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Southaven MS Bankruptcy Law Blog

Protecting one's rights in an asset forfeiture situation

One of the most intimidating aspects of overwhelming debt is the threat of asset forfeiture. When Mississippi residents receive notice that they may see their wages garnished or their vehicles repossessed, what are the proper steps to take to remedy the situation? A Southaven bankruptcy attorney can guide an individual through the process of protecting one's personal property.

Some local residents may not know that filing for bankruptcy can put a stop to garnishment, repossession and even foreclosure. As soon as one files for personal bankruptcy, both garnishment and repossession actions are halted. In addition, individual bankruptcy also puts an end to creditor harassment. Individuals and families no longer have to cope with the frequent phone calls that come from collectors, nor the threatening notices that are received regarding asset forfeiture.

Purchasing a home after filing for bankruptcy

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, two forms of individual bankruptcy, often make a person's life more financially sound after the filing. However, while personal bankruptcy can go a long way towards forming a better financial future, many filers have questions regarding what life will be like afterwards. For instance, many filers might wonder if they may be able to buy a home again after bankruptcy and, if so, how long that process might take.

Residents of northern Mississippi will likely have to exercise a bit of patience with regard to home buying after bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can bring immense debt relief, as well as other benefits such as the ability to stop repossession, it will have an effect on a filer's credit score. Mortgage lenders are typically wary of lending to someone whose bankruptcy has not yet been discharged. This can actually work in a filer's favor, however, as it gives the individual time to get back on solid financial ground before making the financial commitment of a mortgage. Typically, individuals must wait about 24 months after a bankruptcy discharge before being considered for attractive mortgage rates.

January is an appropriate month for confronting credit card debt

Now that the holidays have come and gone, many Mississippi residents are pondering how to get rid of two things: extra pounds and extra credit card debt. After the holiday season, credit card debt may be particularly challenging. Tax season is around the corner and many families may already be struggling to pay the government while also paying back their consumer debt. In addition, credit card debt tends to have notoriously high interest rates and thus the New Year becomes a fitting time for a reassessment of one's financial situation.

If debt isn't entirely overwhelming, there may be several strategies that prove effective for paying off or paying down credit card debt. For those who find it tough to stay motivated, paying off the smallest card first may provide the mental boost needed to tackle larger balances. This may not be ideal, however, for balances of over $1,000. If a debtor's balances are over 30 percent of their available credit, they may want to try confronting the card with the highest interest rate first. However, a cardholder must continue making at least the minimum payments on other cards in order to avoid slipping further into a negative financial situation.

Do you need an attorney to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Mississippi residents who are contemplating filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are likely to have limited financial means. Also known as asset liquidation, Chapter 7 is often an appropriate option for those who owe overwhelming amounts and have little realistic hope of making inroads on repayment of such debt. While Chapter 7 can be an effective solution to overwhelming debt, some Mississippi residents may worry that they cannot afford a bankruptcy attorney.

Chapter 7 for individuals, however, can be extremely difficult without an attorney. While certain entities, such as corporations, are required to have a lawyer in order to file bankruptcy, individuals are technically allowed to file "pro se," or minus an attorney. This may be tempting to those coping with financial challenges, but going it alone may cause more problems in the long run.

Commonly encountered bankruptcy terms for the individual

When a Mississippi resident is considering filing for bankruptcy, they are sometimes overwhelming by the legal jargon and financial lingo with which they are unfamiliar. By getting acquainted with some of the most common personal bankruptcy terms, anyone who is considering filing for bankruptcy may feel a bit more confident in approaching the process.

First and foremost is the definition of bankruptcy itself. While most residents realize bankruptcy is a way to discharge or restructure debt and thus obtain debt relief, specifically bankruptcy is a case filed under Title 11 of the U.S. Code, also known as the bankruptcy code. The bankruptcy estate consists of the entirety of a debtor's legal or equitable interests when that person files for bankruptcy. This generally is composed of personal property, but can also involve property owned by others in which the debtor has an interest.

Feds crack down on false promises to stop wage garnishment

Countless residents of Mississippi are grappling with student loans, whether they are fresh out of school or graduated many years ago. Some are able to work their loan payments into their existing budgets, while others may discuss their financial challenges with the lender in order to obtain a deferment or temporarily reduce payments. For others, missed payments may be a reality due to overwhelming financial problems such as massive debt or unemployment. In such cases, these individuals may be facing the thought of or undergoing the experience of having their wages garnished.

Just like a vehicle repossession, a wage garnishment can be very emotionally stressful, as well as potentially embarrassing. Moreover, the garnishment itself produces added financial stress, since money is taken directly from a person's paycheck. Since garnishment is such a difficult process to endure, some companies have emerged in recent years with claims of offering significant debt relief. In reality, some of these companies are scams and end up doing graduates more harm than good.

Navigating the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process

When a Mississippi resident decides that personal bankruptcy is the right solution for them, they will likely need to first decide which type of bankruptcy to file. An individual in need of debt relief may file Chapter 7, which involves asset liquidation, or Chapter 13, which involves adhering to a repayment plan concerning a portion of eligible debts.

Not everyone can file for Chapter 7. In addition, some may decide that Chapter 13 is more appropriate. But, navigating Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be tricky without knowing everything about the process. Our firm's Southaven bankruptcy attorneys understand our clients' rights and obligations when filing for Chapter 13.

Does bankruptcy stop car repossession?

When a person is severely in debt, that person may resort to selling off personal property in order to either repay debt or make ends meet. While many are willing, if reluctant, to part with items like jewelry or electronics, many understandably fear losing their home or car. Asset forfeiture is a threat to Mississippi residents who are in over their heads financially. Fortunately, there are legal options available for avoiding these scenarios.

In the case of a potential vehicle repossession, a debtor can utilize personal bankruptcy as a means of stopping asset forfeiture. In many cases declaring bankruptcy will put an immediate end to not only collection efforts, but also to repossession actions. In some cases, a Mississippi bankruptcy attorney can help a debtor get his or her car back if it has already been repossessed. However, legal action must be taken within 10 days of the repossession itself.

Impact of the nearly decade-old BAPCPA on Chapter 7

Next year, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act will turn ten years old. Over the past decade, the reforms brought forth by the act have changed the way many individuals, both nationwide and in Mississippi, file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Those intrigued by the benefits of Chapter 7, such as the elimination of certain debts, may wish to know more about the reform's key effect regarding eligibility.

In the spring of 2005, the law, often known as BAPCPA, was signed by then-President Bush. While it ushered in several changes, one of the primary effects was stricter eligibility requirements regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Since the law's passage, those wishing to file for Chapter 7 must now pass what is called a "means test." Under the conditions of the test, a person whose monthly income is less than their state's median income can file for Chapter 7.

Seniors face increasing need for debt relief

It's often thought that bankruptcy is an appropriate option for Mississippi families struggling with overwhelming debts. While this is indeed frequently the case, there are many more types of people who can benefit from the debt relief provided via personal bankruptcy. One such group is senior citizens. According to recently-released information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, older Americans are increasingly troubled by both debt and debt collectors.

Per the CFPB, seniors make more complaints regarding debt collectors than they do about any other service or product. Between last year and this year, many of the submitted complaints focused on debt collectors who attempted to collect from the wrong person, collectors who used harassment or intimidation, to the complete lack of important information about the debt itself.

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Subscribe to this blog's feed Visit Our Bankruptcy Law Website Heidi S. Milam

Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C.
7160 Tchulahoma Road, Suite A5
Southaven, MS 38671

Phone: 662-655-1605
Toll Free: 888-341-8136

Fax: 866-267-5360