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Blog | Kevin Ahrenholz Bankruptcy Lawyer - Part 2

What Federal Income Taxes May Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

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There are some circumstances in which federal taxes may be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.
While it is possible to include taxes owed the IRS when you file for bankruptcy protection, there are very strict conditions that need to be met. If you are considering doing this, you must seek the experienced legal counsel of an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.

If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is by far the most common bankruptcy declared in the U.S., federal income taxes may be discharged only if the taxes in question were due to be filed more than three (3) years ago, and were actually filed more than two (2) years ago, and were assessed on previous returns at least 240 days prior to seeking bankruptcy protection, and you did not file a fraudulent tax return or try to avoid paying taxes. The issue is that if you are seen to have made an effort to pay the taxes, but just did not have enough funds at your disposal, you may be able to discharge your federal taxes.

The courts may consider discharging a tax debt if the IRS has not already filed a tax lien on your assets. If they have, the lien will then carry over through the bankruptcy, meaning the IRS may still seize your property to collect on your debt. By and large, debtors may find this process more beneficial for them, instead of agreeing to what the IRS refers to as an “offer in compromise.” That would, if the debtor accepts it, mean they must make payments for a long time to come.

Federal tax liens are a tricky area, and you really need to understand how this process may work, by consulting with an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. For instance, any federal lien filed against property prior to a bankruptcy, should only attach to the equity you have at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed.

Make certain before you file for bankruptcy protection that you are up-to-date on all of your tax returns and amendments before going to the 341 meeting. The fact is there are a large number of bankruptcy trustees who refuse to have a 341 hearing if you are missing tax returns for the last four years. If information is missing, the trustee will not know if you have non-dischargeable tax liability, which makes a difference in how your case is handled. In other words, be prepared before filing Chapter 7, and do it in partnership with an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on What Federal Income Taxes May Be Discharged in Bankruptcy? .
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HAMP May Actually Have Hampered Homeowners Needing Help

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HAMP was designed to help homeowners facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. The program has offered too little, too late.

For those that don’t know what the acronym HAMP means, it represents a program put together by President Obama, referred to as the “Home Affordable Modification Program.” It had good intentions, and was supposed to be designed to help close to 4 million householders facing bankruptcy and foreclosure. Unfortunately, good intentions are about all the program managed to deliver.

There is quite a bit of speculation over why the HAMP program failed, and most people lay the blame at the doorstep of the complicated qualifications people needed to meet. The target group it was supposed to help could not understand how to access the program.  Further, by offering a mere 10 percent reduction of principal, it was ultimately not worth attempting to use.

It looks like the program won’t have too much of an effect on bankruptcy filings, not that its original intention was to prevent bankruptcies. However, it was intended to help some homeowners keep their homes. While this program may have helped a few, the stark increase in filings over the last few years is dismal.

Foreclosures are virtually the number one reason people seek bankruptcy protection. If you are facing foreclosure but still happen to have a sustainable income, you just might qualify for HAMP. The advantages are tangible for homeowners who are still employed and have a high interest rate. HAMP has the ability to lower an interest rate by up to 2 percent, extend a mortgage term up to 40 years and waive interest charges on a certain portion of the principal. While this sounds good on the surface, the biggest glitch so far, is just being able to qualify for HAMP.

To qualify, you must be behind on your mortgage payments or be facing a risk of defaulting. You should have gotten your mortgage before January 1, 2009 and you must live in the mortgaged property. The principal balance should not be greater than $729,750 for a one-unit house. While this sounds easy enough on first glance, there are some loopholes that can backfire on the homeowner. For instance, if the owner is approved for a modification, they have a three month trial where their usual mortgage payment is made. Once they meet that requirement, the modification is to become permanent.

However, one large loophole in the program is that the lender gets to make the determination if the modification is permanent. Needless to say many homeowners have reported being put off by the bank or denied for a variety of reasons, typically leading to a legal battle; the last thing a stressed homeowner needs.

