Filing An Emergency Bankruptcy To Save Your Property

When you need to file bankruptcy immediately to stop a foreclosure or a repossession or for other reasons, consider filing an emergency bankruptcy case.  We will file a "bare-bones" petition containing the essential information needed to commence your case.  Your case will be filed in either the Fort Worth division or the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas bankruptcy courts, depending on your place of residence or the location of your primary assets.  We have convenient offices in Fort Worth and in Irving to facilitate filing.  After filing we have fourteen days to complete the bankruptcy paperwork.  An emergency filing can do many things, including stopping the repossession of your vehicle, stopping the foreclosure on your home, and stopping the IRS from garnishing your wages, due to the imposition of the automatic stay immediately upon your filing, which acts as an injunction against creditor action.

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool to use when the circumstances warrant it.   For more information on bankruptcy and how it might help you, I recommend consulting a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your specific situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.,

Lawsuits and judgments: Is it too late to file for bankruptcy?

Receiving a lawsuit from a third-party collection agency is common for people who are in debt with credit cards, car deficiency balances, and personal loans.  You might not have thought that a small credit card bill of $2,000.00 could become a debt of $10,000.00 or more. This can happen because creditors and the collection agency assignees of the debt add interest, attorney fees, late fees, etc.  Some people discard the lawsuit documents or ignore being served with a lawsuit, but that does not make the debt go away.

A lawsuit can turn into a judgment which later can get turned into a garnishment or a lien against your home or other real property.  The longer you wait, the more your options disappear, and the more problems will arise.  One way to avoid debt collection from these lawsuits and judgments is to file bankruptcy. However, not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy.  Some examples of debts that cannot be discharged are child support, alimony, and debts incurred through fraud.

A bankruptcy attorney is able to determine whether or not a bankruptcy will benefit you regarding the lawsuit or the judgment you have on your record.

For more information on bankruptcy and how it might help stop a lawsuit, I recommend consulting a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your specific situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.,

Why clients are choosing Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney Michael P. O'Donnell

Since my law firm’s inception, I have always believed in putting the rights and interests of my clients first. This client-focused approach to legal representation continues to separate my firm from the competition. I value the reputation I have cultivated over the years and continue to shape my firm's processes and procedures around this tradition of excellence.

I offer clients:

  • More than 30 years of successful bankruptcy filings
  • Risk-free, initial case consultations
  • Easy payment plans and flexible payment options
  • Cost-effective solutions
  • Personal attention from an attorney who is directly involved in your case from start to finish
  • Friendly, approachable, and communicative legal counsel

Though it may feel like there is no end in sight, I encourage you to speak with our compassionate team as soon as possible. With my help, a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, you could have access to the resources, support, and guidance you need to regain your financial footing. Because I recognize that no two cases are alike, I can create an individualized solution which is designed with your short and long term interests in mind.

There is light at the end of the tunnel! Learn more about your potential debt-relief options by calling experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney Michael P. O'Donnell at 817-732-7590. You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

What Is The Credit Counseling Requirement?

Individuals are not eligible for relief under any chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code unless they obtain “an individual or group briefing” from an approved nonprofit credit counseling agency before the case is filed.

1. Agencies Must Be Approved. The credit counseling agency must be approved by the United States trustee. You can go to the U.S. Trustee website for a list of approved credit counseling agencies.

2. 180 Days Before Case Is Filed. The counseling session must occur within 180 days (roughly 6 months) before filing for bankruptcy. A counseling session occurring more than 6 months before the case does not count as a valid session.

3. Certificate Required. The Debtor must obtain a certificate which proves that the counseling session took place. The certificate must be filed with the bankruptcy pe­tition.

4. Method (in Person, Telephone or Internet). The required briefing may take place in person, by telephone or on the internet.

5. Fee. The law states that the agency must provide the counseling session without regard to the debtor’s ability to pay a fee. However, there are no published standards to determine the income level at which a person can be said to have an ability to pay. Most approved agencies charge a fee between $9.95 and $60 for the session.

