White Plains Chapter 7 Attorney
Helping You Obtain a Fresh Start in New York
Known as liquidation or straight bankruptcy, Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. If you have found yourself facing unmanageable debt, this type of bankruptcy can help you eliminate most of your unsecured debt and start over with a clean slate. At the Law Office of Charles A. Higgs, we can provide the trusted assistance you need to determine if bankruptcy is right for you, educate you on the process, and guide you through it from start to finish.
Our firm has more than a decade of legal experience in this field. Because we concentrate solely on bankruptcy law, we are deeply familiar with the state and federal statutes, court proceedings, necessary documentation, and how to help you reach the best possible outcome. When you come to us, you will receive personalized and compassionate assistance designed to make your legal process as painless as possible.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Individuals
Many circumstances in life can lead to runaway credit card debt and financial ruin. These circumstances include unexpected medical bills, divorce or separation, job loss or reduction in hours or pay, poor financial decisions, and much more. As a result, you may find yourself subject to harassing phone calls, letters, or emails containing threats of legal action.
The simplest and quickest way to eliminate unsecured debt is through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Chapter 7 generally takes about four months, from filing to completion. In this type of filing, your nonexempt assets are liquidated in order to repay your creditors. Many (if not all) of your assets may be exempt, however, whether under state or federal exemption guidelines. These exemptions (i.e. assets that cannot be sold in bankruptcy) may include a certain amount of equity in your home, your vehicle, your household goods, and more.
The benefits of Chapter 7 can include:
- The automatic stay, which immediately stops creditors from contacting you, proceeding with lawsuits, and pursuing other collection actions
- Potential elimination of certain debts including credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, and other unsecured debt
- Potential to keep your home through and after the process
- Lower cost and faster process than Chapter 13 or Chapter 11
Qualifying for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In order to take advantage of a Chapter 7 filing, you must be eligible. The Bankruptcy Court assesses your eligibility through what is called the “means test.” Under this test, your average monthly income must not exceed that of the median income for a household of your size in your state.
In most cases, if you are under water financially, you will likely qualify. If you do not, the means test is taken a step further, where your actual expenses are deducted from your income to leave your “disposable” income. If you have little to no disposable income, you will likely qualify. Our experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys can assist you in applying the means test correctly to determine your eligibility.
How Chapter 7 Works for Corporations
If a corporation or LCC files for Chapter 7, it will shut down the company. Unlike Chapter 11 which allows the business to continue operating, this option doesn’t. The trustee will sell all the assets and the proceeds will be distributed amongst the creditors based on the priority rules. No debt discharge is given because the company will no longer be operational.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Businesses
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can also be applied to sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. It may be appropriate when your business has few assets and a level of debt that prevents you from restructuring under Chapter 11 or 13. As with individuals, Chapter 7 bankruptcy for businesses involves both a means test and a liquidation process. It is mostly used for sole proprietorships, however, as opposed to other business formations. Once the entire process is complete, a sole proprietor receives a discharge of whatever debt remains.
“Mr. Higgs followed my case from start to finish and did an excellent job.”- Beth
“He was able to walk me through this process so I could put my debt issues behind me.”- Former Client
“Mr. Higgs took the time and energy to understand every nuance, proposed alternative strategies, and in a single day.”- John