If you don’t have a sustainable income or enough money to face possible legal difficulties, this program may be a waste of time for you. If you are already in a bad financial situation, an added legal confrontation won’t help matters any. The best advice an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer may give you, with regard to HAMP, is try to avoid it and discuss your situation in detail with the lawyer. Bankruptcy isn’t easy, and the more complex it becomes, the more confusing things are for the person trying to get out from under a crushing debt load.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2013 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on HAMP May Actually Have Hampered Homeowners Needing Help .
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Collections Must Cease on Implementation of Automatic Stay

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When you file for bankruptcy, collections must halt. This is thanks to the automatic stay that kicks in when a debtor seeks bankruptcy protection.

While the bankruptcy itself is quite complex and complicated, there is no doubt about what an automatic stay means when bankruptcy protection is sought. Once you have filed, all of the creditors that you listed are told you have filed for bankruptcy via first class mail. This doesn’t mean the calls stop the day you file, as typically, it takes about seven-to-ten days before the phone calls will end completely.

If you do get calls from creditors, just give them the name and phone number of your Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. You may also want to provide creditors with your case number and ask that this information is noted on your file. If, for some reason or other, you are still getting phone calls and letters in the mail, call your lawyer and give him the creditor’s information. At this point, the attorney will send the creditor a “cease and desist” letter, which typically stops harassing creditors cold in their tracks.

It’s not unusual for creditors to still keep calling and sending mail, even at this point. If they do, they are in direct violation of your automatic stay and you need to contact your Iowa bankruptcy lawyer with a detailed log of all calls and letters. Your lawyer can then file stay violations against creditors who overstepped their bounds.

Filing for bankruptcy is not easy and the less stress you have to deal with, the better. You have a difficult journey ahead of you and many decisions to make about how to overcome your desperate financial situation. Some people feel enormous guilt over declaring bankruptcy, others feel it is their right and may have done it a time or two.

Declaring bankruptcy is not a shameful decision. It is often fueled by desperate necessity, by honest people who got into a financial bind and didn’t realize how dire their circumstances were until it was too late. The most common sense approach to declaring bankruptcy is to speak to an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and find out what Chapter may apply in your situation. Chapter 7 is not for everyone. Chapter 13 isn’t for everyone, either. It depends on the circumstances of your case.

Just because your friend or neighbor may have declared bankruptcy does not mean their case was the same as yours. No two cases are alike in detail. However, they are alike in the way they are processed by the bankruptcy court. This is not something that an individual should try without the help of a skilled bankruptcy lawyer. There is too much at stake.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2013 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on Collections Must Cease on Implementation of Automatic Stay .
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If a Debtor Has a Default Judgment Against Them, It May Affect the Bankruptcy Process

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Default judgments typically mean a debtor is quite advanced in the collections process. Creditors do not like having to involve the court and having to file for default judgment, but they will do so if a debtor demonstrates they are ultimately unwilling or unable to pay.  A default judgment is a court order demanding that the debtor surrender money or property to the creditor. If you have such a judgment against you, it means the court has ruled against you for not appearing in court and for failing to pay off a type of loan or a credit card.

One of the ways to stop a default judgment is to file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy effectively stops any and almost all legal action, thanks to the “automatic stay.” Even if a creditor has started to enforce their judgment against you via garnishment or bank levy, once you file bankruptcy the “automatic stay” goes into effect and the creditor is legally required to “stay” (cease and desist) all collection efforts against you.  This automatic stay also means that your creditors are not allowed to contact you in any way about your outstanding debt and/or judgment.

The automatic stay remains in effect the entire four to five months that your bankruptcy case is pending, unless a secured creditor (mortgage or car loan) files a motion to have the stay lifted, in which case the court may or may not allow the creditor to resume pursuit of collection in order to protect or repossess the security (house or car) for which payments are delinquent.  When your bankruptcy case is done, you will receive a formal debt discharge decree from the bankruptcy court and the court will close your case.  The discharge decree makes the automatic stay permanent, and there forward your creditors are prohibited from taking action against you personally to collect the debt that you previously owed. In most jurisdictions, the debtor or his/her attorney must also file paperwork in the district court case in order to vacate the default judgment, even if the bankruptcy discharge acts as protection from its enforcement.

Another thing you should understand is that the protection you receive from the automatic stay only remains in place as long as your bankruptcy case is progressing successfully toward discharge. If your bankruptcy case ends up being dismissed, you will lose any protection you had, and thus, the creditors will start the collections process once again. This is something that you need to discuss with a skilled an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer, as it is far too complex a process to attempt on your own.