6. Exceptions. There are very limited exceptions to the credit counseling requirement. The only exceptions are for:

a. Adequate Counseling Not Available. Districts in which adequate counseling services are determined by the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator not to be available. This exception does not apply to cases filed in the Northern District of Texas.

b. Incapacity, Disability or Military Duty. Debtors who are incapacitated, disabled, or on active military duty in a combat zone. A person is considered “incapacitated” only if he has a mental illness or mental deficiency such that he is incapable of realizing and making rational decisions with respect to his financial responsibilities. A “disability” means that the debtor is so physically impaired as to be unable, after reasonable effort, to participate in an in-person, telephone, or in­ternet briefing.

c. Exigent Circumstances. The exception relied upon most is for situations involving exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances means that the debtor was required to immediately file the case without completing the counseling session. To qualify, the debtor must:

  • file a written certification with the court;

  • describe exigent circumstances that merit a waiver of the counseling requirement;

  • state that the debtor requested credit counseling from an approved agency before the case was filed;

  • state that the counseling was unable to obtain the services during the 5-day period beginning on the date on which the debtor made that request.

The court cases that have interpreted this exception have been very strict in enforcing it. A debtor will almost never be able to come to a lawyer within the last few days before a foreclosure sale and file a case without completing the credit counseling session. The debtor will never be able to excuse a failure to at least try to obtain credit counseling or credit repair before filing the case by obtaining counseling the day after (or even one minute after) the case is filed. The court simply has no discretion to allow the debtor to obtain the counseling after the case is filed if he/she did not even try to obtain the counseling services before the case was filed.

As a result of these requirements, the exigent circumstances exception will almost never apply.

If you have questions about bankruptcy, I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your specific situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

Can't I Make Small Payments On My Credit Cards And Eventually Catch Up?

You could try, but depending on how far you are behind it is probably unlikely that you will ever pay off your credit cards in full. When you fall behind, the credit card companies will substantially raise your interest rate, causing you to get further behind. You will eventually exceed your debt limit and be charged over-limit fees, too. If you have $15,000 in credit card debt, with an average interest rate of 17% and pay $300 per month, it will take you almost 7 years and 4 months to pay off the debt, and you will have paid in over $26,000. If you’ve fallen behind on your cards, and your average interest rate is 27%, it would take you approximately 12-1/2 years to pay off the debt at $350 per month. If you qualify, bankruptcy can eliminate all of this debt within 3-1/2 months.

If you have questions about bankruptcy, I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your specific situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

10 Well Known People Who Filed Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy used to have a stigma attached, but after a period of time people began to realize bankruptcy isn’t something to be ashamed of or avoid, that it’s a service created to help people who’ve been hit with hard times. Imagine those sleepless nights, the weight on your shoulders and the fear of opening your mail all GONE. That’s exactly what bankruptcy can do for you. Can you recover from bankruptcy? Take a look at the list below to see some of the most successful people who came back from bankruptcy.

1) Abraham Lincoln

Ironically, Abraham Lincoln’s face is all over our money. It’s ironic because Abraham Lincoln once didn’t have a dime to his name and now his head is printed on the $5 bill. Before his presidential days, Honest Abe ran a store not nearly as successful as his later endeavors. It's safe to say Lincoln wasn’t the best storekeeper. Lincoln owed $1,000 (almost $28,000 in today’s currency) after his partner died. Despite this, Abraham Lincoln went on to be one of the most famous and inspirational presidents.

2) Walt Disney

Everyone knows who Walt Disney is, but people often don’t know that he filed bankruptcy. When a film deal turned sour and Walt’s client didn’t pay, he had nothing except debts and bills. Five years later, Walt went on to create Mickey Mouse and one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies.

3) Henry Ford

Henry Ford filed bankruptcy in 1903, but that did not stop him from building a huge automotive empire. He tried, failed, and tried again. He kept on trying until his dream became a reality. His net worth at the time of his death in 1947 is estimated at $199,000,000,000 in today's dollars – yes, billion. Who’d have thought Henry Ford had ever filed bankruptcy?

