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Simple steps to prepare for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

If you're inching closer and closer to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it's imperative to understand what you're getting into. The way you prepare for this process will help you make the right decisions at the right time.

Once you have weighed your options, here are some simple steps to help you prepare:

  • Make a list of the pros and cons. You need to understand both the good and bad, as this is the only way to make a confident final decision.
  • Learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy alternatives. Bankruptcy may be the best answer, but don't decide on this until you consider alternatives such as debt consolidation.
  • Determine your eligibility. Just because you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn't mean you're able to do so. If you don't qualify for Chapter 7, you can learn more about Chapter 13.
  • Attend credit counseling. You're required to attend credit counseling within 180 days of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Gather all the necessary documentation. Any information you have regarding your debt, income and property will come in handy. Even if you don't think you'll need something, it's best to collect it upfront.

Should you pay more than the monthly minimum on your credit card?

If you find yourself buried in credit-card debt, it's important to carefully review your most recent statements for a clear idea of exactly where things stand.

When doing so, pay close attention to the minimum monthly payments. These are the amounts you're required to pay in order to avoid late fees and red marks on your credit report.

Should you let creditors know that you may file for bankruptcy?

If you have creditors who keep calling to ask for payments, you may be tempted to tell them to stop. After all, you are seriously considering filing for bankruptcy. Alternatively, no creditors are calling yet, but you might reach out to them to let them know about the possibility of bankruptcy.

Usually, telling your creditors is not a good idea. Here is a look at why.

What types of things can lead to foreclosure?

If you receive a foreclosure notice, your stomach will sink and your head will begin to spin. This is a natural reaction, as you know your lender is closing in on repossessing your home.

Fortunately, even if you receive a foreclosure notice, it doesn't mean that you will lose your home. There are still steps you can take to save it.

Tips for dealing with payday lenders

When an emergency strikes or you need a little extra money to make it through to payday, you might turn to payday lenders. The interest rates leave a bad taste in your mouth, but, hey, these lenders will give you money without much red tape. You cannot say that for many other lenders.

Unfortunately, it can be easy to get stuck in a cycle. Some people go to a payday lender intending for it to be a one-time thing, and months or years later, they are still in debt to the lender.

Things to know about a balance-transfer credit card

If you have debt spread over multiple credit cards, there are several strategies you can use to regain control of your finances. For example, you may decide to tackle the credit card with the highest interest rate first. Once that one is eliminated, you can then begin to pay off the one with the second-highest interest rate, etc.

Another option is to use a balance-transfer credit card, allowing you to consolidate all your debt onto one card for ease of management. This option typically allows you to save on interest rates as well.

How do you strip a lien?

If you face overwhelming debt in Louisiana and have both a first and second mortgage on your home that you fear you cannot pay, you may be able to save your home from foreclosure via a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition, you may be able to get rid of your second mortgage and the lien on your home held by your second mortgage lender (if you have no equity in your home).

You may not be aware of the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The basic one is that Chapter 7 is a discharge proceeding wherein the court discharges virtually all of your consumer debt, including your credit card debt. But while Chapter 7 can forestall foreclosure of your home, it seldom can prevent it. Chapter 13, on the other hand, is a reorganization proceeding during which you devise a plan to reorganize and pay off most of your debts over a three- or five-year period after the court approves your plan. Again, your mortgage lender(s) cannot foreclose on your home during your bankruptcy period, and the extended period of time gives you the opportunity to get caught up and stay current with your first mortgage payments, thereby saving your home from foreclosure.

Some creditor behaviors may be considered to be harassing

If you have delinquent debts, then you've likely received your fair share of harassing calls from collection agencies. What you may not be aware of is that there's a limit to how a debt collector can engage with you. If their interaction with you goes beyond a certain point, then they may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Under this law, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in oppressive, abusive or harassing behaviors.

5 things you should never put on your credit card

Access to a credit card can be both a good and bad thing. On the plus side, you don't have to immediately part with cash to make a purchase. Conversely, this makes it much easier to spend money on something you can't afford.

There are definitely times when it makes sense to use a credit card, such as when buying groceries or filling up your car with gas.

McBride Law Firm

McBride Law Firm
301 Jackson Street Suite 101
Alexandria, LA 71301

Phone: 318-625-0471
Fax: 318-445-8066
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