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nc bankruptcy lawyers

Why we are bankruptcy lawyers

For many years our practice has been limited to bankruptcy cases. We do that because we like practicing bankruptcy law. We like doing something we are good at, and we like the outcomes for our clients. Over the years, we have saved many houses from foreclosure, stopped many repossessions, and have taken the burden of unpaid debts off of many people who simply can't pay. Almost all of our clients are in bankruptcy court due to no fault of their own: there has been a sickness, job layoff, divorce, death in the family or some other event that could happen to anyone, but which ruins our clients financially. Our Constitution provides for a bankruptcy law because the framers knew that giving people a fresh start was important to a good economy.

One thing we like about bankruptcy law is that, unlike any other area of law practice, we can assure our clients that if they give us good information, the result will be the one they have been promised. The process is meant to be as straightforward as possible because we know that our clients are anxious about how things will go.

The Bankruptcy Court meets in Asheville for the western part of the state, so many of our clients come from communities such as Marion, Murphy, Hendersonville, Robbinsville, etc. It means we get to know people from all over the mountains, which is something that we enjoy.

Bankruptcy is not the best choice for everyone, and in many cases, we can find ways to avoid bankruptcy while dealing with our client’s debt problems. The best first step is to simply come see us so we can discuss your options in bankruptcy court. We want people to feel free to meet with us, so there is no charge for the initial consultation.

asheville bankruptcy attorney

Bankruptcy Cost

The cost of filing for bankruptcy can vary based on a number of factors, including what type of bankruptcy is being filed and the additional legal costs involved. While it is possible to “DIY” a bankruptcy, the complexities of filing the appropriate paperwork, working with the trustee or committee, and creating a repayment or restructuring plan can be enormous. Attorneys are a valuable asset to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients. The more complex the type of bankruptcy, the more work is required from the legal team, which is reflected in legal fees. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered the most straightforward bankruptcy filing. The filing fee is $335, not including legal fees. Chapter 13 is more complex. It has a $281 filing fee, but legal fees can be double the cost of Chapter 7. However, Chapter 13 payment plans can be structured to allow legal fees to be paid from the debt repayment plan, with little to no money down. Chapter 11 is considered the most expensive type, due to its incredibly complex nature. The filing fee is $1,717, but Bloomberg Law reports that the overall cost of filing Chapter 11 is 1-2 percent the value of a debtor's assets in larger cases and 4-5 percent in smaller cases.

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asheville bankruptcy lawyer

Bankruptcy Exemptions

Each state has laws that make some types of property off-limited to "unsecured" creditors (creditors with no lien on your property). Credit cards and medical bills are the most common types of unsecured debt. These creditors cannot force you to sell exempt property to pay off debts. Even if the creditor wins a judgment against you in court and takes the steps to attach a "judgment lien" to your property, you are still entitled to your exemption amount before sale proceeds are distributed to an unsecured creditor. If you sell your property, the creditor has a right to have its lien paid by the proceeds before you receive anything. If all of your property is protected by exemption laws, you are said to be judgment proof. In this situation, the case is known as a "no asset" bankruptcy. In the state of North Carolina's exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $35,000 of their home or other real property covered by the homestead exemption, as well as a $3,500 automobile exemption. North Carolina also permits the doubling of the homestead exemption for married couples filing joint bankruptcy. Exemptions only protect your property's equity -- the difference between your property's value and what you owe to secured creditors.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Bankruptcy is a federal law that permits people to get protection from their creditors in order to get a "fresh start" and preserve their assets. Some bankruptcy cases are reorganization cases, which restructure debt and permit repayments, and some cases are liquidation cases, which eliminate the debt and allow retention of a certain amount of property.

Chapter 7 is a liquidation case, which discharges all the debtor's debt, with some exceptions. A trustee of the court is appointed to liquidate the debtor's property and to take the money and pay it to the creditors. The debtor is allowed to keep that property which falls under the limits provided by the North Carolina State Homestead Exemption. Creditors who hold liens on the debtor's property continue to hold those liens and will have to be paid or be permitted to repossess their collateral.

Chapter 13 is a reorganization case, in which the debtor makes a monthly payment to a bankruptcy trustee over a period of three to five years, at which time the debtor receives a discharge of debt. A Chapter 13 case works best for debtors who would lose something with a Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy since the debtor in the Chapter 13 case gets to retain all of his or her property.

Chapter 11 is a business reorganization case in which a business gets relief from its creditors while it gets approval of a repayment plan.

Each case is different depending on the amount and type of debt, the value of assets, and the client's objectives. The only way to get a complete answer is to review all of the facts with the bankruptcy attorney.

There are no eligibility requirements for filing bankruptcy, although generally speaking anyone who cannot pay his or her bills as they fall due is a candidate for bankruptcy. With some exceptions, the fact that you filed bankruptcy in the past will not keep you from filing bankruptcy now.

In a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 11 case, you are allowed to keep all of your property, since you are repaying the creditors under a court-approved plan. In a Chapter 7 case, you may keep all property that is exempt under the North Carolina Homestead Exemption, as well as that property which has liens which you are paying.

The North Carolina Homestead Exemption provides that a debtor may keep $35,000 in equity in real estate which serves as the residence, $3,500 in value in a motor vehicle, $5,000 in household goods, and an additional $5,000 in other property depending on how much is claimed in residential real estate. The amounts are doubled if a husband and wife file bankruptcy together, and certain other types of property may also be exempt.

In a Chapter 13 reorganization case, usually, the secured creditors are provided for in the debtor's plan and are paid with the money deposited with the Chapter 13 Trustee. In a Chapter 7 case, the secured creditors are paid directly by the debtor, unless the debtor decides to allow the creditor to repossess the property.

There is nothing worse that you can do to your credit than filing a bankruptcy case. For most people, their credit is already bad due to pending foreclosures and repossessions. A bankruptcy will not improve your credit, although it does provide a way of managing debt so that credit, over time, may be improved.

The fact that you filed bankruptcy cannot be used to discriminate against you in employment.

Cosigners are protected in Chapter 13 cases, but in Chapter 7 cases the cosigner may be called on to pay the debt which has been discharged in the Chapter 7 case.

Many, many bankruptcies are filed to stop foreclosures. So long as the bankruptcy petition is filed before the day the real estate is sold, and in some cases within 10 days thereafter, the foreclosure can be stopped. Bankruptcy can also stop a repossession. A court order is entered automatically upon filing of the bankruptcy case which prohibits creditors from taking any action to collect their debts, including repossessions.

From the time you file a bankruptcy case, no one can contact you for any reason regarding your debts, and it is a violation of the bankruptcy law for them to do so.

Filing bankruptcy is like filing any other legal action and is a matter of public record. On the other hand, very few, if any, newspapers publish bankruptcy filings, and the only people who will be contacted about the bankruptcy directly will be the ones to whom you owe money.

The bankruptcy case begins and ends, in many ways, on the day that it is filed. That is the day that the relief from creditors begins, and it is the established date for determination of assets and debts. The bankruptcy "fresh start" is effective as of the day the bankruptcy is filed.

In all cases, the debtor is required to meet informally with the bankruptcy trustee. This meeting usually takes no more than five minutes and unless there are some problems in the case, this will be the only time the debtor is required to attend any court hearings or appear anywhere.

The only way that it is possible to be denied a discharge of debt is to commit fraud in connection with your bankruptcy or otherwise abuse the bankruptcy process.

Most taxes, child support and alimony, student loans, and certain debts incurred as a result of fraudulent behavior are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy case.