4) Donald Trump

A famous businessman, 45th President of the United States, and a keen user of the phrase “you’re fired!” Donald Trump is no stranger to bankruptcy. Still in business and profiting, Donald Trump has filed for business bankruptcy not once, not twice, not three times, but four times.  Donald Trump is the third President to have filed bankruptcy.

5) Larry King

Before Larry King was a huge hit on American radio and television, he was in over $350,000 of debt. The same year Larry filed for bankruptcy would be the very same year he would embark on his 25-year career as one of the most popular radio and television hosts in America.

6) Ulysses S Grant

Ulysses Grant is the second President to have filed bankruptcy. He was the leader of the Union army in the Civil War and our nation's 18th President. After serving as President, Grant was a partner in a Wall Street investment firm and was cheated by a swindling partner and left destitute. Grant went on to create literary works that brought him back from bankruptcy.

7) Wayne Newton

In 1992, Wayne filed for bankruptcy to help with the $20,000,000 debt which he’d accrued trying to sue broadcasting giant, NBC. Within seven years, Wayne was financially stable again and rebuilt a fortune despite his bankruptcy.

8) George Foreman

Before George’s lean, mean, grilling machines, he was a boxer down on his luck and out of pocket. He filed for bankruptcy before reinventing himself and becoming a highly successful entrepreneur with a wide range of kitchen products. George Foreman has an estimated wealth of over $250,000,000.

9) Milton Hershey

Prior to Milton Hershey’s successful career as a chocolatier, he filed bankruptcy after running an unsuccessful candy store for six years. He didn’t give up there. He returned home and created a company where he would perfect milk and caramel production, only to sell the company for $1,000,000 so he could finance his ambitious project of perfecting milk chocolate which would be known as The Hershey Foods Corporation, known now as The Hershey Company, or more well-known as just Hershey.

10) Francis Ford Coppola

Some of you may not know Francis Coppola. Coppola is the writer, producer and director of The Godfather trilogy and other box office hits. Even though he filed for bankruptcy, it hasn’t affected his career and he’s still in production making awesome movies.

No Shame in Filing

Now that you’ve seen a list of 10 successful people who filed bankruptcy and went on the great success—and there are many more people—maybe you’ll feel a little better about bankruptcy. Bankruptcy isn’t anything to be ashamed of and should be utilized where possible by those who need its protection. Unfortunately, no one can predict a hardship which may knock our lives into financial chaos. Bankruptcy was given to us by Congress as a way to deal with financial problems. So if you have a mountain of debt, don’t bury your head in the sand; tackle the problem and consider what bankruptcy can do for you. 

If you have questions about bankruptcy, I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your specific situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?

Have you been struggling with debt problems for a long time?  If so, making the decision to file for bankruptcy relief is a big step. Many people, once they make the decision to file bankruptcy, want to get it done as soon as possible so they can get on with their lives free from the burden of unmanageable debt.  Therefore, one of the most common questions we are asked is, “When will my bankruptcy be over?”

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Cases filed under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code are also known as “liquidation” or “straight” bankruptcy cases.  In a Chapter 7 case, a bankruptcy trustee evaluates the debtor’s assets to determine if any of the assets have non-exempt equity.  If an asset has equity that is not protected by a bankruptcy exemption, the trustee may liquidate the asset and use the funds to pay the debtor’s creditors on a pro-rata basis.  Almost all Chapter 7 cases filed in Texas are no-asset cases. In a no-asset case, the debtor usually retains all of his or her property. A debtor will receive a discharge, or elimination, of his or her debts in approximately 3-1/2 months after filing, and the case will be subsequently closed. A no-asset case is usually closed 4 to 5 months after the date the case was filed.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Cases filed under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code are also known as “an adjustment of debts of a person with regular income”. This type of case is usually used to stop a foreclosure, stop repossession of a vehicle, or to pay a non-dischargeable IRS debt. In a Chapter 13 case, the debtor proposes a bankruptcy plan outlining how his or her various creditors will be treated in the bankruptcy. The debtor makes monthly payments to a Chapter 13 trustee and the trustee disburses those payments according to the terms of the confirmed bankruptcy plan. The length of the bankruptcy case is based on the length of the bankruptcy plan. Most plans require the debtor to make payments for 60 months; however, depending on the debtor's income, the case may be as short as 36 months in length. Once all payments are made to the trustee, the trustee will complete a final accounting and the case will be closed.

