Sunday, March 11, 2018


Thousands of people will soon get their tax refunds, and many will finally be able to afford the protection of their family, their paycheck and their property which they have needed for a long time, if not years:  bankruptcy protection

The number of bankruptcy filings usually jumps way up in March, when tax refunds go out, and stays high through April, and then declines.

The problem seems to be that bankruptcy often fails those it’s supposed to help.  People see that they are too broke to go bankrupt.  Filing costs money, as does hiring an attorney, which is the best way to make sure you actually get the debt relief you need.
“Bankruptcy is kind of a worthless solution if you can’t pay because you don’t have money,” said one man who lives in a tin-roof home in a rural area.  “The law isn't there to protect us.”
People say the same thing again and again: If they had $1,500 to pay an attorney, then they probably wouldn’t need to file bankruptcy in the first place!  This ignores the fact that the attorney’s fees are far less than the typical amount of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy.

People who hire lawyers to help them file bankruptcy have their debts wiped away in almost every case, which is not true for most cases not filed by an attorney.  Those who file alone are often unsuccessful in wiping out their debts and make costly mistakes and miss out on rebuilding their credit scores and protecting their family, property and take-home pay. 

“If there was adequate access to our legal system for those who need it most,” a judge has said, vulnerable people with debt “would not be subject to the fraud artists who claim to be able to prepare bankruptcy without an attorney.”
Individuals can avoid most of the up-front costs of filing bankruptcy by filing under Chapter 13.  Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 is a payment plan that usually lasts five years, and the fees, which are set by the court, are higher for a Chapter 13, but these fees can be paid over the 5-year plan.  And like Chapter 7, the protection against creditors is immediately when the case is filed. 

There are thousands of financially struggling households, many of which would benefit from bankruptcy protection and re-building their credit.  The reasons someone may or may not file for bankruptcy can be complex, and most of the information distributed to the public is wrong, or is sourced from the deep-pocket financial industry for which bankruptcy is the most hated of options, for only one reason:  it is the only option that can absolutely prevent the collection of your debt, because it is based on Federal Law, and so it is supreme over all legal claims and actions taken against you to collect dischargeable debt by your creditors.

The clear issue is affordability.  And so, if attorney fees are the concern, the good news is that there are options to take care of the issue of affordability.  Do not hesitate to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation to understand all of your options.

Attorney Mark Williams has over 22 years of experience in turning around people's financial situation.  He can help you too. #1 trusted bankruptcy attorney in Guam.  The Law really is on your side.

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