At the time of the writing of this blog post on November 11, 2014, approximately 10,294 Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions had been filed in the Southern District of Indiana so far this year. Many of these bankruptcy petitions are filed jointly by a husband and wife. As a result, the number of people who have filed bankruptcy this year is a significantly higher number. Are you surprised? Are you picturing a family with all of their belongings out in their front yard with no where to go? Most people are surprised and most do have this mental picture. However, this is not a record year for Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings and most people do not lose any of their assets.
Over 10,000 bankruptcy petitions doesn’t necessarily mean that Hoosiers don’t have income. However, it does mean that there are a lot of people in Indiana struggling with debt. It means that if you are struggling with debt it means that you are not alone and it means that over 10,000 people in Indiana decided Chapter 7 bankruptcy was the right step for them. The filing of Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions have allowed these individuals to gain a fresh financial start.
One misconception that many people have that prevents them from even speaking to a bankruptcy attorney is that if they file bankruptcy that they will lose all of their belongings. While there certainly are circumstances in which an individual would lose his or her personal belongings or real estate, this is the exception rather than the rule. Having an experienced bankruptcy attorney to lead you through the law and to advise you regarding your personal situation is paramount when making the decision for or against bankruptcy.
Presently, in Indiana, an individual who files Chapter 7 bankruptcy (measured from the date that the bankruptcy petition is filed) can have the following assets that they are allowed to keep even though he or she filed for bankruptcy protection:
1. $350.00 (Cash, Stocks/Bonds, Funds on Deposit);
2. $9,350.00 (Personal Property: includes, equity in a vehicle(s), home furnishings, jewelry, clothing, firearms, hobby equipment, and all other tangible personal property);
3. $17,600.00 in Equity in your Residence. Equity is the value of your home above and beyond the balance of any mortgage or other lien;
4. Retirement Accounts. Typically, there is not a limit for the funds you have in your retirement account.
There are also some less often used exemptions for whole life insurance when the beneficiary is your spouse or dependent child, unlimited equity in real estate held as tenants by the entireities when only one spouse files for bankruptcy, and the amount of any earned income credit of an income tax refund.
At Halcomb Singler, LLP, attorney Erika K. Singler meets with people most days to discuss debt. Ms. Singler discusses debt settlement, defense of lawsuits for debt and bankruptcy with her clients. There are pros and cons to each and every path and some paths do not make sense for some clients. However, Ms. Singler can meet with you to determine whether the debt that you are struggling or unable with your specific situation might justify the filing of a bankruptcy petition. In the event you are not a good candidate for bankruptcy, Ms. Singler can assist you in settling and/or negotiating your debt. There is no doubt that filing bankruptcy is a serious decision that should be carefully examined and not taken lightly.
At the same time, speaking to an attorney with experience in bankruptcy and debt settlement is not so serious. Halcomb Singler offers one free initial consultation for those considering bankruptcy. Attorney Erika Singler meets with potential bankruptcy clients personally. The decision of whether to file bankruptcy is always up to you, but Ms. Singler is qualified to answer your questions regarding whether bankruptcy might be the correct path for you and your family to reset your financial life.
Halcomb Singler, LLP, is a debt relief agency. It helps people file for bankruptcy under the bankruptcy code. No attorney-client relationship with the firm of Halcomb Singler, LLP, is created through this blog. Also, please note that Erika Singler is an attorney licensed in Indiana and does not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not properly authorized to do so. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and should not be relied upon for the circumstances of any individual(s) or businesses.