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Lee's Summit Bankruptcy Attorneys

Altieri Gilmore LLP - 816-524-0404

Lee's Summit Bankruptcy Attorneys When you and your family are faced with filing for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy it is not a very fun or easy process to go through in life, especially alone or without help. If you need help and are considering bankruptcy you need to hire an experienced Missouri bankruptcy attorney in order to help you navigate through the complex process correctly. At Altieri Gilmore LLP, our lawyers are very experienced in bankruptcy and are ready to provide new clients in need of help with top tier legal representation for your bankruptcy filing. By working with Altieri Gilmore LLP, the residents of the Kansas City Metro Area who are heavily burdened by debt can find a long overdue relief for their families financial situations.

Our law firm takes a more modern approach to all bankruptcy cases, by using the most advanced processes available and the most up to date legal tools in order to save you time and money and get the debt relief results that you want and need. From the second that you find yourself in the tuff situation of being overcome with burdening debt and getting calls from harassing collectors and creditors attempting to obtain overdue payments, you need call Altieri Gilmore LLP Law Firm as soon as possible. Altieri Gilmore’s experienced bankruptcy lawyers can work with you in all of the following bankruptcy related areas and provide you and your family with trusted legal representation for your debt relief case.

We specialise in many bankruptcy related cases such as:

  • Foreclosures
  • Wage Garnishments
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 11
  • Collection Agency Harassment
  • Tax Litigation
  • Restructuring Debt
  • Evictions
  • Personal Property
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Business Bankruptcies
  • Pay Day & Title Loans
  • Medical Bills
  • Repossessions
  • Credit Repair
  • Student Loans
  • Complex Avoidance Actions
  • Fraudulent Transfers and Preferences
  • Solvency Issues
  • Fraud Investigations
  • Auditor Malpractice
  • Directors and Officers Claims
  • Substantive Consolidation
  • Plan of Reorganization (POR) Development and Disputes
  • Equitable Subordination
  • Debt Recharacterization

 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

When filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep all of your personal assets and property (real estate) and still work out a plan to pay off your debts by working with the Missouri bankruptcy court that will then give you with a payment plan that they have preapproved. A Chapter 13 payment plan could be structured to last for two to five years and is specifically crafted to help you repay creditors in smaller payments and allow you to still keep all your assets and property.


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also commonly known as a straight bankruptcy or a liquidation bankruptcy. When someone files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of their non-exempt assets will be sold or liquidated and the money made from this will then be used to repay debts that are owed to your creditors. You are required to prove through a test called a bankruptcy means test that you are eligible to file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that you not able to afford or repay even very small payments on your debts and loans.

Altieri Gilmore LLP’s bankruptcy attorneys are experienced in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies in Missouri.
Call us now to schedule a free case evaluation at 816-524-0404 - Altieri Gilmore LLP

 

 

Bankruptcy Questions & Answers

 

 

Am I required to list all of my assets in bankruptcy?

All of the property and assets that you own has to be listed in your bankruptcy case, Everything.  There is no legal way to pick and choose what you want included and trying to exclude an asset is a crime.

Do not assume that you will lose all of your property you list in your bankruptcy!  Listing all of your property and assets correctly is a part of the process of keeping your property and not the start of losing it all.

Most people that file for bankruptcy end up keeping everything they want to keep that they can afford to pay for, if they owe money on it. Everything gets listed in your bankruptcy case in order to for us to help you keep it. 

 

 

Am I required to list all of my debts in bankruptcy?

Yes.  All of your loans and debts that you owe are required to be listed in your bankruptcy.  Everything.  There is no legal way to choose what you want included or excluded from your bankruptcy.  You will have to swear under oath that you listed everything and lying under oath is a very serious crime. If you owe debt on something does not automatically mean that you will lose it in the bankruptcy. Listing all of your debt correctly is part of the steps to help ensure that you are able to keep the property and assets you need to keep and in the process shed the debt that is burdening you down.

