grantham law woburn

Personal Bankruptcy

Massachusetts Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer

Phone calls from overbearing debt collectors, or receipt of a notice of intent to foreclose can leave one feeling helpless. However, you don't have to face these financial problems alone. The personal bankruptcy attorneys at Grantham Law have been helping individuals and married couples in Massachusetts get relief from their debts and save their homes by fling bankruptcy.

At Grantham Law we have been helping individuals, families, and businesses get debt relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for over eighteen years.

personal chapter 7 bankrutpcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy

The Bankruptcy Process

At your initial consultation with Grantham Law, you will be asked a series of financial questions that will allow us to determine if you are a good candidate for Bankruptcy.  We will conduct a "means test" to determine if you should file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Your initial consultation with us will typically last about 15-20 minutes and can be done over the telephone.

After hiring Grantham Law to represent you, we will begin collecting information from you to prepare your bankruptcy petition. You will provide us with copies of paychecks, bank statements and tax returns and will fill out a detailed questionnaire where you will list your assets, debts, income and expenses. Using this information, your bankruptcy lawyer will prepare your "draft" petition and send it to you to review and make corrections; at that time, you will be instructed to take a mandatory credit-counseling course, either Online, or over the telephone.

After you make your corrections and return the corrected draft petition to your attorney, your bankruptcy attorney will schedule a time for you to come to our office where you will review and sign the final bankruptcy petition that will be filed with the Court. Once signed, your attorney will file your petition with the Bankruptcy Court and the court will assign your case to a "Trustee" and set up what is known as a meeting of creditors.  Once your case is filed, your creditors are required to stop all collection activities (including foreclosure proceedings).  

The meeting of creditors is an interview that is conducted by the Trustee who is assigned to your case.  We will be with you at this meeting.  You will be sworn in by the Trustee, and he will ask you a few questions about your bankruptcy petition. In most cases, the meeting will last only a couple of minutes and this is the only hearing you will have to attend. After the hearing, you will be required to complete a debt management course before you will receive your bankruptcy discharge about three months after your meeting of creditors.

Bankruptcy Options for Individuals and Married Couples

In most situations, there are two options available to individual and married couples.  In order to determine which chapter you should file under, we will perform a "means test" that is set up by the bankruptcy code.  Filers with a higher income have to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The means test is complicated and after a few questions, we will be able to tell you which chapter you should file.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is the most common chapter of bankruptcy protection filed by individuals and married couples. In a Chapter 7, the court appoints a Trustee who oversees the debtor and liquidates, i.e. sells, the debtor’s nonexempt property and distributes any proceeds to the debtor’s creditors. Property that you get to keep is called "exempt." In most Chapter 7 Bankruptcies, the debtor(s) do not have any "nonexempt" property, and they get to keep all of their belongings.

After a period of time passes, the debtor receives a "discharge" of their unsecured debts. This means that the debtor is no longer responsible for repaying that debt. However, not all debts can be discharged, such as certain taxes, alimony, child support and debts that were incurred as a result of fraud.

The Discharge and Non-dischargeable Debts

The goal of any bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge of your debts. When your debts are discharged, then the creditor is no longer permitted to attempt to collect that debt. However, not all debts can be discharged. Secured debts cannot be discharged; so even if you file bankruptcy you will be responsible for your mortgage and car note. Other types of non-dischargeable debts include: child support, judgments for fraud, alimony, student loans and most tax debts.

This is not an exhaustive list, so contact one of our Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyers if you have any questions about dischargeable debts.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is for individuals and families who have a regular income and the ability to repay a portion of their debts over time. The repayment period will vary depending on your income and typically lasts for three to five years.

Unlike a Chapter 7, in a Chapter 13 your Bankruptcy attorney will create a debt repayment plan known as a "Chapter 13 Plan." Your Chapter 13 Plan payment is calculated by subtracting your family's usual living expenses from your family's take home pay. Your creditors will then be repaid a percentage of the amount that they are owed. You will pay a single payment to the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee, who will pay your creditors their pro-rata share of the debt.

Saving your Home from Foreclosure

If you are facing foreclosure, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a powerful tool in saving your home. A Chapter 13 will stop any foreclosure proceedings against you as long as the petition is filed prior to the completion of the foreclosure sale. You can then make arrangements to repay the mortgage arrears through your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan. However, in order to keep the property, you must have the ability to repay your past due balance (arrears) over the course of five years, while also making your usual monthly mortgage payments. The bankruptcy court does not have the power to reduce your mortgage payment, or change the terms of your mortgage...only your mortgage company can do that.

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Bankruptcy Alternatives

Bankruptcy is not always your only option, or even your best option. Unlike most "bankruptcy law firms" we are going to explain to you the alternatives and explain how each will affect you, in the short term and the long term; then, let you make the decision that is right for you.

Chapter 13, can be a powerful tool to stop foreclosure. However, many times your lender will work with you to reduce your principal or interest rates. We can work with your lender and stop foreclosure without having to file bankruptcy. Call for more information.

If a debtor has cash resources on hand to repay a portion of their debt; and doesn't like the idea of filing Bankruptcy, a workout may be a better option. Our attorneys will negotiate with your creditors for a "lump sum" repayment of their debt, usually for a fraction of the balance that is owed.

Sometimes creditors resort to unfair and predatory practices by granting or processing mortgages, or other loans. And, sometimes creditors resort to unfair collection practices such as making threats or contacting neighbors.

For Immediate Personal Bankruptcy Assistance

If you or your business is facing a legal challenge that calls for sound advice and skilled representation, contact us today to arrange a FREE consultation with an experienced Massachusetts attorney.

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