If you're thinking of filing for bankruptcy, don't be ashamed. Declaring bankruptcy can wipe the slate clean and give you the fresh start you need to manage your finances. Learn how you can use bankruptcy as a tool to become debt free and develop positive habits.
Bankruptcy helps you face your debts and develop a plan
When you owe more money than you can possibly repay, it can be overwhelming and stressful. While it may be tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore the letters and phone calls from debt collectors, doing so won’t make it go away. In fact, ignoring your debt will only make it worse. Eventually those letters and calls will turn into repossessions and foreclosures.
Even though it's scary, bankruptcy allows you to face your debts head on, create a plan, and get a handle on your finances. Through Chapter 7 you will be able to eliminate most of your debts. Chapter 13 will allow you to create a plan to repay portions of your debt while keeping most or all of your assets.
Don’t ignore your debts. Face them, erase them and start fresh.
You can stop creditor harassment
If a collector sues you, they may win the right to take your property or garnish your wages. The legal system allows you to file bankruptcy to signal to collectors that you cannot pay. The moment your bankruptcy petition is filed and automatic stay arises. This stay legally stops any and all collection efforts while your bankruptcy is pending. That means no letters, no harassing phone calls, and no risk of wage garnishment, repossession or foreclosure.
You will stop the distressing phone calls while you file, which may help you regain peace of mind. You may be eligible to keep some of your assets under bankruptcy. Compared with the uncertain outcome of ignoring debts until you are sued, bankruptcy is the smarter option.
You can keep many of your assets
One big misconception is that when filing for bankruptcy all of your assets will be sold off. In reality, you will be able to keep most, if not all, of your assets. The bankruptcy laws designate certain properties as “exempt” meaning they cannot be confiscated during bankruptcy. If you have a lot of assets you will probably file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows you to keep even more property.
Your bankruptcy attorney will analyze your income and assets to help you determine whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He or she will also explain all legal terms so you understand your options, what to expect when filing and next steps.