Even if you have a debt that you don't want to wipe out, like a debt you owe to a friend or family member, or a physician you want to keep going to as you family doctor, they should still be listed in the bankruptcy.  

After your bankruptcy you can always repay discharged debts voluntarily.  Or after bankruptcy you can reaffirm your past legal obligation to debts.

You need to list all debts, even debts listed that you do not think you obligated to pay off for some reason.  This is your opportunity to be sure, that you will not ever have to repay the debt that you think you are not obligated to pay.  Your bankruptcy will not just a fresh start, it's a complete clean sweep.

 

 

Who all will know that I have filed bankruptcy?

The bankruptcy court, your creditors, your attorney, and trustees will know you filed bankruptcy. 

A chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is a public record and it will be on your credit report, but there's not very much public interest in personal bankruptcy cases.  

We aware that for some people it can be embarrassing to file bankruptcy.  We don't think that it should be this way but also we respect your privacy greatly and so does the Missouri court system.  They will not attempt to embarrass anyone and it’s not about punishing you for filing bankruptcy, the process is about helping you get a new and  fresh start.

The fact of the matter is that you probably know many people who filed bankruptcy but you don't actually know about it.  Bankruptcy is a lot more common than you are probably aware of.

 

 

Am I able to keep my house?

If you can afford your house payment then more than likely you will be able to keep your house.

If you are current on your house payments and keep current on them and also have less than $15,000 in equity in your home, you should be able to keep your house. This is the case in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.  The home lender could possibly ask for a reaffirmation agreement contract in certain situations.

If you have accumulated more than $15,000 of equity in your home, you may have to file a Chapter 13 Plan instead of the straight Chapter 7 plan.  

In the last 3 years if you have moved from a different state to Missouri the home equity amount that is able to be protected may be different.

If you are behind on your house payments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be necessary to satisfy the missed payments in the bankruptcy repayment program.  And you will need to keep paying the regular payments on time, every time. In most cases we typically have no way to change your monthly house payment obligations. So if you cannot afford your mortgage payments and the home lender will not or cannot change your home loan terms, then ultimately you may not be capable of affording the house.

 

 

My house is a Mobile Home, does that change anything?

You are usually able to keep mobile homes in Missouri bankruptcy.

If you are up to date on your payments and have less than $5,000 in equity in your mobile home, you more than likely will  able to keep it in your bankruptcy.  This is true in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.  The mobile home lender could possibly ask for a reaffirmation contract agreement in certain circumstances.

If you have accumulated more than $5,000 in equity in your mobile home, you may need to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy Plan instead of straight Chapter 7 plan.  

This is the case if you are renting the pad for the mobile home or do not own the land that the mobile home is residing on.  If you do actually own the land that the mobile home resides, you need to make sure the mobile home is permanently attached to the land or pad and is made a "fixture."  When the mobile home is attached you will be able to protect the land in bankruptcy and the mobile home listed as your homestead for $15,000, instead of $5,000 for a mobile home by itself.  If you do not attach the mobile home to the land, in bankruptcy you may not be able to protect both the land and mobile home in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In the last 3 years if you have moved from a different state to Missouri the home equity amount that is able to be protected may be different.


If you are behind on your house payments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be necessary to satisfy the missed payments in the bankruptcy repayment program. And you probably will be required to keep making your regular mobile home payments. Making changes to the terms of your mobile home loan that does not include the land it resides on is possible to get done but it depends on your financial situation and the total amount owed on the mobile home.

 

 

Am I able to keep my car?

Usually when filing bankruptcy you can keep your car and sometimes you can keep several cars.

If you are current and stay up to date on your car payments and have less than $3,000 equity built up in your car, you will probably be able to keep your car.  (If you and your spouse own the car or cars together, you can protect them by up to $6,000 of vehicles equity.)  This is the case in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  The car loan lender may require a reaffirmation agreement contract in certain circumstances.

If you have accumulated more than $3-6,000 of equity in all of your vehicles, you may possibly need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of the straight Chapter 7 bankruptcy plan.  

