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Bankruptcy Attorney

Why Choose Laleh Ensafi as Your Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney

  1. Every potential client that calls me will know that I care about your situation and I will work tirelessly to help resolve your bankruptcy issue.
  2. I have years of experience successfully completing bankruptcy cases for people suffering from medical bills, high car payments, credit card debts, and unmanageable home mortgages payments.

  3. I have helped many clients keep as much as possible after their bankruptcy case. Up to a certain value, the most common items kept after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are home equity, cars or vehicle equity, jewelry.

  4. I have helped many clients keep the maximum limit in their home equity. California has special laws for both homes and cars. For married couples, home equity can be kept up to $100,000. For people over the age of 65, the limit for home equity is $175,000. For a single person under the age of 65, the maximum of home equity that can be kept is $75,000.

  5. In Los Angeles, a car is essential to keep working and to live your daily life. I can help you identify the legal option that will allow you to keep the most equity in your home or car. There is an option to keep up to $5100 of equity in your car.

  6. Help you prepare and identify problem areas in your bankruptcy case. Fraudulent transfers, paying friends or family and running up credit card bills just before a bankruptcy filing can result in denial or delay of your bankruptcy case.

  7. Filing bankruptcy can often help you stop or slow down wage garnishment, home foreclosure, repossession of a car.

  8. For people with a building trade or a home business, bankruptcy law exempts up to $8000 for "tools of a trade". I will identify important tools in your case that you will need to build your financial future after your bankruptcy case.

  9. My legal fees are affordable, flexible and clear. For some chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, my legal fees are affordable. For most cases, I charge a flat fee so you do not get surprised with an unexpected legal bill.

  10. I charge some of the lowest up front fees in all of Los Angeles and Riverside county for Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

  11. I can help you get your fresh financial start within months. In Los Angeles, most chapter 7 bankruptcies can be accomplished in three to four months.

  12. I have over 10 years of experience with bankruptcy cases.

  13. I have experience with both the creditor and the debtor side of bankruptcy. I worked for one of the top firms representing creditors in bankruptcy so I know exactly how to protect debtor's from creditors.

  14. I have been the attorney of record in approximately 765 bankruptcy cases in Central District alone.

I feel very fortunate that I can help people resolve their financial issues. Every client that decides to use me as their bankruptcy lawyer will get the care and attention they deserve. I am very proud of the wonderful service I have been able to provide for all my clients.


Your path to a fresh financial future begins with a free consultation. Call me at 424-285-5525

 

 
Laleh Ensafi - Lead Attorney

I Understand Your Bankruptcy Issue and Can Help You

Fighting for your financial future and making the right decisions now to get yourself "back on your financial feet" again, can be difficult and confusing if you try to do it alone.

Bankruptcy laws and other related matters in California can be extremely complex, and it takes a lot of legal knowledge and experience to know how to successfully navigate California's bankruptcy or debt settlement processes.

At Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you better understand your financial position legally and your various options for dealing with a heavy debt burden that you can't realistically pay off in a reasonable amount of time.

If you opt for filing bankruptcy, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will help you make an informed decision as to which type of bankruptcy to file, how to handle exemptions, how to save your home, car, or other property that creditors are after, and how to best approach bankruptcy even in the midst of a divorce or of state/federal tax issues.

For a free consultation with one of our bankruptcy law experts here at Bankruptcy Attorney, do not hesitate to contact us anytime 24/7 by calling 424-285-5525!

Understanding the Basics of Bankruptcy Law

The first thing to understand about bankruptcy is that you have the right to file for bankruptcy under federal law, and all bankruptcy proceedings involve federal law and the federal court system. There are certain features of bankruptcy that can vary from state to state - for example, California has a special "wild card" exemption option, but still, it's basically a federally controlled process.

Secondly, understand that not all bankruptcies are alike. Most individuals would file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The former involves liquidation of all property you can't claim as exempt, while the latter is a reorganization of your debt and a plan to repay it within a specific period of time (often accompanied by a reduction of total debt).

And, finally, realize that the purpose of bankruptcy law is to prevent borrowers from being endlessly, hopelessly trapped in overwhelming debt that they couldn't possibly pay off. It's a way to give someone a "second chance" by letting them get out of debt and get their financial feet under them once again.

But while anyone could (in theory) file for bankruptcy, not everyone will qualify. And not everyone who could get a bankruptcy filing approved will want to file either, since sometimes debt settlement or other options may be preferable. 

Bankruptcy is always a last resort option, but when you're in a situation where bankruptcy makes sense, you will be very glad you are legally able to go through this process and get your financial life back in order again at the other end, rather than being sunk in debt for years, decades, or even the rest of your life.

Contact Us Today for Immediate Assistance!

What Can Bankruptcy Do and What Can't It Do?

In the right situation, filing for bankruptcy can be very beneficial and might be the best financial move you can possibly make. But it's still important to understand the limitations of bankruptcy along with its many potential benefits.