If you are struggling with debt, contact Michael P. O'Donnell, attorney at law, to discuss your bankruptcy options. You have choices for dealing with your financial problems and I will help you find the solution that is best for you. As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your specific situation. You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options. I look forward to helping you become debt free. To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.  

Mistakes To Avoid In Bankruptcy

Make the bankruptcy process easier for yourself by avoiding these common mistakes. Although we can work around most of these mistakes, why dig a deeper hole before you file?

Anything You Do Shortly Before Filing Bankruptcy Is Looked At Very Carefully

If you think that there’s even a 1% chance of your filing bankruptcy, leave everything the way it is right now, and come in for a free initial consultation. Too often, I see good-minded people making their situation worse by some of the things that that do just before coming to see me for a free initial consultation.

Getting A Home Equity Loan To Pay Bills Instead Of Filing Bankruptcy

Your house is not an ATM machine, and you can’t borrow your way out of debt! Sure, you might have a lower payment, but you can lose your home if your income changes and you can’t pay back the loan.  On the other hand, if you can’t pay your credit cards, they can harass or sue you but they can’t take your home. Once you file bankruptcy, the harassment must stop and a Chapter 7 discharge, if you are eligible, will eliminate all of the credit card debt.

Cashing In Your IRA Or 401(k) Instead Of Filing Bankruptcy

Your retirement account is exempt property, which means creditors cannot touch it. So, why give it to your creditors? You'll need this money for your retirement. 

As a Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyer, I've seen people clear out their retirement accounts to pay some of their bills, then ultimately have to file bankruptcy to handle the remainder of their bills.  Come to see me before you take money from your retirement accounts.

Waiting Too Long

It’s human nature to put off unpleasant events, but the best time to handle debt problems is when things are not going your way financially. If you wait until you have more income, it may cost you more to get out of debt. Take advantage of bad financial times by getting a fresh start.

Case in point: A lady came in for a debt consultation following her divorce. She qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which there are no payments to a trustee, but she chose to do nothing. Much later, she came in for another debt consultation because her situation had changed: she had gotten married. She qualified for bankruptcy, but this time she was not eligible for a Chapter 7; she had to file a Chapter 13 that required a plan payment of several hundred dollars a month for five years. Even though her new husband didn’t file bankruptcy, we had to consider all household income. By delaying the inevitable, she brought her old debt problems into her new relationship.

The advice here is to resolve your debt problems with bankruptcy while you’re "down.” If you wait until you “get back on top of your game”, then it may cost you more or even be unavailable.

Here’s a common situation: People sometimes come in for a debt consultation after they have ignored a credit card lawsuit, which resulted in a judgment being entered against them. They come in looking for answers because the cash in their bank account has been garnished by the creditor that obtained the judgment. In most cases, had the person come in when they were first sued, we could have stopped the lawsuit and protected the cash.

The advice here is to consult a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney as soon as you are sued. Doing nothing can make the problem bigger.

Failing To List Everyone You Owe

You must list everyone you owe. If you don’t list a creditor, then you will still owe the creditor after the bankruptcy is completed.

Failing To List Everything You Own

Tell your lawyer about everything you own, even if you think it is “exempt” or if you want to “keep it".

List It, Or Lose It! If you fail to list property in the bankruptcy, then it may not yours after the bankruptcy case is completed. Property of the estate in a bankruptcy case includes "all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case."

Let’s say you have a car accident claim, but you don’t list it. After the bankruptcy case is over, you lose any right to assert that claim in separate litigation.  This is known as the doctrine of judicial estoppel.

Keeping More Debt Than You Can Afford

Although you must list everyone you owe, you get to choose which debts you want to keep.

Here’s the key point: If you want to keep possessions that are secured by the property, you’ve got to keep paying for them! The flip side of that coin is this: the more you keep, the more you must pay. So, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Having Too Much Cash

You are limited as to how much cash you can protect in a bankruptcy case. Determining just how much you can protect requires a review of several factors. If you have too much cash, then I will suggest some bankruptcy estate planning strategies. The key point here: don’t give it to family before you come to see me. We must talk before you move anything around!

