Bankruptcy: The Point of No Return?

Submitted by Jen Jones on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 8:00am

Bankruptcy: The Point of No Return?

You may be thinking, just like so many people do, that bankruptcy is a last-ditch effort, a last resort, a drastic step undertaken when there are no other options. Stop right there-•this is not a good way to approach the very beneficial protections of federal bankruptcy law.

Creditors want you to feel shame about bankruptcy, and they've paid millions of dollars to lobbyists in an attempt to make the process more complex and intimidating for hardworking people in dire straits. The media doesn't help either. With the economy in a historic slump, the news channels are eager to sensationalize stories about the latest company to declare bankruptcy. "Last-ditch" and "effort" seem to go hand in hand in these stories, and there is an overwhelming impression that bankruptcy is the ultimate failure. Do not make the mistake so many people make. Don't let these facts discourage you from filing for bankruptcy protection if it is the best option for you, and don't wait until you are in an absolute crisis to take advantage of this important right. By the time you are forced to realize that, however unpalatable to you, bankruptcy is the only option available, it may be too late. You may have lost too much and bankruptcy may not protect you at all.

Unlike a company, your life is not about making profit, with any sign of trouble making stockholders run for cover. Unlike a company, you may have faced serious personal problems like illness or divorce, and unlike a company, serious financial problems don't have to spell demise. A personal bankruptcy is not a failure-• it is a chance for a new start.

This doesn't mean that bankruptcy should be undertaken lightly. There are definite drawbacks to filing for bankruptcy protection, and you will face some life changes and certain financial disadvantages after filing. If your situation does not call for a solution like bankruptcy, then you should certainly seek other options. If, however, filing for bankruptcy is the smartest financial decision to be made-• if you compare the pros and cons of filing and the pros column is leading-•bankruptcy is a tool a financially savvy person will wield when the time is right, just like hiring an accountant or refinancing a mortgage.

If you decide not to file, or delay until the absolute last minute, you will probably lose much more than you would if you have filed a carefully planned bankruptcy. Barely making minimum payments or worse, missing payments, is unhealthy both for you and your finances. But there are worse things than a low credit score. If you don't file, your car could be repossessed, you may lose your home, your wages may be garnished, you may face lawsuits and your resources may be stripped by the IRS to pay for back taxes. What point is there salvaging a credit score that has already taken a significant hit because of minimal or late payments?

Declaring bankruptcy can actually help you take care of debts, catch up on payments and improve your credit. As a matter of fact, many people are actually considered a better credit risk after they've filed. That is why you have to think of bankruptcy as a tool-•the very tool, in fact, that may keep you from hitting rock bottom. One of the worst parts of that drowning in debt feeling is that you are not able to see your options rationally. Bankruptcy will help you clear your debt and clear your head. Take a deep breath, look at your options, and make the right decision by calling an experienced North Carolina bankruptcy attorney today. With offices in Raleigh, Durham, Wilson and Fayetteville, the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt can be your first step toward financial freedom.

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