The bills are piling up and creditors are calling and making timely payments has become difficult. You find yourself in a situation where you have to make a difficult choice – whether to file for bankruptcy or not. There are some issues to consider when making such a decision. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to hire a Santa Ana bankruptcy lawyer to help. Ashish Patel, of the Law Office of Ashish Patel, offers some information regarding your options.

One option is Chapter 7 referred to as a “liquidating” or “straight” bankruptcy. It is the most common as nearly two-thirds of all bankruptcies are Chapter 7, says Patel. Those filing for this type have to list all assets and liabilities. A bankruptcy trustee is then appointed by a bankruptcy court to determine if there are any assets worth liquidating. By submitting to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, the debtor is discharged. This means, he or she is no longer legally liable for unsecured (credit cards, medical bills) debt.

One misconception people have concerning bankruptcy is the status of someone’s home. One might assume, that if someone has a home, the trustee will liquidate it in order to pay off the creditors. In many cases since the housing bubble burst, says Patel, many people who have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Santa Ana are underwater in their mortgages. That is, their homes are worth less than what they owe on their mortgage. Therefore, they are of no interest to a trustee.

Another misconception they have is that those filing for a Santa Ana Chapter 7 bankruptcy are just trying to duck their financial obligations, but Patel doesn’t find that to be true. To ensure that those who file in Santa Ana, Chapter 7 is the appropriate bankruptcy option, courts apply a “means test” which was enacted by Congress in 2005.

Sometimes, a person has too many assets or nets a certain monthly income to be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In those cases, especially when a home is not underwater, the debtor is required to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. According to Patel, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must create a payment plan to pay the creditors of unsecured debt. This plan must be approved by the bankruptcy court. Upon payment, the debtor receives a discharge. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcies take longer, but this is often the better option for those wanting to keep their homes and certain assets.

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy isn’t an easy one, and hiring an attorney who specializes in it can help. For a free consultation to weigh your options, you can contact Ashish Patel.

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