"What can bankruptcy do for me?" you might ask. Here are some answers:

  • Create an automatic stay that immediately goes into effect. This will stop the constant creditor collection calls and, at least temporarily, prevent creditor actions such as foreclosing on your home, repossessing your vehicle, or imposing wage garnishment or bank levies.
  • Cancel your dischargeable debts to give you a fresh financial start. You will still likely have to pay something via Chapter 7 property liquidation or a Chapter 13 payment plan, but a lot of debt is usually simply eliminated.
  • Stop a home foreclosure and give you a chance to catch up on the back payments. It can't simply automatically eliminate a mortgage, however.
  • Stop an auto repossession or even make a creditor return a repossessed vehicle under certain circumstances.
  • Prevent the cutting off of utilities or get them turned back on.
  • Prevent or stop wage garnishment actions and bank levies.
  • Give you a chance to dispute a creditor's claim if they are claiming you owe them more than your really do.

However, bankruptcies cannot cancel the rights of a creditor on a secured loan, where you put up collateral on the loan. You may be able to win more time to repay, however, instead of losing the collateral property. Plus, if you let the creditor take the collateral property despite filing for bankruptcy, then you can get any remaining debt on that loan canceled.

Nor can a bankruptcy cancel spousal support or child support obligations. And there are also some other deb-types that are generally non-dischargeable, like student loans, certain tax debts, and court-ordered fines and restitution.

Finally, note that your filing for bankruptcy will not relieve any cosigners on your loans from their obligations to repay.

We at Bankruptcy Attorney have deep experience in helping individuals considering bankruptcy decide both whether bankruptcy is right for them and, if so, which type of bankruptcy will benefit them the most.

This can be a complex equation to work out, depending on your situation. It depends on the amount and type of debt you have and on your current income level. It also depends on what kinds of property you own and on which types of exemptions you would qualify for under Chapter 7 or 13.

In general, those who want to protect a home or vehicle but are behind in the payments would do better to opt for Chapter 13, while those without such concerns will do well under Chapter 7 rules.

Almost all individual bankruptcy filings will be either Chapter 7 or 13. And you can usually exempt all or most of your personal property under Chapter 7. But if you have valuable property that wouldn't be exempt, Chapter 13 gives you a chance at keeping it, if you have sufficient income to make the payments on a years-long Chapter 13 debt repayment plan.

How Do I File for Bankruptcy?

We at Bankruptcy Attorney can guide you through the process of filing for any type of bankruptcy in California. We have quick access to all necessary forms and can help you fill them out fully and properly and then file them with the bankruptcy court.

An automatic stay will immediately go into effect from the moment your bankruptcy is duly filed, although it may take a little longer before creditors realize this stay is in force and cease to make collection calls. 

You have already filed bankruptcy in the past, there are "time limits" on when you can file again. You can only file for Chapter 7 every 8 years, and for Chapter 13 every 6 years, for example.

And you will have to pay a bankruptcy filing fee (around $300 currently) in order to file for either Chapter 7 or 13. You may be able to pay the filing fee in installments, however, if the court allows.

There are four different kinds of bankruptcy you can file for in California:

  1. Chapter 7, which involves liquidation of non-exempt property in order to pay creditors. After liquidation, any unpaid portion of dischargeable debts is canceled.
  2. Chapter 11, where a business or a person with an extremely large amount of debt "reorganizes" debt.
  3. Chapter 12, which is a special type of bankruptcy designed for family farms.
  4. Chapter 13, where an individual sets up a debt payment plan based on current income levels and the remaining dischargeable debt is discharged at the end of the period, if all payments are made.

Some fear to file for bankruptcy in California, even when they know that their financial situation is such that it makes sense to do so - and is 100% legal to do so. They may be unsure of what life post-bankruptcy will be like.

First of all, it is a myth to say that people "can't own anything post-bankruptcy." You can. You still own all of your exempted property, and you have the right (like everyone else) to acquire new property. However, if you get an inheritance, a life insurance benefit, or a property settlement 180 days or less after a bankruptcy, then those funds would generally have to go to creditors.

Secondly, many fear to file for bankruptcy because they think they will have to go to court, and they don't want to. It's true you would have to attend a short meeting of creditors, where you will have to answer a few basic questions about your bankruptcy filing and your financial status. And in rarer instances, especially if you dispute a debt, you might go to court. But normally, no actual court proceeding, as such, need take place in a bankruptcy.

Third, many think that since bankruptcy will hurt their credit score and stay on their credit history for 10 years, this is a good reason to avoid filing. But that's only half the picture. If you're thinking of filing bankruptcy, your credit is likely already bad, and if you stay in debt and keep missing payments for the next 10 years, that too will stay on your credit history and hurt your credit score.

