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Should I File for Bankruptcy?
Whether to file for bankruptcy is a very personal decision.
Some people find it helpful to file a bankruptcy case when they cannot pay their bills and they do not anticipate having the ability to pay their bills in the near future. Often, people file because their financial situation is causing them emotional distress or depression, or because they would like to free themselves of debt now, if legally allowed, and have their income and assets to themselves in the future. Also, some people may find that a bankruptcy is worth filing even if they do lose some of their assets.
Some people do not have any assets over and above what the law allows them to keep, even if they do not pay their creditors. If this is true of you, then you may not need a bankruptcy in order to protect your assets.
Throughout this section of the Consumer Bankruptcy Center, we try to help you decide if bankruptcy is for you.
Considering Bankruptcy Checklist
If several of the following apply in your situation, you might consider bankruptcy:
- Your wages have been garnished or your bank account has been attached
- Most of your debts are unsecured debts like credit card bills, hospital or doctor's bills, etc.
- Your total debt, not including your car or house loan, is more than you could pay, even over five or more years
- Collection agencies are calling you at home and/or at work
- Your payments are more than 30 days behind on more than one bill
- There are lawsuits pending against you
- You have high medical bills not covered by insurance
- You owe income taxes that you are currently unable to pay
- You have few assets
- You have little or no savings
- You have had property repossessed (such as a vehicle)
- Your mortgage lender has threatened or started foreclosure proceedings against your home.
People who have had their wages garnished can especially benefit from a bankruptcy because the bankruptcy will stop the garnishment and could potentially help you get some of the garnished money back.
A law passed in 2005 makes it more complicated for some people to file for bankruptcy and to be freed of past debts. For most people, however, bankruptcy relief remains available.
You should seek advice of competent bankruptcy counsel before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy. You may search for a certified consumer bankruptcy attorney at www.abcworld.org.