Chapter 7 cases are commonly referred to as straight bankruptcy or liquidation cases, and may be filed by an individual, corporation, or a partnership. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment as in Chapter 13. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor’s nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay holders of claims (creditors) in accordance with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. Part of the debtor’s property may be subject to liens and mortgages that pledge the property to other creditors. In addition, the Bankruptcy Code will allow the debtor to keep certain “exempt” property; but a trustee will liquidate the debtor’s remaining assets. Accordingly, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under Chapter 7 may result in the loss of property.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a wage earner’s plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. Chapter 13 permits individuals to keep their property by repaying creditors out of their future income. It is not available to corporations or partnerships. After completion of payments under the plan, Chapter 13 debtors receive a discharge their remaining debts.
Foreclosure is the legal proceeding in which a bank or other secured creditor sells or repossesses a parcel of real property due to the owner’s failure to comply with an agreement between the lender and borrower called a “mortgage” or “deed of trust”. Commonly, the violation of the mortgage is a default in payment of a promissory note, secured by a lien on the property. When the process is complete, it is typically said that “the lender has foreclosed its mortgage or lien”.
A Foreclosure by Sale ends in the posting of a sign advertising the auction of your home on the sale date. The only ways to stop a foreclosure are full payment of the arrearage, or the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Full Payment: If you are able to obtain and tender the full amount of your arrearage, including fees and costs, you can stop the foreclosure of a standard residential mortgage. Most people lack the money to make full payment. Chapter 13 stops the foreclosure and allows you to repay your arrearage over a three-to-five year period. The arrearage is paid through a court-appointed official, while you resume your regular monthly payments to the bank in order to keep your home. A bankruptcy case can be filed at any time prior to the sale, and it is often the only avenue to save your home.
Contrary to popular belief, debt consolidation is not a loan. Debt consolidation is a process in which debt is restructured into one low monthly payment. It further enables a consumer to reduce the amount owed and thereby eliminate interest. Very often a consumer can detect warning signs of being in too much debt long before any collection notices are received. If more than two of the following signs apply to you, you are probably in too much debt:
- You have begun charging to your credit card essential expenses like food and daily expenditures
- You are making only the minimum payments on your credit cards each month
- You are near the limit of your credit cards
- You have too many credit cards
- You are unsure how much money you owe creditors
Chapter 11 is typically used for reorganizing business and restructuring debt. It is not commonly used by individual consumers since it is far more complex and expensive to pursue. However, under certain circumstances it may be appropriate for individuals. Chapter 11 allows businesses to reorganize themselves, giving them an opportunity to restructure debt and get out from under certain burdensome leases and contracts. Typically, a business is allowed to continue to operate while it is in Chapter 11 although it does so under the supervision of the court.
If you or someone you know needs debt consolidation legal counsel or the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, call Attorney Andrew S. Bisom today at 714-643-8900, or use the contact form provided on this site to arrange for your free initial consultation.