We’ve written a series of blog posts answering questions regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin and its financial impact. Call (262) 827-0375

Helping Milwaukee & Waukesha Consumers Use Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

It’s time to admit it. You’ve been unable to keep up with your debts, and they’re not magically going away. As the bills mounted, you knew you needed to act, but it wasn’t clear where to turn. Now that you’ve sunk into more debt than you can handle, however, you deserve a lifeline.

Fortunately, you’re not alone: The law may be on your side, and so are the attorneys at Burr Law Office. We can help you envision a brighter financial outlook by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Milwaukee and Waukesha.

Why File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes its name from the section of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that describes its rules. Although learning the law from end to end is a huge challenge, consumers can heighten their knowledge by starting with the basics:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcies are founded on the act of liquidation — This is when your property gets sold to pay off as much of your debt as possible and get the creditors to go away for good.
  • Chapter 7 filings let you keep exempt property, such as the basic items you need to take care of your family, bank deposits up to $5,000, veterans’ benefits, unemployment compensation and professional tools.
  • Filing can help you erase many kinds of debts and halt various collection activities. It may be the right choice if you’re struggling with healthcare bills, overdue credit card fees or even court-ordered wage garnishments.
  • Although the rules require you to go through credit counseling, complete financial management classes, attend a trustee meeting and submit court fees, filing is relatively inexpensive — Most people pay less than $400 for lasting financial peace of mind.

Taking Advantage of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Milwaukee and Waukesha

Filing for Chapter 7 protects you by placing an automatic stay on collection activities — at least until your case has gone through the court. What’s the secret to making the most of such benefits in the short time allotted to you? It’s all about planning things thoroughly with an experienced legal advisor.

Although U.S. federal law trumps all else in determining how bankruptcy operates, Wisconsin imposes some of its own standards. For instance, your credit counseling course must be led by a state-approved provider. You’ll also have to pass a means test proving that your family income falls below the median for Wisconsin after subtracting certain approved expenses.

Being prepared is critical because the types of debts you owe might make it imperative to stick to an aggressive case schedule. Advanced planning also improves your odds of receiving permanent protection instead of just the temporary stay — If you can build a case that effectively demonstrates your hardship or lack of financial means, then the bankruptcy court is more likely to look on you favorably.

Put Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on Firm Ground

Get in touch with a Burr Law Office attorney. With decades of firsthand experience advocating for clients and working directly with Wisconsin’s neediest families, we’re proud to help you master the art of effective, legal debt relief. Schedule a free consultation now by calling (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!

 

Getting the Most of Your Chapter 7

Given the circumstances of filing for bankruptcy, everyone wants the process to be as comfortable as possible. There are a number of things you can do to help make make your Milwaukee Chapter 7 go smoothly. Take a look at these tips and contact Burr Law Office LLC for more information.

Stay organized

One of the most crucial elements to a successful filing is paperwork. Your legal documents like bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and others need to be well organized so they can be accessed at any point during the process. This also helps to ease communication and build trust with everyone involved.

Don’t be afraid to talk

You don’t need to go blabbing to anyone and everyone who will listen, but discussing your financial situation with trusted family members or friends can help you cope. Plus, they may know someone else that’s gone through something similar and have some advice to offer.

This isn’t forever

The most important thing to help ease the pain of filing for bankruptcy is this: it won’t be like this forever. The process may be difficult, and you’ll likely experience quite a bit of stress, but life will go on. If you don’t allow yourself to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you’re making it more difficult for yourself.

To learn more about Milwaukee Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact attorney Michael Burr at Burr Law Office LLC for a free consultation. He will be happy to assist you with your case!

Legal Aid Milwaukee: Tips for Filing a Chapter 7

Filing for bankruptcy can be a daunting process, but when done correctly it an provide great relief to the debtor. Working with an experienced attorney like Michael Burr is the best way to give yourself the best legal aid Milwaukee has to offer. Here are a few tips if you’re considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Consider what’s ahead

Before filing for Chapter 7, it’s important to look to the future. Major financial events can have a great effect on the process; having a child, needing a new car, getting a promotion at work, and many others. By planning ahead for these things, whenever possible, you can help ease stress when they arise.

Seek support

While conversations about finances with friends and family can be difficult, the process will be much easier if you have the support of loved ones. Seeking out external sources of advice and support is crucial, especially if they themselves have experienced bankruptcy and can offer guidance.

Be pessimistic and optimistic

It’s confusing, but helpful. When filing for Chapter 7, the best way to approach the situation is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If you know what will happen if things go south and prepare ahead of time, you’ll better be able to handle things.

If you’re considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and need a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, contact attorney Michael Burr for the best legal aid Milwaukee has to offer. Ease yourself of financial burdens and call 262-827-0375 to schedule your free consultation today!

Bankruptcy Legal Aid: Discharging Tax Debt with Chapter 7

In bankruptcy law, Chapter 7 is often referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy” because it allows consumers to liquidate, or eliminate, almost all outstanding debts. Many people falsely believe that tax debt cannot be discharged when you file, but experienced Milwaukee bankruptcy legal aid from Attorney Burr can actually help most consumers eliminate tax debt by filing for Chapter 7 if they meet these three basic provisions.

The income tax return was due over three years ago

If you owe back taxes to the IRS, you are not alone—thousands of Americans either intentionally or inadvertently short the IRS a total of $290 billion each year. As the IRS becomes increasingly aggressive about pursuing people who owe back taxes, many consumers find themselves overwhelmed by bills. If you are considering filing for Chapter 7, you may be able to eliminate your tax debt as long as the tax return was due more than three years ago.

The income tax return was filed more than two years ago

Was your tax return filed more than two years ago today? If so, you already satisfy this requirement, but some taxpayers never file returns for certain years. In that case, the IRS will file one for you. Unfortunately, a government-filed tax return does not meet this test; each consumer must file his own return at least two years before filing for Chapter 7.

The tax was assessed more than 240 days ago

This rule means that the tax agency must have determined that you owe back taxes more than 240 days ago. If you filed your return and acknowledged that you owed a balance; according to bankruptcy law, your tax debt has been assessed. This rule can be confusing, so be sure to consult an experienced attorney to determine your precise assessment date.

Contact attorney Michael Burr at Burr Law Office today at (877) 891-1638 to get the Milwaukee bankruptcy legal aid you need.  You can also visit our website for more information about our legal services.

Tax Help: What is Chapter 7?

Have you found yourself in financial distress? You’re not alone. You may wonder…what is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and do I qualify? Those questions are asked by many people in Milwaukee and across the United States every day.

Chapter 7 is designed to help honest, well-intentioned borrowers who are in financial trouble. But how does Chapter 7 bankruptcy work and what happens to your debt after you file? In this video, a CPA will explain everything you need to know about this common form of personal bankruptcy, how you can file for it, and what happens to you after you file.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you need the best legal representation available to help you through the tumultuous and stressful process. Attorney Michael Burr and Burr Law Office can help give you and your family a fresh financial start.

You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn whether or not bankruptcy is your best option. Each case is handled personally by Attorney Burr from start to finish. Call today to start your journey to financial freedom!