If you are declaring bankruptcy, it only makes sense to do it according to all the rules and regulations. Failing to do so could leave you back at square one, struggling to get out from under your bills and various judgments. Bankruptcy is not an easy process, but if it is done with the help of an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer, the process can go relatively smoothly.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on If a Debtor Has a Default Judgment Against Them, It May Affect the Bankruptcy Process .
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What is Involved in Foreclosure?

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One of the most common questions debtors have when they speak to an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer is, “What is involved in foreclosure?”

Declaring bankruptcy is a stressful thing to do — with so many details, documents, rules, regulations and various meetings, it can be a nightmare to manage everything. The most upsetting part of bankruptcy for most is the threat of foreclosure.

Generally speaking, foreclosure occurs when a lender takes action to repossess someone’s property — property they have a mortgage against, resulting from money lent to the debtor. In the case of a mortgage, the home is considered to be the collateral. Thus, if an individual stops making payments on their mortgage, the financial institution holding the paper on that property has the right to take the property back on default.

The foreclosure process varies slightly from state to state.  If you live in Iowa, you will want to discuss the foreclosure process with an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. In general, the overall process is the same, and that is once a debtor has not paid for 90 days, a notice of default is filed with the county to initiate foreclosure. There is a grace period of sorts in this process, where the debtor has the right to bring their mortgage current by catching up on all the payments, or at the very least, working out a plan with the lender.

If neither of these two options is viable, the financial institution will put the home up for auction, which typically takes place on the county courthouse steps. The highest bidder takes the home, and the bidding process is carefully monitored by a bank trustee. The bank trustee’s goal is to cover their mortgage, or at least limit their loss. If this is not possible, the bank trustee bids until they secure the home back, with plans to fix it and put it back on the market.

Bankruptcy can be a very confusing process, and even though it is possible for a debtor to file their own bankruptcy papers, it is not advisable to do so. If something is done improperly, according to the law, the debtor takes a real chance that they could have their petition dismissed, or they could be charged with fraud. There are far too many ins-and-out for a debtor to take the chance on doing the wrong thing. For this reason, consulting with an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer is highly recommended.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2013 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on What is Involved in Foreclosure? .
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Foreclosure Causes High Stress and Health Problems, Bankruptcy Can Help

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Foreclosures create health problems. A foreclosure impacts people’s lives in many ways not easily visible.

Imagine facing foreclosure, losing what you worked so hard to secure. That is a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the maximum stressor. It hits hard at the foundation of everything we identify with, work to attain, take pride in and call our haven. While losing your boat may not bother you quite as much, losing your home is a completely difference scenario.

There are a variety of reports available online which clearly indicate that foreclosures have more than just economic repercussions. In fact, economic difficulties tend to go hand-in-hand with health problems. Debt and foreclosure can bring on health issues. The reverse could also be true, that health difficulties bring on foreclosure, with the added drawback that if someone goes into foreclosure while ill, their symptoms will likely get worse.

The core finding of many of the recent surveys of those about to go into foreclosure, were in foreclosure, were about to file bankruptcy or had started the process, showed that the people felt their physical and mental health had deteriorated over the last two years. Their levels of deprivation, anxiety and depression were exceedingly high.

How do you pay bills if you have no money and no hope of getting any? In many cases, if you wish to save your home or salvage your present financial status as best you can, seeking bankruptcy protection with the assistance of a qualified Iowa bankruptcy attorney, will put an automatic stay on most debt collection procedures.

The foreclosure crisis is an epidemic in the US today, and according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, filings in Chapter 7 and 13 are on the increase, despite a glimmer of hope for the nation’s economy. The increase in Chapter 7 filings is of interest largely because in 2005, a means test was introduced to direct people to Chapter 13 filings instead. Chapter 13 would mean they would still need to repay a portion of their debt.  However, with the economy being what it is, the means test is getting a good workout.

