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Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy

Answers to common bankruptcy questions

The Minnesota bankruptcy lawyers at Neff Law Firm, P.A., have many years of experience answering frequently asked bankruptcy questions. These Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys provide answers to common Minnesota bankruptcy questions as well as representing consumers and businesses in Minnesota bankruptcy proceedings. To discuss whether a bankruptcy in Minnesota may be the right option for solving your personal or business debt problems, contact Neff Law Firm.A Minnesota bankruptcy attorney from the firm can answer bankruptcy questions for you. To learn more about bankruptcy law, please review the Minnesota bankruptcy frequently asked questions FAQs below.

What is a bankruptcy?

A Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding under the United States Bankruptcy Code that provides debt relief to eligible debtors.

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What kinds of matters are usually gone over with a lawyer when a person is considering seeking bankruptcy relief?

A person seeking bankruptcy relief should review his or her financial circumstances along with relevant documents with a bankruptcy lawyer. The review of facts and documents will aid in assessing a consumers ability to successfully obtain debt relief under existing bankruptcy law.

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Is there more than one type of bankruptcy?

Yes, there is more than one type of bankruptcy. There is potential debt relief available for qualified consumers under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy law. To determine qualification for such relief an individual consumer's particular financial circumstances should be reviewed to establish eligibility for a specific type of bankruptcy.

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What documents should I consider bringing to a meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer that may aid in determining my eligibility for bankruptcy relief?

Documents that generally are helpful in assessing bankruptcy eligibility include all papers referring to current and/or past due mortgage installment payments, home improvement loan related debt, home equity debt, car loan payments, contract for deed installments, personal loans, bad checks, credit card debt, medical bills, tax liabilities, student loans, other payments, collection notices or other similar financial obligations.

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What type of documentary information usually would be submitted to a lawyer to aid in preparing papers requesting bankruptcy relief from the court?

Generally a debtor provides to his or her lawyer for review all financial documents related to his or her financial situation. This would include a complete list of all creditors with their full addresses and telephone numbers. This list of creditors should also state the balance owed along with all related billing statements and collection notices. For a thorough analysis, a debtor should provide state and federal tax returns for at least the last three years, pay stubs from all employers for at least the last 60 days and adequate proof of his or her income for the previous twelve months. Further, a debtor should provide copies of secured debts such as a home mortgage, second mortgage, contract for deed, home loan(s), home improvement loan(s), car loan(s), and any other loans or financial obligations secured by real and/or personal property. The debtor should also make sure to provide a full legal description for any house that he or she may own, together with a complete and thorough listing of all of the debtor's assets. In addition, a debtor seeking bankruptcy relief should be prepared to provide to his or her bankruptcy lawyer all documentary material related to current and past due financial obligations, current and past due credit card payments, lease payments including residential, commercial and/or motor vehicle lease payments, medical bills, student loans, domestic support obligations such as child support, medical support, child care support and/or spousal maintenance (alimony), and other financial obligations.

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What is the right time to assess doing a personal bankruptcy?
Doing a personal bankruptcy is an important step that should be carefully assessed by you. Some significant considerations that can be factored into a decision may include:

  • If you are unable to pay your financial obligations on time.
  • If you are currently unemployed and have no immediate prospects for a job.
  • If it is clear to you that there is no way in the near future you will be able to pay your bills on time.
  • If you are using one credit card to pay off the bills due on a different credit card.
  • If you are facing a law suit or law suits from creditors.
  • You are receiving harassing calls and/or letters from collection agencies.
  • If a bank or other lender is threatening you with foreclosure.
  • If you are facing the loss of your automobile through repossession or your car has been repossessed.
  • If you are thinking about cashing in funds from a 401(k), IRA or retirement program.
  • If you have significant debt that you do not believe can be paid off within the time limits expected by creditors.

If you emotionally are being so dragged down by the pressure of debt that you feel unable to cope with your daily responsibilities.

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I have heard people use expressions like consumer bankruptcy and personal bankruptcy what do they mean?
There is more than one way to describe doing private person or married couple doing a bankruptcy. People often divide bankruptcy proceeding between ones started by a business and ones done by private persons. When a private person does a bankruptcy it may be described as an individual bankruptcy, a personal bankruptcy or a consumer bankruptcy. Similarly when a married couple do a joint bankruptcy it may also be described as a consumer or personal bankruptcy. When either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed it may be described as either a personal or consumer bankruptcy.

