The Vida Law Firm, PLLC represents individuals and small businesses throughout the Ft. Worth, Texas area who are facing extreme debts and need assistance with Chapter 7 bankruptcies, which are the most common bankruptcies filed in the United States. The most common reasons for an individual to need a Chapter 7 are credit card debt and medical debt. Other common types of debt in Chapter 7 cases are pay day loans, signature loans, repossessed vehicles, apartment leases, phone bills, and co-signed car loans. It is also very common for an individual to have personal liability on business debt such as leases, business loans, equipment, vehicles, and credit cards. A person with overwhelming unsecured debt needs legal relief from the personal liability associated with the debt, and is looking for a “fresh start.”
Discharging debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy means that you are not legally responsible for the debt anymore. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges most unsecured debt such as credit card bills, medical bills, and loans not backed by collateral, allowing you to obtain a fresh start. You do not pay income taxes on debt that is discharged in bankruptcy. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Fort Worth will only discharge debts you incurred before filing.
Secured debts are debts that are secured by collateral. For most people, that means your house and car. If you want to keep those assets in a Chapter 7, you may do so as long as you continue to make the monthly payments according to the contract. Chapter 7 does not change the terms of your home and car loans. You are also allowed to let the asset go back the the creditor if you do not want to keep it and pay for it. If you are behind on your house or car payments, please talk to one of our attorneys about your options.
Filing a bankruptcy does not mean that you leave a bankruptcy naked and penniless. Many people fear filing for Fort Worth Chapter 7 because they believe they will have to sell their home, car, or other property. That is not correct. You are allowed to “exempt” certain property, meaning that you are protecting your right to keep the property from the reach of the creditors.
While it is true that you might have to sell some “non-exempt” property, a range of property is exempt in Texas. Exempt property generally includes most daily necessities, household items, benefits under most insurance policies, items you need for your trade or profession, your homestead, your vehicle, and your retirement accounts.
The topic of what property is and is not exempt is very particular to your individual situation, and it is particular to Fort Worth, Texas. Receiving detailed legal advice about protecting your property is very important to your peace of mind. At the Vida Law Firm, PLLC, we draw on our extensive knowledge of all applicable state and federal laws to help you retain as much property as possible. Behrooz and Carla Vida have a combined legal experience of over 53 years. Making sure that you have your questions answered is one of our highest priorities.
Several types of unsecured debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 in Fort Worth. These include but are not limited to:
Additionally, debts that you did not include in your filing paperwork cannot be discharged; therefore, being forthright about all of your debts, and researching to find old debt are in your best interest. Getting a copy of your credit report may help to refresh your memory about debts you may have forgotten or debts that were sold to other creditors. You may get one free credit report per year at: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
At The Vida Law Firm, we have extensive experience is handling IRS debt. Whether or not you will be able to discharge part or all of your IRS debt depends on how old it is, whether you filed a return, whether you filed your return on time, and whether the IRS has filed a lien. To help us answer your questions about your IRS debt, please obtain a copy of your tax account transcript for the year in question at: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript
If your debts are largely made up of non-dischargeable debts, particularly IRS debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be more appropriate option to pursue; an experienced attorney can advise you on your options and help you determine what is best for your particular situation.
Businesses that are corporate entities may also file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Upon filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a corporation must cease operating. The Trustee of the bankruptcy is responsible for selling the assets of the business and using the proceeds of that liquidation to pay creditors. In some circumstances, the Trustee may choose to continue operating the business during bankruptcy proceedings. Some businesses simply cease operating and close without the necessity of filing a bankruptcy.
Business owners have usually guaranteed many common business debts, such as leases, bank loans, equipment and vehicle loans, and vendor debts. A Chapter 7 for the business does not relieve the guarantor of the liability for the debt, so it is important to seek specific legal advice regarding which parties may be liable for debt from a business that is closing.
Behrooz Vida is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in business bankruptcy law.
Please visit our FAQ page for more details on Chapter 7 bankruptcies in Fort Worth, Texas.