Ellett Law Offices, P.C.

Since 1993, Ellett Law Offices has provided thousands of clients with quality bankruptcy attorney representation. Bankruptcy law is complicated but you will be guided through the process by a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Can I Discharge Student Loans in an Arizona Bankruptcy?

September 5, 2014 by  
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student loanGenerally speaking, it is not possible for most people to discharge a student loan. Federal rules limiting the discharge of student loans in bankruptcies have grown more and more restrictive over the years. Federal student loans were made non-dischargeable in the 1970s, and in 2005, Congress passed a law exempting private loans from discharge as well. Under the current bankruptcy laws, the only way a debtor can discharge student loans in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is if he or she can prove “undue hardship,” for which courts employ the “Brunner Test,” named for the case from which it came. The Brunner Test requires that a plaintiff show the following:

  • That he or she cannot maintain a minimal standard of living if he or she is forced to repay the loans;
  • That other circumstances exist that indicate that the current situation will persist for a  significant part of the loan repayment period; and,
  • That he or she has made good faith efforts to repay the loans.

This is a notoriously difficult standard to meet and often requires that debtors have medical conditions or other serious issues that will keep them from earning a living and repaying their loans. In order to determine whether you may be eligible for a student loan discharge, you should discuss your case with a Phoenix bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.

Even in the absence of discharge, bankruptcy may still be able to help

While most student loans will not be able to be discharged through bankruptcy, this fact does not mean that individuals with student loan debt cannot benefit from filing. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is capable of discharging many other types of debt, including the following:

  • Credit card bills
  • Medical bills
  • Certain tax debts
  • Personal loans
  • Business loans
  • Collection accounts
  • Federal benefit overpayments

By discharging other types of debts with which you may be struggling, it may free up income and allow you to more aggressively attack or manage your student loans. In some cases, bankruptcy may even be able to help improve a debtor’s credit rating relatively quickly, allowing him or her to more fully participate in the economy.

Contact a Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer today to schedule a free consultation

There are a number of ways that bankruptcy may be able to help you, and anyone experiencing financial difficulty should discuss their situation with an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Arizona bankruptcy lawyer Ronald J. Ellett at (602) 235-9510.

Can I Discharge a Judgment in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

August 28, 2014 by  
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If you are party to a lawsuit and lose your case, the court may issue a judgment for money damages against you. Such a judgment is an order for you to pay the money you owe to the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Judgments may arise from many types of lawsuits, including for personal injury, wrongful death, credit card collections, and more.

In many situations, people have judgments so high that they believe they may never pay them off. Further, the other party may be able to obtain a lien on your property or a garnishment of your wages in order to collect on the judgment. Such actions may put a further strain on your finances and may cause you to fall behind on your usual household expenses and bills. Overall, a judgment can have a significantly negative effect on your financial situation. This leads many people to wonder whether bankruptcy can possibly help their position.

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Discharge of Judgments

Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a viable solution for many people facing legal judgments. Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges many types of debt, and a qualifying judgment is considered to be like any other debt. The automatic stay that goes into effect when you file for bankruptcy can also work to halt any pending legal actions or wage garnishments you may be facing.

Unfortunately, not every type of judgment is dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as the law does exclude certain types of judgments. Some examples of judgments that are automatically disqualified from bankruptcy discharge arise out of the following types of cases:

  • Certain types of debts to the government
  • Child or spousal support orders
  • Student loans
  • Personal injury or wrongful death arising from a DUI

Other types of judgments are not automatically disqualified, but may be deemed nondischargeable by a court if a creditor challenges the discharge. These include judgments arising out of acts of fraud, embezzlement, or malicious acts of violence, such as assault.

Contact an Arizona bankruptcy lawyer for a free consultation

In order to determine whether bankruptcy can help with your judgment, you should not hesitate to consult with experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney at the Ellett Law Offices, PC. Call our office today at (602) 235-9510 to schedule a free consultation today.

What is the Difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

August 25, 2014 by  
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versusMillions of consumers every year benefit from consumer bankruptcy. Among the most commonly filed forms of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, both can only be filed by natural persons, not by corporations.  A husband and wife can file jointly in the same case or file separately.

While both Chapter 7 and chapter 13 provide consumers relief under the United States bankruptcy code, there are significant differences between the two.  As a result, the type of bankruptcy appropriate for your situation will depend on your specific circumstances. An experienced Phoenix bankruptcy attorney will be able to review your finances and then advise you as to what type of bankruptcy, if any, could benefit you.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy filed in the United States. Also known as a “liquidation bankruptcy,” Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidating a debtors non-exempt assets and using the proceeds to pay off outstanding debts. Most debts that are not satisfied are discharged, meaning that they are completely wiped out. Importantly, there are certain debts that are nondischargable in most circumstances, including student loans and any unpaid child support payments. Among the types of debts that are generally dischargeable include:

  • Credit card debt
  • Personal loans
  • Civil judgments
  • Business loans
  • Payday loans

More information here:
http://www.ellettlaw.com/chapter-7-bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy differs significantly from Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In  a Chapter 13, a debtor is able to keep most of his or her property, while restructuring debts and making payments of a court approved payment plan.  In many chapter 13 cases only a very small fraction of unsecured dect is repaid- most of it is discharged upon completion of the case. In a  Chapter 13 bankruptcy a consumer makes payment to a trustee who distributes funds to creditors. Generally, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is beneficial for people who have steady income who are having difficulty keeping up with their monthly payments. Chapter 13 can also be effectively used to avoid foreclosure in many cases as well.

