When you’re having financial problems, it is likely that all of your household bills are affected, including your mortgage payments. While shelter is a basic survival requirement, you may have prioritized immediate needs like food, etc., and neglected your mortgage payments. When you fall behind on mortgage payments, your home may be foreclosed on, and suddenly, the possibility of losing your home looms large. There are ways to save your home. In this post, we’ll explore the interplay between foreclosure and bankruptcy.
Timing is crucial
Under federal law, your mortgage lender cannot officially begin foreclosure proceedings until you have missed four months of mortgage payments. Within that time period, you can take the initiative by filing for bankruptcy before any foreclosure begins. If you have received notice of your lender’s intent to begin foreclosure, you can still forestall it by filing your bankruptcy petition. Even after the foreclosure has begun, filing bankruptcy will interrupt it.
Whenever you file bankruptcy, all collection efforts of all types are automatically halted. That means that even if foreclosure proceedings have been initiated, they must be paused. This gives you valuable time to develop a strategy that may save your home. The experienced attorneys at Burr Law can negotiate on your behalf and work with your specific circumstances to preserve your most valuable assets, including your home.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you devise a repayment plan that will clear your secured debts over a three to five year period. This plan will include your past-due mortgage payments, and your continuing mortgage payments. Because your attorneys work with you to create the plan, it ought to be one that you can achieve. Again, the experts at Burr Law can work with your particular circumstances to help you make a realistic plan. As long as you make all of the required payments for the length of the repayment plan, you will avoid foreclosure and be able to stay in your home.
Importantly, if you have a second or third mortgage on your home, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may well serve to eliminate those debts. Typically, Chapter 13 entitles bankruptcy courts to recategorize second and third mortgages as unsecured debt. Unsecured debt receives the lowest priority in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and usually does not have to be repaid at all.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. It eliminates debt completely by selling your assets. So it sounds as though it would mean that you would lose your home. However, that is not usually the case, especially if your home is your only or primary residence. There are exemptions in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and one of the most important is your home, known as your homestead. The law in Wisconsin allows an individual filer an exemption of up to $75,000 in value in a homestead, and a couple filing together would have an exemption of $150,000. Other exemptions can also be applied to your home. The experts at Burr Law can make sure that you receive all exemptions possible.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy also forgives the homeowner for tax liability for losses the mortgage or home-improvement lender incurs as a result of the homeowner’s default. This may be debt that you have not even considered, but is important in determining which bankruptcy type to pursue. This law initially applied to the years 2007-2010, but has been extended five times and now applies to debts forgiven in the years between 2007 to 2020. Again, this is an aspect of bankruptcy that your attorneys can advise you about.
If you are concerned that your property may be foreclosed upon, or if foreclosure proceedings have already been initiated against you, contact the professionals at Burr Law. We can guide you to the best solution so you and your family can stay in your home.