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Law Office of James Keenan

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Sacramento Bankruptcy & Debt Relief Attorney

Get news, tips and information about bankruptcy filing and debt relief/elimination in Sacramento

Get Out of Debt

Debt can be crippling. Many in Sacramento are living with debt. And the situation is worsening. But how do you get out of debt? This recent news story offers tips to relieve your debt dilemma. But the options offered presume you have the money to, at minimum, pay down your debt. What do you do when you don't have the income to do that? Bankruptcy O...

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Fast Financial Fix

Fast financial fix sounds like a catch-phrase for a scam. It can be. But there are options out there that allow you to fix your finances. And they can be fixed fast. Bankruptcy is one such option. And bankruptcy is far from a scam. It is a conservative legal undertaking to eliminate your debt. Normally bankruptcy is a last resort for consumers. But...

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Debt Resolution

Did you make a resolution to begin this year? Do you have debt? Perhaps you should make a debt resolution. If you owe more debt than you can afford to repay, make 2018 a year you do something about it! There is a lot of new consumer debt, as this NBC news story reflects. More so now, if not soon, than before the Gre at Recession. Consumer debt, par...

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Bankruptcy Protection

Bankruptcy protection is often the point of filing for bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy allows to an automatic stay. That is a legal buzz word that means you are protected from your creditors when you file for bankruptcy. But protected from what? Well, everything. The bankruptcy automatic stay shields you from your creditors. This includes any efforts...

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Bankruptcy Debt Elimination

Bankruptcy Debt Elimination

Get out of debt.  Now!  A recent CNBC news story cited credit card interest and fees topped a hundred billion dollars this past year.  That's a lot.  And this number is growing.  Bankruptcy debt elimination can be a way out.

Bankruptcy debt elimination is the end-result of a bankruptcy filing.  The bankruptcy term is discharge.  A discharge is a court order eliminating your debt.  Attempting to collect on a discharged debt is against the law.  Creditors can no longer collect following a bankruptcy filing and discharge.  It is the purpose of filing bankruptcy, whether here in Sacramento or elsewhere.

Consumers often file for bankruptcy seeking relief from their creditors.  Bankruptcy does this.  As soon as a bankruptcy is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect immediately.  This means that creditors are stayed, or legally blocked, from attempting to collect upon the debt. Bankruptcy debt elimination results when the bankruptcy case completes.

Debt is expensive.  Too expensive.  When the cost of debt exceeds consumer budgets, bankruptcy is a way out.  Paying back debt is always an option.  But only for those who can afford to do so.  Most who file for bankruptcy can't.  It is why they file for bankruptcy.  The cost of debt is increasing.  The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 17%.  Debt can quickly snowball with such costs.  Bankruptcy debt elimination may be the only option at some point.  But it is a good one.

People are often reluctant to file bankruptcy.  If they can afford their debt, they should be.  For those, though, who can't financially mange their debt, bankruptcy is a solution.  Though bankruptcy is a negative on credit, bankruptcy debt elimination is a positive.  The question, then, is when does the elimination of debt through bankruptcy offset the negative of filing bankruptcy?  The answer is different for everyone.  Contact me for a free consultation to find where you stand financially.  You may be better off!

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Sacramento Bankruptcy Basics

Sacramento Bankruptcy Basics

Sacramento bankruptcy basics is a primer post for those considering filing for bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy can be a hard decision.  A really hard one.  But bankruptcy can bring relief.  Lots of it.  The most basic equation for those thinking of bankruptcy is debt.  More debt than income.  That is the common denominator for bankruptcy filers.  So, if you have more debt than you can afford, bankruptcy should be considered.  Not because you want to.  Since you have to.

But bankruptcy is not that bad.  What many fail to consider is the benefits of bankruptcy.  Namely, it eliminates debt.  Many in Sacramento are living with debt they cannot pay.  Something needs to be done.  But what?  The first Sacramento bankruptcy basics evaluation should be whether your debt is growing.  If it is, that's a sure sign you have more debt than you can afford.  And it's also a sign your debt is likely to get even bigger.  Borrowing to pay off borrowed money is a common phenomenon.  It is unsustainable, though.  Something will eventually have to give.