Filing Bankruptcy When You Have A Substantial Tax Refund Pending

Tax refunds are treated like cash in the bank. If you have too much, we may need to do some bankruptcy estate planning to protect it.

Large Credit Card Usage Shortly Before Filing Bankruptcy

Significant cash advances, balance transfers, or purchases on a credit card shortly before filing bankruptcy can create problems for your case. How much is too much? How soon is too soon? It depends on several factors. Stop using the cards, and let’s talk.

Repaying Family Members Less Than A Year Before Filing

The most common problem is that the client repays a family member with their tax refund, then the client comes to see me about bankruptcy. That payment to the family member could be a problem in your case; it could be seen as a "preferential transfer", which is not permitted. If you can, wait until after your case is completed to repay family members.

Transferring Or Giving Property To Family

You may be able to protect your property while it’s in your possession or control, but not after you have given it to someone. This may be considered a "fraudulent transfer", depending on when the transfer is made. So, keep it and you may be able to protect it.

If you have questions about bankruptcy, I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your particular situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

 

Can I Stop The Title Loan Company From Repossessing My Car or Truck By Filing Bankruptcy?

Yes. If you qualify, filing chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop your title loan company from repossessing your vehicle.  It can also let you pay them back over time at a reasonable interest rate, with a payment that you can afford. 

If you are delinquent on your title loan payments or you see that you won't be able to pay the loan back as fast as the title loan company wants, and you live in the Fort Worth, Texas area, the Irving, Texas area, or the surrounding counties, contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861 to schedule a FREE consultation.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case EvaluationAs an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can help you decide what to do to save your vehicle.

Can My Bankruptcy Trustee Take The Money I Withdrew From My IRA?

Yes, in certain circumstances.  If you have claimed the IRA as exempt under Texas law, and you take out a lump sum during a bankruptcy and do not reinvest it in another IRA (a nontaxable rollover) within 60 days, then the money is no longer considered an IRA and it may be seized by your bankruptcy trustee.

My recommendation: Don't take a lump sum distribution from your IRA during a bankruptcy if you have claimed the funds as exempt under Texas law, unless you are doing a nontaxable rollover to another qualified plan.  Check with your bankruptcy lawyer first.  The safe bet is to wait until the bankruptcy case is not only discharged but closed.

If you have questions about bankruptcy, I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your particular situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

I Filed Bankruptcy In The Past. Can I File Another Bankruptcy?

Yes, but to receive a discharge of your debts in your second bankruptcy a certain amount of time must have passed.  The time required between bankruptcy filings to receive a discharge typically runs from the date of filing of your previous bankruptcy to the date of the filing of the new bankruptcy.  There are exceptions to these rules, but generally:

  • The time between successive Chapter 7 bankruptcies is 8 years, from the filing date in the first case.

  • The time between successive Chapter 13 bankruptcies is 2 years, from the filing date in the first case.

  • The time between a Chapter 13 followed by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is 6 years, from the filing date in the first case.

  • The time between a Chapter 7 followed by a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is 4 years, from the filing date in the first case.

If your first bankruptcy was dismissed without prejudice prior to discharge, you may not have to wait at all depending on the specific facts of your situation.

If you are struggling with your finances and need to eliminate your debts, bankruptcy may offer the relief you seek.  I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your particular situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817) 732-7590 or (972) 819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

Why can't I use an online service to file bankruptcy or file a case on my own?

Be wary of websites that promise to fill out the bankruptcy forms for you or to file a bankruptcy for you when you are not meeting with a lawyer approved to practice law in Texas.  If something goes wrong in your bankruptcy, you may be on your own.  Personally, while observing creditors meetings or while sitting in bankruptcy court, I have seen cases go seriously wrong because someone filed a bankruptcy by themselves without an attorney or relied on an online service.  Bankruptcy is complicated and includes a lot of required forms and has strict deadlines.  Failure to timely file forms, correctly complete forms, and meet deadlines can result in your bankruptcy case being dismissed.  When a bankruptcy is dismissed your debts are not discharged and you no longer have bankruptcy protection.  If you refile, you must start over from the beginning, pay the filing fee again, and may face additional legal hurdles that would not have occurred had the case been filed correctly in the first place.

