Chicago Bankruptcy LawyerChicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Providing Knowledgeable Guidance and Advocacy
At Kaplan Bankruptcy Firm, LLC, we help people who are considering the possibility of filing for bankruptcy. Our firm has been handling consumer bankruptcy matters for more than 48 years. If you work with our firm, all of the critical aspects of your case will be handled by a knowledgeable attorney, with paralegals working to expedite the paperwork so that the fee will be reasonable. The owner of the firm, Rae Kaplan, has helped thousands of debtors obtain bankruptcy relief and save their homes and cars. If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in the Chicago area, a bankruptcy attorney at our firm can help you pursue the discharge of debts to which you may be entitled. We also can guide you through the process of developing an income-based repayment plan to address your student loans if this is an appropriate option for you.Seeking a Discharge of Debts Under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
The goal of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is obtaining what is known as a bankruptcy discharge for all dischargeable debts. A bankruptcy discharge is an order that will release you from personal liability for certain types of debts so that you are no longer legally required to pay them. Creditors will be permanently prevented from trying to collect any of the discharged debts. However, valid liens on specific property that have not been made unenforceable during the bankruptcy case may still be enforced to recover property.
The type of bankruptcy that you file will affect the nature of the relief available to you. You may only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you pass the means test, which takes a look at whether you have enough disposable income to pay off your creditors. Chapter 7 takes several months, during which time your nonexempt property is gathered and sold to pay your creditors to the extent possible.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy that takes 3-5 years. It provides a legal mechanism by which you create a debt repayment plan that reorganizes your debts and allows you to pay most of them off on a monthly basis over that period. At the end of the repayment period, you may obtain a discharge of your consumer debts as long as you made timely and complete payments. Only people who have sufficient and steady income will be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer at our firm can help you determine which type of bankruptcy may be right for you.
Chapter 13 provides more tools to save property than Chapter 7 does. For example, you may be able to strip junior mortgages in situations in which they are wholly unsecured. Each mortgage placed on your house has a priority for repayment, based on the other recorded liens and mortgages on your house. An earlier recorded lien has priority over later liens. If you owe more on a first mortgage than what the house's fair market value is, the second mortgage is considered wholly unsecured, and it may be stripped from the home during Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This means that it is treated like other unsecured debts, such as medical debt, during the bankruptcy, and either a small amount is paid or the creditor receives nothing.
One advantage of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the automatic stay. This is an order that prohibits most of a debtor's creditors from continuing to try to collect debts. Creditors may ask the bankruptcy court to lift the stay, but for many debtors, the stay provides significant relief from harassing calls and collections lawsuits.Guidance in Student Loan Issues
Bankruptcy may not be the best option for people whose debt consists primarily of student loans. These are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy unless a debtor meets an undue hardship test. However, a debtor may be able to establish an income-based repayment plan for private or federal government loans. The Department of Education offers four types of repayment plans, while people who work at non-profit organizations or in the public sector may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Student loan lawyer Rae Kaplan can develop a strategy that is appropriate to your circumstances.Explore Your Options with a Bankruptcy Lawyer in the Chicago Area
Not all debtors should file for bankruptcy, but it may provide tremendous relief for people who have large amounts of consumer debt, such as credit card or medical debts. It is important to consult a Chicago bankruptcy attorney about whether your debts are dischargeable and whether you are a good candidate for bankruptcy. If you are thinking about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, we may be able to help you file and rebuild your credit afterward. We also help debtors address issues such as the need for tax transcripts during bankruptcy. The Kaplan Bankruptcy Firm represents people who need a debt relief attorney in Cook, Kane, Will, DuPage, and Lake Counties. Call us at (312) 294-8989 or use our online form to set up your appointment.