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What does it mean to do a bankruptcy assessment?
A person or couple set up a time to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer who will go over the relevant financial situation to help a person considering doing a bankruptcy. At that meeting some of the considerations will be debt you may owe on both secured and unsecured assets, what assets you own and what is owed on the, ability to meet current obligations, threat of repossession and/or foreclosure.

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By starting a bankruptcy will there be any help to me before the court finally decides to grant the bankruptcy?
The bankruptcy law provides after the filing of your bankruptcy for an automatic stay to keep creditors from moving on debt collection. A creditor upon notice of the filing of a bankruptcy should stop collection activity. Another benefit may be stopping of a wage attachment. It may also offer a temporary stopping of foreclosure or repossession. A lender may however, ask for relief from the automatic stay from the bankruptcy court. A creditor may ask the court for the right to continue to move ahead with a foreclosure or repossession.

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If I want more information on doing a bankruptcy where can I go?
There is a great deal of written information available on bankruptcy law and procedure. It is important to remember that each individual situation should be carefully assessed based on the facts and applicable law. A Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer from Neff Law Firm, P.A., is available for consultation to aid you in doing an assessment of your suitability for a personal bankruptcy. You may schedule an appoint to meet with the attorney in person to go over all relevant facts and law that may aid you in consideration of filing a bankruptcy. about bankruptcy?

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Minnesota lawyer can help with more than one type of case

The Neff Law Firm, P.A., Minnesota lawyers understand that sometimes a person may face more than one legal problem at the same time. For example, a person charged with a crime may also have financial pressures as well. A Minnesota lawyer at Neff Law Firm, P.A., can provide legal representation on both a criminal matter and a personal bankruptcy.

The Minnesota lawyers at Neff Law Firm, P.A., have assisted consumers with filing for bankruptcy protection in the twin cities area for over twenty-one years.
A consumer may set up an appointment to have a Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyer review a factual situation to see how he or she would be treated under prevailing bankruptcy law and related procedures currently being followed in the Minnesota bankruptcy court. A Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyer can provide relevant personal bankruptcy information and when appropriate, help a consumer file for bankruptcy protection.

At an in person conference with a Minnesota lawyer from Neff Law Firm, P.A., a consumer may explain his or her factual situation. This may involve discussion of related legal problems that stem from the factual circumstances such as facing employment problems, civil litigation, a criminal charge, and unbearable financial pressures. The person may discuss with the Minnesota lawyer what remedies may be available. When facing unbearable financial pressures the consumer may discuss with the Minnesota lawyer issues involving bankruptcy.

A discussion of potential bankruptcy relief may include issues involving bankruptcy creditors, bankruptcy vs. foreclosure, credit after bankruptcy, credit cards after bankruptcy, creditors claim in bankruptcy, statutes of limitations, mortgage after bankruptcy, mortgage loans with bankruptcy in the last year, bad credit auto loans after bankruptcy, bankruptcy credit card information, bankruptcy credit equity home line, repossession, harassing creditors and unfair collection tactics.

During an in person appointment a Minnesota lawyer at Neff Law Firm, P.A., can do a preliminary review of the person's financial situation, answer questions related to the bankruptcy code, and explain potential options for the consumer that may be available under prevailing law.

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What can I discuss at an initial conference with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer?

At an initial conference with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer you may explain the financial pressures you are experiencing. You may outline for the Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer your secured debts, unsecured debts and all substantial assets. These substantial assets would include your house, townhouse or condominium interest you may own. It is important to be able to provide current market values for assets. The current market value is not the price that you paid for the asset, nor is it the cost to replace the asset. Rather the current market value is the price that a retail merchant selling goods of similar age and condition would charge for the asset. At that initial bankruptcy meeting you may go over the financial pressures that are making you consider doing a bankruptcy. There will also be an explanation by the lawyer of current bankruptcy law and its applicability to your current situation.

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What is a bankruptcy assessment or bankruptcy evaluation?

