Top Ten Bankruptcy Mistakes

1.  BANKRUPTCY RUINS YOUR CREDIT.

Actually, if you cannot satisfy your creditors, your credit is either bad or about to become bad. Bankruptcy doesn’t make it worse; it puts a stop to that unending nightmare you are experiencing, and gives you a fresh start, so you can start rebuilding your credit. Bankruptcy is the remedy for your debt problems; not the cause.

2.  BANKRUPTCY IS IMMORAL.

Of course you do have a moral obligation to pay your debts, if you can. But, if you can’t, your first and highest moral obligation is to support yourself and any dependents you may have. So, if you need bankruptcy, it is the right thing to do.

3.  PAY OFF YOUR VEHICLE BEFORE FILING.

Wrong! The lien on your vehicle helps protect it from being taken by the bankruptcy trustee.

4.  LIQUIDATE YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT.

Please do not do that. Your retirement account is exempt. That means it cannot be taken by the bankruptcy trustee. You will need it when you retire. Don’t waste it by cashing it in and spending it now.

5.  PAY YOUR FAVORITE CREDITOR(S) [LIKE MOM OR DAD] BEFORE YOU FILE.

Big mistake!  In many instances, the bankruptcy trustee could take the money back and re-distribute it among all your creditors, and that would not make you happy. Pay favorite creditors after you file, not before.

6.  PUT MONEY OR OTHER PROPERTY INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S NAME.

That is almost the worst thing you could possibly do.   The trustee could not only take the money or property back from whoever you transfer it to, but could also ask the court to deny you a discharge of your debts.

7.  DON’T DISCLOSE ALL YOUR PROPERTY.

This is the worst thing you could do. The trustee will likely find out about it, take and sell the property you tried to hide, cause you to lose your right to a discharge and cause you to be criminally prosecuted for bankruptcy fraud.   How’s that for a bad idea! If you have property that you stand to lose in a bankruptcy, a competent bankruptcy lawyer can guide you through legal and proper procedures to minimize or in many instances eliminate any loss of property.

8.  ONCE YOU FILE, YOU CAN’T FILE AGAIN FOR SEVEN YEARS.

Not true. There could be waiting periods following chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy, depending on what you plan to do next.   None of them are seven years.   In some situations, there is no waiting period. Your lawyer can advise you on your options.

9.  DEBT CONSOLIDATION IS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE.

Debt consolidations often do not work, and the money spent is wasted. Failed efforts at debt consolidation are often followed by a bankruptcy filing, which should have occurred in the first place.

10. WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE BROKE BEFORE CALLING A LAWYER.

This wastes money by attempting to pay debts you cannot pay, delays your getting a fresh start and makes it all the more difficult to pay the legal expenses of your bankruptcy when you finally get around to it.

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