Why Choose Justin Lo As Your Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney
- 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.
- I have helped many client 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Filing bankruptcy can often help you stop or slow down wage garnishment, home foreclosure, repossession of a car.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Your path to a fresh financial future begins with a free consultation. Call me at 424-285-5525.
- I have over 10 years of experience with bankruptcy cases. During law school, I interned for the Chief Judge of the Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles and reviewed thousands of bankruptcy petitions
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.
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.
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:
- Chapter 7, which involves liquidation of non-exempt property in order to pay creditors. After liquidation, any unpaid portion of dischargeable debts is canceled.
- Chapter 11, where a business or a person with an extremely large amount of debt "reorganizes" debt.
- Chapter 12, which is a special type of bankruptcy designed for family farms.
- 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.
Is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Right for Me?
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.
What About Life Post-Bankruptcy?
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.)
- Automatic Stays
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.
- Emergency Bankruptcies
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."
- Means Testing
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.
- Debt Settlement
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.
- Bankruptcy Exemptions
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
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
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.]
- Wage Garnishment
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.
- Bank Levies
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.
- Vehicle Repossession
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.
- Home Foreclosure
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!
- Bankruptcy & Divorce
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.]
- Bankruptcy & Taxes
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.
- The 341 Hearing
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.
- Lawsuits & Bankruptcy
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.
Why Choose Bankruptcy Attorney?
Given that there is no shortage of bankruptcy law firms in Southern California, it only makes sense to compare and contrast your options. What, then, sets Bankruptcy Attorney apart from the crowd and makes us your best choice?
First of all, Bankruptcy Attorney has built up a solid reputation for integrity and genuine service to the communities of Los Angeles over many years' presence in the L.A. Area. Our consistently high customer satisfaction rates, overwhelmingly positive online reviews, and the large number of new clients we get or referral from old ones speaks for itself.
Second, our attorneys on staff simply have greater depth and breadth of experience and higher levels of formal training than most other similar law firms. We cover virtually all practice areas related to California bankruptcies without compromising quality service on anything we do.
Third, we take the time to deliver true customer service for each and every client we serve. We don't just hurry up and rubber stamp cases to move them quicker, like some of our competitors. We customize your experience and dig into the details of your situation to truly discover which course of action would likely benefit you most.
Fourth, we never try to pressure you into deciding on bankruptcy or against it - or on deciding for a particular type of bankruptcy. We keep things professional and treat you with respect. We answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and give you the information you need to make your own, truly informed (no-pressure) decision.
Fifth and finally, we keep ourselves both affordable and available for your benefit and convenience. We are not a niche firm that serves only richer clients, but we serve anyone in need of bankruptcy advice and/or filing assistance. And we stand ready to take your call for help on a 24/7 basis!
Contact Us Today for Assistance!
At Bankruptcy Attorney, we stand ready to assist you at a moment's notice. Our highly trained staff has literally decades of combined experience across the full gamut of bankruptcy law practice areas and other related practice areas such as debt settlement agreements.
Contact us anytime, 24/7/365, for a free initial consultation by calling 424-285-5525!
Or, you can visit us for an in-person consultation at our office location at 554 South San Vicente Boulevard, Suite 160-F, Los Angeles, CA.