A bankruptcy assessment or otherwise called bankruptcy evaluation may be started by a client meeting with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer to do a preliminary review of the consumer's financial picture. At that time the consumer should explain his or her current assets, income, expenses and financial obligations. The preliminary bankruptcy assessment by the Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer would include going over with the consumer his or her factual circumstances and related documents. These related documents may include home title, contract for deed, lien papers, divorce papers, appraisals of property, loan papers, bills, collection notices, foreclosure papers, repossession papers, credit line papers, home equity loan papers, judgments, mechanics liens, claims against the consumer for debt owed and letters from collection agencies. It is also useful for the consumer to bring to the meeting pay stubs if any for at least the last 60 days and all available written evidence of income for the previous seven months. The consumer may discuss with the Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer financial pressures he or she may be experiencing due to foreclosure, repossession, decline in value of investments, credit that is overextended, an adjustable rate mortgage that has changed rates so that it is no longer affordable, overdue mortgage payments, secured debt that is behind in payment, car loans that are past due, harassing creditors, or other related concerns. After the Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer has a chance to review the fact circumstances and related documents he or she can then offer the consumer a preliminary determination on the potential for getting bankruptcy relief for the consumer. If bankruptcy potentially may be utilized for debt relief, available options under the bankruptcy law may be presented such as proceeding under Chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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What financial papers would it be a good idea for me to bring to an initial conference with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer?

It is important for a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer to have as complete a picture of your financial picture as possible to better understand your situation and the potential for debt relief. The financial papers that you have help the lawyer to understand your financial situation. It would be useful to bring to a first meeting with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer financial papers including, title to property owned, contract for deeds, mortgages, notice of foreclosure if any, repossession notices if any, financial contracts, home equity loan papers, car loan papers, lease papers, notices from landlords, papers related to past due mortgage installment payments, home improvement loan related debt, automobile loan payments, notices of default on contract for deed installments, notices related to past due credit card payments, judgments, tax returns for at least the last two years, pay stubs from all employers for at least the last 60 days, all available evidence of income for the previous seven months, written communications from collection agencies and papers from creditors related to past due payments on debt.

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Would a bankruptcy lawyer ask to go over my documents before moving forward to file for bankruptcy protection?

Yes, to understand your financial circumstances and to be able to accurately present your situation in a bankruptcy the Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer should have an opportunity to review documents related to your financial assets, obligations, income and expenses. These documents can provide significant information that is needed to proceed with a bankruptcy. A consumer seeking bankruptcy should bring in to a bankruptcy lawyer as many financial documents as possible. Documents you may be asked to supply would include billing statements, past due creditor statements, letters from collection agencies, past due account notices from creditors, past tax returns, pay stubs, and documents for all income that you have received for a period of time in the past. You may also be asked to supply to the Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer copies of all documents related to secured debts such as a home mortgage, second mortgage, home equity loans, mechanic liens, judgments, notice of garnishment if any, contract for deed, home loan, home improvement loan and/or car loan. The consumer wanting to proceed with bankruptcy relief should also make sure to provide a full legal description for any house, townhouse or condominium that you may own. In addition, a consumer seeking bankruptcy relief should be prepared to provide to his or her Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer all documentary material related to past due financial obligations, past due credit card payments or other similar financial obligations. A review of documents can be of significant help in making sure there is an accurate assessment of your situation.

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At an initial meeting with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer what types of questions are usually asked by consumers interested in pursuing bankruptcy relief?

At an initial meeting with a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer consumers usually ask questions about current bankruptcy law and its application to their particular situation. A consumer may ask the bankruptcy lawyer both general bankruptcy questions and questions specific to his or her particular financial situation. The consumer may ask questions related to available legal options to get relief. Also, a debtor seeking bankruptcy relief may ask questions related to about the handling of consumer bankruptcy filings, procedures by the bankruptcy court, hearings in court related to the bankruptcy, filing out bankruptcy forms, application of Minnesota garnishment law to the situation, bringing an end to harassment by creditors, limitations on negative behavior by bill collectors, creditor lending practices, a consumer facing repossession legal rights in Minnesota, the law on repossession in Minnesota, home mortgage foreclosure, handling the garnishment of wages, penalties for defaulting on a loan, mechanics liens, credit card harassment, receiving calls from creditors at a consumer's workplace, harassment by credit card companies, what steps are necessary for bankruptcy protection, is it possible to get emergency debt relief, can a bankruptcy provide credit card debt relief, what steps does a person have to take to successfully complete a consumer bankruptcy and applicable rights of the debtor.