If you are struggling with your finances and need a rapid way to eliminate your debts, bankruptcy may offer the relief you seek.  I recommend using a qualified Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your particular situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817)-732-7590 or (972)-819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

Will Filing Bankruptcy Prevent Me From Getting Credit?

No.  Many people believe their credit will be ruined for years after filing bankruptcy.  While it’s true that the fact of a bankruptcy filing can remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years after you file, a steady history of current, on time payments is more important than a prior bankruptcy.  Creditors will look at how you have handled credit after your bankruptcy case was completed.  Creditors and lenders are more concerned about your current status and current payments than the prior bankruptcy.  Establishing a record of timely payments will lead to positive credit information on your credit reports.  Many of my clients purchase new homes, vehicles, and qualify for credit cards a few months after their bankruptcy is concluded.  In fact, many creditors will start offering credit right after the discharge.  While interest rates may be higher, you can still get credit, despite a bankruptcy filing.  You can usually expect it to take between 12 to 24 months after the case is concluded to be able to obtain credit at regular interest rates.

After receiving your bankruptcy discharge, you should obtain a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies--Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  Review the information, and ensure that all debts are listed as “Discharged in Bankruptcy” on the reports with a zero balance.  The credit reporting agencies are required by law to have accurate information, and ensuring that these debts are listed as discharged can actually help your credit to debt ratio, one of the factors evaluated in a credit score.

If you are struggling with your finances and need a rapid way to eliminate your debts, bankruptcy may offer the relief you seek and a path to re-establishing your credit.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your particular situation. You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  I look forward to helping you become debt free.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817)-732-7590 or (972)-819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

Will Filing Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Score?

One issue that discourages some people from filing bankruptcy is the potential detrimental effect it may have on their credit.  It’s true that a bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to ten years and it can hurt your credit score.  However, the majority of bankruptcy filers have a below-average credit score at the time of filing.  For these clients, filing bankruptcy can actually make their credit score go up because they are discharging debt; the amount of debt you carry determines, in part, your credit score.  Many of my clients have seen their credit scores increase by over 100 points after their bankruptcy was completed.  If you do start with a higher than average credit score, you can expect your score to decrease when you file bankruptcy.  Generally, the higher the score, the more it will decrease.  However, not filing bankruptcy and allowing your debts to go to collections will also negatively impact your credit.  Just a few unpaid debts can make your credit score drop dramatically.  Nevertheless, most people can re-establish their credit within 12 to 24 months after their bankruptcy case is completed.

If you have more questions about your credit score and the effects of bankruptcy on your credit, I will be happy to answer these questions.  As an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I can offer advice on how to proceed based on your particular situation.  You and I can meet face to face to discuss your options.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact me at (817)-732-7590 or (972)-819-3861.  You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.

 

Will I Lose My House If I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When people consider the possibility of bankruptcy, they are often concerned about losing some of their assets. In particular, we are sometimes asked whether people will lose their house if they file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In Fort Worth, filing a bankruptcy does not mean you will automatically lose your house.

Texas has a favorable homestead exemption. If your house is your primary residence, it will be exempt from creditors as your homestead. That being said, it is important to remain current on your mortgage payments. While most of the debts generally get discharged in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you will have the option to reaffirm your obligation under the mortgage and remain responsible for that debt. Typically, a Reaffirmation Agreement is entered between the mortgage company and the debtor, which allows the debtor to remain personally liable for the mortgage debt after the bankruptcy case is closed. The debtor continues to make their regular mortgage payments and retains the property.

In certain situations, debtors may choose not to enter into a Reaffirmation Agreement with the mortgage company. Debtors who do not enter into a Reaffirmation Agreement will have their personal obligation under the mortgage discharged through their bankruptcy. However as long as the debtor remains current on their mortgage and continues to make their monthly payments, they can usually keep their house as well, although there are some drawbacks.

