A Quick Guide to Filing for Bankruptcy in Massachusetts
If you happen to find yourself in debt that you cannot pay, bankruptcy provides you with a way out by restructuring the debt in such a way that you make payments over a period of time.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Massachusetts
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get a fresh start and to wipe your debts clean. A trustee, who oversees your case, gets to collect all your assets and can sell them to cover the debt you owe your creditor. Assets that are not exempt are included here and any amount left over or exempted, is paid back to you. The trustee also takes a commission amount.
Note that certain debts cannot be discharged under this type of bankruptcy, including child support, alimony, student loans, etc. In Massachusetts, one has the choice of utilizing federal exemptions applicable, instead of the state ones.
The Process of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Massachusetts
Step 1: Credit Counseling and Pre-Discharge Debtor Education in Massachusetts: This has to be completed within 180 days before filing. If more than 180 days pass, you may need to retake the course.
Step 2: Check and determine the exemptions allowed to you or admissible to your case under the bankruptcy laws of the state. You can also choose federal exemptions over state ones, if applicable.
Step 3: Complete the forms. This refers to the main bankruptcy petitions. These are several forms that also include a kind of ‘test’ which helps determine your eligibility for the Chapter 7 petition. Make sure you complete all requirements applicable to your case. Missing out on any requirement could lead to jeopardizing your bankruptcy petition, and possibly the entire filing in some cases.
Step 4: Communication from the court regarding your bankruptcy status: Wait for the communication informing you that your debts are discharged effectively. Your creditors will also be informed if your bankruptcy petition is successful. However, note that not all debts will be totally discharged. Some may be put on a schedule of repayment similar to what they were on before the filing.
Why Do I Need a Professional?
Not all petitions are successful. Hiring a professional increases your chances because you systematically reduce errors and the chance of making mistakes.
Further, filing for bankruptcy is a decision you need to take after weighing all your options. Can you honestly answer the following questions all by yourself?
- Is filing for bankruptcy the only answer?
- Which bankruptcy am I eligible for?
- What are my other options in Massachusetts apart from Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
- Is it that there are debt collectors at my door and this harassment is pushing me to file? If you answer this with yes, first read this before you rush to look at filing bankruptcy. There are ways to stop harassment without filing for bankruptcy.
If you have decided to go ahead and file for bankruptcy, have you checked the best options available to you? There are alternates to bankruptcy, and there are ways to stop harassment that stems from unpaid debt as well. However, unless you are a professional, you are not likely to know about the options available to you. Further, a professional can help you analyze your situation better and decide the most effective course of action. An attorney who is familiar with filing bankruptcy in Massachusetts will know the exemptions applicable to Chapter 7 filings done in the state. This knowledge empowers the consumer while helping them get the best possible option.
Watch Out, Applications Face Rejection Too
Once you have decided you will file under Chapter 7, there is a whole lot of paperwork that you will need to prepare for that goes into filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts, as in any state. This paperwork includes tax returns, salary stubs, property deeds, bank statements, mortgage copies, etc.
If filed incorrectly, your bankruptcy filing will simply be rejected. This is another major reason why you must contact a professional attorney who is experienced at filing and understands the paperwork as well as the preparation better.
An attorney who understands laws governing filing of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Massachusetts can help you prepare for your filing better and also help you get ready to accept the results. This includes meeting creditors, etc.
Legal Rights Advocates, PLLC is a law firm that helps clients file for bankruptcy in Massachusetts. Our team of attorneys, over the years, has helped countless clients understand bankruptcy better and file after looking at other options and choosing the one that suits them the best.
If you are interested in learning more about how to file for bankruptcy, including Chapter 7, in Massachusetts, call us at (855) 254-7841 for immediate assistance.
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