FAQ's. Common Concerns about Personal Injury, Bankruptcy & Real Estate matters.
Going through something as difficult as a major legal event can leave you filled with questions about the past, present, and what to expect in the future. Get answers to some of the top questions I receive about Illinois personal injury, real estate and bankruptcy matters to help put your mind at ease. Check back often for even more answers to your legal questions. Better yet, give us a call to see how we can help.
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Can I file for Bankruptcy if I am not a United States Citizen?
Yes. The law allows non-citizens to file for bankrputcy. However, as a non-citizen you need to be extra careful that your bankruptcy is done correctly and also that your social security number is legal, valid, and issued to you.
Attorney Carol O'Connor Cadiz has helped hundreds of non-U.S. citizens file for bankruptcy. She started her career helping people file for bankruptcy and from 2001 to 2003 dealt almost exclusively with immigrants from Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. We can help if you are overwhelmed with debt and wondering if bankruptcy is right for you. Give us a call today at 630 250-8813 to schedule your consultation.
What is Lien Avoidance in Bankruptcy? What does it mean?
You mean you don't know what Lien Avoidance is? Just kidding. Don't be frightened by legal jargon- bankruptcy law is full of it and hopefully your lawyer is explaining this stuff to you. Lien avoidance is a method sometimes used during the course of bankrupty. It "avoids" (wipes out, erases) a lien on a secured debt. This means that the creditor's legal intersest in the collateral goes away. It comes in to play when the item securing the loan is something you already owned before you used it to back up a loan. For instance, if you owned a piece of machinery and then went out and used it as collateral on the loan, a lien avoidance might come into play. Lien avoidance is not applicable when your collateral is the item you are buying.
Lien avoidance is also very important in situations when a lien was put on as the result of a judment after a lawsuit. Personal liability for a judment may be discharged in bankrtupcy, but if there was a lien put onto a house or other property as the result of a judgment, that needs to be dealt with in bankruptcy court. If this is your situation, you'll want to also read my article about lien avoidance in judgment situations.
Bankruptcy is nothing to be scared of, but lien avoidance and other things that come up can be tricky. A good bankruptcy lawyer can be worth their weight in gold, don't go it alone.
Will I still get credit card statements and other bills after I file for Bankruptcy?
Nowadays, many bills are mailed automatically by computer and it can take a while for a creditor to “catch on” to the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. Talk to your attorney about what to do with the bills that you receive as different bills should be handled differently. Threats to sue and nasty letters are a different story and should be brought to your lawyer’s attention immediately so that the creditor responsible can be contacted, which should stop any more letters. The Automatic Stay means that in all efforts at collection on old debts have to stop.
You will still continue to get bills for utilities, etc. and should be paying for ongoing services. The same holds true for things like your car note, if you are in a Chapter 7 and are keeping your car; although, sometimes you will stop getting bills for these routine and ongoing items. This is the creditors' way of protecting themselves and it is possible that you will need to sign giving them permission to resume billing you. This should not be confused with a reaffirmation agreement, where you are essentially re-newing a debt. Do not sign anything without first consulting with your bankruptcy attorney.
You might still be getting bills for debt that will be discharged by your bankruptcy. Do not throw them out. Give them to your lawyer if your case has not been filed yet so that it can be double checked against the information you have already given regarding your bills.
If bills are piling up and driving you mad because they are piling up faster than you can pay them, bankruptcy may be a good option for you as it has helped so many people just like you out of a situation which has spiraled out of control and which has no other good solution. Call O'Connor Cadiz Law at 630 250-8813 to schedule a no obligation no cost bankruptcy consultation. We help people all over Chicago land and are located in Schaumburg and Itasca.
What is a Secured Debt and what does it mean for my bankruptcy?
A secured debt is a debt that is backed up by collateral. If you don't pay, the collateral can be taken away from you by whomever lent you the money. Common examples of secured debt are cars and may also include big ticket items like a refrigerator or a living room set. If you are filing for bankruptcy, secured debt is treated differently than unsecured debt. If most of your debt is unsecured, you will probably benefit from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Contact O'Connor Cadiz Law to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer to find out if it might be the right option for you. If its not, we'll tell you the truth.
Can I negotiate down my medical bills?
Medical bills are a huge problem for many Americans who struggle to stay on top of them. Even for the insured, one illness or hospital stay can be enough to totally disrupt a family's budget. While many of the larger hospitals and some smaller providers of medical services are willing to put patients on no interest payment plans, the amount that needs to be paid per month is generally dictated by what the hospital will accept and not what the patient can actually afford. Sometimes it may be more helpful to actually negotiate the bill down. Providers may want to be paid in full for less now, rather than waiting to get the whole amount over a number of years. This keeps their administrative costs of collection down. Another incentive in negotiating a bill down is offering to pay by check as oppossed to a credit card which caries hefty processing fees for the provider.