At least with bankruptcy, you have a chance at meeting all financial obligation going forward and ultimately rebuilding your credit.

Our Practice Areas

We at Bankruptcy Attorney have deep experience across the full spectrum of bankruptcy and related practice areas. Below we give you a basic overview of our most common services and practice areas, although this is not to be construed as an exhaustive list (we do even more!) (To learn more about each of our practice areas, see the individual service pages on this website).

When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay immediately goes into effect. This stops creditors in their tracks if they are attempting a foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishment judgment, or other legal action against you. An automatic stay applies regardless of which type of bankruptcy you file.

At Bankruptcy Attorney, we can get an automatic stay in place for you in as little time as possible. We can stop creditor actions, and even reverse certain actions already taken or in progress.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a time-consuming process that requires numerous financial forms to be filled out and documents to be gathered. But when there isn't enough time to go through all of that, it is possible to do a "skeletal filing" initially. This is the best way to deal with an "emergency bankruptcy."

Not everyone automatically qualifies to successfully file for bankruptcy. Means testing was added to the US Bankruptcy Code in 2005, and it is meant to prevent abuse of the system by those who have adequate means to pay their debts but just don't want to.

Means testing will establish your income is low enough to qualify for filing bankruptcy, based on your previous six months of income. Assets are also taken into account. We at Bankruptcy Attorney can guide you through the means testing process step by step.

In some cases, you might be better off with debt settlement rather than bankruptcy. If you can get a settlement where you pay only 20% to 50% of what you owe but all in one lump sum, this may be a viable option. We can help you determine if bankruptcy or debt settlement is the better option in your case.

One of the most important aspects of filing for bankruptcy is the exemptions code. There are several options in California, including "wildcard exemptions." 

And how exemptions work differs based on whether you file Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy as well. Bankruptcy Attorney stands ready to help you save as much of your property as possible as you go through bankruptcy!

Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy filed in California. This is "liquidation bankruptcy," where your assets will either be exempt or be administered by a trustee who will disperse them to the appropriate creditors.

At the end of Chapter 7, your dischargeable debts will be 100% canceled. [To learn more about Chapter 7 and how it works, see our individual service page on the topic.]

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the usual choice of those who have a house and/or vehicle they want to protect as they go through bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy sets up a repayment plan where you must make regular monthly payments for a specified number of years.

Debts dischargeable will be eliminated even if not paid in full, at the end of the repayment period, IF you make all your payments. [To learn more about how Chapter 13 bankruptcy works, see our individual service page on this topic.]

One of the most depressing judgments you can have made against you relative to a debt you owe, is a wage garnishment judgment. You could see 25% or more of your disposable income withheld from every check you are paid under wage garnishment.

At Bankruptcy Attorney, we can stop wage garnishment initially with an automatic stay when you file for bankruptcy. Then, we can help you understand how to best fight it later on if creditors continue to pursue wage garnishment.

Perhaps, the only thing worse than having your wages garnished by a creditor is having money you thought was already "safely" in the bank taken away from you through a "bank levy judgment."

When a creditor sues for a bank levy, you have a 30-day window of time to respond and take legal action. We can help you understand how to best fight bank levies and we can stop them initially through an automatic stay when you file for bankruptcy.

The prospect of losing what, perhaps, is your only means of transportation to work (and everywhere else) due to a creditor repossessing your vehicle is ominous indeed. But it can be stopped, first of all, through an automatic stay when you file for bankruptcy.

You may or may not still have to fight a repossession attempt after filing for bankruptcy, but the automatic stay stops any immediate action and at least buys you some time.

There are also ways to permanently stop auto repossession or even to regain a vehicle already repossessed. Contact us at Bankruptcy Attorney today and we can help you get started on trying to save your vehicle.

Your home is likely the biggest investment you've ever made in your whole life, and when you are facing the possibility of seeing it foreclosed on by a creditor, it's time to act fast. 

Whether it's your primary or second mortgage that's at issue, and even if you've already gotten quite far behind on your mortgage payments, there are often ways to save your home.

Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can give you a chance to catch up on your mortgage, and even filing Chapter 7 can at least buy you some time instead of being forced out of your home before you have anywhere else to live. Contact Bankruptcy Attorney today to learn more about how home foreclosures and bankruptcies interrelate and how we can help!

Going through either bankruptcy or divorce is a lot to deal with in itself, but when (as often happens) you are facing both at once, things get very complicated legally and financially.

For one thing, the financial disruption of a divorce can lead to a bankruptcy. And on the other hand, sometimes the financial ruin that might lead to a bankruptcy plays a role in a divorce being filed.

It's important to understand how divorce and bankruptcy interrelate. For example, bankruptcy cannot cancel a duty to pay child support or alimony. However, your financial situation can affect these things, and bankruptcy is based on your financial situation.