More information:
http://www.ellettlaw.com/chapter-13-bankruptcy

Contact a Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer today to schedule a free consultation

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, bankruptcy may be an option you may want to consider. Bankruptcy is not right for everyone, and an experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer will be able to go your situation and advise you if he or she believes that bankruptcy could benefit you. Attorney Ronald J. Ellett has over 20 years of experience helping Phoenix consumers obtain a fresh start through bankruptcy. To schedule a free consultation, call Ellett Law Offices today at (602) 235-9510.

 

 

Should I Use a Debt Settlement Company or Hire a Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney?

August 21, 2014 by  
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Debt SettlementMany people who are experiencing financial distress may consider working with a debt settlement company in order to try and reduce the amount of money they owe. Debt settlement companies work with a person’s creditors and attempt to negotiate a settlement for less than the total amount owed, and typically charge consumers fees based on the amount of debt that is forgiven. In addition, they typically advise consumers to stop paying their bills, often resulting in the accrual of significant late fees and other penalties. Additionally, these practices have the potential to have a substantial adverse impact on your credit score.

Because of these and other issue, the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) calls working with a debt settlement company “risky,” and advises consumers to be aware of the following facts:

  • Debt settlement companies often charge high fees
  • In many cases, a debt settlement company will not be able to settle all of your debts
  • Creditors may refuse to work with debt settlement company
  • The money that a debt settlement company may save you could be offset by fees and penalties that occur as a result of not paying your bills
  • There may be tax consequences for debt forgiveness

In many cases, people who are considering working with a debt settlement may be better off filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy often can completely eliminate many types of debts, including credit card debt, personal loans, certain tax debts, and vehicle loans. Additionally, unlike debt settlement companies, a bankruptcy attorney is ethically required to act in your best interest, so you can rest assured that the advice you are receiving will benefit you and not leave you worse off. Filing bankruptcy can improve your situation immediately, as the moment you file you come under the protection of the “automatic stay” which halts all collection attempts and prevents creditors from filing suit in order to collect a debt.

Contact a Phoenix bankruptcy attorney today for a free consultation

People who are experiencing financial difficulty should discuss their situation with an experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation, call Ellett Law Offices today at (602) 235-9510.4

Ellett Law Offices , P.C.
2999 N. 44th Street,
Suite 330
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Phone: 602-235-9510
Fax: 602-235-9098

What Property can I Keep in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

August 19, 2014 by  
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chapter 7 bankruptcyWhen you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (http://www.ellettlaw.com/chapter-7-bankruptcy), a bankruptcy trustee will take some of your property, liquidate it, and use the proceeds to pay off some of your debts. Though losing property may deter you at first from filing for bankruptcy, you should know that Arizona law provides numerous exemptions that allow you to keep certain kinds of assets, income, and property. Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions While some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the exemptions set out in federal law, Arizona requires you to apply the exemptions in state legislation. Under state law, filers may keep the following property:

  • Up to $150,000 of equity in your home
  • Up to $6,000 of motor vehicle equity
  • Up to $6,000 of home appliances and furniture
  • Up to $2,000 of wedding or engagement rings
  • Life insurance benefits up to $20,000
  • Up to $300 in bank account deposits
  • Up to $500 in clothes
  • Up to $400 in musical instruments
  • Up to $1,000 in goods including guns, computers, bibles, bicycles, or sewing machines
  • Up to $800 worth of pets
  • Up to $250 in books
  • Up to $150 in wrist watches
  • All prescribed home health aids
  • All materials used to teach children
  • Up to $5,000 of tools used for a trade or profession
  • Generally, worker’s compensation and unemployment compensation payments
  • 75% of your disposable income or up to 30 times $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage

In addition to these basic exemptions, married couples may be able to double the amount of many of the above, including home goods and motor vehicles. A couple may not, however, double the amount of equity they get to keep in their home.

Contact a Phoenix Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer for a free consultation

An experienced bankruptcy attorney knows how to make the best use of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions in Arizona to make sure you keep the maximum amount of property and assets possible. At the Ellett Law Offices, our attorneys are committed to achieving the best possible results for every individual client. If you are facing financial struggles, do not hesitate to contact our office at (602) 235-9510 for a free consultation. Ellett Law Offices , P.C. 2999 N. 44th Street, Suite 330 Phoenix, AZ 85018 Phone: 602-235-9510 Fax: 602-235-9098

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