Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Lawyers

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Deciding to file for bankruptcy relief can be a stressful decision, especially when individuals would rather pay their creditors. You may have told a friend that you are considering bankruptcy and your friend may have suggested it is the best way to go, or someone else could have told you it is the worst thing to do. Everyone's situation, income, and assets are different. Our office provides attention to the unique facts and circumstances of our clients' situations to outline a plan of action for each of our clients. We invite you to contact our office to discuss how bankruptcy can help you. Remember, the consultation is free. 1-877-827-9006

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It may be difficult to juggle your busy work schedule to make arrangements to meet at our office. We offer consultations in our office as well as over the telephone to help you save time and money while providing you the opportunity to speak with one of our bankruptcy attorneys about your circumstances. Save your hard-earned money and precious time. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-877-827-9006 or contact us online anytime and speak to one of our dedicated debt relief representatives for more information on how we can help you on the path to financial stability.

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When Should I Consider Filing Bankruptcy?

Many of life's unexpected events, such as illness, divorce, loss of employment, or a wage reduction can be devastating to a family's budget. Our clients consider bankruptcy as the final resort to address the overwhelming debt in their lives. Most individuals describe one of the following events that forced them to consider this option.

  • I missed a few payments on my credit card accounts and one of my creditors sued me.
  • I lost my job and can barely pay the rent and living expenses.
  • My employer is not providing as many hours of work and my income has dropped.
  • My spouse was laid off and our income has been significantly reduced.
  • My health has declined and I am no longer working.
  • I have a fixed income and costs for my day-to-day purchases keep rising.
  • I co-signed a loan for a friend and my friend didn't pay the creditor; the creditor is suing me.
  • I missed a few payments, my interest rates on my credit cards increased and now my monthly payments are so much I cannot even pay the minimum monthly payments.
  • I used my credit card thinking I would pay it off, but I didn't and now the debt is overwhelming.
  • My automobile was repossessed when I missed some payments, but now the creditor is demanding that I pay the remaining balance owed.
  • I missed a few payments on my mortgage and now the bank is trying to foreclose.
  • I missed payments on my automobile loan, but I need to do something to stop a repossession.
  • I tried making payment arrangements with my creditors, but each one is demanding lump sums and they just do not understand that I cannot afford to make those payments.

So, what can you do if you face one of these situations? If you do nothing, then your creditors will determine how, and perhaps when, you will be forced to pay the debt that you owe. Your creditors may sue you for the money that you owe. If a creditor obtains a judgment against you, then it may try to levy, or freeze, your bank account. A creditor may record a judgment as a public record and it will act as a lien against your Pennsylvania real estate.

Discuss your situation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys. Sometimes we can explore opportunities to help you avoid filing bankruptcy. Now is the time for you to take control of your financial future. We invite you to contact our office to discuss how bankruptcy can help you. The consultation is free! 1-877-827-9006.

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Will Bankruptcy Eliminate All of My Debt?

Bankruptcy is an effective measure to eliminate the debt that prevents you from meeting your ability to pay your day-to-day costs of living. It provides a fresh start. However, there are some debts that are not discharged in a bankruptcy case. Student loans, most taxes, criminal restitution, and child support are examples of some types of debt that are not typically discharged by filing bankruptcy.

Additionally, the debts that are connected with a security interest (automobile loans, home loans, motorcycle loans, and even loans for furniture) will remain as effective security interests after your bankruptcy case. If you wish to keep an automobile, a home, or other property that you needed a loan to purchase, then it will be necessary to continue making payments to the creditor.

Some of our clients want to pay debts that are discharged after the bankruptcy case has concluded. Those debts may be voluntarily repaid. Most of the time the debts our clients choose to voluntarily repay are those owed to family members, friends, or a family doctor.

Remember, it is important to disclose all of your debts when discussing your situation with your bankruptcy attorney. No matter how large or small the debt may be, you must tell your attorney about it. This is critical information that our attorneys must have to advise you.

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Will I Lose Any of My Possessions?

Most of our clients are able to keep all of their possessions. Each individual brings a unique set of circumstances and property ownership into a bankruptcy case. However, we use the protection granted by law for individuals pursuing bankruptcy relief to provide broad protection for our clients' possessions.

There are times when individuals may not be able to protect all of their possessions but decide that surrendering some burdensome items will be worth the benefits received. In these circumstances we have the opportunity to analyze the most effective use of your bankruptcy case to provide the most benefit with the least amount of asset loss. Learn more about  bankruptcy exemptions and why they matter.

Our attorneys can guide you through the process to analyze your situation and help you design your best course of action to protect your property. Call our office today to find out how. 1-877-827-9006

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How Will Filing A Bankruptcy Case Help Me?

The moment a bankruptcy case is filed it triggers the "automatic stay." This is an automatic function of legal significance because it requires collection activity to stop immediately. Harassing calls must stop. Lawsuits cannot be filed or pursued. Repossession activity must stop. A foreclosure sale cannot proceed. It is a powerful tool for individuals facing difficult financial times. It can be one of the best tools you use when you start taking control of your financial budget and plan to shed an unbearable debt load.

Individuals can receive a fresh start with a bankruptcy case and avoid the worries of juggling everyday expenses or foregoing necessary expenses, such as healthcare and prescriptions, when they no longer have to pay monthly credit card bills or medical bills. Most of our clients have expressed how much relief they have felt after their cases were filed and are now protected from the relentless collection activities they previously endured.