Also, don't think that if you filed for bankruptcy your spouse is exempt from liability for those debts. And on the other hand, don't think that if your spouse files bankruptcy that you can't - it's possible you can both successfully file - either separately or jointly. [To learn more on how divorce and bankruptcy relate, see our individual service page on the topic.]

It is popularly believed that taxes can never be a dischargeable debt in a bankruptcy filing - but this is simply not true. 

There are numerous, complex factors that have to be considered under state and federal tax law and under federal bankruptcy statutes. But sometimes, you can discharge all or a part of a tax debt in a bankruptcy.

At Bankruptcy Attorney, we understand the intricacies of how tax laws and bankruptcy laws interconnect. We can project how much (if any) of a tax debt you owe would be discharged in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, as well as assess the effect such a filing would have on your other debts, to help you arrive at the best possible course of action.

Many people fear going to court in a bankruptcy case. But most often, this is not necessary. Instead, you simply have to attend a "341 hearing" where you face your creditors and a court-appointed trustee and answer a few basic questions about your financial situation and why you are filing for bankruptcy.

You will be required to attend a 341 meeting regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 or 13. The trustee will ask you a series of financial questions while you are under oath. But in most cases, the actual creditors don't even bother to show up for the meeting.

We at Bankruptcy Attorney can help you prepare for your 341 hearing and help you better understand how it works and why those filing bankruptcy have to attend.

A civil lawsuit filed against you might trigger you to file for bankruptcy, or your filing bankruptcy might motivate a creditor to file suit (if they can overcome the automatic stay in the course of time.) 

Filing bankruptcy can at least buy you time by temporarily blocking lawsuits by creditors. If you do ultimately face a suit, however, you will need expert legal assistance in dealing with the summons/complaint, answer, discovery process, and other steps of the process.

Often, you can reach a debt settlement or successfully file bankruptcy to avoid the impact of a creditor lawsuit or attempted lawsuit. At Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help put you in a better position to avoid a lawsuit or to win one if one comes.

Many individuals living in the United States, especially those who have migrated to the US, have foreign assets. When debts are too overwhelming, bankruptcy may be the only way to put your financial life in order. When you are filing for bankruptcy, it is common that you want to protect your valuable assets. Individuals with international assets have significant concerns when it comes to bankruptcy. You will want to understand the fate of these assets for each category of bankruptcy. If you have iteration assets to protect during bankruptcy, it is essential to do so with legal representation. At Los Angeles bankruptcy Attorney, we understand how important it is to protect your international assets. Our group of competent attorneys works with clients from Los Angeles, CA, to ensure that your best interests are observed during bankruptcy.

Disclosure of International Assets in Bankruptcy

Any property that you have outside of the United States, including cars or homes, is considered an international asset during bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy is a tough decision to make, and you may want to protect these assets from liquidation. However, if you have a bank account, investment property, vehicle, or any other asset, you must include it in your bankruptcy petition. Although it may seem unlikely for the bankruptcy trustee to get your international property, they can liquidate that asset to pay debts. Whether or not your foreign assets will be affected by filing for bankruptcy will depend on the category of bankruptcy you choose.

Although some foreign assets are considered exempt when it comes to bankruptcy, you are still required to indicate their presence. When you fail to mention the existence of international property in Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition is an offense. Concealing of assets can result in criminal charges, dismissal of your bankruptcy petition, or even complete loss of the property in question.

Bankruptcy filing should be an open process. Even though you can exempt some of your property from liquidation, you need to make it open what you own regardless of their location. As part of the paperwork, the bankruptcy court will examine all your financial affairs for the last ten years. Of the investigators discover a fraudulent attempt, you may not enjoy the benefits of a bankruptcy discharge. You will be required to include the following in your bankruptcy petition:

  • Any property transfers you have made recently and during the period of bankruptcy
  • Gifts or charity contributions made
  • Current sources of your income
  • Losses you have made with your investments or property
  • Assets you are holding on behalf of another person
  • Moved, transferred or sold financial accounts
  • Foreign assets that you own at the time of bankruptcy.

You will be required to sign a statement to ascertain that the information you gave about your financial situation is correct and complete.

After filing for bankruptcy, the trustee may decide to pursue your international assets. However, their decision will be determined by the value of the assets. When considering the property to be liquidated, the bankruptcy trustee will want to find out its worth. If the returns from selling can pay a substantial amount of your debts back in the USA, the assets will be taken away in bankruptcy. Properties that will not make an excellent economic sense may not be pursued in bankruptcy. Also, the category of bankruptcy you file will determine whether you get to keep your international assets. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a property that is not your residential home can be auctioned to pay some debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help you make a three to five years plan to pay your debts. This you can keep your international assets. 