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What are some key factors to consider in deciding whether to do a Bankruptcy?

There are many factors to be considered in regard to a debtor's situation before deciding to pursue a bankruptcy. Some of the salient factors regarding the debtor are all available income, ownership of a homestead, all non-homestead significant assets, dollar valuation for all the assets including the homestead, the secured debts, the unsecured debts, the total number of debts, the total in dollars of all debts, how far behind the debtor is on payments due on debts, the ability of debtor to meet monthly payment on debt, any co-debtors, major assets of the debtor, whether an asset is security for a debt, the desire of a debtor to discharge or pay back debt, whether the debtor faces any immediate threat such as foreclosure, repossession, garnishment or other legal action. All of the facts and documents reviewed must be considered in light of applicable bankruptcy law to determine whether a debtor qualifies for bankruptcy protection.

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Is there any law that applies to how creditors treat debtors?

Yes, for example there is the FTC, Fair Debt Collections Practice Act.

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Does a collector have the right to call me just because I am behind in my payments?

Yes, a collector may, if you are behind in payment on a debt, call you. Built into the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act are, however, some limitations. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that the debt collectors treat you reasonably and not use unfair debt collection methods.

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What kinds of contacts by a debt collector may be considered to be unfair?

A debt collector should not be communicating with a consumer at times that are inconvenient times or locations. For example, a debt collector should not be contacting you very early in the morning or very late at night. Nor should a debt collector be contacting you at work when it is understood by the collector that your employer does not approve of you receiving contacts from debt collectors.

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If a debt collector treats me unfairly does that automatically cancel my bill?

No, unfair treatment by a bill collector does not automatically cancel your duty to pay a bill.

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Can a debt collector discuss the fact that I owe money with people other than me such as neighbors, co-workers or friends?

A debt collector should not be discussing your debt situation with your neighbors, co-workers or friends. If you have retained an attorney, however, the debt collector should be dealing with that lawyer.

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What kind of problems can bankruptcy lawyer's commonly review in evaluating potential debt relief?

In reviewing a potential bankruptcy each individual situation must be investigated, analyzed and evaluated to determine what suitable methods may be available for debt relief. A skillful bankruptcy lawyer will discuss with a person at a conference concerns they may have on matters such as problems they are having getting credit, bills that have not been paid, collectors harassing them for payment, frustration with budget counseling, financial management, concern with being charged with violations of laws, medical bills, garnishment, utility-shut-off, bad credit scores, feelings that there is a need for credit repair, repossession, foreclosure, being victimized by fraud, and need for help with litigation. A skillful bankruptcy lawyer knows the legal rights of debtors and prevailing bankruptcy law. The bankruptcy attorney understands how financial pressures may have been caused by situations such as loss of a job, illness, business reversals, personal injury, divorce and extreme medical bills. These types of situation may make a debtor's finances move downward bringing with it an inability to pay mortgages or rent, pay necessary monthly expenses, credit card bills, causing bad credit scores and cause there to be a feeling of a need for credit repair. A skilled and experienced bankruptcy lawyer after careful study and review of the situation should be able to provide an opinion to the consumer on what suitable options may be available to achieve debt relief.

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Once I file my bankruptcy will it end harassing telephone calls from collection agencies?

After you have filed a bankruptcy it should stop harassing creditors.

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Does filing a bankruptcy stop my wages from being garnished based on a legal action brought against me for an unsecured debt?

After you file a bankruptcy and automatic stay will go into effect that should stop the garnishment of wages.

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Will filing for bankruptcy cause me to automatically lose my Social Security payments?


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Contact a bankruptcy attorney at Neff Law Firm, P.A., for sound advice about your options for debt relief and stopping creditor harassment. Flexible appointment times are available at both the Roseville and Edina law offices.

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As a person in the financial services field I often run into people facing deep financial issues even harassment from creditors who are unreasonable. I recommend to people in need of help from harassment by creditors or collection agencies that they go to Neff Law Firm, P.A. where the lawyers know how to help. Financial Services professional