What You Need to Know and Need to Bring With You When Filing for Bankruptcy
No one ever dreams of filing for bankruptcy. However, there are many hard-working and responsible people in New Hampshire who have been faced with filing for bankruptcy just to get the fresh financial start they need. Most bankruptcies are filed because of unemployment, divorce, or simply wages not keeping up with ever increasing living expenses. If you are faced with the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, there are certain facts you need to know and certain items you will have to gather just to start the process.
First, you will need to decide which type of bankruptcy best suits your situation. The two most common types of bankruptcies in New Hampshire are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you typically do not pay back any of your unsecured creditors, you retain your home and cars if you so desire, and you obtain a fresh start upon being granted a Chapter 7 discharge. You typically keep all of your assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by using exemptions to protect your property. In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet an income test, which is called a “means test”.
If a debtor does not meet the “means test” under Chapter 7, he or she must file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where typically a portion of the unsecured debt is paid back through the bankruptcy estate. Another common reason to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to have time to get caught up on missed mortgage payments in order to save your home. A Chapter 13 plan is typically a repayment period of three to five years.
When you decide it is time to seek help from a bankruptcy attorney, it is helpful if you can start gathering your financial documents together. Following your initial consultation with Attorney Kelley, he will provide you with a checklist of items you will need to gather in order for Attorney to complete your bankruptcy schedules. You should bring any paperwork regarding a pending foreclosure, eviction, or repossession of assets. Also, if you pay child support or alimony, having that agreement on hand is useful.
Bankruptcy is Designed to Help People
Bankruptcy is often shrouded in myth and misinformation. It can also be a fearful option, particularly for people who have worked hard and who have tried to keep their heads above water. But, when that struggle is too much, bankruptcy can be the best option. It can help families stay in their homes and save individuals from losing everything they have worked for. An experienced and compassionate bankruptcy attorney can help explain the details and how filing for bankruptcy will impact your debt and your financial life in general.
By Christopher Kelley
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014
Nobody is perfect. For some of us, our credit score is a prime example of that fact. Over time, bad financial decisions will negatively impact your credit score. It may seem like there is nothing you can do to fix the problem, but don’t worry—you can take steps to improve your credit score and many of them don’t even require you to leave the comfort of your home!
Your credit score affects various important aspects of life. A low score can mean higher interest rates and denial of loans or credit. Check out these 6 simple steps on how to build up your credit score.
1. Check your credit report for accuracy. In this age of cyber crimes, identity theft is more common than you think. The firs step to build up your credit score is checking your credit report for fraudulent accounts. If you come across any inaccuracies, you can contact the credit report agency directly to dispute an account. The process can be a bit time consuming, but it will do a lot of good. You don’t want to pay for someone else’s crime, so it is imperative that you monitor your credit report periodically to prevent a lower credit score than you deserve. Once you find out your credit score, you can begin working towards improving it.
2. Get a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are meant to help people with low credit scores to build up their credit. A secured credit card is backed by cash. Like a debit card, you can only spend the amount you have in the account. Every secured credit card is different and not all banks offer this option, so be sure to do your research.
3. Pay down debt. Paying down some of your past credit card debt is a great way to start improving your credit score. This will help you to decrease your usage, giving you a lower debt-to-credit ration. That is an easy way to help boost your credit score. Don’t let your past missed payments prevent you from owning a home. Paying down your credit card debt is a great way to start building up your credit score. If you are in serious debt and face foreclosure, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to see what your options are. Often filing bankruptcy can actually improve your score.
4. Try to maintain a low account age. Keeping your total number of accounts as low as possible is a good practice. If you have too many accounts open at the same time, then your overall account age will be lower. Maintaining only a few accounts (in good standing) is a much better way to improve your score.
5. Operate within your credit limit. This means opening only the amount of credit cards you can handle while still paying all of your bills on time. One missed payment can become a slippery slope. If you pay all of your cards and loans on time, you can start to build up your credit score. Try not to buy something unless you know you can afford it. If you can manage to spend under 30% of your overall credit limit, your score is bound to get better.
6. Never take out a cash advance! Beware of cash advances and payday loans. These programs target low-income families and give the company long-term access to your bank account. A payday loan will negatively affect your score and you could be stuck with a 25% interest rate, forcing you deeper and deeper into debt. Cash advances will give you a false sense of financial security and ultimately cause your credit score to get worse.
If you want to build up your credit score, these 6 simple steps will put you on the path to doing so. Building your credit score successfully takes time, but it is well worth the work. Remember—any company that claims to be able to raise your credit score in a very short period of time is false advertising.
If you feel that you have been a victim of predatory lending, contact us for a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We can work to help you rebuild your credit score and get back on the right financial path.
By Christopher Kelley