Foreign Assets in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Sometimes, you may land into severe financial difficulty due to a job layoff, medical expenses, or even after a divorce. Fortunately, you can seek relief for all your debts by filing for a Chapter 7akruptcy. After a successful chapter 7 bankruptcy, your creditors cannot come after you to collect their debts. Debts you can eliminate:

  • Tax bills which date more than three year
  • Credit card debts
  • IRS debts as well as 
  • Other unsecured debts

Liquidation bankruptcy helps you reorganize your financial life by keeping creditors off your back. However, if you are not current with payment of your mortgage, the bankruptcy trustee can liquidate your property to pay these debts. Even when the property is abroad, the bankruptcy court can sell the property to pay your debts.

In the bankruptcy petition, you will inform the court that the only income you have is enough to pay your expenses. Also, you can indicate that paying your existing debts will not be possible. The bankruptcy trustee has a right to enter the property and make an inspection. With this, it is essential to disclose the existence of international wealth. If the foreign assets are eligible for liquidation, they may be sold to pay your debts.

If you are not able to continue paying for a mortgage, your creditors may decide to push through with a foreclosure. After filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may not be able to retain equity in your property. Although the state will provide an exception for a certain percentage of home equity, the exemption will only be applicable to your primary residential home. If you have a valuable foreign property, you may lose it after the debt is discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. This asset will be sold to pay off some of your debts.

International Assets in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to make a repayment plan for your debts. This will prevent the liquidation of your assets. However, this category of bankruptcy is not for everyone. You must meet the eligibility criteria, including:

  • A steady income. To relieve your debts using a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must prove that you can meet your monthly obligations as stipulated by the bankruptcy repayment plan. If your income is too low, you cannot qualify for a repayment plan.
  • Debt limits. Your secured and unsecured debts should be within limits to qualify for chapter 13 bankruptcy,
  • . If you have secured debts, the creditor can take away property such as cars and homes if you cannot settle the debts. On the other hand, unsecured debts will not give the creditor a right to come after you. If you are unable to pay a mortgage, your international assets can be taken away and sold to pay the debts.
  • Nature of your finances. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is only available for individual investments. You cannot apply for this category to escape business debts. However, business debts that are your liability could be wiped off as part of your repayment plan. Whether you retain your assets in chapter 13 bankruptcy will be determined by two primary factors. If the property can pay for itself or it is making a loss for the last five years. If personal funds were used to purchase the assets, the bankruptcy trustee could sell it to pay the debt.

If the property is making some profit, the income can be added to your repayment plan. If the creditors repossess a property purchased on a mortgage, you will not have to continue the mortgage payments. Sometimes, your investments are an advantage in bankruptcy, and you will be allowed to keep them. However, if an asset is a liability, it will need to be sold out and pay some of your debts. If you want to protect your international assets during a bankruptcy, it is crucial to seek the legal representation of a bankruptcy attorney.

Depending on the mortgage you have, you may be able to have a loan cram-down. This occurs when your loan is reduced to an amount that equals the value of your home becoming part of unsecured debts. As long as an asset is not your primary residential home, it can suffer the heat of a bankruptcy. You will be required to negotiate with the creditors and come up with a repayment plan that works for both of you.

How you can protect your International Assets in Bankruptcy

When you experience financial stress, it can be tempting to file for bankruptcy and wipe out your debt. It is essential to consider how declaring bankruptcy will affect your valuable foreign assets. If you have some international assets to protect, you will need to:

  • Avoid giving wrong information or concealing some facts.

When filing for any category of bankruptcy, the court expects you to provide full and correct information about all the assets you own at the time of liquidation. Failure to do this will be considered an offense. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will do their research on bankruptcy crimes; thus, it is essential to be upfront on all issues. If you have an international asset, you need to let the court know of its existence.

  • Avoid moving your assets

When planning to file for bankruptcy, you may get tempted to sell or transfer your assets for safekeeping. If the bankruptcy court finds it suspicious, they may deny your bankruptcy petition. If you sold the assets before bankruptcy to cover for daily expenses, you need to be ready to explain the transactions you make during the period of bankruptcy.

  • File bankruptcy when you are not expecting to receive assets 

Once you receive a substantial amount of assets, you may not be bankrupt anymore, and the court could deny your bankruptcy petition. If you are expecting to receive some assets, you need to reconsider bankruptcy.

  • Stay away from other debts 

Accumulating new debts three months to the filing of a bankruptcy can be considered an intentional move. Your creditors may object to you getting a bankruptcy discharge

  • Avoid rushing a bankruptcy

Filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy will wipe out most of your debts and keep creditors from contacting you for payments. However, you can lose your valuable assets in the process. This is through liquidation to pay for the debts you have accumulated. If your international assets are valuable and can be able to pay for some debts, your bankruptcy trustee can liquidate the assets. If you want to file for bankruptcy, you need to avoid rushing the process. It is essential to investigate what each type of bankruptcy will do for you and how your valuable assets and property will be affected. If you want to protect some international assets during a bankruptcy, it is essential to seek the legal representation of a bankruptcy attorney.

