We’ve written a series of blog posts answering common questions regarding Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Wisconsin and how it impacts your finances. Call (262) 827-0375

MasterCard Gold Credit Card debt bankruptcy

Bankruptcy and the Credit Card Debt Crisis

Millions of Americans struggle with debt. This is nothing new, but in modern times, we face a problem that previous generations never had. People are drowning in credit card debt.

Are you struggling with credit card payments? Filing for credit card debt bankruptcy may be the best choice. Here’s how the process works and why getting a Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney might help.

Bankruptcy and Credit Card Debt

The many bankruptcy laws in the U.S. are divided into chapters. Each chapter describes a specific kind of bankruptcy.

Chapter 7, or liquidation, bankruptcy lets you sell, or liquidate, your assets to raise enough money to pay off the creditors.

Chapter 13, or reorganization, bankruptcy is where you work with your creditors to come up with a repayment plan.

Choosing Your Debt Strategy

Which bankruptcy chapter is best for handling credit card debt? The size of your overdue bill, your employment status and other factors might force you to pick one or the other.

The laws can make things confusing. For instance, Chapter 13 is designed for people with enough income to repay their liabilities gradually. At the same time, it’s restricted to people whose debts fall below maximum limits.

Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. As with Chapter 13, there are eligibility limits, but they apply to your income. Talking to a lawyer could make it easier to navigate these rules properly.

Putting Credit Card Debt Into Perspective

How big is the U.S. credit card debt epidemic? In late 2018, NerdWallet reported that these liabilities topped out at more than $420 billion. That’s a lot of money to owe, and almost 10 percent of people surveyed thought they’d be stuck with credit card debt for the rest of their lives.

Credit card debt that balloons out of control isn’t uncommon. The NerdWallet study also found that households with credit card debt typically had an average of $6,929 in revolving balances. Combined with the huge interest rates that most credit cards charge, these sums have the potential to ruin people’s lives.

Is Bankruptcy the Best Option? Dispelling Common Myths

Filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 doesn’t mean losing all of your possessions. Most necessities are exempt, and the idea isn’t to fill your life with hardships anyway. Instead, it’s all about making it easier for you to bounce back.

Credit card debt bankruptcy doesn’t ruin your credit either. If you’re considering filing, then it’s likely that the credit rating damage has already been done. Petitioning the bankruptcy court to help you resolve your credit card debts is the most logical option. It wipes the slate clean and moves you toward greater financial responsibility.

To talk with a local bankruptcy lawyer experienced in clearing away burdensome credit card debt, call Burr Law Office today at (262) 827-0375.

How to Pay for Bankruptcy?

How to Pay for Bankruptcy | Waukesha, WIFiling for bankruptcy can be expensive. Hiring an attorney and paying court filing fees can cost you anywhere from hundreds to several thousand dollars. When you’re in tough financial shape, this added cost can seem stressful…and even impossible.

Don’t fear: you have options. Here is a breakdown of what bankruptcy costs and how to afford it.

The Cost of Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy comes with two types of expenses: court filing fees and attorney fees.

An attorney is critical to filing for bankruptcy, as they help file your petition, represent you in court, and take over communication with your creditors.

The two types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7, in which most or all of your debts are forgiven, and Chapter 13, in which your debts are reorganized into a repayment plan.

Here is an estimated breakdown of what you can expect to pay*:

Chapter 7Chapter 13
Court Filing Fees$335$310
Attorney Fees$1,000 – $1,500 /
$200 down
$1,500 – $6,000
Total$835 – $1,835$1,810 – $6,310

*Please note, attorney fees vary greatly based on location and complexity of your case.

When filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will review your attorney fees to find out if they’re reasonable.

(At Burr Law office, we offer monthly payment plans starting with as little as $100 down.)

Your Bankruptcy Payment Options

If you are filing Chapter 7, you may be required to pay your attorney fees before they file your case. The reasoning behind this is: if you are granted Chapter 7, all unsecured debts are wiped out, including any outstanding attorney fees.

If you cannot afford these costs, you have three options:

  • Raise the money.
  • Establish a payment plan.
  • Find a pro-bono attorney, or one who will take your case without charging a fee.
  1. Raising the money. Use these steps to minimize your expenses and save enough to cover your costs:
    1. Stop payment on credit cards. If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy, continuing to pay your credit cards is not useful. Save that money and put it toward your bankruptcy costs.
    2. Secure additional income. Sell big-ticket items, like furniture or electronics, or find part-time employment.
    3. Ask family or friends for help.
    4. As a last resort, you can borrow against your 401(k) or IRA. However, doing so may deplete the money you will need in retirement.
  1. Using a payment plan. The right attorney may agree to payment in installments. Ask the lawyer you are considering about their payment plan policy during your initial meeting. Please note: most attorneys will require payment upfront before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

Your attorney may also work with the court to allow you to pay your court filing fee in installments.

