FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – What is Bankruptcy? What is Chapter 7? What is Chapter 13? Who can file for bankruptcy? Can I save my home from foreclosure by filing bankruptcy? Do You take payments? Below I answer my client’s Frequently Asked Questions about all things ‘bankruptcy’ for residents in Orange County and beyond.
Orange County bankruptcy attorney, Michael D. Franco, is a Certified Legal Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Michael has 23+ years of experience with Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
FAQ – What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a federal law where persons (“debtors”) seek to discharge certain financial obligations. This means that certain debts can be discharged and creditors can not seek payment in the future. In order to qualify for this relief, debtors must list all debts and all assets, and make disclosures regarding recent financial affairs.
FAQ – What is Chapter 7?
Often is called “straight” bankruptcy because it seeks to discharge the obligation to pay back specific unsecured debts.
FAQ – What is Chapter 13?
Is “wage earner” repayment plan. This is similar to a Chapter 11 corporate reorganization, but is designed for individuals with lower debt amounts and regular income.
FAQ – Who can file for bankruptcy?
Individuals or corporations may file for bankruptcy. There are limitations on who can file what chapter (reorganization or straight bankruptcy) and additional restrictions on qualifying for certain chapters based upon debt amounts or income. Please contact my office to make an appointment to review your options and eligibility.
FAQ – Can I save my home from foreclosure by filing bankruptcy?
Perhaps – isn’t that a lawyerly answer. It depends on what the status of your house – is it in foreclosure? How far behind on payments are you? Is a foreclosure sale set yet? Waiting or hoping for a reprieve does not address the possibility of losing your home. Contact my office ASAP to make an appointment to discuss your options.
FAQ – How does bankruptcy affect my family and my credit?
Bankruptcy requires disclosure of your financial information. It will adversely affect your credit as it indicates that certain creditors you owe will take a “loss” and not be repaid. This does not mean you will lose all credit, only that you must rebuild your credit rating over time. The idea is that bankruptcy will provide a fresh start to the honest but unfortunate debtor.
FAQ – Will I lose everything?
Not likely. Every debtor or potential bankruptcy filer must carefully review their circumstances. We recommend meeting with our office to review and protect your assets – to the fullest extent possible. By claiming the proper protection, known as an exemption, you may protect a set amount of assets by dollar amount or category. Claiming the proper exemptions for assets is very important and must be reviewed with an attorney. Some states hold that a non-lawyer choosing which exemptions to use in preparing someone else’s bankruptcy is the practice of law. My office will provide careful review and analysis of exemptions – you don’t want surprises and neither do we.
FAQ – What is needed to file bankruptcy?
Debtors must complete a pre-filing course in credit counseling givenby an approved counseling provider. Debtors must provide complete financial information to allow our office to review and prepare the bankruptcy paperwork to be filed wiht the court. Debtors must also appear for one hearing before a bankruptcy trustee and complete a second course in financial management. Of course debtors must also pay the attorneys fees and filing fees required.
FAQ – I’m ready to file for bankruptcy, what do I need?
Contact my office ASAP to make an appointment to discuss your options.
FAQ – Do You take payments?
Yes. I can and do make payment arrangements with my clients. I’m here to help people solve their current financial circumstances so they can start looking ahead to a new, less-stresful life.
FAQ – Ok – So what happens after bankruptcy?
Will I ever have credit again? Yes – you can rebuild it overtime.
FAQ – How long will this stay on my credit report?
Approximately 10 years – but it should be of declining importance over time.
FAQ – What if creditors contact me after the bankruptcy?
They are not supposed to – contact my office if you have any post-filing contact with creditors – they may be in violation of a federal injunction against attempts to collect a discharged debt.
Bankruptcy is all I do. I know what I’m doing. I’ve become very good at bankruptcy law. I’ve had the awesome pleasure to help 1,000’s of individuals, couples and businesses get through their financial crisis and then watch them afterwards embrace a better, brighter future. Let’s see if I can ‘make your problem MY problem’ starting right now! If I am able to help you, then maybe you too can get the first good night’s sleep you’ve been missing for a long, long time.