Brainerd, Bemidji, Wadena, Aitkin, Crosby and surrounding areas Bankruptcy Attorney
How about a fresh start? Get out from under your bills, stop creditors from taking money out of your pay check and bank account, and stop foreclosure of your home. Call to schedule a FREE, no obligation phone or in-person consultation!
We handle emergency and short notice filings, which will stop foreclosure sales and will stop creditors from taking money out of your pay check and bank accounts. In some cases, you can remove a second mortgage on your home.
We fix troubled bankruptcies! If for any reason you have started a bankruptcy with another attorney or a ‘do it yourself’ legal service, and things have went wrong, we can help! The law office of Ed Shaw has stepped into many troubled bankruptcy situations and set things back on the right course.
The law office of Attorney Edward R Shaw has been handling bankruptcies for over 10 years, and has a strong reputation for handling bankruptcies competently and with compassion. Affordable flat fees get your bankruptcy done right the first time!
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is the process in which an individual, couple, corporation, or farm obtains relief from all or part of their debt from the court.
What about debt consolidation?
You have probably seen television ads promoting debt consolidation as an easy way to settle your debt for pennies on the dollar. Some of the ads suggest that new federal laws give you the right to consolidate debts or require lenders to discount your debt. That is not true; credit card companies have no obligation to settle debt through a debt consolidation program. Your credit card debt will not be discharged by credit counseling or any other means, except bankruptcy. Many debt consolidation companies have been investigated or closed down by federal and state agencies for fraud and deceptive practices. Dozens of my clients have tried debt consolidation before filing for bankruptcy; it has not worked for any of them and most of them have lost thousands of dollars in fees paid to the debt consolidation companies while their debt increased. If you are considering debt consolidation please check with the State Attorney General’s office or a reputable non-profit organization such as Lutheran Social Services.
Can anyone file bankruptcy? What are the different bankruptcy chapters?
Individuals and couples who have income at or below the state median may file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Individuals and couples who have income above the state median may file Chapter 13. Individuals with small businesses who will not be continuing to operate the business or who have a business with minimal assets can usually file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 concern businesses and small farms, which are highly specialized cases.
What is Chapter 7?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a discharge of most debt. This does not include child/spousal support, student loans in most cases, some taxes, and mortgages or car loans if you are keeping your home or vehicle. In almost all cases, you can keep your home and vehicle, however, if you have a loan on your vehicle or home you will need to continue paying the loan in order to keep the property.
What about student loans?
Generally, student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. However, in cases of extreme hardship, it is possible to obtain a discharge of student loans. Please direct any questions about student loans or possible discharge of student loans to the attorney at your consultation.
What is Chapter 13?
Chapter 13 is where you pay back part, or in rare cases, all of your debt, without interest.
What is lien stripping?
If you have more than one mortgage on your house and your house is worth less than the first mortgage, you can remove any second or third mortgages on your house in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This will allow you to keep your house and only pay your first mortgage.
Why file Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7?
If you have an income above the state average, you will be required to file Chapter 13. A Chapter 13 will also allow you to become caught up on your car loans and mortgages if you are behind in payments. Chapter 13 cases allow you to keep more property than Chapter 7 cases and may allow you to eliminate second and third mortgages or strip liens.
Filing bankruptcy will:
- Provide debt relief. You will no longer owe debts to most or all of your creditors.
- Prevent creditors from taking any further collection efforts.
- Debt collectors must stop calling you, cannot garnish your wages, cannot take money out of your bank account, and can no longer attempt to collect on discharged debts.
However, you may want to pay some debts that could be discharged. You may choose to voluntarily repay some debt, even though it is legally possible to discharge it during bankruptcy. For example, debtors may choose to pay car loans or mortgages if they want to keep the car or house. You may also choose to voluntarily repay some debts that are discharged in bankrupcty. For example, you might voluntarily repay a family doctor whom you depend upon for medical care or a family member who loaned you money after this debt is discharged.
Will I lose my house and/or vehicle?
In almost all cases you can keep your house and vehicle if you are willing to continue paying on those debts. Sometimes if the car or house are unaffordable or if you owe more than they are worth, you may choose to voluntarily give up ownership so that you no longer have to pay on the debt. Most Chapter 7 filers are able to keep all of their property.
Will bankruptcy wreck my credit?
If your credit is good when you file bankruptcy, it will have a negative impact on your credit. Most people considering bankruptcy have bad credit or will soon have bad credit if they do not resolve their debt. If your credit is already bad, it will generally not get any worse if you file bankrupcty. After filing bankruptcy, your credit will rebuild if you stay current on your bills. If you don’t file bankruptcy and have unpaid bills, it will be difficult or impossible to rebuild your credit.
What about the new bankruptcy law?
The bankruptcy law changed in 2005, but it did not make it more difficult to file bankruptcy. More people are now filing bankruptcy than in the early 2000s.
What is the cost for filing bankruptcy?
At the Law Office of Attorney Edward R. Shaw, Chapter 7 attorney fees are $1,593.00 and the court filing fee is $306.00. The total cost is $1,899.00 for most cases. In rare cases, an unusually complex Chapter 7 may have higher fees. In some cases of extreme hardship the total cost may be as low as $1,506.00, including attorney fees and the court filing fee.
Chapter 13 attorney’s fees are $2,500.00 to $3,000.00 and the court filing fee is $281.00. The total cost is $2,781.00 to $3,281.00. Chapter 13 cases are more complex and require more work than Chapter 7 cases. An unusually complex Chapter 13 may have higher fees.
Why shouldn’t I use an online or paralegal bankruptcy service?
There are individuals advertising bankruptcy services that aren’t licensed attorneys. Only a licensed attorney can represent you in bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy is handled by the federal court, which has very strict rules about filling out the paperwork. Mistakes and failure to follow court rules can have serious consequences including dismissal, loss of property, and, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution. I have filed hundreds of bankruptcies and will make sure to prepare and handle your bankruptcy correctly. If there are any problems with your bankruptcy, I will stand behind you and make sure that they are taken care of.
Attention Same Sex Married Couples: you now may be able to file jointly in Minnesota! (For more information, click here)
If you have questions about any type of bankruptcy, feel free to call and set up a no cost, no obligation office or phone consultation appointment with my office. Home visits to draft your bankruptcy documents are available!
Disclaimer - I have tried to make this guide helpful for anyone considering filing bankruptcy, but the rules in my profession require that I tell you that this guide is not a substitute for an attorney or professional legal advice. Every individual situation is different and how the rules in this guide will apply to your situation may vary. You should receive competent legal advice from our office before making any legal decisions. The decision on whether or not to file bankruptcy is an individual and personal one. No lawyer or other professional either can or should advise someone on whether or not to file for bankruptcy. I can inform you on the process of a bankruptcy and help make the process as fair and simple as possible for you, but the decision on whether to file bankruptcy is yours alone to make.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.