  1. Finding a pro-bono attorney. If your household income is less than 150% of the federal poverty line for your family size, you may qualify for free legal assistance. You have several options for finding a pro bono attorney:
    1. Reach out to your local bankruptcy court to request information on local free legal aid resources and free legal clinics. These organizations may be able to connect you with free legal assistance, but be aware: legal aid organizations are often extremely busy and understaffed.
    2. Research The American Bankruptcy Institute’s bankruptcy attorney directory for more pro bono resources in your area.
    3. Contact your state’s bar association to inquire about free legal aid. Some attorneys are required to take on 10%-15% of their caseloads as pro bono work.
    4. Consider hiring a petition preparer instead of a lawyer. If you’re in a rush to file your bankruptcy, a petition preparer will help you fill out paperwork for an hourly fee. Though they can’t give you legal advice like an attorney would, a petition preparer is a good solution if you are looking to quickly trigger the automatic stay that halts collection efforts.
    5. Finally, we strongly advise against filing on your own without the help of an attorney or petition preparer. Bankruptcy filing is an extremely complicated process and it is easy to make mistakes, which could lead the court to throw out your case.

When making decisions about bankruptcy, you may feel that the deck is stacked against you. But remember: you have options. And if you’re in the Milwaukee area, the experts at Burr Law Office are here to help. We have earned a reputation as experienced advocates, and can help you reclaim your life and get a fresh start. Give us a call today at (262) 827-0375!

 

Chapter 13 : A Step by Step Guide

If you’re considering filing for a Milwaukee Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’re probably wondering what steps are involved. The experts at Burr Law Office are friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to take on your case. The following is a sequence of steps you will likely run into if you’re getting ready to file.

The first step before filing is determining what type of bankruptcy is right for you. Generally speaking, Chapter 13 is an alternative to Chapter 7 for those who have meet three basic criteria: they have a regular income, they want to pay off their debt, and they need some time to pay it back. The process in a Chapter 13 will usually take a number of years, as a repayment plan is established around the outstanding debt. Attorney Michael Burr will help you determine if there are any special circumstances that occur.

Filing the petition is the second step in the process. This involves filing a schedule of assets and liabilities and reporting things like income, expenses, etc. Your bankruptcy attorney will help you complete all of this paperwork and ensure everything is up to par. Missing information will only prolong the process. Additionally, intentionally withholding information can lead to serious consequences.

The next step is setting up the repayment plan and meeting with creditors. Your bankruptcy lawyer will be with you for the entire process and will work with all parties to come to a fair agreement. After the creditor meeting comes the confirmation hearing in court. At this point the judge will determine if your repayment plan is feasible and meets Bankruptcy Code standards.

The last step is to start making payments. There is a 30 day window between the tim you file and the time you must start making payments, regardless of whether or not your plan is approved by the court.

If you have questions about Milwaukee Chapter 13 bankruptcy or would like help with debt relief issues, contact Burr Law Office today.

Tips for a Successful Chapter 13

Before getting started with a Chapter 13 Milwaukee bankruptcy, it’s important to know a few things about the process and how to make it work for you. If everything is done correctly, accurately, and in a timely manner, the process can go quite smoothly.

Filing for Chapter 13 requires you to make a promise to yourself (and the courts) that you will change your habits when it comes to handling your finances. The process requires that you live with a strict budget during a three to five year period, which can be very difficult. Sticking to the changes will help you come out of the bankruptcy with a fresh start. Here are a few tips that will help your bankruptcy go well.

Budget

The single most important part of a successful Milwaukee Chapter 13 bankruptcy is creating and sticking to a budget plan. The bankruptcy cannot work if you don’t make your payments. Your budget will likely be a reality check of sorts for you. You must stay committed to making your payments and not fall behind. Doing so will make the process much easier in the long run.

Communication

Another important aspect is effective communication. You will likely receive mail, e-mail, or phone calls from your attorney, trustee, or creditors. It’s important that you tend to these and not ignore them. Ignoring these contacts can only complicate and lengthen the process. If creditors are harassing you, it could mean they are unaware of your filing for Chapter 13. If that’s the case, you need to contact your attorney and get things straightened out.

Paperwork

There is a lot of work that goes into preparing and completing paperwork for your bankruptcy. It’s extremely important that you gather and organize all of your financial records and obtain any missing pieces. It is critical that the paperwork be completed honestly, accurately, and thoroughly. The paperwork is difficult and can be frustrating at times, but your attorney will work with you.