  1. Withholding Information on International Assets during a bankruptcy
  2. Failure to disclose the existence of your international assets in bankruptcy can attract criminal charges. Various acts can be considered as attempts to hide assets, including:
  3. Transferring assets to another person during or a little while before filing for bankruptcy. Also, failing to disclose the transfer of assets can be considered an attempt of fraud in bankruptcy.
  4. Creating fake mortgages and liens to the property making it look less valuable
  5. Lying about asset ownership. This could be done by failing to indicate that you have international properties or you are an owner of a particular asset

Bankruptcy proceedings should be transparent, and the trustee can find hidden assets. The hidden assets will be seen through examining your financial records, payroll documents, and online asset searches review of your debts as well as from public records. If any hidden assets are discovered, the bankruptcy trustee will file a lawsuit against you. In some instances, you can genuinely forget to list some of your assets in the petition. Some of the assets you may forget to register are:

  • Co-owned assets which could be local or international
  • An inheritance or potential assets you are expecting to receive and is not sorted out by the court
  • Beneficial interests in trust funds
  • Lawsuit compensation that has been completed in court

If you fail to inform the court that you have international assets during a bankruptcy petition, you will face the following consequences:

  1. You will not enjoy debt relief through bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy trustee discovers that you have attempted to hide assets, you will not be entitled to receive a bankruptcy discharge. All the debts that you owed will remain constant, and your creditors can come to claim for payment. However, in chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy case will not be dismissed. Some of your property may be handed over to the trustee for liquidation ad payment of your debts.
  2. Revocation of your bankruptcy discharge. Sometimes the trustee will find a hidden asset when you have already been granted a release. In this case, they can request the court to take back the discharge. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, the revocation can be done within one year after the discharge is granted. If your bankruptcy is revoked, you will still be liable for the debts you owed before the discharge.
  3. You will not access a discharge for those debts in a subsequent bankruptcy. The assets you listed in the bankruptcy that was revoked cannot be discharged in a subsequent bankruptcy.
  4. You will face criminal charges. After listing all the assets that you own, you will sign a document to certify that the information you provided is true and accurate. If the bankruptcy trustee finds out that you attempted to hide your international assets, it is considered to be bankruptcy fraud. If you are found guilty of bankruptcy fraud, you will spend up to twenty years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

A mistake in listing your assets can cause you to be falsely accused of attempting to hide property. If you are facing criminal charges for alleged bankruptcy fraud, it is vital to seek help from a competent bankruptcy attorney.

How does International Assets Affect Bankruptcy?

If you have non-exempt international assets, your bankruptcy trustee may be required to move so they can sell the assets. Also, they will have to assess the property to ascertain whether it is valuable enough to pay for non-exempt debts you owe. If the asset is a piece of property or a vehicle, the process of selling the item may slow down the bankruptcy proceedings. This will cause you to spend more time in a bankruptcy court. To understand the chances you have of retaining your international assets and how they will affect bankruptcy, schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

Protect International Assets with the Help of a Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney near Me

Filing for bankruptcy is a personal decision you make when you can no longer pay your debts. If you want to protect some of your valuable assets during bankruptcy, it is essential to make the right decision the most suitable category of bankruptcy. The court will examine all your assets, both local and international, before granting you the bankruptcy. To effectively protect your foreign assets, it is essential to go about bankruptcy with the help of a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. Our attorneys will help you understand your options so you can make the right decision regarding your foreign investments. Contact the Los Angeles bankruptcy Attorney on 424-285-5525 from any location in Los Angeles, and allow us to guide you.

When debt becomes too much to manage, most individuals result in filing for bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy helps get rid of most of your debts and make a payment plan for the remaining debts. However, a bankruptcy declaration can cause you to lose some of your most valuable assets, including your home. Whether a bankruptcy makes sense when you own a home will depend on whether you want to save your home or you want to walk away with lesser debts. If you are going to file for bankruptcy and protect your home, it is essential to have legal representation. At Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney, we will guide you through the choices you have for bankruptcy so you can make a decision that will protect your home. Our group of competent attorneys serve clients from Los Angeles, CA, to ensure your interests are represented during bankruptcy.

Home Retention in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you are up to date with your mortgage payments, you can be able to retain your home in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if your equity can be able to pay the creditors after liquidation, you can lose the house. If you do not have home equity, you can be able to protect your home using the homestead exemption. Since there wouldn’t be any money to pay your creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will sell your home.