Debt consolidators are commonplace.  Their pitches are good.  But their impact is bad.  Consolidating your debt is a ding worse on your credit then bankruptcy.  Plus it doesn't eliminate your debt.  Here is a news story revealing the problems.  Sacramento bankruptcy basics should always include avoiding these companies.  This is not a scare tactic.  It is a fact.  Having third parties pay your debt, if that even happens, is worse than bankruptcy on your credit.  And if some of you debt is eliminated, it is taxed.  Debt discharged, or eliminated, in bankruptcy is not taxed.

As a final Sacramento bankruptcy basics point, I invite you to evaluate your bankruptcy options.  You can go to the Sacramento Bankruptcy Court to gather information.  Or you can contact my office for a free evaluation.  All you have to lose is your debt!

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Sacramento Bankruptcy Debt Relief

Sacramento Bankruptcy Debt Relief

Sacramento bankruptcy debt relief is needed for many in the region. The economy in Sacramento is better since the great recession. But it is not back. Not even close. Those living and working in Sacramento know this.

Debt, though, is back. Consumer debt has risen far beyond the economy has grown. It is a recipe for Sacramento bankruptcy debt relief. When debt peaked in 2007-2008, the economy could support it. But that changed. The economy tanked. Along with it went the ability to repay that debt. The same scenario may be reemerging. But in a different dimension.

Debt is growing again. But the economy hasn’t kept pace. At least enough to support the growing debt. Debt is increasing. The economy is not keeping up with the debt. Financial problems are on the horizon. So is more debt. Financial relief is increasingly needed. So is Sacramento bankruptcy debt relief.

Bankruptcy offers debt relief by eliminating debt. It’s that simple. Sacramento bankruptcy debt relief is a solution to get a fresh financial start. This Sacramento Bee story pointed out a state legislator’s personal need to avoid mounting negative equity in her home. Bankruptcy can do this.

Bankruptcy can eliminate most forms of debt. Credit card debt can be discharged. Car repossessions cancelled. Medical bills cleared. Income taxes erased. Lines of credit, payday loans and mortgages are all subject to discharge through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool.

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Bankruptcy Discharge

Bankruptcy Discharge

Bankruptcy discharge is the legal term applied to debt elimination through bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy and completion of a bankruptcy case allows filers to receive a discharge. The discharge is an order issued by the bankruptcy court eliminating debt. Here is the he full explanation of a discharge according to the United States Bankruptcy Court.

People filing bankruptcy are known as debtors. Creditors are the entities debtors owe when they file for bankruptcy. Debtors in need of debt relief list their creditors in their bankruptcy paperwork, or bankruptcy petition. Upon the completion of their case, debtors receive a bankruptcy discharge. The discharge legally eliminates the debtor’s debts. It’s that simple. Creditors who try to collect after a discharge has been ordered can be subject to penalty and sanctions as this news story suggests.

Not everyone is eligible to file bankruptcy. But those who are can eliminate, or discharge, their debts thought a bankruptcy filing. Limitations exist that may prevent some from filing bankruptcy and receiving a bankruptcy discharge. These impediments to a bankruptcy discharge may be previous bankruptcy filings, excess income or too much property. If eligible, though, a bankruptcy discharge order will result from a bankruptcy filing and successful case completion.

Just filing for bankruptcy alone will not result in a bankruptcy discharge. The bankruptcy case must be approved and completed. With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy this may mean a few months form filing to discharge. A debtor usually does not have to pay anything to his creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where a debtor does pay something to his or her creditors, this may mean a few years to obtain a discharge. Whatever the type of bankruptcy case, individual debtors receive a discharge at the successful conclusion of their case.

The bankruptcy discharge only applies to legally dischargeable debts. Not all debts can be discharged through bankruptcy. Student loans, criminal restitution and child support are common examples of debts that are not dischargeable.