Having a successful Chapter 13 Milwaukee bankruptcy requires hard work, persistence, and sacrifice. Throughout the process, you will likely become smarter with your finances and come out with a fresh new outlook on financial planning. The process is tough, but effective. If you’d like more information about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact bankruptcy lawyer Michael Burr at Burr Law Offices to schedule a free consultation.

Tips for Managing Your Chapter 13 Repayment Plan

If you file for Chapter 13 Milwaukee bankruptcy, you will commit to a payment plan lasting three to five years, under which you will repay any missed payments on secured debts and a portion of your unsecured debts. Though this plan can be challenging, it will free you from your debts and give you a fresh start. You’ll no longer be in the red. Here are a few ways you can make the plan go as smoothly as possible:

Get used to living on a tight budget.

Payment plans take all of your extra income after you pay necessary expenses like rent, clothing, and food. You won’t have any extra money left over for fun or frivolous things. Unfortunately, you’ll need to simply get used to this; the court wants you to repay as much of your debt as possible, Which means using all extra income for repayment purposes.

Do not incur new debt.

You should not incur new debt without speaking to your bankruptcy trustee first. The point of a bankruptcy is to allow you a fresh start and force you to live within your means, not to let you fall back into old habits of financial irresponsibility.

If your financial situation changes, tell your bankruptcy trustee.

If you lose your job or experience another significant change in your financial life, tell your trustee as soon as possible. He may be able to modify your payment plan or obtain a hardship discharge for you.

Don’t stop making payments.

No matter your financial situation, never stop making your payments. This could lead to a dismissal of your petition, which will leave you responsible for paying all of your debt, not just the portion agreed upon in your payment plan.

Burr Law Office can help you decide if Chapter 13 Milwaukee bankruptcy lawyers is right for you. Though it is not an easy process, it may be a way to deal with your debt and move on with life. To learn more, call (262) 827-0375 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Chapter 13 Trustee: Advantages

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to consolidate your debts into one payment plan, enabling you to both keep select assets while reducing your debt to a manageable level. On the surface, this may appear similar to what debt consolidation programs offer. However, filing Chapter 13 has distinct advantages over these programs, and most importantly, the backing of the federal court system.

Reduce Your Debt

In creating a Chapter 13 payment plan, the court will typically reduce the principal you owe on your debts, sometimes by as much as 90%. The reduction in principal allows you to create a realistic payment plan, which is the purpose of Chapter 13. Debt consolidation programs must negotiate with creditors, and only request that they lower interest rates or overdue balances. Chapter 13 offers you the authority of the court to mandate what amount a creditor will receive.

Freeze Foreclosure and Collection Proceedings

Upon filing bankruptcy under any chapter, an automatic stay is immediately put on all collection efforts by creditors. An automatic stay prohibits any contact by creditors, such as telephone calls, letters, and appearances at your home. The stay also freezes any foreclosure proceedings or wage garnishments, and even prevents a creditor from filing a lawsuit against you. Debt consolidation programs don’t have the authority to provide any of this relief.

Establish a Defined Payment Schedule

Chapter 13 payment plans are designed to be completed within three to five years. Upon completing the plan, all debts are discharged. Debt consolidation programs don’t provide this certainty, and may outline a plan that requires payments over many years without significantly reducing your balance.

Protect Your Interests

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you will likely hire an attorney to represent you. Every attorney has a strict ethical obligation to represent his or her client zealously, competently, and with due diligence. You are guaranteed that your attorney, unlike a debt consolidator, will represent not only your best interests, but also fight to ensure you receive the best results possible. Debt consolidation programs simply cannot provide this security.

Filing bankruptcy is a major decision, but it may be the right choice for you. Consult a bankruptcy attorney to answer your questions and learn exactly how Milwaukee bankruptcy will affect you. Call the Burr Law Office at (262) 827-0375 for answers to any questions you have. Contact us today to learn more about your financial options.

What is Chapter 13? An Overview

Every person’s precarious financial situation is different from the next; therefore, the chapter used by each individual varies widely. If you’re considering bankruptcy, it’s important for you to know the types. The question is…what is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 offers additional benefits for people who are at risk of foreclosure and have a steady income. For more information on how Chapter 13 bankruptcy works, check out this video. If you think bankruptcy may be your only viable option, then you need a legal expert to guide you through the bankruptcy process safely and properly.

Attorney Michael Burr is an excellent resource when it comes to the bankruptcy process. If you’re looking for an experienced, trustworthy attorney, look no further. If you’ve found yourself in financial stress contact us. Attorney Burr will help get you back on your feet once again.

Burr Law Office specializes in helping clients get through the bankruptcy process successfully while protecting their property. For more information on our legal services, visit Burr Law Office online today. Looking for a Chapter 13 attorney in Milwaukee, call Burr Law at (262) 827-0375.