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cfortunato
cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
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I have never filed bankruptcy previously but know it is probably

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I have never filed bankruptcy previously but know it is probably my best option. My husband and I have approximately 15,000-20,000 worth of credit card debt. We rent our home, have two cars with payments and high insurance due to two at fault accidents I had a year apart (i had a bad stent there for a year but otherwise no accidents previously). Anyway, two kids and everything that involves later, we are both working but still swamped with bills. I am nervous about this whole process. We both have credit card companies with pending law suits for small amounts, 2-4000 from two separate banks.

I'm hoping you can tell me what I need to prepare, how i know how to find a good lawyer, what to expect during the process, what end results for me could possibly be. I understand you can't promise anything or give me a 100% correct hypothesis.

Thank you,
Jennifer
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.

Hi Customer,

You should not be nervous, especially since you don't own a home, and your total debt is not high. I always make the recommendation to call the California Bar Association to help find a reputable Bankruptcy attorney. The number is 415-538-2000. Additionally, don't be afraid to "shop around", as I have seen attorneys charge $800 - $3000 for the same service, and higher fee does not mean better attorney.

You will need to provide 1) a list of the names, and addresses, and the last 4 numbers of the account numbers for all creditors; 2) the year, make, model, and Kelly Blue Book value of all cars; 3) paystubs for the past 6 months 4) federal



Edited by cfortunato on 9/3/2010 at 12:12 AM EST
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.
I am in the process of providing a list of the things you will need to prepare.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I really appreciate the good advice & calming words but I hoped to learn more about the process as well.
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.

You will need to provide:

1) a list of the names, and addresses, and the last 4 numbers of the account numbers for all creditors;

2) the year, make, model, and Kelly Blue Book value of all cars;

3) paystubs for the past 6 months;

4) federal tax returns for the past 2 years;

5) a list of all financial accounts (bank accounts, stocks, pension accounts, etc.).

The Bankruptcy process:

1) take a "Credit Counseling" class - a 60 minute class accessible online;

2) file the Bankruptcy petition has with the court, along with the Credit Counseling Certificate;

3) about 30 days after the petition is filed, you have to attend a "creditors' meeting", where you will be asked questions about your petition - mainly things like "is everything in the petition true", "has anything changed since you filed the petition", etc;

4) take the "Debt Management" class - also 60 minutes online - and file this with the court;

5) Receive the "Discharge" notice about 6 months after the case is filed.



Edited by cfortunato on 9/3/2010 at 12:22 AM EST
cfortunato and 3 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You mention the kelly blue book of vehicles. We are hoping to keep them and are still making payments. Do you know our chances of this?

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX are wonderful.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Oh and, pension info...I have a small pension, under 10k, would this be threatened?

Thank you again
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.
Is the pension an IRS-qualified (tax deferred) pension?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I really have no idea! But that seems right. It's an employer funded pension for a medium size non profit?
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.
If it is employer-funded, it is most likely tax deferred, because you are probably not paying income taxes on the funds that are put into the pension plan. This type of pension plan is exempt from the Bankruptcy estate, so you would be able to keep it if you file a Bankruptcy.
cfortunato and 3 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Wonderful news! And the vehicles? Do you know what normally happens with those?
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for accepting my answer!

Both are allowed to keep a car worth about $3500 (exemption amount plus cost to sell the car) or less (after subtracting the balance on the car loan). Additionally, since you will not be using the homestead exemption (since you don't own a home), you can use up to $20,725 of that exemption for any other property you own, including the cars. This means that you should be able to keep both cars, even if either or both have more than $3500 equity.



Edited by cfortunato on 9/3/2010 at 5:19 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you soooo much for your answers. I really appreciate it! I've put this off for a long time, I know I need to get moving on this :(

Thanks again

Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.
You're welcome!