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Debt Elimination Through Bankruptcy

Debt Elimination Through Bankruptcy

Why file for bankruptcy? Debt elimination though bankruptcy is the purpose for filing bankruptcy. It is also the basis of the bankruptcy discharge. A bankruptcy discharge is a court order canceling, or eliminating your debts. It’s that simple. The order is issued by the United States Bankruptcy Court.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is a branch within the federal court system. See here for yourself. Federal courts typically have one court per state. Some, though, like California, have more. California is divided into four federal court districts. The region encompassing Sacramento and its vicinity is the Eastern District of California. Here is a link to the bankruptcy court in Sacramento. Its official name is the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California. Debt elimination through bankruptcy is the reason for this court system.

Consumers considering bankruptcy do so due to debt they cannot afford to repay. Debt elimination trough bankruptcy provides the necessary relief some consumers need. Bankruptcy does not allow the elimination of all debts. Some debt, like federally guaranteed student loans, past-due sales tax and damages done due to crimes cannot be discharged. This means that even if you file for bankruptcy you cannot eliminate these debts.

Though debt elimination through bankruptcy is why many people file for bankruptcy, the entire elimination of debt is not always possible. In addition to certain debts that can’t be discharged, there are income limitations. The less you make, the less debt you may have to repay. The more you make, the more you may have to repay. Most people filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common form of consumer bankruptcy filing, do not have to repay any of their debts. Those who can afford to repay at least a portion of their debts usually file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Whatever form of bankruptcy filing you choose, know that debt elimination through bankruptcy is the reason you are filing. Consumer debt is on the rise as this Consumer Reports article points out. And if you can’t afford to repay your debt, bankruptcy is the only option to eliminate it.

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Bankruptcy Debt Relief

Bankruptcy Debt Relief

Bankruptcy debt relief is the purpose of filing for bankruptcy. There are many means of seeking debt relief through a bankruptcy filing. The two most common forms of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both provide debt relief. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows consumers to liquidate, or eliminate, their debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides for the reorganization and/or elimination of debt. There are benefits to both these forms of bankruptcy. Each consumer situation and financial fix through bankruptcy is different.

Knowing that bankruptcy debt relief is a potential for individuals and families fighting debt is a benefit on its own. Consumers unable to afford their debt are, obviously, in need of debt relief. Whether that debt relief is through filing bankruptcy or some other form of debt relief is often the biggest decision for consumers in debt. Whatever the financial solution, debt relief is the objective.

Bankruptcy debt relief is typically the most conservative and comprehensive solution to consumer debt debt. The basics of how bankruptcy works are simple. If you have more debt than income to repay it, filing bankruptcy allows you to be relieved of your debt. If you an afford to repay some of your debt, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your best bet to eliminate the debt you cannot afford. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also allow you to reorganize your debt. Reorganizing your debt through Chapter 13 can give you more time to repay your debts, get caught up on secured debts (mortgages and cars) and get rid of what debt you can’t afford. Chapter 7 bankruptcy law permits you to eliminate all your debt.

Whatever the financial fix needed, whether though bankruptcy debt relief or some other method, caution is the key. Make sure your debt relief option is best for your personal financial need. Bankruptcy is applying federal law to deal with your debts. It is conservative and certain.

Other financial options besides bankruptcy debt relief might not be as certain. Debt consolidation or relief agencies often add to your debt more than they relieve it. Credit consolidators or debt settlement agencies are often owned by creditors seeking to steer you away from bankruptcy. Some even are scams. Buyer beware, as this recent news story points out.

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Credit Card Debt Elimination In Bankruptcy

Credit Card Debt Elimination In Bankruptcy

Credit card debt elimination in bankruptcy is one of the most common causes of bankruptcy filing. Consumer debt has increased dramatically in the past few years. The level of credit card debt is now near it‘s pre-recession level. And that’s a lot. This Consumer Reports article describes the recent rise in credit card debt. The article also describes the perils of excess credit card debt. In depicting the problem of too much credit card debt, the article points out what can be done to diminish the hard harm of the excess debt.

Eliminating credit card debt is the ideal solution to excess credit card debt. But that is easier said than done. Trimming expenses, paying your debt down faster and tapping your savings are all options to decrease your debt. These are great ideas. But not if they won’t work for you. Maybe your expenses are already shaved to the bone. Perhaps you can’t pay your debt off any faster. And what if you have no savings? If so, credit card debt elimination in bankruptcy may be your best bet.

