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Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy

We at Kuiper Law Firm understand that considering bankruptcy can be daunting, and we will be there to assist, advise, and guide you through the process – as an individual or a corporation.

General Process

What Is Means Testing?

Means testing is a common evaluation and the first step to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Our attorneys will walk you through this step in your initial consultation and help you decide how to move forward.

Full Disclosure Of Assets And Debts

In order to take advantage of the federal bankruptcy laws, you must completely disclose all your assets and debts. Failure to do so could jeopardize your case. We will help you complete the necessary paperwork to ensure full disclosure your assets and debts. Making sure this is properly filed is the first step to protect yourself and your assets.

Filing Your Petition

After working to gather all relevant documentation, our attorneys will review the bankruptcy petition with you and ensure that everything listed is true and accurate. When we have determined that the petition is satisfactory, it will be filed, court proceedings will begin and Kuiper Law Firm will be there to represent you.

Creditor’s Meeting

The meeting of creditor’s is a standard meeting that occurs 30-45 days after your case is filed. A trustee is assigned to your case and at this meeting, the trustee reviews your petition and evaluates assets, property, and sources of income. Creditors and creditors’ attorneys may be present at this meeting as well. We will attend the meeting with you and guide you through answering any questions asked by the trustee.

Contact A Bankruptcy Lawyer

Kuiper Law Firm is ready and available to evaluate and walk you through the bankruptcy options to determine the best fit for you or your business. The sooner we are able to collaborate with you, the better we will be able to support you through this process. Get in touch with our team today by emailing us at contact@kuiperlawfirm.com or giving us a call at 832-626-0215. We are more than happy to host you in one of our offices at your convenience.

Common Questions About Bankruptcy

We at Kuiper Law Firm understand that considering bankruptcy can be daunting, and we consider it important to take the time to set expectations and help you – as an individual or a corporation – see through some common misconceptions about bankruptcy.

Is filing for bankruptcy the right thing for me?

While the need varies by circumstance, filing for bankruptcy is a tool to financially ‘reset’ after unforeseen circumstances have impacted you or your business. Bankruptcy is not a point of failure or closure, but can be a forward path to improved financial structure and confidence. Whether you need to file for bankruptcy immediately, or are considering it for the future, the lawyers at Kuiper Law Firm are ready to discuss your concerns with you.

Will I lose everything I own?

Bankruptcy provides some immediate protection for your assets and property. The right legal representation makes keeping the things that are important to you a definite possibility. With decades of combined, diverse experience representing clients, the team at Kuiper Law Firm knows what means the most to you and will deliver the highest quality work to make sure you keep what is rightfully yours.

Will bankruptcy leave me debt-free?

This is somewhat true– bankruptcy may leave you completely debt-free. However, if you want to keep possessions which you have not paid for in full (property, car, home, etc.), you will have to retain those debts and continue to make payments. Certain debts incurred within 90 days before filing the bankruptcy petition may be denied a discharge, while other creditors may allow payments to resume 90 days after filing. It is important to take navigate this process carefully and with proper representation. Working together, we will help you find the right balance of what you need, want, and can do without.

Will I ever regain my credit?

Depending on your circumstances and the type of bankruptcy filed, you may be able to rebuild your credit sooner than you’d imagined. A bankruptcy remains visible on your credit report for 10 years, which, admittedly, will not go unnoticed by lenders. However, there is a silver lining: with the right guidance, bankruptcy can leave you in a more sustainable financial situation than you occupied before filing. In many cases, filing for bankruptcy can result in an improvement on your previous credit score! Consider bankruptcy a valuable tool to set your new baseline and rebuild your business and assets from the ground up, and Kuiper Law Firm a valuable guide who will be there with you every step of the way.

Can I afford proper representation and support?

Many people assume the worst in these situations. However, the best outcomes are targeted, legally mapped, and actioned so that you and your business emerge from this process both confident and forward-thinking. Above all, we want to help alleviate stress by making the bankruptcy process financially feasible. At a very reasonable cost of representation, the assistance of an experienced attorney ensures that your case will be handled properly and efficiently, allowing for the avoidance of potentially costly misunderstandings or errors.

Where do I start?

A proactive approach is the key to recovery. Get in touch with our team today by emailing us at contact@kuiperlawfirm.com or giving us a call at 832-626-0215. We are more than happy to host you in one of our offices at your convenience

Should you consider filing for bankruptcy?

Each financial situation is different. Ask yourself the following key questions if you are considering bankruptcy as a means of debt relief:

  1. Have you or your spouse had a reduction of 10% or more in your income within the last year?
  2. Are you tapping into your savings or retirement accounts to meet your monthly expenses?
  3. Have you incurred unforeseen expenses, like medical or other accident-related events?
  4. Have either you or your spouse been unemployed for three or more months?
  5. Are you behind on payments (property, car, debt, etc.) by three or more months?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, bankruptcy relief may be a suitable option for you. Contact us to discuss your options.

