Many people find themselves in a situation where they cannot afford to pay their bills. For these individuals, bankruptcy provides a fresh start by erasing their unsecured debt.
The process can seem intimidating, but a reputable Iowa Bankruptcy Attorney can make it less complicated. Read on to learn more about the bankruptcy process.
Exemptions are the property law provisions that allow you to keep some of your most valuable possessions when you file for bankruptcy. They protect your essential belongings from the bankruptcy trustee when you liquidate your assets to pay off creditors. Exemptions differ by state.
The exemptions you qualify to use depend on your domicile state, which is the state you’ve lived in for most of the two years preceding your bankruptcy filing. The domicile state is determined by where you have your driver’s license, register your car, vote and file taxes. You may also claim a set of federal nonbankruptcy exemptions in addition to your state’s.
If you’re struggling to meet your debt obligations, an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer can review your options and help you decide whether Chapter 7 or another form of debt relief is right for you. Contact a local attorney through LawInfo to learn more about how bankruptcy can help you.
Filing for Bankruptcy
If you are overwhelmed by credit card debt, medical bills and other unmanageable expenses, bankruptcy may be a solution. A qualified Iowa bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine if this legal process is right for your situation.
They can assist you in filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which discharges unsecured debt and stops calls from creditors and collection agencies. They can also help you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows you to reorganize your financial affairs by establishing a repayment plan over 3-5 years.
Bankruptcy will not prevent a creditor from taking or selling secured property, such as a home or car, during and after your bankruptcy case. It will, however, wipe out any liens on those properties that were attached due to unmanageable debt, such as your outstanding mortgage. The court requires that you submit the proper forms in order to complete your bankruptcy case. Your attorney can provide these forms to you in a downloadable packet that is separated by sections and has dividers to show which pages you need to sign.
Meeting of Creditors
The bankruptcy court will notify you and your creditors of a date, time and location for the meeting within a few days of your filing. It is also known as the “341 meeting.”
At the meeting, the trustee who oversees your case will verify the information on your bankruptcy forms by asking you questions under oath. You must answer all questions truthfully and accurately. The trustee may ask you questions about your assets and liabilities, and other matters that pertain to your bankruptcy.
Creditors are allowed to attend the meeting, but they rarely do. They can question you under oath about assets, but they cannot pressure you, scold you or make unfair accusations.
The meeting typically lasts less than ten minutes. Once it is over, you are one step closer to obtaining your bankruptcy discharge. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 341 meetings are being held remotely. This will include those filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Representation in Court
If you are being harassed by creditors, or if your wages are being garnished, your bankruptcy attorney will help you stop this and get a fresh start. Our bankruptcy attorneys will also make sure your rights are protected during the Bankruptcy Court proceedings.
Your Iowa bankruptcy lawyer will evaluate whether the bankruptcy process is right for you. They will determine if it is appropriate to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (often used by individuals or small business owners), Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which establishes debt repayment plans), or some other type of bankruptcy.
We represent debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, buyers of distressed assets, banks, financial institutions and receivers in all types of bankruptcy reorganization cases. In addition, we have experience in out-of-court restructuring and workouts, commercial and banking litigation, reclamations and receiverships in both state and federal courts throughout the United States. Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and societies, technical and professional licenses and memberships in scientific and technical associations do not create a conflict of interest nor does it imply that a lawyer is a specialist or expert in any field of law.