Credit card debt elimination in bankruptcy may be your only option if your debt is beyond your ability to repay. And those in that position are not alone. Tips to improve your credit position are meaningless if you can’t employ them. And paying more on your debt often falls on deaf ears of those in debt. The reason people are in debt is often because they can’t repay it. If they could, they would.

The Consumer Reports article is right. Too much credit card debt is bad. But if you can’t repay it, credit card debt elimination in bankruptcy is your only option. And a good option it is. Though filing bankruptcy is a negative on your credit, eliminating your credit card debt you can’t repay is a positive. Weighing these options is the key to evaluating whether filing bankruptcy is the right financial option.

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Trump and Bankruptcy

Trump and Bankruptcy

You are not alone if you are considering filing for bankruptcy. Donald Trump has filed bankruptcy on behalf of his businesses four times. While Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, he has sought debt relief for several of his business interests. But, as Trump would tell you, he is wealthy. Very wealthy. Why, then, would his businesses file for bankruptcy? Perhaps the nexus between Trump and bankruptcy is partially accountable for his wealth.

As has been pointed out, Trump’s businesses accumulated too much debt. With more debt than income to afford it, Trump and bankruptcy became a team for these businesses. Though these businesses filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization, the bankruptcy effect was the same as the most common consumer bankruptcies (Chapter 7 and 13) individuals file. Trump filed bankruptcy to limit and eliminate his business debt. His businesses simply couldn’t afford the debt. Bankruptcy law allowed the debt to be eliminated, lessened or refinanced through the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy can do this for business debt. And bankruptcy can do this for personal debt. It is why businesses and individuals file for bankruptcy.

Trump may have earned his fortune through “the art of the deal.” But Trump and bankruptcy teamed when the deal went south. Bankruptcy is a business move. Nobody knows this more than Trump. Considering bankruptcy as nothing more than a financial function for the betterment of his businesses served Trump well. Bankruptcy can provide the same utility to individuals filing for bankruptcy. It’s no mystery or science that debt is as much a burden to individuals as it is to businesses. By the same token, eliminating debt is a benefit to both.

Individuals, unlike businesses, are often wary of filing for bankruptcy. Perhaps there is a stigma or some sense of moral failing associated with filing for personal bankruptcy. But it shouldn’t. Debt is part of personal finance. Dealing with personal debt should be considered no different than dealing with business debt. Trump and bankruptcy teamed to deal with debt for his businesses. Individuals can do the same with bankruptcy to benefit their personal financial picture. It’s that simple.

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Debt, Income and Bankruptcy

Debt, Income and Bankruptcy

Debt, income and bankruptcy are financial factors that dictate the consumer economy. Debt-to-income ratio is the starting point for evaluating consumer credit. The higher your income, the better your credit. The more debt you have, the worse your credit. Or at least that is the big picture.

Consumer credit controls the cost of financing. The better the credit, the better the cost. Debt and income are obvious factors in this formula. But how does bankruptcy fit in? Filing bankruptcy allows you to discharge your debts. This means the debts are eliminated and never have to be repaid.

Though bankruptcy is an initial negative on your credit after you file, discharging your debts at the conclusion of your bankruptcy is a big benefit. How big that benefit is to you depends on the amount of debt your discharged, or eliminated. By weighing the cost of the bankruptcy impact versus the discharged debt is the essential evaluation of whether to file for bankruptcy. If you have big debt and little income, bankruptcy may be a good option for you. If, though, your debt is not too great and your income enough to handle that debt, maybe bankruptcy is not your best bet. Every situation is different.

Even if your debt-to-income ratio seems ok, bankruptcy may still be a benefit if you have a disproportionate amount of certain debt. Typically credit card debt imbalance in your personal finances will warrant the need to file for bankruptcy. This type of debt does not enhance your income. As such, it is viewed as a drag on your credit.

By discharging your debt through a bankruptcy filing, you can clear your debt-to-income ratio. By doing so, your ratio is cleared for as long as you do not accumulate any more debt. Your bankruptcy impact is only temporary. Though a bankruptcy filing lasts on your record for years longer, improving your credit generally takes only a couple of years.