What different types of bankruptcy should you consider?

There are four types of bankruptcy cases in Texas:

  1. Chapter 7 is known as a “straight” or “liquidated” bankruptcy. It requires a borrower to give up non-exempt personal assets as compensation to creditors.
  2. Chapter 11 is known as “reorganization”. It is generally used by businesses with large debts, but can also be used by individuals.
  3. Chapter 12 is reserved for family-owned, agricultural businesses.
  4. Chapter 13 is known as “debt adjustment”. It requires a borrower to file a plan to pay agreed debts from current income.Filing under Chapter 13 is common for those who own their own home and are worried about making late payments, those who are already behind on payments, own a business, have high income, or have substantial assets.

Most individuals or couples filing for bankruptcy commonly file under either chapter 7 or chapter 13, but the particulars of each situation need to be considered before deciding which chapter best suits your needs. Contact Kuiper Law Firm to discuss your circumstances with one of our attorneys.

Chapter 7

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge your unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills) while your non-exempt personal assets are liquidated to pay creditors a portion of what you owe. However, most assets (home equity, vehicles, furnishings, retirement funds) are exempt under Texas bankruptcy statutes. In most cases, you may choose to either surrender those assets to the bankruptcy trustee or keep them if you are able to continue making payments. Student loans, most taxes, and child support cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes between three to four months to complete.

Chapter 11

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is commonly known as a “reorganization” bankruptcy. While Chapter 11 bankruptcy can be filed by individuals in some cases, most cases are filed by businesses looking to restructure current and old debts or liquidate assets and property. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy begins by filing a petition with the court, an automatic stay goes into effect, and a meeting of creditors is scheduled. In most Chapter 11 cases, no trustee is appointed, and the debtor is able to continue to operate business as usual as the “debtor in possession”. The bankruptcy court controls major decisions, like any sale of assets, leasing of property, mortgages, expansion of operations, and payment of attorney’s fees and expenses. Creditors may support or oppose actions that require court approval. Depending on the filer’s situation, a Chapter 11 can be a reorganization, like a Chapter 13, or a liquidation, similar to Chapter 7, or a combination of both. The repayment plan under Chapter 11 is called a ‘reorganization plan’ and must be approved by creditors, bond holders, stockholders, and confirmed by the court. The filer’s goal is to stay profitable while paying back debts, so they try to renegotiate contracts, leases, or other debts in order to get amounts reduced or discharged. The main benefit of filing bankruptcy under Chapter 11 is that a business can continue to operate during the bankruptcy process.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to structure a repayment plan for your outstanding debt. Chapter 13 may be the right choice for debtors who are struggling with a mortgage but who want to keep their home, who owe non-dischargeable taxes, who have high-interest car loans, own a business, have high incomes, or have substantial assets.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your financial situation is carefully evaluated by the court and a repayment plan is created which accounts for your costs of living and applies the remainder of available assets to satisfy your back debt. Upon completion of the repayment plan, most of the remaining debt is discharged. There are many advantages to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, including the fact that the dischargeable debt is either wiped out completely or reduced significantly, taxes are paid back without interest and penalties, car loan interest rates are reduced, and assets are protected from liquidation. The most important benefit is that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to retain valuable property–especially your home and car–which might otherwise be subject to liquidation, if you are able to make the payments required by the court.

At the end of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, most debtors pay far, far less on their back debt, which translates to significant savings. This form of bankruptcy also protects any co-signers included on this outstanding debt.

What will my life look like after bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy remains on your credit report, although the amount of time it stays will depend on what type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7 years.

However this does not necessarily mean you cannot get credit. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, filing for bankruptcy may in fact raise your credit score. Your non-exempt debts will be wiped out and you will have a better debt-to-income ratio. In many cases, it may only be a short period of time before lenders begin to offer you credit again. Re-establishing good, trustworthy credit is absolutely possible if an individual is cautious and takes the appropriate steps toward creating a stable financial future. Typically, those who file for bankruptcy are able to get credit within two years of filing bankruptcy.

Contact A Bankruptcy Lawyer

Kuiper Law Firm is ready and available to evaluate and walk you through the bankruptcy options to determine the best fit for you or your business. The sooner we are able to collaborate with you, the better we will be able to support you through this process. Get in touch with our team today by emailing us at contact@kuiperlawfirm.com or giving us a call at 832-626-0215. We are more than happy to host you in one of our offices at your convenience.