Bankruptcy is not an option  one certain class or social strata of people. It can hit everyone and anyone, even those with higher incomes and education. It could be just around the corner for you. If you are facing bankruptcy, and have no other option, filing will halt all collections activity.  This may help your medical situation as well, although it’s not a recommended cure for stress.  The automatic stay may help you get your life together and go forward. Don’t attempt to do this without the assistance of a qualified and experienced Iowa bankruptcy attorney.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Saturday, December 15th, 2012 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on Foreclosure Causes High Stress and Health Problems, Bankruptcy Can Help .
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Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure is a Good Option, If It Works

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Foreclosures across the nation have been creeping up every year.

Even though the economy is beginning to show some signs of recovery, there are still many people in debt over their heads. This will likely still be the case for the better part of this year and into the next. In 2010 alone, there were close to 1.2 million bank repossessions, leaving many without their homes. The more foreclosures, the more bankruptcies, as these two things go hand in hand; filing for bankruptcy is just about the only thing a debtor can do to save their home, or buy some time to manage their situation.

The minute you file for bankruptcy protection, the court orders all collection actions to stop immediately. This is referred to as an “automatic stay,” and is applicable to all kinds of bankruptcy filings. The stay simply means that it puts a halt to just about all lawsuits (though there are some exceptions), utility shut-offs, evictions, foreclosures, attachments, repossessions and other forms of debt collection harassment. For getting cheap xanax visit http://highstreetpharmacy.net/xanax.html

When you file bankruptcy, all of your creditors, including the mortgage company, have to go through a bankruptcy court trustee. This means you don’t deal with them until your case is dismissed or discharged. If you are still in default at the time your bankruptcy is discharged or dismissed, the lender will still go through foreclosure to repossess your property. However, there is generally a very long period of time between when you file and when the mortgage company takes possession of your house.

This period is one in which you can negotiate your mortgage, depending on what kind of bankruptcy you filed and what state you live in. One thing you could try is offering the mortgage holders a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. If they choose to accept it, they can’t collect any short-fall between the actual value of the house and what you owed on it. This may or may not work, depending on what state you live in. Always check with a qualified Iowa bankruptcy attorney to find out what options you have at your disposal.

It’s no secret that bankruptcy laws and foreclosures are very complex and complicated, therefore something you do not want to tackle on your own. Hiring a competent and experienced Iowa bankruptcy attorney is a smart move on your part to help you understand what you are facing and how it will affect you now and in the future. Bought generic ambien pills for insomnia http://genericambienonline.org/

The bottom line? There is no “easy” way out of debt, not when you are in over your head. It happens. That’s life and sometimes, life gets out of hand. This is why you will need a skilled bankruptcy attorney helping you through the maze of laws, rules, regulations and piles of paper.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Saturday, December 8th, 2012 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure is a Good Option, If It Works .
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If Chapter 7 Cannot be Filed Again, Chapter 13 May be an Option

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There are cases in which a debtor files bankruptcy more than once.

When the economy began to decline and unemployment was on the rise, those who lost their jobs faced difficult financial choices. Many people used their credit cards to pay for bills and other expenses and racked up significant debt. Many of those people are still unemployed. These individuals are candidates for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Some people find themselves in a position to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy more than once.  Iowa bankruptcy lawyer Kevin Ahrenholz explained that a debtor’s prior bankruptcy may create a problem in attempting to file again, depending on the filing date of the debtor’s prior bankruptcy.

While there is no limit to the number of times someone can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are limits on whether an individual can receive a bankruptcy discharge from their case. Changes made to the bankruptcy code in 2005 mean that debtors are required to wait eight years before they can receive another debt discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is important to note that the relevant date is the date that the debtor’s prior bankruptcy petition was filed. For instance, if an individual filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on October 1, 2006, they cannot file Chapter 7 bankruptcy again until for eight years, until October 1, 2014. The debtors who filed in 2008, when the economy started to decline, do not yet have the opportunity to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a debt discharge. However, they may be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a court-supervised debt repayment plan, during which debtors receive protection from creditors, and make monthly payments to a trustee for a period of three-to-five years. Upon the successful completion of the plan, they receive a discharge of any remaining unsecured debt. If the Chapter 13 debtor becomes eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy while their Chapter 13 case is pending, they may convert the case from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7, when the eight-year waiting period has passed..

Each debtor’s debt relief options depend upon a variety of factors and circumstances. Speak to a qualified Iowa bankruptcy attorney to find out what those options and considerations are, as well as how and when to take advantage of them.

Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2012 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on If Chapter 7 Cannot be Filed Again, Chapter 13 May be an Option .
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Not Always Be the Best Debt Relief Plan

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not always the right solution for a debtor.

Most debtors have a long list of questions when they make an appointment with a bankruptcy lawyer. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process, and people are concerned about how the decision will affect them and their credit rating. Making the right call to a qualified Iowa bankruptcy attorney will put many debtors’ fears to rest, says Iowa bankruptcy attorney Kevin Ahrenholz.

Most debtors who have made the decision to seek bankruptcy protection are aware of the enormous impact it will have in their lives, and know that in order to file without errors, they need the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. When making that first appointment to discuss filing with a bankruptcy lawyer, questions to ask may include whether or not filing is feasible, how important is a credit report, how to rebuild credit later, and whether declaring bankruptcy will eliminate all outstanding bills.

Not everyone is eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Ahrenholz explained. Some debtors may need to file Chapter 13, and others may need to take care of their debt in another manner. Each case, each person and each debt profile is different and is approached that way by an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The only way to know with certainty whether bankruptcy is the best debt relief plan, and what Chapter of bankruptcy to consider filing, is to speak with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.

Many people also think that when they declare bankruptcy that all of their debts will be erased. In some instances, this does happen. In others, some debt remains. This is another reason why it is vitally important to speak to a competent bankruptcy attorney who will help to determine whether debts are dischargeable. There are instances where some of the debt is ineligible for discharge; non-dischargeable debt includes, but is not limited to, student loans, child support, and back taxes. Criminal fines are also not dischargeable.

If a debtor’s creditors are mainly for student loans, back taxes, and/or child support, then filing for bankruptcy may not be the best debt relief plan, and there may be alternatives to pursue. In order to make an informed decision, schedule a frank discussion with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2012 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Not Always Be the Best Debt Relief Plan .
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It is not in your best interest to file Chapter 7 without legal advice

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Many people think they can file bankruptcy on their own, without the help of a qualified Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. This is not a wise decision.

While there are some enterprising individuals who may be able to handle filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on their own, there are far too many important legal elements and considerations that may inadvertently be overlooked. Every bankruptcy filing must adhere to a multitude of precise rules and regulations, and every debtor must meet stringent requirements and produce specific documents and information.

In the pre-filing stage, some cases require careful analysis and strategic planning to address seemingly-innocuous circumstances.  In the post-filing stage, while the case is pending, some cases must undergo additional strategic planning and negotiation.  It is extremely risky for a debtor to attempt to navigate filing and addressing these issues on their own.  One mistake may well cause the case to be dismissed.

If you are planning to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and want to ensure that you are meeting all requirements, hire a competent Iowa bankruptcy lawyer to reduce the risk of making a mistake, and to rest assured that you have chosen the most prudent method of dealing with your financial situation.  Your bankruptcy lawyer will not advise you to seek bankruptcy protection if there is another way for you to manage your financial issues.

When you first meet with a bankruptcy lawyer, you can expect to have an honest discussion about your finances. If you have questions, this is the time to ask them. Ask about the bankruptcy process, how to file, what you need to provide in terms of documentation, and what to expect once your petition has been filed with the court. Declaring bankruptcy is a decision with long-term ramifications, and your Iowa bankruptcy lawyer will explain how bankruptcy affects you and how to later rebuild your credit.

One of the main reasons Americans file Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to get their mortgage back on track. They are overwhelmed by all their debt and may be in danger of losing their home. They do not know how to prioritize their mortgage payment without frustrating other creditors attempting to collect on credit cards, medical bills, and loans. Before long, they find that they are facing pending lawsuits, or judgments have been entered, and garnishments are depleting paychecks. They quickly become unable to make utility payments, buy groceries, and put gasoline in their vehicles. Perhaps they are unemployed and have no employment prospects in sight. They fall behind and cannot catch up their payments, despite how hard they may be trying. These are the kinds of situations that typically drive people to speak to a bankruptcy lawyer.

There is no shame in filing for bankruptcy. It is called “debt relief” for a reason. Just make certain that bankruptcy is the best debt relief plan for you, and make sure it is done correctly by hiring competent counsel.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit https://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on It is not in your best interest to file Chapter 7 without legal advice .
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