However, this will not automatically mean that you will retain the home. If before and after Chapter 7 bankruptcy you are not current with mortgage payments, you may still lose your home in a foreclosure. It is essential to understand the following information to determine whether the bankruptcy trustee will sell your home:

  1. Property Identification. You can exempt your equity I some of the properties after filing for bankruptcy. The homestead exemption can help you protect your permanent residential home. On most occasions, the property you exempt from liquidation must be your primary residence.
  2. The value of your Homestead. A homestead exemption in California will protect the equity of your home from creditors during bankruptcy. The cost of the home you tend to keep is a crucial factor when it comes to chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can exempt up to $75,000 through the homestead exemption. However, if you are mentally disabled or are above the age of 55 years, you can be able to exempt up to $175,000.To claim a full value homestead exemption, you must have owned the property for a minimum of 1,215 days before the date of the bankruptcy filing.
  3. Value of unprotected home equity. If you want to retain your home after chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to know whether you have enough unprotected equity to trigger a sale. This will be done by establishing the market value of your home and subtracting the exemption amount, the trustee commission as well as the amount owed to mortgage and lines. If the amount you get after this us negative, your bankruptcy trustee will not sell your home. If the end is positive, the three are enough to resell and pay the unsecured debts.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not help you keep your home but can temporarily protect you in foreclosure.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Home Foreclosure

The ability of chapter 7 bankruptcy to save your home from foreclosure is limited. However, this type of bankruptcy can be able to protect your home from foreclosure temporarily. Liquidation bankruptcy allows you to get rid of all your debts except the non-dischargeable ones. In return, most of your properties will be liquidated to pay your creditors. After filing for bankruptcy, your creditors cannot contact you to demand the payment for what you owe. Filing for bankruptcy will wipe out what you owe a mortgage. However, the mortgage lien will not be eliminated.

If you were behind with your mortgage payments at the time of bankruptcy, your lender could push through with the foreclosure. For individuals who are up to date with the mortgage payments, the court may allow you to retain ownership of your home and continue to pay the mortgage. After you receive your bankruptcy discharge, you will no longer be personally liable for the mortgage. 

This is because it is difficult to catch up on missed mortgage payments with a liquidation. The court will rarely ask your creditors to allow a payment plan. Also, lien stripping, which is the ability to eliminate the mortgage lien entirely is not available for this type of bankruptcy. Most courts will only allow lien stripping for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Moreover, chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be the best option to retain a home since there aren’t any laws that compel lenders to make loan modifications.

Even though chapter 7 bankruptcy is not the best method of saving your home from foreclosure, there are ways it can help a homeowner.

  • Temporarily put a Hold on Foreclosure.

Through the automatic stay, filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy will put a hold on foreclosure proceedings of your home. Once you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay prohibits your creditors from the efforts of debt collection. This will include phone calls, emails, or even trying to repossess the property. Also, all activities regarding foreclosure will cease. This will allow you to retain your property while the automatic stay lasts. This allows you time to find a strategy to protect yourself from foreclosure permanently.

It is essential to understand that if you are not up to date with your mortgage payments, your creditor can file a motion to lift the automatic stay. When you register for bankruptcy, ensure you send a copy of the bankruptcy petition to your bank. This will help keep the creditors off your back comfortably.

  • It is Easier to Get Loan Modifications on a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When evaluating the terms for loan modifications, most mortgage lenders will consider the debt to income ratio. Filing for bankruptcy can help you lower this ratio. Eliminating some of your debts gives you more disposable income and increases your chances of getting a loan modification from your lender.

If you are far behind your mortgage payments, you can negotiate with your creditors to deal with a shortfall through a mortgage workout. If your lender agrees to settle the loan modification plan, it is essential to complete modification before you file for bankruptcy. This will help avoid disruption of the negotiations by the bankruptcy proceeding.

Effects of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on Home Mortgages

Saving Your Home

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is suitable for individuals with high incomes Chapter 13. You will be required to make a repay and are hoping to protect valuable properties from liquidation. However, you must earn a certain amount of income and meet the debt limits to qualify for this type of bankruptcy. In chapter 13, you will be required to make a repayment plan with your creditors.

The plan often lasts between three to five years. This allows you the time to reorganize your financial affairs and pay the debts you owe. With this plan, you are expected to pay the priority debts and secured debts. Mortgage for your home is one of the secured debts you need to prioritize so you can retain your house after bankruptcy.

Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to prevent or delay the foreclosure of your home. Also, you can have an opportunity to eliminate subsequent mortgages. If you are running behind with the mortgage payments, this will be the best bankruptcy option to retain your home. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have sufficient income to:

  • Catch up with the mortgage within the stipulated time. A repayment plan for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often three to five years.
  • You can afford to continue making your mortgage payments as stipulated in the payment plan. To file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are required to have a certain amount of income. The steady income is proof that you will manage to continue making your payments as expected. 
  • To compensate your creditors for the non-exempt debts. To retain your home in chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to have enough money to pay the creditors whose debts you cannot protect with an exemption.
  • Pay for other requirements of chapter 13 bankruptcy. To keep your home, you need to have enough income to pay for other conditions of chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you want to keep your home, you need to stay current on your mortgage payments. In most cases, you will pay your creditors directly. However, your bankruptcy trustee may require you to make the payments through Chapter 13. It is crucial to understand that your trustee will keep a certain percentage of all payments you make through the plan. If you are behind on the mortgage and want to retain your home after bankruptcy, chapter 13 will allow you to continue paying your mortgage arrears and retaining ownership of your home after bankruptcy is everyone’s wish. Therefore, it is vital to pursue this course with legal guidance from a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney.

