What is “credit repair” and why you shouldn’t pay anyone for it

I recently posted about “Debt Settlement” companies and why you shouldn’t pay for services that you might be able to handle yourself. Today’s pet peeve is the “credit repair” industry. Anyone who promises to erase negative events from your credit report is promising you more than they can deliver. No one can “erase” negative occurrences such as lawsuits filed or … Read More

You’re in Debt–what are your non-bankruptcy alternatives?

My hat goes off to you for just acknowledging that you’ve got to do something about your debts. Obviously, it’s a bad situation to be in, so here are your alternatives for getting out of it. If you don’t do anything though, then you’re likely to get sued if you default on a credit card. And that will damage your … Read More

If I file bankruptcy, will the Judge yell at me?

It’s a common thought that if you file bankruptcy, the Judge or Trustee will get angry and yell at you. Definitely not true! First, in the normal case, you will like not appear before an actual Bankruptcy Court Judge. Instead, you will appear before a Bankruptcy Trustee, who is the court official responsible for conducting the mandatory Section 341 Meeting … Read More

What happens with my car if I file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ve probably read about how the Bankruptcy Trustee “liquidates your property”. Well, let’s go through a couple of examples to show how this doesn’t usually happen in Pennsylvania Chapter 7 cases. (If you live in States other than Pennsylvania, don’t rely upon these descriptions, because the exemptions in other States are different. Bankruptcy … Read More

I’m being sued by a credit card company. What do I do?

First, you need to take a deep breath. Yes, a sheriff’s deputy just came to your house to serve you with legal papers, but no, you are not going to jail. This is a civil lawsuit, and there will be a hearing in a magistrate’s court (district justice) or a Common Pleas Court (I’m talking to you Pennsylvania residents here). … Read More

Can I exclude one of my credit cards from my bankruptcy case?

No, you can’t exclude any of your credit cards when you file a bankruptcy case. You must list on your bankruptcy papers all of your debts. Pursuant to very clear bankruptcy law guidelines, you must disclose all of your property and all of your debts. With respect to your debts, you must even list in your bankruptcy paperwork (“the schedules”) … Read More

How Long Will My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Take?

From the time you file your Chapter 7 case, it usually takes between 4 and 6 months to complete your case. Here is the breakdown on what happens. First, you obviously have to obtain your Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling; that takes you just 45 minutes online or over the phone. You then review and sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules with your … Read More

Can I keep my bank accounts if I file bankruptcy?

Yes, you can keep your bank accounts, except there are a few things to think about first. As I explained in an earlier post about bankruptcy “exemptions”, folks filing bankruptcy in Pennsylvania can keep property up to certain dollar limits. Bank account funds fall within the “wild card exemption”, which is the exemption used to protect any and all property, … Read More

How does a bankruptcy filing affect my tax status?

I’m talking here about personal income taxes. If you file individual bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13), then your bankruptcy case filing will stop any collections activity from the Internal Revenue Service or other taxing body. As far as discharging (wiping out) that tax debt, I can address that more fully in a different post, because it’s a complicated subject. … Read More