Your vehicles equity amount that can be protected may be different if you have moved to the state of Missouri from another state within the last 3 years.

If you are far behind on your car payments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be necessary but we can normally change your payments and even lower how much is owed to the auto lender, making your high car payments much more manageable to pay.

There is an option in Chapter 7 bankruptcy to "redeem" a vehicle for its retail value in one lump sum from the car lender.  This can be very useful if your vehicle is worth much less than what is owed on it and you may be able to borrow this money to redeem it or a family member or relative may be able to give you the money to do this.

 

 

Am I able to keep my retirement money?

Most of the time you are able to keep your retirement account money.

The state of Missouri protects most kinds of retirement account plans, including traditional pensions, IRAs, work related profit-sharing plans, inside or outside of your bankruptcy filing.  Bankruptcy law also provides additional retirement account protection for most of these kinds of assets when you file for bankruptcy.

In some bankruptcy cases there are some limited exceptions were you may not be able to protect unusual retirement account contributions that were made in the recent past to your accounts.  And in some instances these retirement accounts may be pursued by for certain special creditors like child support payments and certain taxes.  

For most people these retirement accounts are safe from creditors pursuit.  This is one of the main reasons why we encourage clients to not touch these retirement accounts and to deal with their current debt problems in bankruptcy and keep up their regular retirement program contributions if at all possible.

 

 

Will filing for bankruptcy stop my wage garnishment?

When you file bankruptcy, almost always it will stop wage garnishments.

We can usually stop wage garnishments if you have been sued for consumer debt like a credit card or signature loan with a bankruptcy filing.  Creditors and collectors will have to obey to the automatic stay imposed by your bankruptcy filing.

When filing bankruptcy there are some limited exceptions such as you can't stop a child support garnishment.  Bankruptcy cannot be used to try and stop your child support payments.  It is sometimes possible to be used to stop the payments for back or missed child support payments but you will not get be able to get rid of the payments in the long run. You will need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to address owed back child support payments, through a child support payment plan.  And if the owed past debt can't be wiped out (e.g. child support and student loans) the wage garnishments may resume after your bankruptcy case is over.

But most of the time, wage garnishments are for past consumer debts that you can't afford to pay off.  And the wage deductions are making you fall behind on more critical debt, like your rent, mortgage and vehicle payments.  Fling bankruptcy will allow you to put the order of your most important payments right again and allow you to decide will get paid and who will not.

 

 

When I file do I have to attend a credit counseling class?

Within 180-days before you can file bankruptcy you have to be briefed by an approved credit counselor.

This obligation is sometimes misconstrued or misleading. This credit briefing that you have to take requires very little time and usually not more than a few hours.  Most of this process can be done online or by a phone call, The briefing can be done in-person as well.

When talking with the credit counselor you do not have to go into payment plan details. Many credit counselors are hired by credit card companies to manage their accounts collection of debt you owe the credit card company. These counselors are trying to help you but they are also at the same time helping themselves. Just remember you are not required by law to go into payment plan details in order to "get qualified" for any form of bankruptcy.

The U.S. Trustee program has approved credit counselors for each district. When you are our client we will you with a list of agencies our previous clients have worked with in the past and who seem to be providing efficient and unbiased information. If you have already been briefed before coming to talk with us, make sure to get a copy of the credit counselors’ certificate showing that you have completed the briefing because this has to be filed with your bankruptcy case.

Do not forget that you have to do this briefing before your bankruptcy case can be filed. This must be done within 180-days of your bankruptcy case filing. But you do not assume that you have to do the credit counseling program for 6-months. 

 

 

I have filed bankruptcy in the past, can I file bankruptcy again?

The bankruptcy rules on this are complicated. You are allowed to still file a case under different Chapters within the Bankruptcy Code, but in order to discharge or wipe clean the debt, there are different sets of waiting periods between your bankruptcy cases.

