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Back to Basics With Common Bankruptcy Terms


In this additional online accompaniment to the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt website, we strive to cover much of the latest bankruptcy news as well as offer an insider’s guide of the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process. This includes a wealth of pre-bankruptcy considerations, a look at the intricacies of a bankruptcy filing, and sure-fire post-bankruptcy steps to get you back on the road to more financially-rewarding future.

But if you’re considering the benefits of bankruptcy for the very first time, there’s never been a better opportunity to get back to basics, with a simple overview of common bankruptcy law terminology that’s helpful to make any filing seem less daunting or confusing.

Some of the more common terms you might encounter include:

At its most basic, bankruptcy is a legal solution for an individual who (or a business that) is unable to repay debts owed to creditors. As such, bankruptcy is often an excellent option for those overwhelmed by credit card debts, mounting medical bills, or real estate woes, among other things.

Bankruptcy Code
Title 11 of the United States Code (AKA the “Bankruptcy Code”) governs all bankruptcy proceedings. As a result, bankruptcy is controlled by federal law.

Bankruptcy Estate
For the purposes of your bankruptcy, your bankruptcy estate includes all of your legal interests as of the time of your bankruptcy filing. This includes both property and assets, with certain exemptions. From the estate, you can claim certain property exempt with the balance of your estate liquidated in a traditional Chapter 7 bankruptcy to pay the costs of the bankruptcy proceeding and the claims of creditors according to their priority.

In many parts of this blog we speak in terms of “chapters.” These chapters relate to sections of the Bankruptcy Code. Each chapter represents a different type of bankruptcy that you can file and has different processes and requirements. For example, Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies are typical for individuals seeking the benefits of bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcies are common for high debt individuals or businesses seeking the safe havens of debt dissolution. To figure out which bankruptcy is right for you, it’s always best to seek the help of an experienced bankruptcy professional.

For the purposes of your bankruptcy, a creditor is any organization or individual to whom you owe money.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from creditors is the debtor, the organization or individual who is either voluntarily (or, in some cases, involuntarily) filing for bankruptcy protection.

Dischargeable Debt
This type of debt is the most significant of your filing: debt that can be wiped out during bankruptcy proceedings and will not be owed to creditors.

Non-Dischargeable Debt
You cannot get rid of non-dischargeable debt during bankruptcy proceedings. As a result, this debt is still owed to creditors. One common example of a non-dischargeable debt is student loans.

The petition is the actual paperwork that begins your bankruptcy proceeding. It is filed by you, “the debtor,” as someone seeking the benefits of bankruptcy or, in rare cases, by creditors seeking money they are owed.

As a result of the nuances and intricacies of bankruptcy law, if you find yourself facing insurmountable debt, it is essential to begin the bankruptcy process with assistance. An experienced bankruptcy attorney knows the bankruptcy process and can help throughout your case, no matter who your creditors are. Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt in North Carolina TODAY for a totally FREE debt consultation. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or make your appointment online at Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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