My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
Once you've made that big decision to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, take some time to ensure that you are ready in other ways. You can, and should, do some planning before you file and you are allowed to do so as long as you stay within the bankruptcy laws. You can get far more out of your bankruptcy if you follow the rules, so read on to learn more about actions to take before you file.
Check your resident status.
If you own a home, that may be one of the most valuable pieces of property in your possession. You know you want to keep that home, even while undergoing bankruptcy, so the issue of homestead exemptions becomes all-important. There are several factors that go into the determination of keeping your home after filing for bankruptcy, and one of the most important is the value of your home.
Your equity is what makes your home attractive to the bankruptcy trustee, who is charged with the task of seizing property to be sold to help pay your creditors. With a homestead exemption, you can take a dollar amount right off the top of your home's value, making it far more likely that you can keep your valuable asset. The sticking point is that you must have resided in your state for a certain length of time to use that homestead exemption. If you have not yet achieved the minimum residency, you may need to consider postponing that bankruptcy filing to preserve your home.
Use State Exemptions Wisely
While state exemptions may not require a certain length of residency like homestead exemptions do, they are still extremely valuable and may allow you to keep vehicles and personal property like art, jewelry and more. Some states provide a valuable bonus, however, for those who have recently moved: they allow you to choose which state's exemptions you prefer to use, and those exemptions can vary widely from state to state. To take advantage of this perk, you must file within a certain period of time, so make sure that you understand both state's grace periods and the benefits of one state's exemptions over another state's.
Reorganize Your Assets
Despite what you may have heard, you can sell certain types of assets if you use the money to purchase other assets. This is not considered hiding or shedding assets for the purposes of keeping it out of play for surrender. For example, you may use money in a checking or savings account to purchase an asset that may not be subject to surrender, such as a home with a value under the homestead exemption amount. Caution is urged here; work closely with a bankruptcy attorney, like one from Reppe Law Office, to ensure that you do not run afoul of the rules or accidentally forfeit valuable property.