When you are struggling with tremendous financial difficulties, you should not have to worry about losing your home, car, family heirlooms, or weekly income. Unfortunately, creditors will often aggressively pursue every means of collecting on debts, even if it means seizing your assets or garnishing your wages.
Bankruptcy can shield your property from creditors, and our Troy asset protection lawyers are ready to guide you through each stage of the filing process. Our legal professionals at Wolfson Bolton have many years of experience leveraging the nuances of consumer bankruptcy to help our Michigan clients pursue numerous types of asset protection strategies. Whether you are looking to protect your home from foreclosure or are attempting to avoid wage garnishments, our team can provide the sophisticated representation and knowledgeable advice you need to protect what is most important to you.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you immediately benefit from the automatic stay, a court order that prevents collection actions from being taken against you. This powerful form of relief essentially forces your creditors to cease any collection efforts, and they will not be able to directly contact you until the stay has lifted.
The bankruptcy’s automatic stay will stop imminent or ongoing:
- Seizures of assets
- Wage garnishments
- Collection lawsuits
The automatic stay will typically remain in effect throughout the duration of a bankruptcy case.
This can be especially valuable if you are filing for Chapter 13 relief, as this type of bankruptcy can last for up to five years.
Creditors will have to request special permission from the court to lift the stay and continue a collection effort. It is possible for the automatic stay to be lifted before a bankruptcy case has concluded, and you will likely benefit from capable legal professionals who know how to combat these efforts.
Filing a Bankruptcy Petition
Strategically filing a bankruptcy petition can facilitate the protection of a key asset.
For example, many individuals choose to file for bankruptcy when they are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. So long as you file for bankruptcy before a collection action has been completed, you can generally stop the action through the automatic stay.
Automatic Stay & Protecting Assets Post-Bankruptcy
While the automatic stay does provide near-immediate relief in most scenarios, it is important to carefully evaluate whether you will continue to be able to protect the asset once your bankruptcy case has concluded and stay has lifted.
Achieving asset protection post-bankruptcy will generally involve either curing the default or discharging the underlying debt. In the case of a home or other types of secured debts, you will only be able to protect the asset post-bankruptcy if you catch up on missed payments and the associated penalties.
What Debts Can Be Discharged When Filing for Bankruptcy?
Both major forms of consumer bankruptcy will, in most situations, permit you to discharge unsecured debts, potentially allowing you to eliminate:
- Credit card debt
- Medical debt
- Unpaid utility bills
- Personal loans
Creditors will no longer be able to collect on these obligations once they have been discharged through bankruptcy.
How Our Troy Asset Protection Attorneys Can Help You
Our Troy asset protection attorneys provide each of our clients with personalized attention and can tailor our strategies to suit your unique situation. We will work to use bankruptcy tools to achieve your short- and long-term asset protection goals and facilitate the relief you need to move forward.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can efficiently discharge unsecured debts. In many cases, the process only takes several months. However, Chapter 7 filers must go through a liquidation process in which non-exempt assets are sold to partially compensate creditors.
When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can use federal or state exemption schedules to protect certain types of assets from liquidation. Strategic and careful use of these exemptions can help you minimize losses. Some filers lose little to nothing.
Michigan’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions include:
- $38,225 in home equity if you are under the age of 65
- $57,350 in home equity if you are at least 65 years old
- $3,525 of equity in a single vehicle
- 60% of earned but unpaid wages for a head of household
- 40% of earned but unpaid wages for non-heads of household
- $3,825 in personal property, which includes furniture, jewelry, and computer equipment
- Most types of pension plans and retirement benefits
Our Troy asset protection lawyers can help you make the most of available exemptions and will pursue the best possible outcome in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We will carefully analyze your holdings and work to provide the guidance you need to make informed decisions about what assets you wish to prioritize and safeguard.
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Troy, MI 48083