Bankruptcy is defined as a legal process that involves a person or business entity that is incapable to settle unpaid debts. Filing for bankruptcy is usually initiated by the debtor and imposed by a court order. It is the last resort of a bankrupt person to try to stay out of debt. Before you declare bankruptcy, you must know how to choose the most appropriate bankruptcy type that will solve your financial problems. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the two common types of bankruptcy. Consult a Wheeling Bankruptcy Attorney to find out which type of bankruptcy is right for you.
Bankruptcy filings are generally regulated by federal law; however, bankruptcy laws may vary from state to state. In West Virginia, there are certain guidelines that you need to follow in filing bankruptcy
You are required to undergo credit counseling sessions within six months before you file bankruptcy and debt management courses after bankruptcy. You may take these sessions from one of the accredited credit counseling agencies by the United States Trustee in West Virginia.
Declaring bankruptcy does not require you to give up everything that you own; however, not all your assets can be fully protected from liquidation. West Virginia state bankruptcy exemption rules determine the properties and assets that you can protect when you decide to file bankruptcy Chapter 7. These rules will also help you calculate the amount that you need to repay to your creditors when you file bankruptcy Chapter 13. If you will choose to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your appointed bankruptcy trustee will liquidate your nonexempt assets to pay off your debts from your creditor. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be allowed to keep your nonexempt assets, but you need to repay the value of your property within three to five years.
West Virginia bankruptcy attorneys usually advise their clients to be reminded that the amount of exemption may be subject to change. It is important to check the updates for adjustments of exemption from time to time.
One of the crucial steps in bankruptcy filing is the completion of paperwork. You may seek legal help from West Virginia bankruptcy lawyers to ensure the accuracy and legality of the information that you will declare. You must download and fill out the free official bankruptcy forms from the website of the United States Courts. You must declare everything that you own and how much you owe to your creditor.
You are expected to voluntarily declare your finances in detail including your bank account records, credit card bills, expenses, monthly income, assets, liabilities, debts, and all financial records on your bankruptcy form.
When you file bankruptcy Chapter 7 or 13, you must undergo the “bankruptcy means test”. This test will determine whether you are eligible for any government welfare or assistance based on your financial status. If the income of your family falls below the median income of West Virginia, it means that you pass the means test. On the other hand, if the income of your family exceeds the median income, you may still be qualified to pass the means test after you deduct a list of the standard expenses.
For Chapter 7, you may use Form 22A or the “Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation” while for Chapter 13, you may use Form 22C or the “Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income”. You can get these forms from the website of the United States Trustee www.justice.gov/ust and select “Bankruptcy Reform” and click “Means Testing Information”.
Once you complete all the requirements, you may file the bankruptcy case in the local bankruptcy court in West Virginia and pay the processing fee. West Virginia has two federal judicial districts. Moreover, there are bankruptcy courts in the Northern District and Southern District of West Virginia. You may opt to file and submit in your hometown where you reside or where you are residing for the past 180 days before the bankruptcy filing.
Bankruptcy is not the end of your life as a businessman. It comes with both advantages and disadvantages. It will help you have a fresh start and live a debt-free life. The bankruptcy filing has to be done systematically and accurately. You need to make sure that all your personal and financial details are declared in your application. When you file a bankruptcy, it is advisable to seek legal help from our experienced West Virginia bankruptcy lawyers. For legal assistance, do not hesitate to contact Thomas E. McIntire and Associates Law Firm. Our competent bankruptcy attorneys are going to help you stand up after you fall.