Stripping a Second Mortgage in Bankruptcy

Through a process known as lien stripping, you can get rid of a second mortgage to your home. However, most homeowners do not qualify for lien stripping. If the value of your home has declined substantially and you have a second loan on the home, the lien can be removed and the second mortgage discharged. The cost of your home must be low enough for home equity to be insufficient to remove the lien ad discharge your second mortgage. To prove that your equity is not enough to pay the debts, you can acquire a home appraisal that shows a fair market value of your home. If what remains after paying for the first mortgage cannot pay a subsequent mortgage, your lien can be stripped.

To strip a lien from your home, the court may require you to file a motion of lien stripping. You will provide proof that you cannot pay the second mortgage in a hearing. If the court is convinced that you can still pay for the second mortgage, your motion to strip the lie will be denied.

Exempting Home Ownership Equity in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Although you will retain your home in Chapter 13akruptcy, you will still have to pay your creditors for debts you cannot exempt. Regardless of the amount of property equity you have, you will be allowed to keep your property after chapter 13 bankruptcy. Moreover, you will have to make payments through a repayment plan which is greatly influenced by the amount of non-exempt property you possess.

The higher the equity you have in your home, the higher the amount you will pay with the bankruptcy repayment plan. Also, if you are behind with the mortgage payments, you will have to include your arrears in the plan. This is a condition of keeping your home in the reorganization bankruptcy. You should plan to pay the priority debts first as part of the plan.

To retain your home after bankruptcy, you can exempt your equity through the homestead exemption. After filing for bankruptcy, the homestead exemption will protect your investment in your primary residential home. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, keeping your home will be determined by the amount of equity you can exempt.

Delaying a Foreclosure 

After a Chapter 13 bankruptcy application, all proceedings for foreclosure will be stopped. The foreclosure will not push through until the court has approved your payment plan. When purchasing a home, you will agree with your lender that they can resell the home if you are not able to pay mortgage arrears. However, the right procedure has to be followed so the foreclosure can take place. You will be allowed some time to catch up with the payments, and if you cannot make a plan, the foreclosure pushes through.

If you file for chapter 13 bankruptcy in the middle of a foreclosure, the proceedings will be put on hold until you make a repayment plan. This allows you to retain ownership of your home while you reorganize your finances. There are two exceptions to the automatic stay which protect the creditor’s right of foreclosure as per contract agreement:

  • If you have two or more bankruptcies that were dismissed I the pad toe year, the automatic stay will not go into effect, and the foreclosure will push through. In this case, you lose your home to foreclosure rather than bankruptcy.
  • If you had a single bankruptcy case dismissed within the last year, the proceedings would only stop for thirty days.

However, these repeat exceptions will not be imposed on the type of bankruptcy on the record is not the same as the one you are currently filing. You will be expected to prove that the bankruptcies you had filed previously were not done in bad faith to successfully file this motion. Moreover, you will need to be up to date with the mortgage payments for the automatic stay to be active.

When you file for an automatic stay, your lender can file a counter-motion to lift the stay. You can reply to oppose this motion, and the court will hold a hearing for both sides before determining the fate of the automatic stay. If the automatic stay is lifted, the foreclosure can continue unless otherwise stated by a bankruptcy court.

Mortgage Modification in Rearrangement Bankruptcy

If your debts are higher than the value of your home, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you make modifications to debts secured using the home. The remaining debt will be treated as a priority, and you will not be required to pay it urgently. Most mortgage modifications will be allowed if:

  • The loan was meant for the construction of other properties rather than your primary residential home
  • Your home does not entirely secure the loan
  • The mortgage was meant for a mobile home considered as personal property
  • The mortgage is or a multi-unit building such as a rental building.

If your loan is crammed down, you will have to pay the cram down loan through your repayment plan for chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you want to keep your home after filing for bankruptcy, it is essential to seek guidance from a bankruptcy attorney.

Find a Competent Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney near Me

Fighting for your financial future and making the right decisions can be quite challenging. Bankruptcy can be a last resort, but when it is the only option, it is essential to go through it to get your finances in order legally. It will take a lot of legal guidance and knowledge to navigate bankruptcy successfully. Having to file for bankruptcy after debt accumulation is hard enough. You do not want to lose your home in the process. If you are going to file for bankruptcy and keep your home, consider seeking the legal representation of an attorney from the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney. Contact us at 424-285-5525 today from any location in Los Angeles, California, and allow us to guide you.

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