In the past if you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, you have to wait 8 years before your new Chapter 7 filing will qualify for a discharge.
If you have filed Chapter 7 in the past you have to wait 4 years before your new Chapter 13 bankruptcy will qualify for discharge. 

These bankruptcy time limits are measured from the date of the case filing in the original bankruptcy case to the date of filing of the new bankruptcy case.


In the past if you have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and received a discharge you will have to wait 2 years before your new Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing will qualify for discharge.
If you are planning to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and have filed a chapter 13 in the past you have to wait 6 years before your new Chapter 7 bankruptcy will qualify for discharge. Unless your prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy case filing repaid an amount equal to at least 70% of your unsecured debt claims.

These bankruptcy time limits also are accounted for and measured by most Missouri courts from the date of your bankruptcy filing of the prior case to the date of the filing of your new bankruptcy case.

 

 

What is a trustee and who will be the trustee in my case?

A bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to oversee your bankruptcy case when you bankruptcy under Chapter 7, 12, or 13.  The trustee on your case is not the judge, they are not even required to be an attorney (although in Eastern Missouri they all are attorneys).

Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will be chosen by the Office of U.S. Trustee from a select panel.  This trustee is in charge of holding the initial bankruptcy hearing in your case, investigating all of the assets involved, transfers to a debtor or debtors, and recovering any of your assets and property that can be used to pay back creditors by liquidating them and then paying the claims made by the creditors.  

Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee will either be the only one or one of only a few bankruptcy trustees who are assigned to all Chapter 13 case filings. There is currently only one Chapter 13 bankruptcy Trustee in Eastern Missouri. 

All bankruptcy trustees get paid from the money they are able to collect in order to repay the creditors on a commission only basis. At times they may get a small portion of the commission from the bankruptcy filing fees paid forward in a bankruptcy case.

The bankruptcy trustee will verify the truthfulness of any sworn statements and will investigate most of the transactions to assure a complete and thorough disclosure has been made. For this reason, the trustee is quite often required to ask very detailed questions and kind of dig into certain aspects which are not always obvious of the reasons. From experience we know the trustees typically do not enjoy doing this anymore than you enjoy it.

 

 

Will my spouse be required to file bankruptcy as well?

Absolutely not. 

It is possible for your spouse to file with you but not required.  A joint case is an administrative convenience but it is simply two cases filed together.  (And you must both qualify to file the case in the first place.)

Your spouse may want to file a joint case with you, if there is joint debt, though.  In Missouri, if you file bankruptcy and discharge a debt owed by you and your spouse, they will still owe that debt.  It would likely cost nothing more to include your spouse in the case in such situations but it is definitely not required.

There can be some complicated situations in which it is advisable that your spouse not file a case at this point, too.

 

 

My family loaned me money, am I required to list them?

Yes, if you owe anyone at all money, you absolutely have to list them in your bankruptcy. There is a myth that you do not have to claim the debts that you do not want to list in your bankruptcy. This is not true and a very dangerous action. When you don’t record a debt in your bankruptcy filing you are committing a serious crime. 

In most cases people don't really want to clear their debt to a family member.  But your family member or friend probably was not going to sue you for the money you owed them, were they?  So with this in mind would they really mind if you claimed it in bankruptcy and wiped it out?

You can always voluntarily repay any debt you wiped out in bankruptcy and this includes what you owe a friend or family member. But keep in mind that repaying them before the bankruptcy is over can create more problems.

When a debt is associated with a family member and your main concern is that you don't want anyone including them to know that you had to file for bankruptcy, that's much more difficult situation to deal with. In order to file bankruptcy correctly to get wipe out all of your other debts and loans you owe, you absolutely have to include anything you owe to anyone one or any company when you file.  If your family member or friend legally in writing forgave the money or loan you owed to them, it is possible that it is not required that it be listed in your bankruptcy filing.  But getting this done could be harder to get done than very simply just telling them that you may need to file for bankruptcy and are required by law to include any debt including theirs in the bankruptcy.