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Ides of March

Ides of March

According to Wikipedia, the Ides of March marks the date Julius Cesar was slain by his own. The assassination marked the end end of one Roman empire and the beginning of another.

The term ides of March means, literally, only the 15th of March. But the meaning of the term signifies much more. Beware is likely the most popularly accepted term to coin the concept of the Ides of March.

When it comes to debt, beware is often overlooked. Too frequently debt plays too intimate a role in our daily lives. And so with it goes the cost. The costs of debt to consumers can be crippling. And often it is. What, then, to do?

Popularized concepts to control the costs of debt often involve prioritizing and paying down your debt. Picking the most expensive creditors to pay first is another idea that supposedly helps. TheImage result for ides of marchre are other alternatives out there to dealing with your debt. At least those that are part of the popular culture of debt relief. But beware of the Ides of March!

Paying down your debt. Paying one creditor first, faster than the others. And paying sooner rather than later. They are all options to get your debt under control. But as the Ides of March may warn you, these suggestions all involve paying. And often paying more, faster.

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Bankruptcy Can Discharge Overpayment of Unemployment and Social Security

Bankruptcy Can Discharge Overpayment of Unemployment and Social Security

Bankruptcy can discharge overpayment of unemployment and Social Security benefits. Like any other unsecured debt, such benefit overpayments are legally binding. But as with most other legally binding debts, bankruptcy can discharge them. There is no special provision in the law that denies the dischargeability of these debts. So if you are overpaid unemployment from the California Employment Development Department (EDD), or benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can eliminate these debts through bankruptcy.

It is common for people to be overpaid by the EDD and SSA for unemployment and other benefits. Millions of people file for and receive such benefits. Instruction and oversight covering the application for these benefits, though, is slight. Sometimes the money paid does not match the benefits earned. When the EDD or SSA finds out, debt can result. The EDD even has a link on their website concerning overpayments. But again, bankruptcy can discharge the overpayment of unemployment and Social Security Benefits.

The only limitation to bankruptcy being able discharge overpayment of unemployment and Social Security benefits is fraud. If excess benefits are obtained from false information, bankruptcy will not help. Understandably, only overpayment resulting from mistake or innocent error can be dealt with through bankruptcy. The glitch that gave rise to the overpayment must be a mistake. Nothing more. The mistake can be either on your part or the government’s. Whatever way, so long as there is no fraud, overpayment is dischargeable in bankruptcy.

If overpayment of unemployment or Social Security benefits is not discharged in bankruptcy, it must be paid. Unlike most other forms of debt, it can be collected quickly, without the need of a lawsuit. If the government overpays you, they can get it back without having to sue you. Your wages can be withheld (garnished), your tax refund tapped, or a host of other collection tools applied by the government to get their money. Since bankruptcy can discharge overpayment of unemployment and social security benefits, many choose this route.

If the government has already begun collecting for benefit overpayment, it’s not too late to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will still allow you to discharge those debts even if the government has already started to collect. If you want to stop your wages from being garnished or your tax refund from being intercepted, file for bankruptcy.

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Sacramento Bankruptcy: Debt Relief Alternatives

Sacramento Bankruptcy: Debt Relief Alternatives

Bankruptcy is an option to eliminate or reorganize your debt. There are other alternatives besides bankruptcy, though. Debt relief companies and agencies can help, but be cautious taking this route.

Many debt relief companies and agencies promise to provide results, but don’t deliver. While there are certainly legitimate enterprises offering help for those in need of debt relief, many do not do as promised. Often payments are not made to creditors, there are hidden fees and no protection from lawsuits. Scams can sometimes occur as this story suggests. Sometimes the debt relief company or agency becomes yet another creditors piled on top of the rest of your debt.

The debt relief industry, not taking into account bankruptcy practitioners, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Many times, too, the debt relief companies and agencies are owned by the very creditors your are seeking to suppress. A common scenario is when you contact a creditor, say a credit card company, and convey a concern you have with your debt, interest rate, minimum payments or a host of other potential problems. They can refer you to a debt relief company or agency that, surprise, is owned by the same creditor. The purpose of the “debt relief” in this setting is not to manage or lower your debt; it is to funnel as much money as possible to the parent creditor company. This does not help you.

