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What Assets of Yours Can a Creditor Garnish If You're Not Paying Your Bills?

Financial information

Which assets are at risk for garnishment?

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One of the nice things about living in North Carolina is that creditors generally cannot garnish your wages to try and collect past due bills. The IRS and North Carolina income tax authority can garnish your wages and your wages can also be garnished for child support and alimony if you're behind on payments. Also, up to 25% of your wages can be garnished for federal student loans. In North Carolina, many ambulance companies can also seize your wages.

Beware Debt Settlement Companies Offering Miracle Results Says Attorney Edward Boltz

Ed Boltzi

Bankruptcy attorney Edward Boltz

We've written here in multiple articles about the dangerous and misleading promises made by debt settlement companies. The ads sound great – they promise to get you out of debt for drastically less than you owe and imply that they have some sort of extraordinary negotiating power to deal with creditors. Nothing could be further from the truth. They charge sizable fees and this would be less of an issue if the debt relief they achieved more than made up for it, but this is simply not the case.

Self Employed? You'll Need Some Extra Information to File Bankruptcy with Best Results

Self-employed

Self-employed people have special bankruptcy concerns

If you work for yourself either as an entrepreneur, sole proprietor, freelancer or any other arrangements where you're not drawing a standard paycheck from an employer that withholds taxes, you'll need to do a little more prep work before you file bankruptcy. When self-employed consumers come in to talk to us about debt relief, the first thing we have to assess what your income, debts and assets are. For those who work for an employer, they bring in recent paystubs, bank statements and copies of bills. But for those that are self-employed, there is a little more to it.

Should You File Bankruptcy After a Foreclosure in North Carolina?

Foreclosed house

Should bankruptcy follow foreclosure?

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If you're facing a foreclosure in North Carolina, you may be considering filing bankruptcy to buy you some additional time in the home. A Chapter 13 can allow you time to get caught up on payments and a Chapter 7 can buy you a temporary stay of three to twelve months to stay put and save up to move. But what happens if you don't want to stall the foreclosure and just let it go ahead and happen? Do you still need bankruptcy protection? Maybe. Here's why.

Money Matters: How You Can Ditch Most of Your Old Debts Without Bankruptcy

Money matters

Advice on using your money wisely

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If you're way behind on your debts, this is bad news. However, if you have been unable to pay your debts for a number of years, there may be a silver lining to look forward to. Most people think that the only way to get debts written off or discharged is to file bankruptcy, but you may be closer to debt relief than you think without taking this drastic step. Let's explore when and how certain debts can be relieved.

How Chapter 7 Can Stop a Foreclosure More Cheaply Than a Chapter 13 Depending on Your Goals

Stop

Stop foreclosure more affordably with a Chapter 7

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If you're trying to stop a foreclosure on your home, a Chapter 7 may work as well as a Chapter 13 and help you accomplish your goals more inexpensively, depending on what your ultimate goals are. If you've got equity in your home and have fallen behind on your payments, it makes sense to try and hang on to your house. Chapter 13 will give you three to five years to catch up on those back payments and makes sense if you can afford to keep up the payments.

5 Ways Your Choice of Attorney Can Impact the Outcome of Your Bankruptcy Case

Number Five

Five ways your choice of attorney can impact your bankruptcy case

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Some bankruptcy attorneys operate a volume operation where they churn through as many people as possible without a lot of regard for them as individuals. Sure, this is a profitable business model, but it's not an ethical one. And it's not one that we buy into. You can take the same information to two or three different bankruptcy attorneys and get three different (and likely conflicting) sets of advice. That's confusing to bankruptcy filers that do compare attorneys. And those that start out with an attorney that doesn't offer highly personalized service will likely not get the best results.

How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Even If You're Earning a Higher Than Median Income for NC

Big money

High income earners may still be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

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As of last year, the median income for North Carolina was $40,736 for a single earner, $51,662 for a two person home, $55,049 for three people and $66,147 for four people. Above four, you add $8,100 for each person in the household. If you're earning above these limits, you may think that you can't file Chapter 7, but that's not true. First, your income over the last six months is what's considered. If you were making good money but it's declined in recent months, you'll have an easier time proving to the court that you're not trying to abuse the bankruptcy system.

Why Chapter 7 Is Almost Always Better for You – Even If You're Trying to Stop Foreclosure

There is always a choice

Why Chapter 7 is usually a better choice to get a financial fresh start

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In the Middle District of North Carolina, more bankruptcy filers choose Chapter 13 than Chapter 7 – it's opted for 20% more than the full discharge plan. But is this the best option for the majority of bankruptcy filers? Chapter 13 can be very useful to get a reprieve for those drowning in student loans and to get second mortgages stripped away when there's not enough equity to support them. But, as we wrote recently, Chapter 13s are more likely to not be seen all the way through to discharge. For many people, a Chapter 13, even if it doesn't last until discharge, serves a purpose.

When Can You Get Back Income Taxes Written Off in Bankruptcy and When Are They Unavoidable?

Income taxes

Income taxes can be forgiven in bankruptcy sometimes

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Income taxes are a type of debt and, if they go unpaid, can be the most difficult type of debt to get out from under besides student loans. There are only a couple of ways to get out of paying tax debt – wait out the government's typical collection period or request that they be discharged in bankruptcy. Back taxes alone aren't a good reason to file bankruptcy, but if you have other unsecured debts like medical bills and credit card debt that are piled up, past due and that you don't have the means to repay, it's definitely something to consider.

