Dyer Bankruptcy Attorney
In the game of Monopoly, players who file bankruptcy lose everything they have, are forced out of the game, and can never return. Fortunately, a real-life bankruptcy is much different. Like a Monopoly bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is usually a last resort. But the similarities pretty much end there. Most bankruptcy debtors keep most or all of their property, the bankruptcy hardly affects their daily lives, and they enjoy a new financial start. This federal law also contains important provisions that protect you and your family from repossession, foreclosure, and other adverse creditor actions.
At the Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt, we do more than help families obtain the fresh start that the law allows. We help families make the most of their fresh start. So, in many cases, after a few years, many of our former clients do not even remember that they filed bankruptcy. Beginning with your initial consultation and extending all the way through the bankruptcy process, we always put clients first.
Chapter 7 Petitions in Indiana
Somewhere along the line, people started calling these bankruptcies “liquidation” proceedings. As mentioned, that is usually not true. Under Indiana law, most of the debtor’s property is exempt. So, the trustee can not seize it to pay off creditors. Some specific property exemptions include:
- House: Indiana law protects a significant amount of home equity. So, even if you have lived in your house for quite some time, it is probably still exempt. Additionally, a bankruptcy attorney can use some creative valuation strategies to stretch the exemption even further.
- Motor Vehicle: Most new cars have high values but practically no equity. Conversely, most used cars are fully paid off but they have practically no monetary value. Either way, the family car is almost always protected.
- Retirement Account: The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the principle that 401(k)s, IRAs, pension plans, and other retirement nest eggs are 100% exempt regardless of their value. That is important because, many times, these accounts have an emotional value that eclipses their financial value.
- Personal Property: For bankruptcy purposes, even valuable assets like advanced electronics and fine jewelry have almost no financial value. So, all these items are normally exempt.
75% of the debtor’s current wages are also exempt in the Hoosier State. Additionally, Indiana law includes a large wildcard exemption which can protect savings accounts and other nonexempt assets.
About six weeks after debtors file their voluntary petitions, the trustee examines financial documents, verifies the debtor’s identity, and looks for any red flags. About six months later, the judge discharges most of the debtor’s unsecured debts. Dischargeable unsecured debts include things like medical bills, credit cards, payday loans, and in some cases, back taxes, and student loans.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lake County
The same exemptions apply in Chapter 13 repayment plan bankruptcies. The Automatic Stay applies, as well. In most cases, Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code puts a stop to all adverse creditor actions, including:
- Wage garnishment
- Creditor harassment
In a Chapter 13, the Automatic Stay may last up to five years.
Chapter 13s last longer than Chapter 7s because Chapter 13 debtors have additional time to bring secured debts current. That includes things like mortgage notes and auto loans. Debtors make one monthly payment to the trustee, who then distributes the money to creditors. Chapter 13 repayment plans are income-based, so debtors pay what they can afford when they can afford it.
At the end of the bankruptcy, all secured debts are current and the judge discharges any remaining unsecured debts. So, debtors have the fresh start that the Bankruptcy Code guarantees.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Bankruptcy protects your family and gives you a fresh financial start. For a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Dyer, contact the Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt. We routinely handle matters in Lake County and nearby jurisdictions.