Bay Minette Bankruptcy Lawyers
Bay Minette is a hard-working, blue-collar town with many young people who work in retail, manufacturing and healthcare. But sometimes even the most carefully laid plans can go wrong, and that’s especially true when it comes to personal finance. People with healthy savings accounts, reliable jobs, and a stable living situation may find themselves in financial trouble after an accident, major illness, or sudden loss of employment.
For those who find themselves buried in unmanageable debt, bankruptcy may be the best option. There are multiple options available to you, and you have to meet specific requirements to have your debt discharged. Ready to learn more and find out if filing is the right decision? Call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-928-1915.
Is Bankruptcy the Best Choice for You?
For many people, finally filing bankruptcy brings a huge sense of relief. Too many people wait until they are absolutely buried by debt when they would actually have been better served by declaring bankruptcy months earlier. If pride is holding you back, consider what you want your future to look like.
Do you want to be scraping by every month, just one emergency away from losing everything, just so you can say that you have paid all of your debts? Instead of waiting until you truly have no other options available to you, consider looking into bankruptcy in Fairhope if you see certain warning signs.
If you’re struggling to keep up with minimum debt payments, that’s a red flag. Perhaps your credit cards are near their limit, but you still only make minimum payments. Maybe your payments are routinely late because you juggle payments across different pay periods.
If you’ve turned to other lending options, such as loans from loved ones or payday loans, you may be in over your head. If you dread opening your mail or answering the phone because it’s probably a debt collector, there’s your sign—it’s time to consider bankruptcy.
Your Options for Bankruptcy
There are two main options available to borrowers in Alabama: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 results in a complete discharge of all eligible debts, including credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, car loans, and mortgages. Some debts, including some tax debt and student loans, are not dischargeable. Upon discharge of your secured debt, which includes mortgages and car loans, you should expect to lose possession of those assets.
Chapter 13 is a much longer process, but it allows you to keep more of your personal property. Rather than having all of your debt written off, you come up with a three-to-five-year payment plan. This payment plan must pay off all of your secured debt and some of your unsecured debt. At the end of the payment plan, unpaid unsecured debt is discharged. To go this route, you must meet certain income requirements.
Filing for Bankruptcy and Understanding Exemptions
The first step is meeting with a Fairhope bankruptcy attorney. This process involves an enormous amount of paperwork and documentation and missing one step or deadline could put your entire bankruptcy in jeopardy. Your attorney will take a look at your financial information, tell you whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and lay out the process for you.
It’s important to provide information regarding your living expenses as you prepare for bankruptcy. Part of determining whether or not you qualify for bankruptcy is finding out if your debt payments are unsustainable.
At this point, your attorney will explain bankruptcy exemptions to you if you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One reason people put off filing is to avoid losing everything they own.
It’s a common misconception that bankruptcy involves selling everything you own, paying off creditors, and discharging the rest of your debt. However, Alabama state law allows for several exemptions. This allows you to keep quite a bit of your property, only selling what cannot be exempted. Exemptions in Alabama include:
- $16,450 homestead exemption
- Equipment you use for work
- Burial place
- Clothing, books, pictures, cookware, and other personal items
- Some retirement accounts
- Up to $250 per month in disability proceeds
- Public assistance
- A wildcard exemption of $8,225 that can be used to protect any personal property not covered in other categories
After your case is filed, you will attend the 341 meetings. If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to make a payment plan and attend a confirmation hearing. For both types of bankruptcy, you must attend a financial literacy course and submit your certificate. Assuming no one disputes the discharge, your debt will be discharged at your final hearing if you file Chapter 7. If you file Chapter 13, you will begin your repayment plan.
How Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne Can Help
The team at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne knows how all-encompassing financial problems can be. It’s impossible to care for your family, focus on work, or even enjoy the little things in life when you have a massive pile of debt on your shoulders. We believe that people who have found themselves in this situation deserve a fresh start.
Our goal is to work with you through this entire process, ensuring that you understand exactly what comes next, how it will affect you, and what it means for your bankruptcy. We’ll protect your rights once you file, and the automatic stay goes into effect. Our extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law will give you the peace of mind you need during this stressful time.
Contact Us Today to Find Out if Bankruptcy is Your Next Step
Don’t think about bankruptcy as a failure—think of it as a fresh start. If you’ve ended up in financial trouble and you can’t see a way out, bankruptcy could be the solution. To discuss your options in more detail, call Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 251-928-1915 or contact us online.