The Preliminary Questions That Will Help You Decide
If you’ve overextended yourself to the point where creditors are threatening wage garnishment, foreclosure or repossession, you may be asking yourself, “Should I file bankruptcy?” Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. On the one hand, even bankruptcy attorneys will tell you that bankruptcy ought to be your last resort option. On the other hand, in certain circumstances, bankruptcy may be the only workable solution to gain you a fresh start. Indeed, many people who end up filing wish they would have filed earlier. The only way to know for sure is to speak with an attorney who can review your financial situation and give you a professional opinion. Meanwhile, here are five questions you should ask yourself before you file.
How is your current credit rating?
If you choose to go forward with bankruptcy, the fact that you filed will be on your record for 10 years. If you have a good credit score now, then this is certainly something that weighs heavily against bankruptcy as a debt relief option. More often than not however, your credit’s probably not all that great already. That is to say, if you’re considering bankruptcy, you probably have a lot of debt and have missed or at least been late making payments on some. Thus, you may determine that the credit consequences associated with bankruptcy aren’t all that bad, in light of its many benefits.
What are your priorities?
Understand that if you choose to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of your non-exempt property (defined as assets with value exceeding state allowed limits) is subject to sale by a trustee. Exemptions vary from state to state but in some instances your home may not qualify for an exemption. Knowing what your priorities and future goals are will help in determining whether or not bankruptcy is an ideal solution for you. List your priorities in order of importance, for instance:
- Providing for your family – Basic Necessities
- Getting out of Debt
- Saving for Retirement
What are your other options?
For many people, another option for those who can’t or don’t want to file bankruptcy, is an attorney negotiated debt settlement. The debt settlement process involves having an attorney negotiate large reductions in your debt (both principal & interest), to reach a settlement of the debt, allowing you to move on with your life without the debt. All of this is done without bankruptcy. Our attorneys at McCarthy Law focus on providing debt settlement services for our clients. We offer a free consultation and debt analysis to see if you fit our program. Call today.
How much debt am I in, relative to my income?
Determining how much debt you have in relation to your income will shed light on whether or not you will be able to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time. To give you some perspective, the Federal Reserve reports that the typical person filing bankruptcy owes more than one and a half times their annual income in short-term, high-interest debt.
At some point in our lives, financial problems happen to the best of us. The important thing is that you are doing something proactive about it now. McCarthy Law can evaluate your debt and whether you’re a good candidate for bankruptcy or debt settlement instead. If you are a candidate for bankruptcy, and you want to file bankruptcy, then McCarthy will connect you with a local bankruptcy attorney. But many people don’t qualify for bankruptcy or bankruptcy is not a good option for them for a variety of reasons and debt settlement is then a better choice.
Kevin Fallon McCarthy
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