I most instances people are fairly sympathetic when they end up finding out you need to file for bankruptcy. On quite a few occasions we've had to work with family members willing to almost go bankrupt themselves trying to help them to avoid filing for bankruptcy.  Only if a family member is very well off financially does it make sense to do this. In most cases we encourage friends and family members to help out our clients recover from the bankruptcy filing and help with building up their credit after the bankruptcy filing, instead of attempting to pay off their debt and trying to avoid filing.

 

 

Can I just pay back the money I owe my family first?

Yes you can but this is highly unadvised because they may be sued as a result of doing this.

A core idea of a bankruptcy filing is that all of your creditors involved are treated equally, as much as possible, before, after and during a bankruptcy filing. In the past this has been more important than whether or not you were able to get clear away any of your debt.

If you attempt to repay a debt to any friends or family members for more than a minuscule amount of money within the period of a year before filing your bankruptcy, two situations will occur. Firstly the trustee will have to be made aware that you did this. The second situation that will most likely happen is the trustee in your case will sue the person you paid money to, in order to get the money you paid to them and then redistribute those funds evenly among all of the other creditors that are owed. The technical term for this is called "avoiding a preferential transfer" because you indeed would have "preferred" one specific creditor that you had owed over all of the others.

Since you are always able to repay any debts you owe after your bankruptcy case is over, it is normally a good idea to use any money you have on hand towards goods or services you are really in need of. Then you can repay any these debts that you owe to friends or family, if you wish to, after the bankruptcy case is completed.

 

 

I have great credit, will a bankruptcy ruin my credit?

This all kind of depends on what you think is great credit.  

If you have recently been qualified for low interest rate loans from some lenders, then filing bankruptcy will make this a bit more difficult for a while, but it is quite possible to eliminate enough of your past debt that this will not matter as much as you may think.

If you have a lot of debt or loans that you owe but you still have more credit available from a few sources, this doesn’t really constitute “great credit”."  

The real things to consider when you are considering filing bankruptcy are:  Out of all of your debt and assets, can you live in it, drive it to work, can your kids go to college on it and does it cover your retirement needs?

A person’s credit score is not a measure of their value as a person. A credit score for creditors and lenders is simply a business decision and it should also be for you as well.

 

 

When I file bankruptcy how many times, am I required to go to court?

Typically when filing bankruptcy you will only have to go to court one time.  

You are required to attend a 341 Meeting, which is sometimes called the Meeting of Creditors. This hearing or meeting is overseen by the trustee in your case and we will attend it with you.  Your creditors are allowed to attend this meeting but they usually do not attend.

The hearing is usually painless and short. The meeting is public but is usually painless, short and most of the people that will be there have filed for bankruptcy like you have, or are these people’s bankruptcy attorneys.  This hearing mostly resembles a quiet meeting of only a few people gathered around a table with some other people in the room attempting to look not bored to be there.

By federal law, the bankruptcy judge does not attend this meeting.  There may be some other hearings that are before the bankruptcy judge but even then many of those meetings are not attended by the judge and only by the attorneys and you are not required to attend.

Our office will let you know which hearings you are required to attend and which hearings you are not required to attend unless you wish to attend them.

 

What about debt consolidating or refinancing it instead of filing for bankruptcy?


You have probably heard or seen ads online touting the benefits of home equity loans and debt consolidation loans, or heard talk of debt settlement agencies or programs.  You may have even thought of borrowing money from your 401(k) or liquidating your whole IRA account in order to pay your bills and payback creditors. Bankruptcy is not for everyone but everyone should know about it, just in case.

Bankruptcy should be used as a last resort option. But at the same time we do not believe that it's a great idea to put your house or your retirement savings at risk because you have fallen behind on paying your bills or suffered some sort of temporary but painful setback like getting laid off from work. We also don't think for the next several years of your life you should only be working to repay your creditors just to get you back to where you started from.

It's important for you and your family that you make an informed choice about your debt. Our attorneys are here to help, call now to schedule a free consultation at 816-524-0404

 

 

 

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