How North Carolina's Stingy Unemployment Compensation Could Force You Into Bankruptcy

North Carolina Senate

North Carolina lawmakers cuts to unemployment are crushing consumers

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North Carolina's legislators have added insult to the injury of unemployment by severely slashing UI compensation to the jobless. This time last year, the state cut the maximum weekly benefit from $535 down to $350 and then cut the number of weeks you could receive payments from 26 down to 20. And based on the law, as of July 1, the payout term for unemployment maxes out at just 14 weeks. This leaves NC with the worst unemployment compensation in the country.

Why Chapter 13 Bankruptcies Sometimes Don't Work Out and How to Make Sure Yours Does

Tight fit

Chapter 13 repayment plans can be a tight fit on your budget

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The Midwestern Bankruptcy Institute conducted a study on Chapter 13 bankruptcies to examine how many filings succeeded, how many didn't make it to completion and what drove either the success or failure to make it all the way through. According to data in the study, one in three Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings makes it all the way to discharge. But even knowing that two-thirds of debtors don't complete the process doesn't necessarily mean that those filings didn't meet the debtor's financial needs. They may have served their purpose without completion, so it's not fair to label them failures.

Fun Facts From History: Did You Know Three Presidents Have Filed Bankruptcy?

Thomas Jefferson

Did you know Thomas Jefferson filed bankruptcy more than once?

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For those struggling with debt, it can feel overwhelming, embarrassing and frustrating. It can depress you to the point where your health suffers. You may think that insolvency means you've done something wrong or have failed in some way. But this is simply not true. Most bankruptcy filers end up deep in debt because of a major life event like a divorce, major accident, significant illness or prolonged unemployment. And, you probably don't know this, but three US presidents have looked to bankruptcy to get them out of debt – and those are leaders of the free world!

What's Your Debt? The Top 5 Reasons People File Personal Bankruptcy Revealed

Five

What are the top 5 reasons people file bankruptcy?

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While here in North Carolina, bankruptcy filings overall have declined as the recession has eased, there are still many people struggling financially in our state and around the country. If you're deep in debt and having problems keeping up with your bills, you're not alone. It can be easy to feel like you're the only one with money woes but, in fact, you're not and you'd be surprised how many of your friends, neighbors and co-workers are also in debt and hiding it because they're also embarrassed. If your debts are just too much to manage, filing bankruptcy may be a viable solution. Today, we'll discuss the top five reasons consumers just like you choose bankruptcy to get out of debt.

When and Why You Should Convert a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition to a Chapter 7

Change is good

Changing from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 is possible and can be beneficial

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Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcies differ substantially. In a Chapter 7, you have most of your unsecured debts discharged and if you have secured debts you are behind on, the property can be relinquished and that debt wiped out as well. By contrast, a Chapter 13 buys you time to catch up on your bills, usually a mortgage, car loan and other secured debts, and will pay some of your unsecured debts and wipe out remaining balances on others after you complete your repayment plan.

Proposed Bill Would Make Bankruptcy Easier on Those with Medical Bills, Student Loans

Hospital bills are expensive

Medical bills cause most bankruptcies

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We've written before about how medical costs can drive many North Carolina consumers to bankruptcy. Unpaid medical bills are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy and having medical insurance isn't much of a barrier in this respect. According to a Harvard study on medical bankruptcy, 75% of those that file Chapter 7 or 13 because of their medical debts are insured. It's even worse on those that aren't.

Should Small Biz Owners File Business or Personal Bankruptcy for Best Results?

Small business

Is your small business struggling?

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When we get small business owners into the office to discuss bankruptcy, the recommendation we make depends on a variety of factors. There are three different bankruptcy chapters that may apply – Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11. The first two are personal bankruptcy chapters and the latter is a business bankruptcy that's the tool used by larger businesses as their only option. Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 can allow a business time to catch up on bills and get back on its feet.

20 Years After OJ Simpson Murders Does Anyone Remember the Bankruptcy Case That Followed?

OJ Simpson verdict

It's been 20 years since the OJ Simpson murders

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It's been 20 years since Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered in the summer of 1994. You no doubt remember the infamous low-speed white Bronco chase with dozens of LAPD in pursuit of accused killer OJ Simpson. Then came the trial and the not-guilty verdict which was hailed by some and caused outrage in others. In case you tuned out after the criminal trial, there was a civil trial two years later where Simpson was found guilty of murdering his ex-wife and Goldman.

Small Business Bankruptcy Risk - Beware Subprime Biz Loans That Can Wreck Your Company

North Carolina small business

North Carolina small business owners should beware predatory loans

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You have no doubt heard of subprime lending but may think of it as something limited to the mortgage industry that caused the big housing crash and recession. That's not true. Here's the skinny – sub means below and prime refers not to the prime rate but the credit worthiness of the borrower. A “prime” lending candidate is one that has a solid credit history and is earning enough money to easily pay off the debt.

Supreme Court Issues Important New Ruling on How IRAs Are Treated in Bankruptcy

Supreme Court

Supreme Court makes important bankruptcy ruling

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For many Americans, bankruptcy is an important option to have when their debts become too unmanageable to pay. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you breathing room to pay back past due balances over time and regain your financial footing. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to wipe out unsecured debt like medical bills, personal loans and credit card debt if your income simply won't support the debt. But in either case, retirement accounts are usually shielded from your creditors. But now, a Supreme Court ruling has changed how IRAs are weighed in bankruptcy in some cases.

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