If you’ve considered filing for bankruptcy protection, you may be tempted to submit a petition as soon as possible. While filing for immediate debt relief is the best approach in many situations, it could threaten your assets or leave you responsible for accounts that would have been eligible for discharge in others. You may want to talk with an experienced attorney and learn about all your options and how they affect your decisions. Here are some of the many reasons bankruptcy lawyers may recommend delaying your petition filing.
The Importance of Timing a Bankruptcy Filing Carefully
You Are Seeking a Mortgage Modification
If you’re struggling to keep up with your mortgage payments, modifying the interest rate or other terms of the loan may allow you to keep your house. However, lenders generally won’t work with borrowers who have filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy since the program effectively cancels the promissory note. If you’re hoping to achieve a loan modification, it may be best to wait before filing for bankruptcy.
You Recently Had a Higher Income
Petitioners hoping for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must pass a means test to show that they lack the resources to pay off their debts. When establishing eligibility, the court will examine your income for the previous six months, which may present problems if you enjoyed a high income before your financial troubles began. If your debt problems were caused by a sudden loss of income, most bankruptcy lawyers will recommend you wait until you can show six months of low earnings.
You Have Assets You Don’t Want to Lose
In exchange for discharging most unsecured debts, a chapter 7 bankruptcy gives the trustee the right to seize some of your assets. If you’re expecting an inheritance or significant tax refund, you might have to surrender those resources to the court if they’re received after you file. In general, it’s best to get the money and spend it on necessities before filing the petition rather than allowing those funds to go to your creditors.
If you’re struggling with debts you can’t repay, the bankruptcy lawyers at the Watson Law Firm of Harrison have the expertise to help you understand the best path to getting a fresh start on life. This highly respected law office has over 35 years of experience providing detailed guidance and highly personalized service to clients throughout northern Arkansas. Visit their website for more on their debt relief services, follow their Twitter for more tips and advice, or call (870) 704-4037 now to schedule a free consultation with a skilled bankruptcy lawyer.