Why is it better to see a Utah bankruptcy attorney
before a financial crisis gets out of hand? Let me suggest a few
reasons. First, bankruptcy planning is smart and can help prevent the
loss of your assets. The law entitles bankruptcy filers to exempt certain property.
These exemptions let you keep property instead of turning it over to
the bankruptcy trustee. Knowing what the exemptions are and getting
some advice from an attorney who is up to speed on case law interpreting
those exemptions and who understands how the exemptions apply to given
factual situations can be very helpful in safeguarding your property.
Second, an emergency filing, while it can be done, is dangerous. The
bankruptcy paperwork is fairly complex and requires a lot of
documentation. In the rush of filing a creditor or creditors can be
left off, assets can be forgotten and left off the paperwork. These
issues can lead to greater cost to you in the bankruptcy process and can
in some cases even lead to a case dismissal or put your discharge of
debt or debts in jeopardy. Finally, what do you have to lose?
Integrity Law offers a free initial consultation. We don't advise bankruptcy where it isn't the best option and we can often point out non-bankruptcy options that can help. For example, maybe you are judgment proof and really don't need bankruptcy protection. Bottom line: see a bankruptcy attorney as early in the process as you can. To schedule a consultation call 801.899.9529 or complete our form.
One pressing concern for anyone considering bankruptcy is how to pay for
it. After all in such a situation cash is a commodity likely in short
supply. One provision of the law that can help concerns waiver or
installment payments of the filing fee. The filing fee for a Chapter 7 case is $306, while the fee for a Chapter 13 case is $281. Official Form 3A
allows a bankruptcy filer to pay the filing fee in monthly installments
over the course of four months after filing. The first installment can
be made at the time of filing. The first installment can even be made
after filing. The only requirement is the fee be paid off within four
months or 120 days of filing the bankruptcy case. Applications to pay
the filing fee in installments are routinely granted. However, failure
to complete the installment payments results in dismissal of the
For those who meet income guidelines the entire fee can be waived in a Chapter 7 filing. In order to qualify, a filer must complete and file with his or her original filing Official Form 3B, have income less than 150% of the federal poverty guideline, and be unable to pay the filing fee in installments. Information about the federal poverty guideline can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (the U.S. Bankruptcy Court website also posts federal poverty guidelines).
Salt Lake City bankruptcy attorney Bryan M. Cowley of Integrity Law can make sure, if necessary, that you can pay the filing fee in installments or have the fee waived altogether. Fill out our form or call 801.899.9529 or 435.277.0529 to schedule your free initial consultation. We help people all over Utah get a fresh start through bankruptcy. Consultations are available in office and by phone.
Those filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Utah must complete the means test as one measure used to determine eligibility to file a Utah Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. In a Chapter 13
case, the means test can determine how much you will have to pay the
bankruptcy trustee each month for the 36 to 60 month life of your Chapter 13 plan. The means test uses data from the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service to determine, for example, the median income for Utah. The United States Trustee's Office has published revised Census Bureau and IRS data effective for cases filed on or after April 1, 2013.
Figures for national living allowances such as food, clothing, housekeeping, and personal care expenses remain unchanged as are figures for health care and transportation expenses. However, significant changes update figures for median income standards and local housing standards. For example, under the median income figures for cases filed between November 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, a one person household would be eligible to file Chapter 7 if yearly income was less than $49,942. Under the revised data for cases filed on or after April 1, 2013, the figure is $50,976.
Utah bankruptcy attorney Bryan M. Cowley can make sure your means test is calculated correctly to determine eligibility to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or to calculate the appropriate Chapter 13 plan payment. Fill out our form or call 801.899.9529 or 435.277.0529 to schedule your free initial consultation. We help people all over Utah get a fresh start through bankruptcy. Consultations are available in office and by phone.
Let's say you have received a lender from your bank informing you that
the bank has received a court order to garnish your bank account. The
letter indicates you have a right to dispute the garnishment.
Generally, under Utah law you will have twenty days from the time you
get the documents from the bank until the time the bank garnishes your
account. During those 20 days you have a couple of options.
Option 1 - Complete the Exemption Form. Included in the paperwork from the bank is an exemption form. Utah law provides Utah exemptions that protect certain of your property from being collected by creditors to pay debts. If property is exempt under a provision of Utah or sometimes federal law then the creditor is prohibited from collecting or taking that property to satisfy the debt it is owed. On the exemption form you can claim exemptions to prevent completely or partially the garnishment of your bank account. For example, if you can prove that the funds in the bank account derive from wages then you can claim a 75 percent exemption under Utah Code § 70C-7-103. If you can prove that the funds derive from social security then you can claim a 100 percent exemption under federal law and under Utah law.
Option 2 - Request a Hearing. You also have a right under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure to make a reply to the writ of garnishment and request a court hearing. The paperwork to do so should have been included with the paperwork you received from your bank. This may be advisable in certain circumstances and you should seek the advice of an attorney if you desire to request a hearing.
Option 3 - File Bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy can prevent the need to do any of the above because once a bankruptcy case is filed the automatic stay immediately goes into effect. The stay is "automatic" because it goes into effect automatically as soon as a bankruptcy case is filed. It is a "stay" because it operates to prevent most actions of creditors to collect on debts owed prior to the bankruptcy filing. The stay prevents most bank account garnishments.
Salt Lake City bankruptcy lawyer Bryan M. Cowley of Integrity Law can help you determine your best option in case of a bank account garnishment. Fill out our form or call 801.899.9529 or 435.277.0529 to schedule your free initial consultation. We help people all over Utah get a fresh start through bankruptcy. Consultations are available in office and by phone.
When someone decides to file bankruptcy and/or is advised by a bankruptcy attorney that doing so is justified then the question to consider next is timing. It may be appropriate to delay filing or it might make sense to file bankruptcy as soon as possible. The answer for any given case depends on the circumstances. Let's consider some of the reasons why someone should consider filing bankruptcy immediately:
- An imminent debt collection activity such as repossession, execution sale, eviction sale, or utility shut-off.
- To stop a foreclosure sale.
- In order to extend the time frame for filing a lawsuit or starting some action such as redeeming property.
Even if the above circumstances are present other factors may
override filing quickly. When and if such reasons or even other
considerations not listed above support filing a Utah bankruptcy case
immediately is best decided with the advice of a
knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney.
Bryan M. Cowley, is a Salt Lake bankruptcy attorney that can help you make this decision wisely. Call 801.899.9529 or 435.277.0529 or fill out our form to schedule your free consultation.