If you cannot negotiate your medical bill down or get on a payment plan that works for you, you may want to look into the possibility of bankruptcy, putting you back in control and not being dictated by what the hospital or doctor's office tells you they want. Many good, honest people who have a legitimate hard time paying their medical bills find the relief that they need in bankruptcy. If you are stuggling and don't have a way to get your medical bills paid, contact O'Connor Cadiz Law and talk to a lawyer who will give you an honest assesment of your options. Located in Schaumburg and Itasca, we are here to help you.
Can they repossess my car if I file for bankruptcy?
Once you have filed for bankruptcy, the creditor (the bank who issued the loan) cannot legally have the car repossessed without a court order. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, something called an automatic stay goes into effect right away, making it illegal for your creditors to contact you or to repossess anything without a court order. If they try to get a court order, you will be notified in advance. The creditor has to file a motion with the bankruptcy court to “lift” the automatic stay in what is known as a “Section 362 proceeding”. The judge holds a formal hearing and decides whether or not they can take the car. We can try settle the matter in negotiations before court, and discuss with you your options. The bottom line is that you can't keep it if you don't pay for it, but you may not want the car anyway. In that case, we will talk about that too and make arrangements for the car to be surrendered at a mutually convenient time once you have had a chance to take out your stuff. In a Chapter 13, things work a little different. If your car payments are a problem and you belive that bankruptcy might be right for you, call us for a no obligation no cost consultation with an attorney at 630 250-8813
If I file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, will the trustee take over control of my checking account?
Don't worry. In bankruptcy, neither the trustee nor anyone else will be seizing your bank account. You can use your bank accounts as usual, as well as your other property. In some circumstances, an item of "non-exempt" property may be taken but this is something that you should know about in advance of filing for bankruptcy. I wouldn't worry about it unless your lawyer tells you that it could be a concern in which case you have to weigh your options.
Can my Chapter 13 Trustee Payment be taken out of my paycheck or be set on direct debit from my checking?
Of course. Many people prefer to have their Chapter 13 payment to the trusee come out of their paycheck directly. Don't worry, its not a garnishment but is a voluntary arrangement as convenience to you. Or, you can usually arrange to have your checking account set up as an ACH withdrawal. This has the advantage of "set it and forget it". We can assist you in filling out the paperwork. Keep in mind that if you are mailing out a check directly to your trustee and fall behind, an automatic payment arrangement may then be required.
I can pay my monthly expenses- can I still file for bankruptcy?
Many people who are really struggling with debt mistakenly think that bankruptcy is only for people who can't even meet their basic needs every month. Not true. There are different types of bankruptcy and several factors come into play in determining who qualifies for what kind of debt relief. Don't be one of the many who discredit the possibility of being helped by bankruptcy because you have an income and are able to pay for your living expenses. If, for instance, your income covers your rent, food, utilities, car payment, and reasonable recurring expenses needed to get by, you might still be saddled with too much credit card or other debt and don't have enough money to go around to make those payments. If you have next to nothing (or nothing) left at the end of the month to pay your creditors, you might qualify for what is known as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and eliminate your debt. If you have regular income each month and even have some left over, depending on your other circumstances you might still qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which lets you pay off only a portion of your debt over a 3 to 5 year period. Stop worrying and find out today if bankruptcy can help. Contact O'Connor Cadiz Law in Schaumburg or Itasca to set up a no obligation, no fee bankruptcy consultation.
I have too much equity in my house for Chapter 7 but I need a Bankruptcy. What should I do?
First of all, make sure that your numbers are accurate before you decide that you have too much equity in your house to do a successful bankruptcy. Second of all, equity is not necessarily the death knell of Chapter 7. Present the facts to a bankruptcy lawyer to find out your options and discuss what you are looking to accomplish. It is possible that even if Chapter 7 is not a good option, you might be able to qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and keep your house. Chapter 13 often helps homeowners who want to keep the house by using a workable plan that provides a measure of debt relief while keeping their homes and continuing to pay the mortgage.
Don’t let the fear of losing property stop you from talking to a bankruptcy lawyer. You owe it to yourself to find out your options under the law. Contact O’Connor Cadiz law at 630 250-8813 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your possible bankruptcy options. No charge and no obligation for the consultation. Why wait?