For more information about how a bankruptcy may affect your house or about Reaffirmation Agreements, contact an experienced Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyer. If you would like a free consultation with an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyer call Michael P. O’Donnell at 817-732-7590 or 972-819-3861, or E-mail me at mpolawfirm@hotmail.com.

 

Can I Eliminate Taxes In Bankruptcy?

As a Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, my clients are often surprised to find out that some taxes are dischargeable (eliminated) in bankruptcy.  Generally income taxes are dischargeable if they meet certain requirements.

  1. They must be for a tax year for which the return was due more than 3 years prior to filing bankruptcy.  Example: Today is November 30, 2016.  Taxes for the year 2012 were last due on April 15 or October 15 (extension date), 2013.  Therefore they meet this timeline.
  2. The tax return must have been actually filed by the debtor and have been on file with the IRS for at least 2 years.
  3. Any assessment the IRS makes must be at least 240 days old plus any time an offer in compromise was outstanding.
  4. These times may be extended for any period in which the debtor was previously in bankruptcy.
  5. An IRS tax lien has not been filed.
  6. No fraud can be involved.

Some taxes are not dischargeable. For example, taxes assessed against you for money you withheld from your employees, but didn’t pay to the IRS. In addition, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that if you filed the tax return after the extension date, the tax is not dischargeable, although there may be an exception in some cases.

Be sure to talk to a Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney about taxes. If you would like a FREE consultation with an experienced and dedicated Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney call Michael P. O’Donnell at 817-732-7590 or 972-819-3861You can also send me an E-mail or complete the Free Case Evaluation.  I can answer your tax questions.

 

Benefits of Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation, then you may want to consider filing a chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can provide you with the relief and time that you need to get back on your feet and to begin feeling at ease in life once again. A Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney can help you begin the process of gathering paperwork, scheduling necessary meetings, and filing the appropriate documents with the court for your bankruptcy case.

Debtors find that they often feel a sense of calm after filing for bankruptcy. Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors are no longer required to repay a majority of their debts. In addition, one can still enjoy ownership of certain forms of property. You are allowed to keep certain property that is considered “exempt”. Texas law offers more exemptions for debtors than most other states. Filing for bankruptcy in Texas can be a very smart option for people who are financially strapped for cash and unable to meet their monthly obligations. In the beginning stages of a bankruptcy filing, a bankruptcy attorney will help you figure out which types of property are included in the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy estate is the total sum of assets that will be used to repay creditors. A trustee is in charge of distributing the assets contained in the bankruptcy estate. The trustee is a neutral, third-party in your case. 

Texas offers several classes of exemptions that debtors can benefit from in their bankruptcy case; as an experienced Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, I will analyze your property holding and figure out which asses are exempt in Texas. A single person is able to keep certain property that has a value of up to $50,000. A family is able to keep property that has a value of up to $100,000. Certain tools and equipment that are used in one’s profession may be exempt in a bankruptcy filing. Any equipment that is used for farming purposes is exempt from a bankruptcy estate. Under Texas Law, your homestead, certain insurance and certain retirement plans can be unlimited in value.

Other notable exemptions include a motor vehicle for each member of the family, a limited number of farm animals and wages for personal services. Clothing is also totally exempt in the state of Texas. These exemptions are liberal in comparison with other states that allow only a small amount of the value of one’s wardrobe, professional equipment and motor vehicle to be exempt property.

There are also Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions. In Texas, you can choose one or the other, but not both. While the Texas Exemptions are very generous, in certain cases, it may be better to claim the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions. An experienced Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyer will be able to assist you in choosing the exemptions that are best for you. In most instances, all of your property will be exempt.

By hiring an experienced Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney you can rest assured, that you will be in good hands. Rather than dealing with the stress of a bankruptcy by filing alone, I will provide you support during the time when you need it most. I will attend all meetings, such as the 341 meeting with you. You will not have to worry about being left to deal with difficult creditors because I, Michael P. O’Donnell, will be your advocate at all times.

For a free consultation with an experienced Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney, call Michael P. O’Donnell at 817-732-7590 or 972-819-3861 or E-mail me. I can help you.

