With bankruptcy, timing is critical
The notion of bankruptcy – even the word – can be intimidating and can inspire fear. For some, they see bankruptcy as a sign of failure, but instead, it should be seen as what it truly is – an opportunity for a fresh start when life has not taken the course you had hoped for, at least when it comes to your finances. But if you're struggling with debts you can't pay and worried about providing for your family, bankruptcy may be the best solution to protect yourself and your loved ones. The question is – when is the best time to file to get the best results and to protect your assets?
Timing Tip #1: File based on whether or not you want to keep your home
The idea of losing your home can be very stressful, but if you're upside down on the mortgage (i.e. owe more than your home is worth) or are so far behind on your payments that catching up is impossible or would be financially crippling, letting go of it may be just what you need to do. You'll be able to rent in the meantime and then within two to four years after your filing, you'll be able to get a new mortgage.
If, however, you have a lot of equity in the home, you may want to try and keep it. Filing Chapter 7 will allow you to unload a disadvantageous mortgage but will stop any foreclosure action and allow you time to save up some cash, find a home or apartment to rent and get moved. Filing Chapter 13, in contrast, will allow time to get caught up on any back payments that you owe to avoid losing equity.
Timing Tip #2: File before you drain yourself financially
When you're struggling to make ends meet, you often are too caught up in the moment to think about the big picture. If you're being hassled by debt collectors, you may be tempted to dig into your retirement account, savings or to borrow to get them to leave you alone. This is one of the worst things you can do. You need to protect what assets you can and bankruptcy will do this.
If you can't service your debts and your circumstances aren't likely to change without intervention, it's best to file while you still have assets to protect. You may think that filing bankruptcy means that you'll lose everything, but North Carolina allows generous exemptions that will let you protect 100% of your retirement accounts, your car, your home and cash in the bank.
Timing Tip #3: File sooner to get your fresh start faster
The sooner you file, the sooner you can put an end to collections calls, threatening letters and the stress of dealing with overwhelming debt. The sooner you file, the sooner you can get on with your life. The sooner you file, the sooner you can begin rebuilding your credit and working on a stable financial future. This is the best way to protect your assets, protect your family and get a permanent solution to your debt dilemma.
Contact the law offices of John T Orcutt for a free consultation on filing bankruptcy in North Carolina.