Bankruptcy allows individuals or businesses (debtors) who owe others (creditors) more money than they're able to pay to either work out a plan to repay the money over time or completely eliminate (discharge) most of the bills.
2What's the difference between secured and unsecured debt?
Secured debt is a claim that's secured by some type of property, either by an agreement or involuntarily with a court judgment or taxes. Creditors can generally claim the property that secures the debt in the event of bankruptcy. Unsecured debt is not tied to any type of property, and the creditor doesn't have a claim to their property. A mortgage is a secured debt on you property.
3Which kind of bankruptcy should I file?
Consumers typically file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where repayment is made to creditors, or Chapter 7 where the debts are dismissed. Each chapter of bankruptcy spells out: What bills can be eliminated How long payments can be stretched out What possessions you can keep Additional information The type depends on your circumstances and if you have assets available to repay all or part of the your debts. Bankruptcy laws can be tricky and involved, so determining if, when and which type of bankruptcy you need should be made with careful thought or the input of a bankruptcy lawyer.
4Can I change from one chapter of bankruptcy to another?
Generally, you can convert a case one time to any other chapter you're eligible for. The request to convert can be a simple one-sentence document. Watch out for issues, such as moving from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7, you'll need to review whether you have acquired items that are now be considered property of the estate under Chapter 7 that weren't part of the previous filing. Ask the trustee or a bankruptcy lawyer for additional issues.
5Who can file bankruptcy?
With few exceptions, any person or business owing money to a creditor can file a bankruptcy petition.