Can I Buy A Home After Filing Bankruptcy?

Some people believe that once you file for bankruptcy you cannot get a home loan. This is a terrible misconception that prevents many people relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. Filing a bankruptcy and receiving a discharge, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, does not create a barrier to home ownership if the individuals are otherwise able to become credit worthy in the future.

Nothing prevents a bank from loaning money to a person who files for bankruptcy. Although the interest rate may be higher, the lender simply wants a guarantee that it will get paid on the loan over time. In most cases the guarantee comes from the federal housing administration (FHA), a government agency that insures home loans. In other cases, you may qualify on your own with a few more restrictions than other homeowners.

Under the FHA, you can obtain a home loan after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if (1) more than 24 months have passed since your bankruptcy discharge; (2) you do not have outstanding tax liens with the Internal Revenue Service; and (3) at least 3 years have passed since any foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure has occurred.  

A Chapter 13 debtor can apply for an FHA guaranteed home mortgage during the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process. Since you have a record of responsibility for your debts after bankruptcy, the FHA only requires a 12-month wait from the date you began making your payments. These payments must be on time and according to your bankruptcy plan. You must also have permission from the court allowing the new mortgage.

Numerous debtors are able to purchase a home after a bankruptcy discharge. In some cases, you can obtain a new home during bankruptcy. If you are currently struggling with overwhelming debts  and hope to qualify for a mortgage in the future, please call my office to discuss your situation. At the Law Office of Michael P. O'Donnell we are here to help. Call me today at 817-732-7590 or 972-819-3861 or send me an E-mail to set up your free legal consultation. As an experienced and caring Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyer, I can help you with your debts and answer your questions about buying a home after filing bankruptcy.

What Type Of Bankruptcy Should I File?

Individuals typically file Chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. The type of bankruptcy filed is determined by the type of relief you are seeking. When a debtor files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, their creditors are prohibited by law from attempting to collect any debts from the debtor. This is called an "automatic stay." 

In a standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy all of a debtors unsecured debt-debt without collateral or security-is discharged, or wiped out. The primarily consists of credit card debt, lines of credit, and medical bills. In most cases of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all property is exempt, and debtors may keep possession of their property. These bankruptcy cases are called no-asset cases.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is frequently used by individuals who want to catch up on past due home mortgages or auto loan payments and keep ownership of their car or home. Other individuals use Chapter 13 to pay off debt to the IRS on more favorable terms.  In Chapter 13 a debtor proposes a plan to pay all or part of the debts over a three to five year period. So long as the debtor makes these required payments, he or she will be able to keep their property.

For a free bankruptcy  consultation to learn more about discharging medical debts through Chapter 7, contact experienced Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney Michael P. O'Donnell via phone at 817-732-7590 or 972-819-3861 for a free legal consultation. Michael can also be reached by E-mail at mpolawfirm@hotmail.com.

 

Can I Eliminate Medical Bills In Bankruptcy?

An illness can be one of the of the most devastating and costly life events. It can effect anyone at any time. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that even if you are lucky enough to have health insurance coverage, not all medical costs may be covered. Therefore, you can end up with huge medical bills and limited funds to pay them.

As a result, a substantial number of people in Fort Worth as well as many other parts of the country are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate medical debts. When you file for Chapter 7, your medical debts are discharged and you almost always get to keep all of your property. The process takes approximately four months and you can immediately start rebuilding your credit afterward.

Although the initial filing requirement is simple enough--you have to have property in the filing district and division, or have lived there for the majority of the last six months--there can be complex issues that may require the assistance of a Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney. For example, you may be wondering when to file. A general suggestion is to not file until all anticipated bills have been incurred. If you are still sick and require expensive medical care, the filing should be delayed. A consultation with a Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney can explain these and many other issues in more detail.

For a free bankruptcy  consultation to learn more about discharging medical debts through Chapter 7, contact Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney Michael P. O'Donnell by phone at 817-732-7590 or 972-819-3861 for a free legal consultation. Michael can also be reached by E-mail at  mpolawfirm@hotmail.com for more information.