Debt relief organizations, even if effective at minimizing your debt, do not protect you from potential lawsuits. While a bankruptcy prevents a creditor from even contacting you, much less suing you, debt relief companies can’t do this.

Another pitfall to potential debt relief companies and agencies is that if they do arrange for a payoff of your debt over time, you are not paying your debt. Credit ratings and scores can be damaged more detrimentally than even a bankruptcy in such settings.

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Sacramento Bankruptcy: Credit Card Debt

Sacramento Bankruptcy: Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is one of the most common forms of debt for bankruptcy filings in the Sacramento region.

There are a number of reasons credit card debt can cause bankruptcy. The ease of ability to obtain credit card debt is first factor to consider. Often consumers are bombarded with credit card applications, cash advances and debt consolidation offers. Rarely are these offers solicited.

Once the credit card companies obtain your business, they continue to encourage further credit use and, in so doing, foster further debt. If the debt with one credit card debt becomes beyond the ability to repay, at least realistically, other credit card companies are alway there to “rescue” you financially with more debt. Low introductory interest rates, promotions and teasers to draw you in are part and parcel of credit card marketing strategies. This strategy is particularly so amongst younger americans as this study suggests. When the low interest rates and payments expire, consumers are often left with only more debt. Soon robbing Peter to pay Paul can become a lifestyle.

Credit card companies have an obvious interest in extending credit: profit. Loaning money is one of the most profitable businesses in America. Only relatively recently have credit card companies been required to show how long it would take to repay your debt if you made only the minimum payment each month. Those figures will show the obvious profit built into their payments.

As credit card companies pad their profits, consumer debt grows. Debt can begin to beget more debt. It’s a tough cycle to break once you are in it.

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Sacramento Bankruptcy: Coping with Debt

Sacramento Bankruptcy: Coping with Debt

Debt can be dealt with in many ways. Bankruptcy is an option, but is likely not a first alternative. Read the Federal Trade Commissions thoughts on coping with debt. Though initial options to resolve your debt, such as consolidation and refinancing, may eliminate your debt problem, creating more debt to solve a debt dilemma can be a risky proposition. Borrowing more may only make the problem worse.

Bankruptcy is about what to do when what you have done before doesn’t work. Even if a last option, bankruptcy offers a safety net of last resort to resolve your debt crisis.

Rarely do you have to surrender your property when you file for bankruptcy. Exemption laws allow you to protect a certain amount of property you have. The vast majority of time this means all the property you have. Bankruptcy is an option available to you.

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Line of credit: can bankruptcy eliminate (discharge) this type of debt?

Line of credit: can bankruptcy eliminate (discharge) this type of debt?

Lines of credit can be eliminated, or discharged, through a bankruptcy filing. Lines of credit are often unsecured and can be eliminated entirely through a bankruptcy. Unsecured lines of credit are like credit card debt–minus the plastic. Like credit card debt, unsecured lines of credit are common culprits causing consumer bankruptcy filings.

If a line of credit is secured, that debt may need to be repaid even if you file for bankruptcy. May is the operative word here, though. If a line of credit is secured, most commonly against a home (home equity line of credit/HELOC), that debt can still be eliminated through a bankruptcy. It depends on the value of your home, how much you owe on other mortgages and the type of bankruptcy filed.

With the explosion of home equity lines of credits (HELOC/second mortgages) in recent years past, this is a potentially vital factor in a bankruptcy evaluation, as well as a common cause of bankruptcy filings here in Sacramento.

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Car repossessions and bankruptcy

Car repossessions and bankruptcy

If your car is repossessed you will likely owe the finance company or bank for the costs connected with repossessing your car. More so, you may owe for the difference between what you owed on the vehicle and the amount for which the car was sold at auction. This gap is referred to as a deficiency.

Both the repossession costs and any potential deficiency are dischargeable through a bankruptcy filing.

If your car is repossessed, bankruptcy can also get your car back. Timing and type of bankruptcy are factors in whether your car can be reclaimed if you file for bankruptcy.

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