A bankruptcy case can also help individuals avoid some choices that they may want to avoid if they know about the enduring negative impacts those decisions may produce. For example, specific kinds of retirement plans are treated favorably under the Bankruptcy Code and our clients often protect their entire retirement accounts. Rather than drawing out some retirement funds to pay off a portion of some debts only to end up filing for bankruptcy relief, we can help our clients keep their hard-earned money in their retirement funds while addressing their outstanding debt.

Additionally, we have seen instances where individuals struggling to make payments on credit card debt have taken out second mortgages against their residence by using the hard-earned equity that has accumulated in their residential property. But, soon after obtaining the second mortgage, the individuals realize that not only could they not afford to pay the monthly credit card invoices, but they also cannot afford a second mortgage! Now, their residential property may be in jeopardy.

Contact our office if you are faced with a decision such as these. Our bankruptcy attorneys can discuss your circumstances with you and explain how bankruptcy can help you avoid one of these common mistakes that consumers make. Call us for your free consultation. 1-877-827-9006.

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Do I Have To Go To Court?

Most individuals will attend one meeting with one of our attorneys and a Trustee assigned to their bankruptcy case. The meetings are typically held at County Courthouses and other designated locations that are conveniently selected to minimize travel time to the meeting. The Trustee will conduct the meeting and ask questions to ensure that all of your assets and debts are properly disclosed. No judge will be present.

Depending upon complex matters that may be present in a particular case, it is possible that another meeting will be required or appearances in Court may be necessary. Our attorneys will advise our clients if we foresee these kinds of circumstances so that our clients can plan accordingly. Learn more about  bankruptcy exemptions and why they matter.

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How Much Will it Cost?

The filing fee for a Chapter 7 case is $335.00 and the filing fee for a Chapter 13 case is $310.00. Our office will discuss your finances with you and discuss our attorney fee in an effort to make legal representation affordable for you. Want to know more about bankruptcy and how it can help you take control of your finances? Contact our office today for your free consultation. 1-877-827-9006.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is a particular section of the Bankruptcy Code that a large number of consumers use to address their outstanding debts. A Chapter 7 case usually takes six months to administer from the date of filing until the final decree is issued in the case. It is important to understand that your finances and your assets will be carefully reviewed and it is critical that you provide accurate, complete information for your attorney to properly advise you. A lot of information will be requested from you to assemble your bankruptcy documents; but it is much better to spend the time carefully preparing your documents with your attorney rather than the process taking twice as long to amend your documents.

Learn more about  bankruptcy exemptions and why they matter.

Most of our clients demonstrate a respectable amount of income, but often times the day-to-day living expenses, such as rent or a mortgage payment, automobile payment, utility expenses, and other miscellaneous costs consume nearly all of the household income. Individuals selecting this particular form of bankruptcy can generally afford all of the necessary month expenses that they face, but the additional burden of just the minimum credit card payments, medical bills, and unexpected miscellaneous costs destroy the individual's monthly budget. Therefore, the unsecured creditors will usually receive nothing at the conclusion of the bankruptcy case.

The Bankruptcy Code does require that the individual seeking relief under Chapter 7 to demonstrate income below specific limits. The Bankruptcy Code promotes fairness and a way for the honest, but unfortunate, debtor to seek relief from his or her respective creditors. The expenses that are considered reasonable and necessary for an individual's fresh start are acceptable, but expenses for so-called luxuries are not acceptable.

In addition, individuals filing for relief under this Chapter must complete a course from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency before the bankruptcy case is filed. Then, within sixty days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors, individuals must file their certification of completion of an instructional course concerning personal financial management provided by an approved agency.

Our office can guide you through the Chapter 7 process and help you construct your bankruptcy case. Contact our office today to get started. 1-877-827-9006.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 is a particular section of the Bankruptcy Code that consumers use to address their outstanding debts especially when they are faced with a foreclosure proceeding against their residence or when they are faced with a potential repossession because of delinquent automobile loan payments. Under this particular form of bankruptcy an individual works closely with our attorneys to develop a proposed plan that outlines how much income he or she can dedicate to make the regular monthly payments on their outstanding secured debts, such as the mortgage and automobile loan, plus an additional amount that will be used to catch up on the dollar amount of the delinquent payments and the administration and other costs of the case. By the end of the Chapter 13 case the goal is to have made all of the regular monthly payments that were due during that time, plus any delinquent amounts will be paid off. Chapter 13 cases usually last three to five years based on the time that is needed to accomplish the goals set forth in most Chapter 13 cases.

Chapter 13 is a form of bankruptcy that is also used by individuals who are forced to use this particular type of bankruptcy based upon a complex income calculation required by the Bankruptcy Code.

In both situations, the payments will be made to the Trustee assigned to the case and the Trustee collects the funds and distributes the funds based upon priority and a percentage calculation. The benefit is the same as that of a Chapter 7 case with the exception that unsecured creditors will typically receive some cash distribution from the Chapter 13 Trustee. Any remaining debt balance that the Trustee does not pay is discharged at the end of the case.

In addition, individuals filing for relief under this Chapter must complete a course from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency before the bankruptcy case is filed. Then, no later than the date when the last Plan payment is due, individuals must file their certification of completion of an instructional course concerning personal financial management provided by an approved agency.

Our office can guide you through the Chapter 13 process and help you construct your bankruptcy case. Contact our office today to get started. 1-877-827-9006.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

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Harold Shepley
& Associates, LLC


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Estate Planning Johnstown, Somerset, Altoona

Bankruptcy Help, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Greensburg