can do for you!

I have been doing this for 20 years, I know exactly what I am doing and can guide you through the process in a way that reduces stress and actually saves you money and time.

In short, serving you professionally requires a certain fee that depends on the complexity of your case. I compete on the basis of excellence, not on price. That said, if you or a loved one are dealing with a serious illness, I will make accommodations to your fee.

Will I Have To Go To Court?

The debtor and his or her attorney normally only in appear once at the Bankruptcy Court for the “meeting of the creditors.” During this hearing creditors may ask the debtor questions about his or her property, although normally no creditors appear at the hearing. The Chapter 7 or 13 Trustee also attends the meeting of the creditors and may ask the debtor questions

about his or her property. Normally, the debtor receives a discharge in bankruptcy and the case is over 60 days from the meeting of the creditors, which is usually 30 days after the case is filed and the entire process therefore takes around 3 months. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy usually follows a similar process, but the repayment period is usually 6o months. The good news is that the automatic stay gives a debtor the protection of the Bankruptcy Court immediately upon filing the case!